As a project, Streamr is currently misunderstood. Depending on who you ask, Streamr is a blockchain, or some kind of app for data privacy, or maybe a social media platform. All of these things are incorrect, but these impressions are the result of our unclear communication.

As the fully decentralized network has taken a bit longer than expected to be rolled out, our communications has until now focused on the Data Union framework, a part of the Streamr application layer which is seeing some traction, but this has resulted in confusion as people assumed Data Unions are the project. They will in fact be spun out from the project with their own token and DAO for governance.

The next project milestone, Brubeck, which allows the community to run network nodes for the first time, also marks a refocusing of the project’s communications with a major website update. We’ll also be launching a small brand update to make everything feel a bit lighter and cleaner.

The Network is the core of Streamr’s offering, and this is what we have been working on with this website update: more realtime data, more focus on streams, more focus on devs and the web3 space in general, instructions on how to run a node, an explainer for the network token economics, and better information for token holders.  

Also really importantly, more clarity on Streamr’s tech stack, which in short is: real-time data network at bottom, blockchains in the middle (Eth,xDai), applications on top (with Data Unions, Core app, Marketplace and all third party apps)

Applications, blockchains & decentralized network

We have also released an MVP of a new app, the Network Explorer. We built it for a number of reasons, but the main motivation was to make the network visible, open and accessible to all. The network itself is essentially infinitely scalable, because while its backbone will be the incentivised Broker Nodes, every app that runs on the network contains a light node, so every single participant in the network also relays data to their neighbours, in a Bittorrent-like fashion.

The network will be a highly variable entity, with a regular cast of broker nodes, but also a constantly revolving number of light nodes appearing and disappearing. So being able to explore it will help devs see what their nodes and apps are doing, as well as providing the ability to diagnose any issues.

The Helskinki tram demo stream shown in the Network Explorer app

The first version of the Network Explorer app is fairly simple. It allows users to see three key metrics for the entire network: traffic (messages per second), bandwidth (MB/s) and latency in MS (averaged across all nodes). Users can also select individual nodes and view these same metrics for each node, both in realtime and various historical time periods going back to its first appearance online.

Users can also search for areas, say all nodes in Helsinki,  streams by path name or description, as well as specific nodes by generated name or Ethereum address. If you select a stream, the nodes participating in the stream overlay will be shown in both the results list, and on the geo map. Selecting a node in the list gives you access to all the metrics, and as the full tokenomics rolls out in Tatum milestone, will also give access to the node’s eth address, and link out to its transaction history on Etherscan.

There is no mobile app as yet, but the web app is responsive, with a mobile UI that allows swiping between a results list drawer and the geo map views. Controls are fairly minimal at this stage, with the main ones being the map UI and search box (with live search results). There is a toggle for showing node connections, which we see as mainly useful for devs doing debug, though it does also give insight into patterns within the network.

We anticipate adding more features to the app, possibly giving more insight into node earnings, staking, and the value of bounties on streams. But it might also be that someone else builds third party apps for this, which is something we’d of course be very happy to see. So we’re looking forward to hearing from you about how useful the app is, and what features might be helpful to you. Once it has been released, please come and talk to us on Discord with your suggestions.