What is Zilliqa ? A Beginner’s Guide To Zilliqa Blockchain
Zilliqa Blockchain: Solving Scalability Issues
Zilliqa is a scalability-focused, blockchain-based payment processing and Decentralized application (dapp) platform currently in advanced development. The core feature allowing Zilliqa to scale beyond what is possible with rcxisting similar platforms, such as Ethereum, is “Sharding”
Sharding refers to dividing the blockchain network into smaller subnetworks that can process transactions and execute computing operations in parallel (at the same time).
Zilliqa fundamentally changes how a blockchain reaches consensus. Their sharding solution scales with the size of the network. Theoretically, there’s no limit to the number of transactions Zilliqa could process per second. Practically, however, depending on the number of nodes on the network, Zilliqa could process tens or hundreds of thousands of transactions per second.
It also promises to support smart contracts. Running smart contracts on a sharded network is a major technical challenge for Zilliqa. In this article, we’ll explore how they’re approaching scalability for transactions and smart contracts.
What is Zilliqa?
What is Sharding?
The idea of Sharding is to automatically split up a large network of machines processing transactions into parallel sub-committees or “shards”. Each shard processes its own microblock in parallel with other shards, and resulting micro-blocks are merged into a final one.
Reiterating from above:- “Sharding refers to dividing the blockchain network into smaller subnetworks that can process transactions and execute computing operations in parallel (at the same time).”
How Zilliqa started?
Zilliqa began development on June 1, 2017, and had an internal test net (testing network) operational by September 1, 2017. Since then, the project has released:
- A public testnet (December 1, 2017),
- Different types of sharding protocols,
- Persistent data storage,
- A smart contract language and framework,
- And a test net wallet.
DApps are scheduled to begin development on the platform in Q3 of 2018.
However, since the main net (the first version of Zilliqa’s fully functional, independent, decentralized blockchain network) is not yet operational, their ZIL token is currently an Ethereum based ERC20 token transacted on the Ethereum blockchain. ERC20 tokens will be swapped at mainnet launch for ZIL blockchain tokens.
On one recent test on their testnet, Zilliqa executed 2,488 transactions per second with 6 network shards running only 3,600 nodes (network servers that process and confirm transactions) total, compared to Ethereum’s 10 or so transactions per second using four times the number of nodes.
Zilliqa Solving the Scalability Problem
Blockchain has an inherent scalability problem. As mentioned, Zilliqa will process more transactions per second as the number of nodes on the network increases. This is the reverse of most blockchain platforms, which tend to yield slower throughput as the network grows. This is because as more nodes join the network, block data (data within groups of transactions) must travel further to be broadcast to the entire network.
Although sharding as a concept has existed in the database field for some time, Zilliqa is the first blockchain platform to actually implement it. There are three different ways that Zilliqa performs sharding:
- Network Sharding
- Atomic Transaction Sharding
- Computational Sharding.
Network sharding refers to the process by which the network is broken up into subnetworks. The network sharding protocol uses a consensus algorithm called Proof of Work (PoW) to choose and continually update what is called a Directory Service Committee (DS committee) and to carry out an identity validating process for nodes entering the network. The DS committee coordinates the sharding process and validates blocks of transactions proposed by shards.
Atomic Transaction Sharding
Zilliqa also uses what is called an Atomic Transaction Sharding Protocol, which means it allows transactions to be confirmed by the network in a final operation as if there were no sharding.
This is done through Zilliqa’s “account-based design” in which transactions are sharded based on the accounts sending the transaction. This ensures the same shards can prevent double spending or replay exploits from a given account, while also allowing transaction commits to happen without cross-shard communication, which would make network communications slower and more costly. The same mechanisms allow transactions to be processed at the same time as consensus processes of the blockchain.
The third way that Zilliqa uses a sharding process is through a computational sharding framework that allows resource intensive dapps to be run on the network very efficiently.
Computational sharding refers to the ability of the Zilliqa network to run more than one instruction at once, in contrast to other dapp and smart contract platforms such as Ethereum that allow only one instruction at a time to be processed.
How Does Zilliqa Achieves Consensus? | Zilliqa, Proof-of-Work and Consensus
No, Zilliqa does use use Proof-of-Work alrgortihm for consensus. Zilliqa only leverages PoW to establish mining identities. This process defends against sybil attacks and is also used to perform network sharding. PoW is performed only at larger intervals, not by every miner on every block.
Zilliqa employs Elliptic Curve Based Schnorr Signature Algorithm (EC-Schnorr) with multi-signing or signature aggregation. This means that the size of the signature stays small even when a lot of miners sign a block. Moreover, by leveraging efficient network topology, Zilliqa’s consensus scheme reduces the communication complexity to O(N), i.e., linear to the size of the network.
What Features Does Zilliqa Offers To dApps And Miners?
- More stable payout to miners with lower variance
- Low joining cost for miners with compatibility with Ethash
- Better energy utilization by leveraging PoW only for identity establishment
- Quantifiable security for dApp users with different budgets for secure computation
- Secure and dataflow style smart contracts
Zilliqa team is comprised of learned cryptographers, developers and marketers who really exist. Here is a sneak peek into the team’s composition. They also have a strong peer-reviewed concept of sharding being applied on their blockchain for achieving security as well as high throughput.
Following are the advisors to Zilliqa project:-
Zilliqa Token Distribution
- 40% of tokens will be kept aside to incentivize miners
- 30% of tokens will be available for sale to the community
- 30% of the tokens will be divided amongst the team and its partners
- 10% will be held by Anquan which will continue to support the development
- 12% will be held by Zilliqa Research, a new entity
- 5% will be held by the Zilliqa founding team
- 3% will be split between agencies and advisors.
The Zilliqa ICO concluded in December 2017 where Zilliqa wanted to sell 30% of the tokens (6.3 billion) out of the total supply of 21 billion tokens. Before this, a private pre-sale was completed.
From Where To Buy Zilliqa? How To Buy Zilliqa Cryptocurrency (ZIL)?
Zilliqa is listed and can be purchased from the following list of cryptocurrency exchanges:
- Kyber Network
- Ether Delta
- IDEX, and many more
Recently, ZIL got listed on Bithum, Upbit and OKEx. The listing shot the price of Zilliqa straight updarwds and the Zilliqa market cap crossed $1Billion.
Read more:- ZIL Market cap crosses $ 1 Billion
How To Buy Zilliqa in India ?
You can buy Zilliqa from the following list of Indian Cryptocurrency Exchanges in exchange of INR:
Zilliqa Wallets | Where To Safe Store Zilliqa Coins ?
As Zilliqa is based on Ethereum Blockchain, ZIL tokens can be stored in any ERC-20 Token compliant wallet. Although, Zilliqa tokens will swap from Ethereum to it’s own blockchain as soon as Zilliqa launches it’s mainnet in Q3 of 2018. Some of the ERC-20 compatible wallets are:-
- MyEtherWallet (MEW),
- Ledger Nano S,
- Trezor, etc
Here is a full list of wallets that are compatible and supports storage of ERC-20 tokens:- Best Wallets To Store Your ERC20 Tokens
Additional Zilliqa Resource List
- What is Siacoin ?
- What is Lakshmi Coin ?
- What is NEO Cryptocurrency ?
- What is Qtum Cryptocurrency ?
- What is Waves Cryptocurrency ?
- Whats Nucleus Vision? What is nCash Cryptocurrency ?
- What is Telcoin ?
- What is Dragonchain ?
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Rohit Kukreja is a Commerce graduate with Financial Markets expertise involving Stocks, Forex, Futures & Options Market and now Bitcoins & Cryptocurrency Markets. Blockchain Enthusiast but not a techie, Rohit is an active member of various Blockchain & Crypto communities all over India.