The Hitchhiker's Guide to the ZRC

As a long term patron of Zilstream myself, I can confidently say that the advice "Don't Panic" has never been easier to follow.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the ZRC

Some of you may be familiar with Douglass Adams, author of the beloved story "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy".  

For those yet to experience the wit and humor contained in this delightfully strange sci-fi classic, it follows the unexpected journey of a normal man from earth named Arthur Dent.  Due to a life changing event, he is quickly pulled far outside his comfort zone, and forced to navigate the unknown challenges of our vast galaxy.  He soon discovers our galaxy is much larger and considerably more complicated than he had previously imagined.  Lucky for him, he is given help by some quirky characters, and perhaps even more importantly, the assistance of a well known guidebook.  He finds that this book, The Hitchhiker's Guide, contains crucial information designed to help any who found themselves traveling through this galaxy, a place that's home to a myriad of alien lifeforms and the numerous complications that come with them.

Written on its cover was probably its most crucial piece of advice:

Don't Panic

Thanks to platforms like Xcademy...

...and their dedicated efforts to bridge other networks with Zilliqa, as well as the recent launches of sensational NFT projects like The Soulless Citadel and Beanterra, whose art and utility grabbed the major attention of collectors from other blockchains;  new users are now entering the Ecosystem every day.

This recent influx of first time users to the ever-growing Zilliqa ecosystem, naturally creates the need for tools to help them research, track, and manage their on chain assets.  

The good news is that there are already multiple options available. For those lucky enough to have found their way to Zilliqa and it's many unique opportunities, these tools are more than ready to help.  One such tool, which happens to be my personal favorite, is called Zilstream.

For those who are either entering the Zilliqa ecosystem for the first time, or even current users who simply wish to have greater control of their investments,  Zilstream can be seen as an essential guidebook.  

It is a great resource to have when finding your best path forward, and will help alleviate the anxiety that understandably comes with this sometimes confusing and intimidating task.

As a long term patron of Zilstream myself, I can confidently say that the advice "Don't Panic" has never been easier to follow.

Created by a single man, grown by a entire community

Humble Beginnings

With us today is Melvin...

...who is both the founder and manager of Zilstream.  He has graciously volunteered to help navigate the features of ZilStream, and how it can help users of any experience level.

To kick things off, let's start with a little background Q&A.

Jon: As a very early user of this amazing service, I am very interested in knowing more about the person behind it. Can you tell us about yourself?

Melvin: I’m Melvin, founder of ZilStream.  My background is in UI/UX engineering. Having worked at big tech in Silicon Valley and I eventually co-founded a startup doing self-ordering kiosks. I was born in the Netherlands but have been living in Thailand for the past 5 years. I ended up living here after traveling the world as a digital nomad for a while. I kept coming back here and at some point never left.

Jon: What about the Zilliqa blockchain brought you to join the ecosystem?

Melvin: Zilliqa is unique in the sense that it isn’t trying to be just another Ethereum clone, with the same dApps and people copied over. This is an aspect it has that I like that a lot. It has its own ideas, smart contract language, and of course a community that other chains don’t have. While that definitely puts Zilliqa in an underdog position, it’s got the right people to be able to overcome that.

Jon: What is your favorite thing about the community

Melvin: The Zilliqa community is extremely diverse. Lots of people have lots of different thoughts and they’re able to not only share them, but actually get heard. Additionally, it's all with a common goal and a genuine love for Zilliqa. Ecosystem founders and the core team themselves, are extremely close to the community which very much helps. Ultimately I have the community to thank for the success of ZilStream.  I launched it in the community and they helped me more than I could ever have asked for, sharing it far and wide. The community has an army of ambassadors, and if you build something they like, they’ll go out of their way to help you grow.

A Look at Zilstream, Early in its Development

Jon: What events led you to create Zilstream?

Melvin: It sort of came out of frustration, checking the price of tokens was extremely slow at the time, and there was no way to see them historically. So right around the time ZWAP was introduced in February 2021, I set up a site that started recording data from Zilliqa blocks and setup some graphs for the tokens that I was interested in, though just for myself at first. It was very basic and nothing what it looks like today.  When I showed to some community members on Telegram, and they end up really loving it, that’s when I started structuring the site, adding more features and all the available tokens at the time. One day, I remember it was a Sunday, I put a link out there in the Zilliqa Community telegram group, and I was just blown away with the reactions and how fast it got picked up. I’ll never forget that day.

Jon: Is it just you running Zilstream, or are there other team members or part time help?

Melvin: It’s just me most of the time, though more recently I have had someone helping me with the server infrastructure side of things when its been needed.

The Current State of Zilstream

What is Zilstream?

At its core...

...Zilstream is a research and tracking tool for ZRC-2 tokens.  If the term "ZRC-2" is new to you, it's simply the name for the tokens listed on Zilliqa (Non Fungible Tokens, or NFT's are something different).  These tokens belong to various projects on the blockchain, and their purchase allows users to invest in those projects.  Zilstream not only has detailed information for all of the ZRC-2 tokens and their projects, it also enables users to track their on chain assets across the entire ecosystem.  This portfolio overview is presented in a single, collective, and easily accessible way.  While I feel the best method to evaluate its utility is to experience the features of Zilstream for yourself, here is a very brief look at what it provides to the user.

It provides both real-time and historical token information:

-Current prices of tokens, and the % change that's price represents over both 24-hour and 7-day time frames, as well as all time high and low prices.

-Market cap rank, liquidity amount, and trade volumes.

-Important information like circulating, total, and max supplies for each token.

-All the current trading pairs for every DEX

- Links to websites, Viewblock addresses, and even the various governance systems for tokens if applicable.

It provides a full overview of the user's portfolio, across all areas:

-Whether its locked in staking, a liquidity pool, or simply held in a wallet, it's all tracked.  The total is provided in both fiat and equivalent Zil value. This value is even determined by calculating the average price across all markets.

-All of this is updated in real time, as the factors change with each new block mined.

These features... well as many more not listed above, are available to all Zilstream users.  I suggest taking a look at just how much information is truly provided by this invaluable service.

Let's check back in with Melvin to see what he has to say:

Jon: What token has been your favorite to watch as it's developed from it's launch to now?

Melvin: There are a few that come to mind. I think in the Zilliqa ecosystem we have some businesses that are truly targeting massive scale, way beyond the crypto crowd. Package Portal‘s (PORT) growth has been incredible and it’s trying to bring technology into an industry that many wouldn’t consider to be the pinnacle of technology. Of course Xcademy (XCAD), with all the partnerships it already has, and many more coming is setting itself up to become a huge player.
But there’s a lot more in the ecosystem and a bunch of interesting ideas. Carbon (CARB) has a lot of interesting ideas around privacy and DeFi that are starting to come to fruition, ZilSwap (ZWAP) with their launch of Arky and its upcoming V2 features has been working on big improvements.
It’ll be very interesting to see how the ecosystem grows from here, of course because of Zilliqa’s recent focus on metaverse we’re seeing more NFT related projects come up, but personally I hope we’ll be seeing a lot more on the DeFi/finance side as well.

Jon: Which features of Zilstream are your favorites?

Melvin: I think, like most ,the frontpage is what I have open all day, and having the basic portfolio features at your fingertips is really nice. This combined with having all my wallets connected and quickly being able to switch between them, helps a great deal. It’s been a ton of work over the years, to be able to implement the multiple exchange integration that’s on the site now, which is something I’m very pleased with how it's turned out. The ability to see every single pair for a token, quickly being able to distinguish how it’s doing across various markets, and the overview of all exchanges (more are coming!) that hold ZRC-2 tokens, is a valuable and easy to use tool.

Jon: What are some of the biggest challenges you have had to overcome with creating and running Zilstream?

Melvin: The most complex issue that’s come up during the development of ZilStream, is definitely scaling. With every new block there is a lot of data to be processed, and having that available on the site as soon as possible, has been my biggest challenge. It’s something that I’m continuously looking at to see how it can be improved.

Jon: When you are doing your own investment research or performance tracking, what are your go to stats on Zilstream?

Melvin: For me it’s best to start at the beginning. Go to the project’s site, read their whitepaper, perhaps join the Telegram group to see what community sentiment is like. Then there are some stats that can help you out. Volume says a lot about interest in a project and its demand/use cases. Circulating supply (and ideally together with the inflation rate that may be in the whitepaper) will tell you how much inflation there’s going to be. And finally, since we are in DeFi, looking at liquidity and its rewards, to see if you can put those tokens to work.

A Peak at the Frontpage

$STREAM and Premium Membership

Zilstream provides most of its features... all users, free of charge.  Some of it's more advanced capabilities however, are reserved for premium members. Things like expected rewards for liquidity pools, average of rewards from swap fees, the ability to link multiple wallets, and track every transaction across each of these wallets are among the features only available to premium members.  

If you are like me, when you hear "premium"  or "paid"  with regards to membership, part of your interest quickly disappears.  Though I have to say, in the case of Zilstream and how it's premium membership is structured, I would strongly suggest holding off any snap judgements, at least until you see how to qualify.

All it takes to become a premium member is to hold an amount of the $STREAM token, where the value of the amount held is equal or greater than 0.5% of your total portfolio value. In simple terms, that is only $1 of $STREAM for every $200 of total asset value you hold. There is no monthly subscription, or some complicated menu of features that must be bought one piece at a time, like some other, more traditional paid services.

This also means...

...that if later on, you no longer need the premium membership, you easily can recoup the membership cost. This is because you still have the tokens, and can simply sell them to regain that value.

Let's see what Melvin has to say about premium membership:

Jon: Why did you choose a premium membership model, and the token based version?

Melvin: Membership allows the site to fence off some features only available to those that hold enough STREAM in their wallet. I really like the way it provides natural scaling, since you need more STREAM if your total wallet value grows, and by doing so every other STREAM holder benefits.

Jon: Has membership and $Stream met your expectations for success so far?

Melvin: In some way it has, I think there’s quite a number of people that are enjoying the features it has to offer thus far. But there are still a lot of things I want to do, areas where I can provide value that’ll make use of $STREAM token. And then there’s the way acquiring membership is setup ($1 of STREAM for every $200 of wallet value). While I still very much like the idea of having it scale with a members’ portfolio, I’ve also noticed it’s confusing to a lot of people, so I’m looking into some ways to be able to make it more straight forward.

Jon: What premium features for members are coming in the future?

Melvin: One of the things that will be coming out soon is price alerts. Both through the site itself as well as on Telegram (which will also include a channel with whale swap/transfer alerts). Another feature I’ve started work on is full staking support. So members will not just be able to see all the various tokens they’ve got staked across the ecosystem, but they’ll be able to claim rewards and add/remove their stake. It should make for a great overview and very handy to see which tokens that you hold support staking.
Overall, I’m always working to try and get more useful data on the site, automating as much as possible (helping myself free up time for feature development) and seeing where improvements can be made. We’ve got more DEX's on Zilliqa (CarbSwap and ZilAll) coming very soon. Expect those to be available at launch on the site. And then automatic token discovery, so as new tokens get created and there’s liquidity added for them, the site will discover and add them automatically in an unverified state (verification still required in order to display market cap and circulating supply), so every token is always available for everyone to see its data.

Jon: There are other services similar to Zilstream, such as HeyAlfie (Another ecosystem tool I plan to feature in a future article FYI). What makes Zilstream the best option in your opinion?

Melvin: I think in some ways ZilStream is the same, in other ways it’s very different as well. In the sense that ZilStream goes far beyond Portfolio features, really aiming to provide you insight into the market and Zilliqa as a whole. I’ve got great contact with HeyAlfie and we’re constantly seeing how we can help each other out.

The Tip of the Avatar Iceberg

If you are reading this article... are most likely familiar with the Avatar project, currently under development by Carbon Labs. What you may not know, is that both Zilstream and HeyAlfie allow you to access their features using your Avatar. From what's been said by Carbon Labs, this is only the very beginning of the massive utility coming to Avatar. Before I finally let Melvin return to his busy schedule of maintaining and improving Zilstream, I asked him to talk about this feature as well.

Jon: I am a big fan of the integration of Carbon Labs' Avatar! What led you to making this addition, and will there be more collaborative features with Avatar in the future?

Melvin: Adam and I talk quite a bit, so when he and Carbon initially launched Avatar, we immediately got talking about it. It’s a natural fit, being able to login with an easy to remember avatar name, is a much better experience than entering your wallet address or having to connect your wallet directly.

Jon: Before I wrap up, I wanted to say thank you for providing this service for the ecosystem and thank you for having dark mode available from the very beginning!

Melvin: Thank you!

Jon: Thanks Melvin!  See you around the Ecosystem!

See you Next Time!

Before you go...

...I have some closing words to share with you!

First, I want to give a big shoutout to @DavidsDefi!  They were the first to guess  Zilstream as the subject of this article before it published!  Nice job!

Last but certainly not least, on behalf Carbon Labs and myself, I want to thank each and every one of you.  Your patronage and mind blowing support for my work, have truly made this whole experience one I will never forget.  I feel extremely blessed by this opportunity.  I am so lucky, to not only have this chance to provide our community with content, but also that the content could come from my passion for writing. I hope these articles are something that you, the ZilFam, find both enjoyable and informative!

If you enjoyed reading, please consider showing me your support!  you can do so by donating/tipping using the Zil address provided below! Even the smallest contribution will go a long way towards enabling future articles and helps me to focus on my long term goal of improving and expanding my work for the community.

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Feel free to stick around and take a look at the other articles on available on our BLOG.  

If you have any suggestions, comments, or article ideas, send them my way!

Email them to [email protected], or contact me on Twitter. My username is @goshzilliqa.  

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