The Stellar Network is a technology that processes financial transactions; an open system for sending and receiving money in any pair of currencies. It is open source, distributed, and community owned. Stellar network structure consists of the Horizon API, a set of tools and building blocks for creating software applications, that allows you to submit transactions to the network, check the status of accounts, and subscribe to event streams, and the Stellar Core; the servers running the Stellar Core software. These servers are maintained by different individuals and entities. Stellar Core maintains a local copy of the network ledger, communicating and staying in sync with other instances of Stellar Core on the network. With third-party tools like Lightning, a decentralized network using smart contract functionality in the blockchain to enable instant payments across a network of participants, instant payments are possible. Security is enforced by blockchain smart-contracts without creating an on-blockchain transaction for individual payments. By transacting and settling off-blockchain, the Lightning Network allows for exceptionally low fees, which allows for emerging use cases such as instant micropayments.
Stellar is an open-sourced, payments infrastructure protocol. The network has been live since November 2015. A distributed network of servers run a software implementation of the Stellar protocol, creating a global value exchange network on the internet.
It was initially launched by Jed McCaleb and Joyce Kim in 2014 and was based on the Ripple Protocol. Subsequently, the Stellar Development Foundation created a new version of the protocol based on completely new code and a different consensus algorithm. The native tokens used on the network are called Lumens.