Tether (USDT) is a cryptocurrency with a value meant to mirror the value of the U.S. dollar. The idea was to create a stable cryptocurrency that can be used like digital dollars. Coins that serve this purpose of being a stable dollar substitute are called “stable coins.” Tether is the most popular stable coin and even acts as a dollar replacement on many popular exchanges! According to their site, Tether converts cash into digital currency, to anchor or “tether” the value of the coin to the price of national currencies like the US dollar, the Euro, and the Yen. Like other cryptos it uses blockchain. Unlike other cryptos, it is [according to the official Tether site] “100% backed by USD” (USD is held in reserve). The primary use of Tether is that it offers some stability to the otherwise volatile crypto space and offers liquidity to exchanges who can’t deal in dollars and with banks (for example to the sometimes controversial but leading exchange Bitfinex). The digital coins are issued by a company called Tether Limited that is governed by the laws of the British Virgin Islands, according to the legal part of its website. It is incorporated in Hong Kong. It has emerged that Jan Ludovicus van der Velde is the CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex, which has been accused of being involved in the price manipulation of bitcoin, as well as tether. Many people trading on exchanges, including Bitfinex, will use tether to buy other cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. Tether Limited argues that using this method to buy virtual currencies allows users to move fiat in and out of an exchange more quickly and cheaply. Also, exchanges typically have rocky relationships with banks, and using Tether is a way to circumvent that. USDT is fairly simple to use. Once on exchanges like Poloniex or Bittrex, it can be used to purchase Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It can be easily transferred from an exchange to any Omni Layer enabled wallet. Tether has no transaction fees, although external wallets and exchanges may charge one. In order to convert USDT to USD and vise versa through the Tether.to Platform, users must pay a small fee. Buying and selling Tether for Bitcoin can be done through a variety of exchanges like the ones mentioned previously or through the Tether.to platform, which also allows the conversion between USD to and from your bank account.
The Stellar network is an open source, distributed, and community owned network used to facilitate cross-asset transfers of value. Stellar aims to help facilitate cross-asset transfer of value at a fraction of a penny while aiming to be an open financial system that gives people of all income levels access to low-cost financial services. Stellar can handle exchanges between fiat-based currencies and between cryptocurrencies. Stellar.org, the organization that supports Stellar, is centralized like XRP and meant to handle cross platform transactions and micro transactions like XRP. However, unlike Ripple, Stellar.org is non-profit and their platform itself is open source and decentralized. Stellar was founded by Jed McCaleb in 2014. Jed McCaleb is also the founder of Mt. Gox and co-founder of Ripple, launched the network system Stellar with former lawyer Joyce Kim. Stellar is also a payment technology that aims to connect financial institutions and drastically reduce the cost and time required for cross-border transfers. In fact, both payment networks used the same protocol initially. Distributed Exchange Through the use of its intermediary currency Lumens (XLM), a user can send any currency that they own to anyone else in a different currency. For instance, if Joe wanted to send USD to Mary using her EUR, an offer is submitted to the distributed exchange selling USD for EUR. This submitted offer forms is known as an order book. The network will use the order book to find the best exchange rate for the transaction in-order to minimize the fee paid by a user. This multi-currency transaction is possible because of 'Anchors'. Anchors are trusted entities that hold people’s deposits and can issue credit. In essence, Anchors serves as the bridge between different currencies and the Stellar network. Lumens (XLM) Lumens are the native asset (digital currency) that exist on the Stellar network that helps to facilitate multi-currency transactions and prevent spams. For multi-currency transactions, XLM is the digital intermediary that allows for such a transaction to occur at a low cost. In-order to prevent DoS attacks (aka spams) that would inevitably occur on the Stellar network, a small fee of 0.00001 XLM is associated with every transaction that occurs on the network. This fee is small enough so it does not significantly affect the cost of transaction, but large enough so it dissuades bad actors from spamming the network. The collected fee is then redistributed and added to an inflation pool. This inflation pool releases Lumens at a rate of 1% each year.