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I know the Stellar network can be used for exchanging all types of assets - Lumens, USD, apples, whatever.

  1. When exchanging non-Lumen assets between accounts, the network doesn't actually perform the exchange, but the transaction is recorded on the blockchain. Is this correct? That is, the transaction on the Stellar network basically serves as a receipt/invoice/proof that one party agrees to owe the other party something? The receiving party should trust that the other party will indeed go through with this in a tangible way? What enforces this? If the receiver is not satisfied, can they rescind the transaction at any time?

  2. When transacting with the native asset (i.e., Lumens), the Stellar network will take care of transferring the asset from one account to another? If my understanding in #1 is correct, then when trading Lumens, will one party immediately receive the Lumens, while the other party has the assurance (through the recorded transaction) that the sender will go through with the exchange?

I guess my main concern is, when dealing with non-native assets, what makes the transactions enforceable outside of the Stellar network?

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  1. I think there are two pieces of this question being conflated. There are assets in real life, and there are the representation of those assets over the network. The representation of assets on the network are transferred in an exchange. The new owner can keep it as an exchangeable representation over the network if they choose, or the new owner can redeem the asset with asset issuer for what it represents. Redemption is enforced by trust. To hold an asset you must trust the issuer. If an asset issuer does not redeem their tokens and becomes untrustworthy, word will spread and all of their assets on the network will become valueless and their business will fail.

  2. Lumens are the only asset you can hold on the network without trusting the issuer.

To address your final question, nothing enforces it except for trust and the value of the network. Imagine stellar is adopted as the payment layer of the internet. If a bank or other asset issuer begins acting untrustworthy they will have no sway on the network and their money will not be accepted anywhere. I think the incentive is strong enough where it will be in these issuers best interest to be trust worthy.

  • So if I send you 3 cows for 50 of your XLM, the network will record that I did send you 3 cows, and that I did receive 50 XLM? Not just that the XLM was sent/received? – tverghis Jan 25 '18 at 0:12
  • Correct. It would still up to me to "redeem" the cow tokens with issuer who is supposed to be good for the real life cow, but yes, I would get the cow tokens in my account. – AGitzes Jan 25 '18 at 1:30
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  1. When exchanging a non-cryptographic asset, for example say you bought apples form me, the network does not record that you bought apples. It does however record that you sent me some lumens.
  2. What happens if after you send me those lumens I take off running? Well, in the simplest case you're just out lumens and left hungry for apple unless you can catch me. The work around here is to use a multisigniture wallet that will only release/broadcast the funds to me once both of us OK the transaction.

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