The cryptocurrency market continues to provide mixed market signals, with Bitcoin increasing in price while several alt coins decline in value. An outlier to this trend is Stellar Lumens, a currency that continues to gain attention from investors.
Last week, the price of Stellar increased by about 20%, reaching the $0.31 level before backing off slightly. Coinbase’s announcement about possibly adding Stellar to their trading database appears to be the catalyst for this price change. More specifically, the Coinbase blog published a press release confirming that they were “exploring” five new cryptocurrencies to add to their exchange soon (Stellar Lumens (XLM) being the largest by market capitalization).
Not incidentally, all five cryptocurrencies experienced a substantial price increase after this announcement. XLM fans have been particularly exuberant, given that their coin’s price fallen nearly 85% from its ATH earlier this year.
Partnership with IBM
Stellar Lumens describes itself as a mission-driven payment platform and protocol that connects banks, payment systems and people to move money quickly and at almost no cost. The coin helps facilitate cross-border transactions for Deloitte and many other large financial institutions. And shortly after the Coinbase announcement, computing giant IBM decided to use Stellar Lumens in its payment operations.
IBM is already a pioneer in business applications for blockchain, helping companies track their supply chains and making international payments more efficient using digital ledger technology. The company will soon begin testing a so-called stablecoin, or “crypto dollar,” named Stronghold USD that runs on the Stellar blockchain network.
In late June, BitIRA, a major cryptocurrency services company based in California, expanded its collection of available coins by adding both of Stellar Lumens (XLM) and Zcash (ZEC). The company facilitates the relationship between the customer and the custodian of their ‘Digital IRA’. The two coins now join Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Ethereum Classic (ETC) as investment opportunities for BitIRA customers.
Equally important, BitIRA is including the new coins in its strict security protocols and end-to-end insurance program. Together, these initiatives protect against theft, fraud, mistakes or hacking, from initial purchase through storage and sale.
“We are excited to meet strong customer demand for both Stellar Lumens and Zcash as part of a diversified retirement portfolio,” said Jay Blaskey, Digital Currency Specialist at BitIRA. “But while selection is important, protection is critical. Both XLM and ZEC are exciting new retirement investment options, and unlike most competitors, we ensure and protect those investments even after the initial transaction, so our customers can keep the new coins safe and secure.”
Stellar Lumens has also been able to gain notice in a relatively untouched market recently. The cryptocurrency recently received certification from the Islamic scholars of Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB) for use in sharia-compliant financial products. With this certification in place, Stellar Lumens will have access to Middle Eastern and South East Asian markets. Strong demand exists in both geographic areas for Islamic banking and sharia-compliant products. In the Middle East, this certification is allowing Stellar Lumens to gain an advantage over Ripple, a coin that it has been competing within the payments and remittances space.
Islamic finance and Sharia-compliant financial products comply with Islamic religious laws that relate to real economic activities and assets. These laws forbid interest payments or related financial gains as they are considered “haram.” Although Islamic scholars typically display a conservative approach towards technology, the advantages that blockchain technology offers concerning payments and remittances are too significant to ignore.
Ultimately, the SRB certification awarded to Stellar will help end the debate among Islamic nations about cryptocurrencies, many of whose top leaders believe the technology to only foster anti-Islamic activities.