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Financial Inclusion & the Future: Stellar Development Foundation Head Speaks

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Blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies are considered by many to be revolutionary because of the power that they have to support financial inclusion: to offer greater security and independence in the developed financial world, as well as capture the “long tail” of finances in developing economies.

Stellar, a cryptocurrency network launched in 2014, has made global accessibility to financial services a core piece of its mission from the beginning:

The Most Diverse Audience to Date at FMLS 2020 – Where Finance Meets Innovation

Recently, Finance Magnates spoke with Danelle Dixon, who heads up the Stellar Development Foundation (SDF), a non-profit organization that supports the development of the Stellar ecosystem, about how Stellar and the SDF are working to continue to foster financial inclusion–particularly, in a post-pandemic world.

Denelle joined SDF just over a year ago. Previously, she served as the chief operating officer at Mozilla, where she set down her “open-source roots.”

“The Foundation helps maintain Stellar’s codebase, supports the technical and business communities building on the network, and serves as a voice to regulators and institutions,” she explained. “Our ultimate goal is to create equitable access to the global financial system.”

“I came to SDF because I believe in the power of blockchain technology and that open-source projects like Stellar provide for limitless growth and creativity and exceed all other models for building — particularly for building networks,” she said.

What is Stellar?

Indeed, Denelle explained that Stellar is “an open, decentralized, fast, scalable, and uniquely sustainable network for financial products and services.”

“It’s both a cross-currency transaction system and a platform for digital asset issuance,” she said. “Stellar is made for payments and asset issuance. It was created for developers and connects financial systems so they can work together on a single platform.”

The network supports more than one type of digital currency: “stellar is multi-asset, and XLM (the native currency on the network) is used for transaction fees, which protect against spam and DDoS attacks, account creation, and as a bridge asset to facilitate trades between pairs of Stellar assets when there is no direct liquid market for the pair.”

The Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) exists in parallel to the network: “[the SDF] helps maintain Stellar’s codebase, supports the technical and business communities building on the network, and serves as a voice to regulators and institutions,” he said. “Our ultimate goal is to create equitable access to the global financial system.”

“Stellar is an open, decentralized, fast, scalable, and uniquely sustainable network for financial products and services,” Denelle explained.

“It’s both a cross-currency transaction system and a platform for digital asset issuance. Stellar is made for payments and asset issuance. It was created for developers and connects financial systems so they can work together on a single platform.”

“Stellar is multi-asset, and XLM (the native currency on the network) is used for transaction fees, which protect against spam and DDoS attacks, account creation, and as a bridge asset to facilitate trades between pairs of Stellar assets when there is no direct liquid market for the pair.

Growing the Stellar network and community: progress and goals

One of the most important topics of conversation in the cryptosphere has been centered around usability; often, cryptocurrency networks are created and designed from a conceptual point of view. Therefore, it’s possible that these networks can exist in a vacuum, without enough users or use cases to be sustainable in the long term.

However, Denelle confirmed to Finance Magnates that “our community is thriving and there are many companies building exciting projects in the Stellar ecosystem. We recently made sizable investments into DSTOQ, Abra and SatoshiPay. We also just announced that eight projects made the final round of our Stellar Community Fund comprising a 3,000,000 XLM prize pool.”

Denelle also said that the network is “experiencing very healthy growth” in terms of users.

“The total number of accounts is approximately 4.5 million and over the course of Q2, the number of total payments from those accounts grew almost 40%,” she said.

“We’ve also seen an increase in average daily operations, reflecting the network’s strong throughput. The average daily volume on Stellar’s Decentralized Exchanged saw sizable growth, an increase of over 70% from last quarter. We’re very happy with the decentralization of the network which is consistent with Q1.”

Denelle also pointed to Samsung’s recent integration of Stellar into the Samsung Blockchain Keystore.

 

Can’t wait to see what people build with this cool Stellar keystore integration from Samsung! https://t.co/eSKYkY8SOI

— Jed McCaleb (@JedMcCaleb) @Lumenthropy. pic.twitter.com/Q42rVvlvD8

— Stellar (@StellarOrg) July 6, 2020

The economic fallout of the pandemic may have hit developing countries the hardest, which could have a lasting “chain-reaction” effect on the global economy.

“Less spending power in developing countries slows global economic growth, and ensuring that people have access to financial resources and services in these challenging times is a must,” she said.

As such, “we have been consulting closely with our partners that offer remittance services, micropayments, and other resources, to work towards furthering access to people in the countries hit the hardest by this pandemic.”

In five years’ time, SDF wants to have made “a tangible impact on increasing equitable access to the global financial system”

What’s next for the Stellar Development Fund?

“Our goals over the next year target a number of key areas,” Denelle said.

These include “continuing investments from the SDF Enterprise Fund, investing in and supporting powerful use cases, offering new products, and increasing user acquisition.”

Additionally, “we launched our Enterprise Fund earlier this year, and so far, we have made three investments and have been speaking with more exciting prospects. With the Enterprise Fund, we want to provide the means to projects looking to unlock the world’s economic potential by making money more fluid, markets more open, and people more empowered.”

“Focusing on these pillars, we want to look back five years from now and be able to confidently say that SDF and its ecosystem have made a tangible impact on increasing equitable access to the global financial system.”

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