Buying Into Stellar – Quinten Farmer –
We are lucky to work in a time when transformative technologies seem to be emerging at an accelerating rate. Even in my short lifetime, I can choose to work on smartphones, or on their “peace dividend” in the form of connected hardware. I can build for the tablet that sits in every home, or even work on an incredible virtual reality platform.
More rare, however, are transformative protocols. The big ones have all been part of our lives for some time now: TCP/IP, SMTP, and SSL have all fundamentally changed how we use computers.
Bitcoin is a transformative technology. I won’t talk too much about it here, but I am confident that having been there at the start of Bitcoin will one day feel like having built one of the early apps on the app store, or being one of the first people using Twitter.
Stellar will be a transformative protocol. Being one of the first to build on the Stellar network will one day feel like having been one of the first to figure out what to do with SMTP.
Stellar won’t be a transformative protocol when speculators start hedge funds to bet billions on its rising value, or when 1 Stellar becomes as valuable as 1 BTC. Stellar will be transformative when a migrant worker in California sends money home to his family without losing money to check cashing fees, bank fees, wire fees, and currency conversion fees. It will be transformative when a citizen in any country can transact freely and safely with their peers around the world.
Most importantly, the true test of Stellar’s rise will be the day that saying “I’ll send you payment via Stellar” will feel as archaic as saying “I’ll send you text via SMTP”. Millions of future Stellar users won’t even realize they are using it, in much the same way millions of people who log into Facebook each day have no understanding of TCP/IP. From their perspective, everyday parts of their lives will have become a little easier, and less of each paycheck will have gone to supporting an archaic financial system.
But getting there won’t be easy. As with the early days of the internet, there will be successes and failures. Some incumbent companies will be smart, and move quickly to a new network that disrupts old business models but opens up a world of opportunity. Smart, fast moving upstarts will undercut those that don’t move quickly enough.
As with smartphones, some of the most interesting early adopters will be in the developing world, where existing infrastructure is so lacking that moving to a new, lightweight protocol doesn’t require dragging legacy systems and consumer behaviors into the modern age. Other early adopters will build what look like toys, as the ability of anyone to create a gateway and trade in arbitrary currencies leads to a flowering of new ideas on what it means to be a bank or to create a currency.
I’m buying into Stellar, and am lucky to be working with a killer team in building the first generation of tools for Stellar gateways. We want to make it easy for anyone to build their own gateway, whether you’re an entrepreneur in Kenya, or a hobbyist in Minnesota. Want to be one of the first to work with us? Get in touch.