That system, launched today, is called Stellar. Its cryptocurrency pedigree is already well established, with core development driven by former Ripple founder (and Mt.Gox creator) Jed McCaleb and Dr. David Mazières, best known for his work as head of Stanford’s Secure Computer Systems group, as well as being the creator of SFS and bcrypt. Stripe contributed $3 million to the Stellar project, in exchange for 2% of the total “stellar” tokens.
Writing about the launch, Stripe CTO Greg Brockman took great pains to note that while the new system will be bitcoin friendly, it’s goals are bigger than just supporting one payment system. “Stellar is (like Bitcoin) a decentralized payment network; unlike Bitcoin, it supports transactions in arbitrary currencies—you can use dollars, Euros, bitcoins, or anything else.” Brockman also noted that Stellar is still “highly experimental.”
If this sounds an awful lot like a competitor to Ripple, that’s because it is. Once the darling of the cryptocurrency startup world, Ripple’s current fate is uncertain, providing an opening for Stripe to launch a Ripple-like project to fill the void. McCaleb publicly fled Ripple Labs a few months ago, dumping nearly 9 million XRP in the process and causing the price to crash dramatically.