Stellar Lumens (XLM)–The crypto markets continue to show difficulty in breaking out of the bear cycle that has come to dominate 2018 following the first few weeks of the year. While Bitcoin has managed to find relative price footing in the $6,000 – $7,000 range, the altcoin market has essentially been devastated by widespread sell off.
Ethereum, the second largest currency by market capitalization, has been hit particularly hard. While the coin has maintained its position in terms of market dominance over the field of altcoins, mass selloff from a combination of factors has led the coin to dip below $200 on multiple occasions. ICOs, which have been primarily funded with ether and built upon Ethereum’s ERC-20 platform, are causing a price depression for the coin as projects continue a mass selloff to cover the costs of the falling market.
In addition, ICO funding in general has been on a downward trajectory since hitting a peak midway through the year, which includes the amount of capital being poured into such projects. The effect is falling ether value as previous ICOs cash in on accumulated war chests of ETH, while the general demand for Ethereum also decreases given the weakening ICO development front. The CCO of Bitpay recently told Bloomberg in an interview that he does not believe the ICO or altcoin market will manage to recover or return to January’s all time high, despite predicting a bullish turnaround for Bitcoin in 2019.
However, despite the general declining sentiment for the altcoin market and most coins not named Bitcoin, Stellar XLM has continued to show price resilience in another otherwise abysmal market. The driving force of Stellar has only grown stronger as it continues to generate competitive interest with XRP–two coins who share a significant amount overlap. Not only are Stellar and XRP targeting a similar industry and potential customer base with the establishment of seamless global payments, but they were both founded by Jed McCaleb, who has been a mainstay in cryptocurrency since nearly the beginning.
XLM has also been buoyed by the news coming out of IBM over the launch Blockchain World Wire, a Stellar backed payment platform that is looking to outcompete anything that currently exists in global fintech, a technology that “can simultaneously clear and settle cross-border payments in near real-time.” In addition to having a big name like IBM backing the project, which only adds further validation for the technology and team behind XLM, Stellar has been linked tangentially to a partnership with Facebook–albeit one that has been put through the rumor mill and denied by the social media giant. Regardless of the truth behind the potential Facebook/XLM collaboration, the currency has managed to garner attention from large players in the space of technology and computer science, a feature that is appealing to investors looking to go long on a cryptocurrency and ride out the current bearish conditions.
While the news coming out of IBM has been huge for Stellar in terms of adoption and brand recognition, the pairing with Coinbase has potentially been an even greater tailwind for the pricing of XLM. Plain and simple: current investors in Stellar are afraid of selling ahead of a potential Coinbase addition, which would undoubtedly increase the present valuation of the coin. The sentiment of FOMO, while not causing XLM pricing to go through the roof, has been enough to keep Stellar buffered against the falling altcoin market, with the price of the coin changing very little over the preceding months since first being linked to the popular U.S.-based exchange.