Advertise with BNC

Stellar Price Analysis – Inflation mechanism set to end in November, pending validator vote

The Stellar Development Foundation recently released a proposal to remove inflation rewards from the network at the end of the month. A validator vote is scheduled for Monday, October 28th.

Stellar (XLM) is a payment protocol that aims to connect banks, payment systems, and people. The current spot price is down 93% from the all-time high of US$0.72, set in January 2018. The market cap currently stands at US$1.27 billion, which ranks 10th on the BraveNewCoin market cap table, with US$108 million in exchange-traded volume over the past 24 hours.

Since mid-September, the XLM market cap has pulled ahead of Tron (TRX), Cardano (ADA), and Monero (XMR) after being intertwined and highly correlated since July.

Stellar Price Analysis 16 Oct 2019 (1)

Stellar and the Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) were created by Jed McCaleb and Joyce Kim in 2014. The project is analogous to Ripple (XRP) in many ways, where McCaleb previously worked. The SDF was created to promote global financial access, literacy, and inclusion by expanding worldwide access to low-cost financial services, through the development and maintenance of technology and partnerships.

The SDF is currently run by McCaleb and Stellar’s chief scientist, David Mazières, having been incorporated in 2014 as a non-stock nonprofit corporation in the U.S. State of Delaware. The SDF is not currently an independently operated 501(c)(3), or non-profit, but did apply for this distinction in 2015.

Stellar Price Analysis 16 Oct 2019 (2)

XLM originally used the Federated Byzantine Agreement (FBA) for consensus, which was pioneered by XRP. Mazières later switched the network to the Stellar Consensus Protocol (SCP), in 2016, after the chain was unable to maintain reliable consensus.

Neither XRP nor XLM uses Proof of Work or Proof of Stake, but instead use validators to confirm transactions on the network. Validators do not receive a block reward. Anyone in the XLM network can be a validator, so the user must decide which validators to trust. Ideally, each trust group, or quorum slice, has overlapping transactions with other groups, and thus can collectively achieve consensus.

SCP quorum intersections ensure that each quorum slice is always linked by one node with consensus agreement, based on a large pool of individuals or validators. There have been 132 public nodes and 72 validators active on the network over the past two days, with most of these nodes residing in the United States and Germany.

In April, a team of South Korean researchers released an analysis of the SCP consensus algorithm and nodes on the network. Their findings revealed that all of the nodes are unable to run SCP if only two nodes fail, leading to a security risk. These critical nodes are controlled by the SDF. A response from Mazières confirmed that the centralization of validators is currently a weakness in the ecosystem. “Downtime does happen, so what if a set of important nodes goes down and the network halts?,” Mazières questions.

On May 15th, the network stalled for 67 minutes due to an inability to reach consensus. As opposed to most other chains, which can temporarily fork when consensus is not reached, the network halts completely. The SDF nodes were not the reason for the network failure. The reason for the halt was revealed in a Stellar developers blog post, “Stellar has added many new nodes recently. In retrospect, some new nodes took on too much consensus responsibility too soon.”

The genesis block minted 100 billion tokens, and the supply grows at a fixed rate of 1% per year. The coins created to satisfy the yearly inflation rate are distributed through an inflation pool. The network transaction fees are also collected and placed in the inflation pool.

Every account in the inflation pool votes for another account to receive the reward, which is deposited once a week. To receive rewards from the inflation pool, an account is required to obtain at least 0.05% of the total votes. Voting is weighted according to the number of XLM the voting account holds, essentially acting as a staking reward.

In late September, the SDF released a proposal to remove inflation rewards completely. This change is set to take effect when Stellar Core v12 goes live at the end of the month. A validator vote is scheduled for Monday, October 28th. The SDF believes the current inflation mechanism does not benefit projects building on the platform and will lead to scalability problems in the future.

According to the Stellar Dashboard, there are currently 105.42 billion XLM in existence. About 8.77 billion have been distributed through airdrops or to promote partnerships and user growth. Of the current total supply, 20.03 billion tokens are not held by the SDF. Based on available inflation pool statistics, 5% of the total circulating supply is currently being staked.

Unlike XRP, there have been no announcements of programmed or controlled escrow plans regarding the large non-circulating supply held by the SDF. There has been some concern that these holdings are being used to perpetually collect the inflation pool reward. In July, Binance discovered it had been staking it’s users XLM and announced an airdrop of 9,500,000 XLM collected through the inflation pool rewards. Going forward, Binance now offers staking rewards to its clients.

Stellar Price Analysis 16 Oct 2019 (3)

In late 2018, the SDF announced an up-to-500 million XLM distribution, or airdrop, through, which added wallet support for the asset. The airdrop is ongoing and is touted as encouraging first-time crypto users, and the crypto-curious. Each user can receive US$25 in XLM, after KYC verification in the form of an email address and identity documentation.

In March 2019, the SDF partnered with Coinbase to giveaway a further one billion tokens, through a learning exercise and referrals. In September, the Stellar SDF also announced a two billion coin airdrop to Keybase users.

The SDF recently partnered with Wirex, a fiat (GBP, USD, and EUR) and crypto Visa card processor. Users can also earn 0.5% back in BTC after each use of the Wirex Visa card. The partnership allows users to buy, store, exchange, and spend XLM on the Wirex platform. The company also plans to launch 26 stablecoins pegged to fiat currencies. On June 24th, the Wirex token (WXT) pre-sale sold out in two seconds, raising US$3 million, on OKEx’s Jumpstart IEO platform.

Earlier this year, IBM announced the launch of World Wire, which is a payment system built on the Stellar network. Six international banks have signed letters of intent, indicating that they will either use the XLM token or issue stable coins on IBM’s service, pending regulatory review. IBM also has several validators on the Stellar chain.

The wider ecosystem also includes Interstellar, which allows enterprises and institutions to use, and build on, the network. Interstellar combines the Chain and Lightyear brands. Chain’s products included Sequence and Chain Core. Sequence was a cloud-based ledger service for managing balances in financial and commerce applications like wallet apps, lending platforms, marketplaces, and exchanges. Chain Core was designed to operate and participate in permissioned blockchain networks.

The network uses a default transaction fee of 0.00001 XLM to prevent spam or Denial of Service attacks. In USD terms, average transaction fees rose substantially from February to May but have since returned to the previous range (orange line, chart below). Average transaction fees on the chain are much lower than most other chains, including XRP (black line, chart below).

Stellar Price Analysis 16 Oct 2019 (4)
Source: CoinMetrics

The current number of transactions per day on the network (line, chart below) stands at 233,000, and has essentially ranged between 100,000 to 300,000 since April 2018. The record high in transactions per day stands at nearly 370,000, occurring in June 2019. The average transaction value (fill, chart below) is currently US$500, which is down from a July 2017 high of US$3,000. Average transaction values have fluctuated around ~US$500 since June 2018. Nearly feeless on-chain transactions often encourage lower average transaction values due to a higher number of smaller sized transactions.

Stellar Price Analysis 16 Oct 2019 (5)
Source: CoinMetrics

The 30-day Kalichkin network value to estimated on-chain daily transactions (NVT) ratio (line, chart below) has fallen significantly since August 2018 and is currently 712. A clear downtrend in NVT suggests a coin is undervalued based on its economic activity and utility, which should be seen as a bullish price indicator. Inflection points in NVT can also be leading indicators of a reversal in asset value.

Historically, an NVT below 500 for the Stellar network signified bull market conditions. However, the current NVT is the highest of any cryptocurrency or asset, and over 3.5x higher than the XRP NVT. This either suggests that XLM is highly overvalued, or that the NVT metric needs to be adjusted for the chain.

The number of monthly active addresses (fill, chart below) increased from October 2017 to April 2019, but has been falling over the past few months, and is currently around 67,000. Active addresses spike once a week with the release of inflation rewards.

Active and unique addresses are important to consider when determining the fundamental value of the network based on Metcalfe’s law. Grassroots interest in the project includes nearly 8,500 members in 28 Stellar groups on

Stellar Price Analysis 16 Oct 2019 (6)
Source: CoinMetrics

Turning to developer activity, the Stellar project has 56 repos on Github. In total, over 300 developers have contributed to the project, with over 750 commits on the main repo in the past year (shown below).

Most coins use the developer community of GitHub where files are saved in folders called "repositories," or "repos," and changes to these files are recorded with "commits," which save a record of what changes were made, when, and by who. Although commits represent quantity and not necessarily quality, a higher number of commits can signify higher dev activity and interest.

A series of updates to the ecosystem were released over the past few months. An updated API server for related services was released in August and Stellar Horizon v0.21.0 and Stellar Core v11.4 were released two weeks ago. Both upgrades came with performance improvements and minor bug fixes. Stellar Core v12 and Stellar Horizon v0.22.0 were also released this week with changes set to be implemented at the end of the month.

Software Development Kits for JavaScript, Python, .Net, Java, and Scala were also all updated over the past few months. Validators also voted on, and approved, an upgrade to Protocol 11 that will bring better transaction pricing, improved network capacity, and enables the introduction of buy offers. Stellar also has a conference in Mexico City called Meridian, scheduled for November 4th-5th.

Stellar Price Analysis 16 Oct 2019 (7)
Source: Github

Exchange volume over the past 24 hours has predominantly been led by Tether (USDT) and Bitcoin (BTC) markets. XLM released several exchange-related announcements last year, including OKCoin listing XLM based USD, BTC, and ETH trading pairs. The asset was also added to the Circle Invest, BitGo, and Coinbase platforms.

In early June, Poloniex also enabled weekly inflation rewards for fully-verified users with holdings on Poloniex. In August, eToroX added several XLM based trading pairs, including USDEX, GBPX, JPYX, EURX, BTC, ETH. Binance added BTC and USDT margin trading pairs. Binance.US also added USD and USDT pairs at the end of September.

Stellar has also released StellarX, a peer-to-peer, third-party client built on top of Stellar’s open marketplace. StellarX is not the custodian of any assets, but the client is also not a DEX, and there are no fees. The platform includes a fiat on-ramp through ACH transactions from a U.S. bank account.

Stellar Price Analysis 16 Oct 2019 (8)

Worldwide Google Trends data for the term "Stellar" has remained low throughout most of 2018 and early 2019, with the exception of a small uptick in mid-May. There has also been a small rise recently, likely related to the press surrounding the Keybase airdrop announcement.

A slow rise in searches for "Stellar" preceded the bull run in Q4 2017, likely signaling a large swath of new market participants at that time. A 2015 study found a strong correlation between the google trends data and BTC price whereas a 2017 study concluded that when the U.S. Google "Bitcoin" searches increased dramatically, BTC price dropped.

Stellar Price Analysis 16 Oct 2019 (9)

Technical Analysis

Throughout late 2018, XLM followed the rest of the crypto market with a significant downward decline. Despite several bullish consolidation attempts since 2018, the asset has been unable to find bullish strength or develop a bullish trend. The strength of any potential trend reversal can be mapped using** **Exponential Moving Averages, Volume Profile of the Visible Range, and Ichimoku Cloud. Further background information on the technical indicators discussed below can be found here.

On the daily chart for the XLM/USD pair, the 50-day Exponential Moving Averages (EMA) and the 200-day EMA have been bearishly crossed for 480 days. The spot price has mostly remained below the 200-day EMA since the Death Cross in June 2018.

Over the next few months, if a bullish 50-day EMA and 200-day EMA cross occurs, bullish momentum will likely increase significantly. Volume resistance sits at US$0.1337 with a potential upside target of US$0.20-US$0.23. If the current local lows break, volume support sits around US$0.037. There are no active volume or RSI divergences currently to suggest an end to the bearish trend.

Stellar Price Analysis 16 Oct 2019 (10)

Turning to the Ichimoku Cloud, there are four key metrics; the current price in relation to the Cloud, the color of the Cloud (red for bearish, green for bullish), the Tenkan (T) and Kijun (K) cross, and the Lagging Span. Trades are typically opened when most of the signals flip from bearish to bullish, or vice versa.

Cloud metrics on the daily time frame with doubled settings (20/60/120/30), for more accurate signals, are bearish: the current spot price is below the Cloud, the Cloud is bearish, the TK cross is bearish, and the Lagging Span is below the Cloud and above the spot price. The most prudent long entry will take place once the spot price is above the Cloud with a bullish TK cross, otherwise, the trend will likely remain bearish.

However, there is currently a TK disequilibrium, which is suggestive of oversold conditions and an increasing likelihood of waning bearish momentum, as long as the spot price does not make lower lows. If this occurs, a mean reversion attempt to the Kijun, which is currently US$0.07, is possible in the near term. Additionally, a flat Kumo near US$0.093 should also act as a magnet for the spot price.

Stellar Price Analysis 16 Oct 2019 (11)

Lastly, the daily chart for the XLM/BTC pair is beginning to show signs of a waning bearish momentum as the spot price has broken above the 50-day EMA and into the Cloud. A mean reversion attempt to the 200-day EMA would bring the market to the 1,300 sat zone. VPVR resistance also sits at the 1,600 sat zone. Similar to November 2017, this pair may wait to fully breakout into a bullish rally once the spot price has cleared Cloud resistance. Cloud metrics should begin to flip bullish by year’s end, as long as the pair does not make a lower low.

Stellar Price Analysis 16 Oct 2019 (12)


Despite, Coinbase, and Keybase airdrops over the past year, active addresses have continued to decline. Transactions and transaction values remain in their respective multi-month ranges. Based on the growing number of partnerships, the network aims to directly compete with XRP in the payments and remittance realm, and ETH in the ICO and STO realm.

The low transactional cost on the network is more attractive than its peers for ICOs, dApps, and general value transfer, but that competitive advantage will disappear if fees rise again. Development work remains highly active with a conference in Mexico City in November. Removing inflation from the network in November could also be an impetus for further bullish headwinds.

Technicals for the XLM/USD pair reveal bearish trend metrics, with the current spot price below both the 200-day EMA and daily Cloud. If a Golden Cross does occur within the next few months, coupled with price action above the daily Cloud, sustained bullish momentum may break the current resistance at US$0.1337.

Technicals for the XLM/BTC pair have tilted from strictly bearish to neutral and then bullish over the past few weeks. The spot price for this pair has broken above the 50-day EMA and into the daily Cloud, with bullish targets around 1,300 sats in the near term. Going forward, bullish momentum becomes more probable once the spot price is above the Cloud, as was the case in November 2017.


BNC AdvertisingPlanning your 2024 crypto-media spend? Brave New Coin’s combined website, podcast, newsletters and YouTube channel deliver over 500,000 brand impressions a month to engaged crypto fans worldwide.
Don’t miss out – Find out more today

Advertise with BNC
Advertise with BNC
BNC Newsletters: A weekly digest of the most important news and analysis.
Advertise with BNC
Submit an event on
Latest Insights More
Advertise with BNC