Just in – Chain Inc, a San Francisco startup, has confirmed its acquisition by Lightyear Corp., the for-profit company developing the Stellar network.
Both the Chain and Lightyear brand will be combined into a new company and re-named ‘Interstellar’. Chain’s customer base and products will be migrated onto Stellar’s public ledger, allowing for the issuance, exchange andmanagement of all assets onto their blockchain network.
“When we started a few years ago, our customers were not ready for a public network. Fast forward to three years, they’re willingness has gone up, and the maturity of the public networks has changed a lot,’
Adam Ludwin (CEO Chain/Interstellar)
Confirmation of this major acquisition will send shockwaves through the cryptocurrency markets, and marks a significant industry merger. Chain raised over $40 million in initial funding from Citi, Visa, Nasdaq and others, and brings a wealth of knowledge and connections. These industry ties will set off further institutional adoption rumours, and looks to be aligning with the Stellar network’s lightning network integration by end of year.
Equally excitingly for Stellar Lumens holders, Stellar X – a brand new front-end for its decentralised exchange, built by app veterans from Kickstarter and OkCupid – will also be included within Interstellar’s product portfolio, adding yet further validation to their technology.
Proponents of the Stellar ecosystem and cryptocurrency aficionados alike should have little doubt of the monumental impact of this merger. The race for adoption is well and truly on.
I wrote my first fully-fledged ‘deep dive’ about the Stellar protocol and its native asset, Lumens (XLM), on the 21st May (25 crypto years ago) which can be found here. A lot has happened in that time, with major developments in the cryptocurrency/blockchain and Stellar ecosystem. As a result, I’ve decided to ‘update’ my deep dive, and see if it’s confirmed, or indeed changed, any of my hunches.
Confirmed their intent to use the Stellar network for their ‘universal payments system’ and re-branded it World Wire. Although not officially ‘launched’ the platform is certainly live. With World Wire, IBM is looking to fully take on incumbents within the cross-border payments ecosystem and create a new financial rail to facilitate the clearing and settlement of these transactions. Excitingly, existing retail systems can be integrated into the network.
IBM didn’t just stop there, also announcing a collaboration with Stronghold – an exchange dedicated to building on the Stellar network – to create a USD Stablecoin for enterprise and retail customers.
Chain + Lightyear.io = Interstellar
A much-rumored but only recently confirmed acquisition of Chain by Lightyear.io, a for-profit company building on the Stellar network, finally came to light just 3 weeks ago (= roughly 5 crypto years/September 10th). The two companies combined to form Interstellar, a super-crypto-amalgamation with some incredible industry backing. With information that STILL seems to be seeping into the markets, Chain’s, and now Interstellar’s customers include; Visa, Nasdaq, Citigroup and more.
All of Chain’s current clientele were approached by CEO Adam Ludwin and his team, who explained the potential merger with Lightyear and proposed synergy of their permissioned blockchain products with Stellar’s public blockchain. And all (this needs repeating) ALL of their clients were overwhelmingly positive regarding the proposition. So we’re in little doubt of what exactly this means, Visa, Nasdaq and Citigroup have given the Stellar network the huge thumbs up, and greenlighted utilising their public network.
As if the above clientele onboarding on the Stellar network wasn’t’ enough, StellarX – the new, shiny and frankly sexy front-end application for the Stellar protocol’s DEX is now under Interstellar’s product umbrella. The app is also live right now. With completely 100% free trading and multiple fiat anchors. And market maker rewards. Struth.
They’ve also re-announced ‘Starlight’ (their branding is on. point.) basically the Lightning network on Stellar. See what I mean when I say ‘a lot has happened’? If you want to hear more about Chain + Lightyear = Interstellar I’d thoroughly suggest watching this precursor to the announcement, and then this video about the merger.
Back to Stronghold and Friends
After their groundbreaking USD stable coin partnership announcement with IBM, Stronghold went on to release their set of Platform API’s -endpoints for retail-level access and integrations to their asset-agnostic global payment and trade ecosystem. Did anyone say adoption?
Circle recently listed XLM amongst 3 other cryptocurrencies, bringing further industry investment exposure (2 days ago). And STOs (what!?) Security Token Offerings to you and me, through companies such as Smartlands, have begun to gain traction and industry attention. Some are even beginning to whisper that STO uptake will eclipse the great ICO bull run of 2017 in both value and velocity. Smartlands, in particular, are releasing their first Asset-Backed Token (ABT) in Q4.
How has my hunch (a hunch I now share with 90K+ on Stellar’s subreddit, I might add) – that one cryptocurrency or protocol will be significantly adopted (read mass adoption), and that this protocol/cryptocurrency will be Stellar and XLM – turned out? Well, on the whole, it’s turned out more positively and closer to the mark than I ever imagined, especially in such a short space of time. To even write the sentence ‘Visa, Nasdaq and Citigroup have given the Stellar network the huge thumbs up.’ in less than 6 months is surreal and other-wordly. For them to be potentially onboarded onto the public network is mindblowing.
It still saddens me to read the partisan tripe that poisons so much of public, and blockchain, discourse. I make no bones about my personal opinions towards Stellar’s goals and technology. But as an analyst and researcher working for a leading cryptocurrency rating agency, I’m also happy to sift through the facts, weigh up the options and change my mind. In short, I still remain agnostic.
Yet despite my agnosticism, and whilst there may be ‘better’ cryptocurrencies and technologies compared to Stellar (although I’m yet to read examples of real life, working products), I still cannot find an ecosystem and technology so ready for mass-adoption, and so unashamedly quiet about their seismic achievements to date, as Stellar is.
4 months ago I wrote that I had a ‘hunch’ that the protocol to become significantly adopted ‘might’ be Stellar. That hunch has become as clear as day, an undeniable certainty. All that remains now is to wait and watch as it all unfolds before our very eyes.