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I read about real-time message stream (ZMQ) on iota docs:

https://docs.iota.org/introduction/testnet/endpoints#realtime-message-stream---%C3%B8mq

Anyone able to explain in a few words what it does and why it is offered/required ?

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ZMQ is a way to get notified ("subscribe to") when certain events happen, e.g. when a new transaction is posted (based on some criteria).

By using a ZMQ library and subscribing to iri, you can process (certain) iota transactions in real time.

Currently, it is mostly used by tangle visualization websites. But you can also use it if you are coding some IOT usecase and want to be informed in real time when somebody pays your car for example.

Having a public ZMQ endpoint on the testnet saves you the hurdle of setting up your own testnet IRI if you want to develop and test applications that want to use ZMQ.

But if your application does not benefit from real-time notifications, you don't have to use it.

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