On 10 September pretty much every Keybase.io user received a message from a user named “spacedrop”. In that message the author indicated that the user was about to receive ~21 USD in a currency called XLM from a “Stellar Development Foundation”.
Back in March 2018, Keybase announced that they had received funding from a non-profit organisation named “Stellar.org”:
The nonprofit Stellar.org is now funding Keybase. If you follow cryptocurrencies, you might know of Lumens.
… and they indicated that something related to Stellar was currently in the pipeline. It took a little longer than expected but in May 2019 they announced the integration of a Stellar wallet and simplified exchange of the currency into the chat component of Keybase.io.
Still, to nobody’s surprise quite a few people were “shocked” when they received the “unsolicited” message about getting Lumens…
While I can understand when people are surprised by something like a cryptocurrency-thingy appearing in their secure chat app, just looking through the archive of the keybase.io-blog would have revealed that the founders have been very open about their integration with Stellar. That being said, an announcement post, tweet, or chat before 10 September might have prevented the confusion.
Regarding Stellar itself, I, sadly, didn’t have the time to dig deeper into it yet. Luckily, Brett Cannon has written a very detailed look into what’s behind that system and what its advantages are compared to something like Bitcoin.
In my daily life I have virtually no contact with cryptocurrencies so I cannot really compare Stellar with other systems out. What Brett describes here, though, sounds quite interesting. I especially like the idea of using XLM primarily as an anti-spam mechanism by requiring a minimal charge for every transaction while at the same time having these transactions not require tons of resources and energy to complete.
That being said, I’m not yet sure if I myself have a use-case for it right now. Normally, when I need to exchange small amounts of money with friends (for things like lunch bills etc.) I tend to just use N26’s moneybeams. But, who knows, perhaps I can convince more people to re-activate their keybase accounts so that I can at least give it a try 🙂
The UI the mobile Keybase.io app provides for sending and receiving money will probably go a long way solving that problem. When you want to receive money from someone that is sitting next to you, you only have to show them your public address either as text or as a QR code or just select them from your contact list (if they’re already on it). You then enter the value you want to send (or receive) in a “normal” currency and Keybase does the conversion for you in the background.
Since the wallet that is integrated in Keybase seems to just be a normal wallet, you can also transfer funds in an out of it. But first, I want to try it out for the small things like lunch receipts 😉