Interstellar v3.5 (PathFinder) Update.

2018 has been a great year for us here at Fintech Ltd. Our Stellar wallet and decentralized exchange frontend won the 5th Stellar Build Challenge earlier this year; we integrated BTC, LTC, ETH, XRP anchors using our Warp Drive Technology and we were also the first to integrate fully backed USD, Naira and XAF fiat anchors on the Stellar blockchain. We were also nominated for best Digital Innovation in Africa at the 2018 Africa Excellence awards, and we were also finalists for Best Blockchain Technology in Africa. Our Interstellar app has become more popular and useful to many novice and power users who care about the Stellar ecosystem as a whole. The continuous support we’ve received from the Stellar community has pushed us to continue working even harder to improve our product. That’s why we are honored to announce the release of Interstellar version 3.5, codenamed PathFinder.


A Little Bit Of History

But first… a bit of “stellar” exploration history. On December 4, 1996 NASA launched the Mars Pathfinder aboard a Delta II booster, which landed on July 4, 1997 on Mars’s Ares Vallis, in a region called Chryse Planitia. It carried a lightweight robotic Mars rover named Sojourner, which became the first rover to operate outside the Earth–Moon system.

In addition to scientific objectives, the Mars Pathfinder mission was also a “proof-of-concept” for various technologies, such as airbag-mediated touchdown and automated obstacle avoidance.

Now, coming back to earth, our dev team in Cameroon that brought you Interstellar.Exchange continues to “launch” new features in order to evolve the Stellar ecosystem. Like the Mars Pathfinder we continue to push beyond the boundaries of what is possible within the Stellar blockchain technology stack by releasing new “proof-of-concept” ideas with each update to Interstellar.


New Stellar Asset Swaps: Powered by PathFinder

With Interstellar v3.5, we took our most unique feature, the crypto asset swap, and transformed it from something good to something insanely great. It now allows anyone to swap between any two crypto assets on the SDEX (Stellar Decentralized Exchange), even without a direct market between those two crypto assets. We achieve this feat by FINDING the best PATH between any two assets and use only the best path to swap one crypto asset for another. Hence the internal codename: PathFinder.

Our primary motivation for this PathFinder update was to address some shortcomings that our previous crypto asset swap feature had. One of the flaws our previous model had was that it only handled crypto asset swaps for the absolute best current offers on the SDEX without considering liquidity and depth of the orderbook. It was also limited to direct markets between any two crypto assets, i.e. you couldn’t swap from Interstellar’s BTC to Tempo’s EUR on the SDEX because there wasn’t any direct market between both crypto assets. Users who also used our advanced multisig feature experienced difficulties making swaps work for them because by the time all the signers signed the crypto asset swap transaction, the orderbook would most likely have already changed, transforming their market order into a limit order. This wasn’t a good user experience. Our new crypto asset swap feature solves all the above-mentioned issues beautifully, by finding the best path between any two crypto assets in real time.

As a recap, our new PathFinder swap feature allows you to swap one crypto asset for another, even when a direct market between both coins doesn’t exist, i.e. to swap from BTC to ETH, PathFinder might swap from BTC to XLM first, and then from XLM to ETH. It does this automatically. How cool is that? Even if a direct market existed between BTC to ETH, PathFinder might still go from BTC through XLM to ETH in a scenario where there isn’t enough liquidity for your swap from BTC to ETH, or if the spread in the direct BTC to ETH market is too high. The best part is, we didn’t hardcode Stellar lumens (XLM) to always be used as fallback in case there isn’t any direct market. The PathFinder works in real time to always find the best path in the SDEX from one crypto asset to another. That’s why at the time of writing this piece, the most profitable way to swap 1000 XLM for EUR, is to first swap 1000 XLM to WSD, and then swap the WSD to EUR.

According to Fintech Ltd’s CEO, Ernest Mbenkum:

Fintech Ltd’s new PathFinder swap feature will make trading on the Stellar SDEX a lot easier for novices.*

We at Fintech Ltd, loved the way the PathFinder crypto asset swap feature worked so much that we decided to build its own dedicated website. You can check it out at swap.st. The most integrated way to use swap, however, is through our Interstellar app. Nonetheless, https://swap.st allows you to use our new PathFinder Swap feature via any Stellar wallet of your choice.


But wait!

The PathFinder isn’t the only feature we launched in Interstellar v3.5. We improved our wallet UX, our market views, our trading views and we also have an iOS beta version, waiting to be approved by Apple.


Stellar Wallet Updates

Our wallet dashboard UI now has improved support for multiple accounts. Accounts are now listed in alphabetical order for easier access. You can also see which accounts lack inflation destinations directly in our new dashboard, and with a click, you can set it to the lumenauts inflation pool. Our new wallet dashboard also includes a fiat approximation for your current account balance in various currencies.

Another important change we added to our wallet UI was a new settings page. The new settings page now allows you to add/remove trustlines, switch themes from dark to light (or vice versa), change your preferred fiat currency, and many other settings.

Finally we are super excited to share with you our new method for selecting assets. You can search assets by name, code, url of the issuer, and sometimes, even the currency the asset represents.


SDEX Frontend Updates

We also significantly improved the exchange side of our Interstellar app. We now have a new markets view with the ability to sort by volume, and percentage price change. Sorting via any criteria was something we initially objected to in a decentralized exchange since it gives scammers an excuse to game the system to rank higher. We’ve mitigated this risk slightly by having our own list of recommended markets to trade on, in the SDEX. Novices are encouraged to only trade our picks. Experts can still trade any assets they want.

One of the coolest things we’ve included on our SDEX frontend is a semi-advanced search engine. With so many trading pairs on the SDEX, there had to be a better way to find what you want. You can now search for a specific market by simply typing the base and quote currencies (e.g. XLM/BTC or XLMUSD), you can search for a specific anchor (e.g. interstellar or apay), and in some cases, you can search by the name of the coin (e.g. Bitcoin).

Finally, our charts were taking some time to load due to the higher amount of traffic we were getting. We fixed our slow loading candlestick charts with this new Interstellar v3.5 update.

According to Fintech Ltd’s CTO, Fritz Ekwoge:

Here at Fintech Ltd, we’ve always believed the SDEX will be used beyond XLM trading pairs. As an example, it is very foreseeable that major FOREX markets will be traded on the SDEX. Our goal is to make it easy and transparent for both XLM and non-XLM markets to trade on the SDEX. Our latest update, Interstellar v3.5, drives us closer to our goal of building an SDEX, not just an XLMDEX.

This and countless mini bug fixes and UX improvements are why we are happy we could provide this update to you, Stellar fans, before the end of 2018. Enjoy, and send us feedback at interstellar@fintech.cm.

Wishing you all a happy new year.


PS: This update is immediately available at https://interstellar.exchange (for mainnet), and https://testnet.interstellar.exchange (for testnet)

If you are already an android user, please subscribe to our beta android app, which already has this update.

Desktop versions (Mac, Linux and Windows) for Interstellar v3.5 will be available soon. You can still download previous versions on our homepage (https://interstellar.exchange).

If you wish to join our iOS beta, please use the following link: https://testflight.apple.com/join/sblcJ5sC.


Footnotes

* Note that our PathFinder technology has nothing to do with Atomic Swaps and it is not decentralized. You simply send the crypto asset you want to swap to our PathFinder service, and then it looks for the best path with the most liquidity and smallest spread, converts it for you to your desired crypto asset, and sends the crypto asset back to you. Making this work in a decentralized way would involve a lot more hurdles for the end user than necessary. If you want to go full decentralized, please use the trading UI within Interstellar.exchange. That works 100% decentralized. Our PathFinder crypto asset swap is meant to be a more approachable alternative for users who are intimidated by complexity of traditional trading user interfaces.