Like Ripple, Stellar is designed to provide a fast and inexpensive way of sending international payments, while avoiding the costs that we usually associate with sending such payments. But whereas Ripple is aimed at large financial institutions and businesses, Stellar is instead targeting individuals.
Currently, most people use a service like PayPal to process online international payments, with PayPal taking 5% in fees on every transaction. By contrast, while Stellar is also able to offer very fast transaction fees, the fees for using the network are very low. As an example, one dApp running on the Stellar blockchain was able to process 600,000 transactions for the price of a single cent.
One of the ways in which Stellar are able to keep their costs down is by eschewing the energy-intensive PoW that Bitcoin and other networks use for verification, instead utilising the proprietary Stellar Consensus Protocol.
Like Ripple, the ultimate fate of Stellar will depend upon how the market responds to it. Early indications are good, with a number of large tech companies, including IBM, expressing an interest in utilising Stellar. As such, the underlying token, Lumens, represents a potentially very strong investment.