Weekly Updates

TzStats Launches v2 -- Catching up with Blockwatch Founder, Alexander Eichhorn

This was a monumental week for the Tezos community, as the 1,000,000th block was baked and added to the Tezos blockchain. To celebrate this milestone, Blockwatch launched the 2nd version of the TzStats block explorer. We caught up with Blockwatch founder and TzStats creator, Alexander Eichhorn, to discuss the latest release, his journey with Tezos, and what he’s excited for in the next 1,000,000 blocks. Check out the Q&A below!

For those that are not aware – what is TzStats? How does it help developers, bakers, and other members of the community?

TzStats is a Tezos block explorer and comprehensive data API that we designed from the ground up to provide actionable data insights in real-time. It has been live since summer 2019 and has quickly become the most frequently used explorer in the Tezos community. It has sparked a wave of innovation, empowering and inspiring users to build applications like baker payout tools, tax software, wallets, token dashboards and dapps on top. Our users appreciate TzStats for its speed and data quality. Under the hood it is driven by our next-generation indexer software which is the main reason why we can deliver such blazing-fast analytics at scale.

 

You just launched a new version of TzStats. Any new features that you are particularly proud of/excited about?

We are really excited about how we completely reimagined our purpose from simply “exploring blocks” to a more interactive experience. With version 2 we are also transitioning from a densely packed user interface to a friendlier design that focuses more on purpose. There are different kinds of dashboards so users with different interests or backgrounds can find targeted information more easily.

At its core, most parts of the software are completely rewritten. The new design was carefully made with a mobile-first focus and with support for international users. The Tezos community is spread across the entire globe, so it’s important to have multiple languages, time-zones and currencies to select from. Although we don’t target a specific user group we put a lot of effort into our translations to make the terminology better accessible for non-technical users.

 

Here’s some of our new features:

– Brand new mobile design

– Localization supporting multiple languages (English, Russian, Italian, German, Korean, simplified & traditional Mandarin Chinese)

– Light/Dark Theme

– Currency USD<>XTZ converter

– Account Bookmarks

– Smart Contract support

– Voter & Non-Voter lists

– Future rights lists

– Network activity dashboard

– Baker dashboard

 

What drew you to build a Tezos blockchain analytics explorer?

Since we’re tech nerds, we were first drawn in by the new tech behind Tezos. Then we found that the Tezos community has been really supportive and genuinely interested in creating products that focus on decentralization, empowering token holders, and helping bakers validate. There are also a lot of interesting ideas being proposed and implemented in the governance space which we could move into other aspects of our society. Tezos STO issuance is also really being expanded and developed, and that’s something that we have really been interested in since the beginning. Tezos seems to also be free of a lot of the toxic maximalism that other crypto communities experience.

 

Tezos just hit a major milestone with 1,000,000 blocks validated. What three things are you most excited to see built in the next 1,000,000?

We are looking forward to the maturing of smart contracts and applications running on Tezos like games, financial assets, oracles, stablecoins. We would like to see more STO issuance platforms and exchanges being developed and deployed, and we’d like to see businesses and entrepreneurs being a big part of this push. Lastly, we’d like to see more academic research being done on the Tezos blockchain in general, there is a lot of interesting data that we’re happy to share with the world.

 

On a side note – tell us a little bit about Blockwatch Data. What are your plans for the future?

Blockwatch is a blockchain data provider company that funds our work on TzStats and TzIndex. First and foremost we are thrilled to help the Tezos ecosystem grow so it can attract an increasingly diverse set of stakeholders. We also work with other blockchains and with people outside the blockchain space to foster sustainable growth for the entire industry.

Running the number one block explorer for the Tezos ecosystem, we obviously think about our own role in shaping the future of Tezos. Blockchains are pretty technical and Tezos is way more complicated than most of its users understand. There are many non-intuitive aspects like baker over-delegation or the fact that you can delegate to a custodian like Coinbase, but you won’t get any rewards paid out. We feel it’s our job to provide an even more intuitive view into the blockchain. Then there are privacy issues because everybody can follow the wallet balances of publicly known bakers and exchanges which is good for accountability, but bad in almost every other aspect. And then there’s the lack of good monitoring and coordination tools. We have a ton of great ideas and plenty of work ahead of us.

Additional Ecosystem Updates:

FAQs

When will the next grant cycle be announced? It seems like TF only announces the next round once the current round winners are announced. Any rationale behind why the work for finalizing current winners and announcing the new cycle are not made in parallel? This is just delaying the new cycle while the legal paperwork on the current cycle gets finalized.

The current process is designed to give the Foundation adequate time to perform due diligence on both existing and new grants to ensure that the deployed resources add proportionate value to the Tezos ecosystem. That being said, the Foundation is constantly evaluating its grants process to ensure that grants work to promote the long-term success of the Tezos project. We have progressively seen an increase in the number of proposals submitted over the last few application periods, which has required more and more time to perform due diligence on prospective grants. We will be announcing the latest cohort of grantees within the next two weeks. That announcement will include information about the next application period.

When will the Tezos Foundation discontinue baking?

We do not currently have plans to shut down Foundation baking operations but this is a question that regularly comes up in Foundation deliberations, and is consistently being evaluated. The Foundation’s purpose is to support the Tezos ecosystem, and all baking rewards that the Foundation receives will eventually be used to further support the advancement of the Tezos project.

Any plans on funding more projects like Kiln for an easy self baking option? I feel it’s very important to have such projects out there to help further decentralize the Tezos ecosystem and help the non-tech savvy community members to run their own bakers through an easy-to-use UI. Is there any update on the next round of funding for Obsidian Systems Kiln?

Kiln funding and development has not been cut or stopped. Resources continue to be allocated to a variety of development teams to make it a more collaborative and sustainable open-source project. For more information on the current status of Kiln and features in development, see this post on Tezos Agora.

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