The Stellar network launched in 2014. Stellar advertises itself as “an open network for storing and moving money”. The Stellar network has a native digital currency, the Lumen, that’s required in small amounts for initializing accounts and making transactions and acts as an intermediary “bridge” currency for cross-border payments.
Contrary to Ripple Labs, Inc. (see slide “Ripple”), the Stellar Development Foundation is a non-profit organization and does not target large banks but aspires to facilitate transactions for the unbanked and underserved.
In addition (and like Bitcoin), Stellar has a non-Turing-complete scripting language. While not as powerful as the smart contracts that Ethereum and other projects allow, it can be used for fundraising and governance structures that are present in Ethereum, including simple initial coin offerings (ICO) and tokenized assets.
Stellar was built for speed and scale to further financial access and to create financial inclusiveness for all.