The first few days of 2018 have constituted a booming start of the year for cryptocurrency, with the overall market pushing to new all-time highs and many coins seeing huge bull runs. Among these, Stellar Lumens (XLM) is emerging as perhaps the biggest winner.

Since December 31, Stellar Lumens has already increased by close to 200%, from a price of US$0.31 to US$0.88. XLM has become the sixth highest-valued cryptocurrency, with a total market capitalization of US$15.7 billion. Stellar is now worth more than NEM and LTC, which are valued at US$15.2 billion and US$13.3 billion, respectively.

Just under a month ago, Stellar Lumens was struggling to maintain its position among the top 20 cryptocurrencies. Its recent surge is an addition to an even larger run in the past month, with XLM gaining nearly 1,000% since December 3. To reach the top 5, Stellar will have to grow by another 70% to overtake Cardano (ADA), currently valued at US$26.8 billion.

Stellar Lumens represents a decentralized alternative to Ripple (XRP). Like Ripple, XLM provides a number of features to dramatically reduce transaction costs and simplify cross-border payments. Unlike Ripple, which is marketed to banks, XLM seeks adoption by citizens worldwide as a gateway for remittances, as well as a superior currency for micro-transactions for both merchants and individuals.

Much of XLM’s valuation can be attributed to its partnerships with industry leaders, such as IBM and Deloitte. Deloitte, one of the “Big 4” accounting firms, announced it has seen a 40% cost reduction since adopting Stellar Lumens for internal transactions. IBM is using XLM to power its blockchain initiatives and create a cross-border payment system which will act as a global solution for blockchain banking.

Beyond this, there are rumors that Stellar will be integrated in the upcoming distributed exchange, FairX, which is poised to serve as desperately-needed competition to the exchange giant, Coinbase. FairX is being developed by IBM employees and in conjunction with IBM’s existing blockchain infrastructure.

It has not been explicitly confirmed that Stellar will be incorporated into FairX, but if it is, it stands to reason that XLM has the potential for even larger increases than those which have already been seen.