Stellar vs Ripple: they are some of the most popular cryptocurrencies in 2021. How are their prices developing and which one is a better investment? Ripple has recently been a hot topic both due to its ongoing legal challenge and the heavy price fluctuation of its XRP token. But what about its sister project Stellar Lumens and its native XLM token? At the time of writing, Ripple\u2019s XRP has soared above $1 dollar, a high not seen in years. Meanwhile, Stellar\u2019s XLM currently sits just above $0.60 dollars. The current price is suggesting there may be ample room for an upcoming climb to $1 dollar or more. So what is exactly is Stellar and how should a beginner or experienced investor relate to it? For a deeper dive, you might want to read our general introduction of Stellar Lumens. This article in turn will provide a brief overlook of the asset in comparison to Ripple, its price development, and future potential. Stellar is a Nonprofit Payment System Stellar Lumens is a nonprofit payment system and project originally branched from Ripple. Jed McCaleb, a co-founder of Ripple, left the project over disagreements and in 2014 launched another one: the Stellar network. At the time of its launch, the network had 100 billion stellars or XLM tokens. Stellar is currently holding the rank of the tenth largest digital currency in the world based on its market capitalization. It is also one of the world's leading projects utilizing blockchain technology. The Ripple roots are visible in Stellar\u2019s system. Stellar shares many of the same features but also has an independent network, foundation, and operating philosophy behind it. Unlike Bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies, Stellar\u2019s confirmation is not based on mining. This means transactions can be executed notably faster and cheaper than in mining-based networks. Stellar transactions are instant and usually resolve in 2-5 seconds, as stated on the foundation's home page. This can make it a lucrative asset for international payments by banks and financial institutions. The same applies to retail investors who want to send money with affordable transaction fees. Right now the base fee for all Stellar transactions is\u00a00.00001 XLM. In other words, the base fee amounts to a mere fraction of a cent at current prices. Stellar's most notable collaboration partnerships so far have included IBM and KlickEx in October 2017. In January 2021, Ukraine's Ministry of Digital Transformation announced cooperation with Stellar to develop the country's digital infrastructure. The announcement led to a 40% value increase for the asset. Stellar.org has an informative picture about Stellar\u2019s potential use. Centralized vs. Decentralized Cryptocurrencies While somewhat more decentralized, Stellar is administered by the Stellar Development Foundation, a centralized entity similar to Ripple. Stellar, therefore, does not meet the strictest criteria for a decentralized cryptocurrency. That's why people sometimes refer to both XLM and XRP as centralized digital currencies instead. While both blockchains function using distributed ledger technology, Ripple's and Stellar's technology works differently. The Ripple network relies on the proof-of-correctness algorithm whereas Stellar employs the consensus protocol. Major applications of the Ripple protocol involve banks and larger players. The Stellar ecosystem in turn has become a comfortable niche for individual peer-to-peer and small business transactions. Another notable contrast is that Ripple is a profit-oriented company, while Stellar\u2019s nonprofit status dictates the organization does not seek any financial gain. While earning profits from offering the world a utility can hardly be condemned, anyone doing the same pro bono would usually be met with a warmer welcome. So, if the Ripple vs Stellar pair was to be seen as slightly altered twins, Stellar\u2019s nonprofit philosophy could arguably make it the proverbial good twin. But that does not mean the other twin would be bad, or that the estranged siblings couldn\u2019t succeed together as they have so far. It only means Stellar\u2019s operating philosophy may be more appealing to many. This could also translate to more use and development efforts for the project. XLM Price Development \u2013 The Past, Present, and Future Throughout the early years of its existence, the price development of Stellar\u2019s XLM has largely mirrored that of Ripple\u2019s XRP. That means, the rising or falling XRP prices also uplifted or decreased XLM's value to some degree. However, this pattern came to a halt after Ripple Labs wound up in seemingly serious legal trouble with the SEC in late December 2020. As several exchanges responded by delisting XRP as a security measure, its price soon began to crash hard amidst a market panic. However, this time the same did not concern Stellar. Despite its usual correlation with XRP movements, Stellar\u2019s XLM suffered more mitigated losses and even began to overtake a portion of Ripple\u2019s bleeding markets around the turn of the year. XLM\u2019s price even briefly surpassed XRP for the first time on January 6th, marking an unprecedented shift on the cryptocurrency market. After this, the XRP\/XLM duo kept dueling on equal levels and consecutively overtaking each other for several weeks. Throughout 2021 so far, Stellar has shifted between lows around $0.125 dollars to its current yearly high above $0.60 dollars. After an idle beginning, Stellar's price has risen in waves similar to bitcoin and is also currently climbing toward greener pastures. \u00a9coinmarketcap Stellar vs Ripple: How will the prices develop? In the ensuing months, Stellar has kept its ground while Ripple has reported greater gains and retaken the lead \u2013 at least for now. The recent XRP rally also suggests something similar may be brewing for XLM sooner or later. When comparing historical prices, it is curious to note that Ripple\u2019s all-time high was at $3.40 dollars on January 7th, 2018. According to CoinMarketCap\u2019s statistics, Stellar\u2019s respective all-time high went just above $0.90 dollars on January 3rd, 2018. This means that, while Ripple has gained more percentually in the past weeks, Ripple is also percentually much further from its previous high than Stellar. Should Stellar surpass the milestone set more than three years ago, it could serve as a catalyst to ignite a more explosive rally to one dollar and beyond. According to some estimates, even $5 dollars could be a possible target over the span of a few years. A chart showing the price development of XLM relative to XRP over the past 2\u00bd years. \u00a9CoinGecko As of this moment, the unit price of XLM is still counted in cents and could one day permanently rise above a dollar. Therefore, it might not be the worst idea to consider acquiring at least a few of these tokens in 2021. This should, of course, happen after carefully assessing the risks along with the untapped potential. While the future is shrouded in mystery, it is safe to say that the Stellar price may indeed be on its way toward a stellar price. The following piece does not include any investment advice. It is worth noting that investing in any digital asset includes risks, which should be carefully assessed before making important decisions.