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商业 - 科技

比特币挑战者出现,可免费领取

JP Mangalindan 2014年08月04日

来了解一下“恒星”。这是由Stripe公司开发的一款全新的数字货币和支付网络。为了确保能以最快速度让更多人使用,它目前是免费发放的。

    Stripe公司正在大举挺进数字货币领域。

    这家初创公司位于旧金山,它的技术能让商家接受在线支付。上周四,该公司推出了一种名为“恒星”(stellar)、类似于比特币的新型货币,以及一个支付网络,该网络可让用户使用任何一种传统货币或数字货币进行支付,包括美元、比索、欧元和比特币。用户可以在全球范围内采用任一种货币支付,并由网络自动将其兑换成另一种货币——这相当于一个无所不能的在线货币兑换平台。

    目前,“恒星”是免费发放的,以吸引更多人进入数字货币(或所谓的“加密货币”)这一新兴领域。采用这一方式,也能确保它以最快速度让更多人使用。

    “恒星”是由非盈利组织“恒星开发基金会”研发出来的,该基金会由Stripe公司首席执行官帕特里克•克里森,与创新支付企业Ripple公司的联合创始人杰德•麦凯莱布共同创建,初期投资是来自Stripe公司的300万美元。这个基金会的董事会和顾问团队可谓大佬云集,比如贝宝公司(Paypal)的前高管基思•拉布伊斯、著名孵化器YCombinator的合伙人山姆•奥特曼,众筹平台AngelList的联合创始人纳瓦尔•拉维康特,以及博客平台运营商Automattic的首席执行官马特•穆伦维格。

    2011年,克里森和他的兄弟约翰开始为Stripe公司开发相关技术。此后不久,他就萌生了一个念头,要搭建一个当时还闻所未闻的在线支付网络,并为此不断钻研。本周初,他在接受《财富》杂志(Fortune)专访时表示:“其实早在Stripe公司成立之前,我们就开始思考加密货币对公司的意义,尤其是我们如何才能利用好这种货币,实现自己的梦想。”多年来,克里森经常会谈起想要推广普及在线支付,使之无处不在这一话题,现在他感到,加密货币的出现与实现这一愿景恰巧不谋而合。

    几个月前,克里森开始和麦凯莱布探讨这个想法。麦凯莱布曾帮人创建了Ripple公司,它后来成了比特币平台的对手。克里森回顾称:“谈过几次后我们发现,Stripe公司的想法理应实现,他所设想的东西也应该实现,所以这两者几乎是精准(匹配的)。所以我们两方决定携手合作也就在情理之中了。”

    他们俩达成共识,最佳策略是创建一个独立于Stripe公司的非盈利组织,以直接掌控“恒星”的开发。克里森称:“我们都感到,基本部件不应该由一个单一组织掌控。”他们还决定,大部分“恒星”货币都将免费发放:比如,950亿“恒星”货币中,有一半都将发放给那些通过Facebook注册的用户。

    不过“恒星”未来的命运还笼罩在众多疑问中,比如这种货币是否会具有很大的价值——这取决于它的使用量——它所赖以流通的网络是否能顺利运行。克里森也坦承,他们所谓的“实验性研究项目”要想站稳脚跟还需假以时日。

    只需看看比特币缓慢的成长道路就能明白这一点。尽管自2009年1月以来这种数字加密货币已登上了无数头条——而且《新闻周刊》(Newsweek)三月的封面报道造成了一个小高潮——但实际上,比特币的用户基数始终低于预期:有人估计,截至今年1月,用户数刚超过120万人。但是比特币却引发了一场严肃的讨论,即货币可以且应该通过网上支付,甚至就连贝宝公司这样更为传统的金融机构也表示,他们一直在密切关注比特币的发展。

    不过,既然有硅谷的一些顶尖大佬掌舵,“恒星”也很有可能会和现在大行其道的一些加密货币一样跻身“一流”的行列(stellar也有“一流”之意——译注)。(财富中文网)

    译者:清远

    Stripe is diving into digital currency in a big way.

    The San Francisco-based startup, whose technology lets businesses accept online payments, helped introduce a new Bitcoin-like currency on Thursday called “stellar,” as well as a payments network that lets users send any kind of traditional and digital currency including U.S. dollars, pesos, euros and Bitcoins. People will be able to send one kind of currency across the globe and have it automatically converted into another — a sort of all-inclusive online money exchange.

    At first, Stellar will be given away for free as a way to introduce more people to the nascent world of digital money, or so-called “crypto-currency.” It’s also a sure-fire way to get stellar to as many people as quickly as possible.

    Stellar was developed by the Stellar Development Foundation, a non-profit created by Stripe CEO Patrick Collison and Ripple co-founder Jed McCaleb plus $3 million in initial funding from Stripe. The foundation’s board and advisors boast impressive names like ex-PayPal executive Keith Rabois, YCombinator partner Sam Altman, AngelList cofounder Naval Ravikant and Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg, among others.

    Collison had been kicking around the idea of an agnostic online payments network since 2011, shortly after he and brother John began working on the technology for Stripe. “Even before Stripe launched, we were thinking about what crypto-currencies mean for Stripe and in particular, how we can take advantage of them in order to accomplish the things we want to do,” Collison explained to Fortune earlier this week. Collision has talked over the years of wanting to make online payments universal and ubiquitous, and he felt crypto-currencies dovetailed with that vision.

    So several months ago, Collison began brainstorming with McCaleb, who had helped build Ripple, a Bitcoin rival. “We were having these conversations, and it was so clear what Stripe thought should exist, and what he thought should exist, and they almost precisely [matched up],” Collison recalled. “So it made sense to decide to do something together.”

    Collison and McCaleb agreed that establishing a non-profit separate from Stripe to be in control of developing Stellar was the best strategy. “We felt the basic parts shouldn’t be controlled by one single entity,” said Collison. They also decided to give away the majority of stellar currency for free: half of the 95 billion stellar coins will be given to people who sign up via Facebook , for instance.

    Many questions remain about Stellar, not the least of which includes whether the currency will achieve any sort of significant value — something that will depend on how much it’s used — and whether the network it flows through takes off. Collison readily admits it will take time for their so-called “experimental research project” to take hold, if it does at all.

    Look no further than Bitcoin’s own slow, growth for proof of that. Although the cryptocurrency has earned countless headlines since January 2009 — the culmination being Newsweek’s March cover story — in reality, Bitcoin’s user base remains lower-than-expected: Over 1.2 million as of this January, by some estimates. But what Bitcoin has sparked is a serious conversation about the way money can and should be processed online, to the point where even more traditional services like PayPal have said they are closely following Bitcoin.

    With some of Silicon Valley’s brightest at the helm, Stellar has just as good a chance as any current crypto-currency perhaps to be, well, stellar.

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