Interstellar, a division of Stellar Foundation that was founded by a merger of Lightyear and Chain, can currently be used as a Stellar Wallet, a Decentralized Exchange, a Multisig Coordinator, and also as a BTC anchor. The team came out with another exciting news for the Stellar ecosystem by announcing the payment channels on Interstellar dubbed Starlight.
As the official announcement states:
Payment channels allow parties to transact privately, instantly, and securely, while paying zero fees.
So this is basically Stellar’s version of Lightning Network. The channels are private bidirectional paths for two parties to instantly pay each other funds in a private manner and for free without involving the Stellar network before the final settlement that is done on the blockchain itself.
The security of the channel is ensured by special information exchanged between the participants with each payment. This information includes signed Stellar transactions that are not published to the network until one party chooses to close the channel. When the channel is closed, these “settlement transactions” send to each party’s Stellar account their respective share of the balance, taking into account the channel’s history of payments back and forth.
Starlight will not only work on improving their own network of channels but also work on integration with other channel networks like the aforementioned Lightning Network and Ripple’s Interledger.
Current version of Starlight supports only bilateral channels (channels with 2 participants) and XLM tokens. Later on, the wallet and network will be developed further to be compatible with any token issued on Stellar network.
As the just released version is in the experimental stage and is yet to be thoroughly tested, it only works with the Stellar testnet to prevent serious crashes and loss of funds.
Interstellar Brief History
On September 10, 2018, Chain announced they’ve been purchased by Lightyear, the for-profit subsidiary of the Stellar Development Foundation.
Based out of San Francisco, Chain was founded in 2014 to enable organizations to “build better financial services from the ground up,” and scaled thereafter with an investment fund of $40 million. While there’s certainly more to it than that, what’s particularly interesting about Chain is that their funding came from massive financial companies like Visa, Nasdaq, and Citigroup.
Lightyear and Chain have both been retired, and Interstellar employs 60 individuals. Interstellar is headquartered in both San Francisco and New York City. Ludwin has took over as CEO of Interstellar and Stellar’s founder, Jed McCaleb, has become CTO of Interstellar.