There are many different blockchain projects and one may find it difficult to orient in this huge techno mess. Today, we review a prominent project called Zilliqa, what problems it aims to solve and what makes it stand out from other blockchains.
What is Zilliqa?
As Zilliqa states on its official website, it is a scalable and secure blockchain platform for hosting decentralized applications. This project plans to become a serious rival to the Ethereum platform, providing developers with a faster and more scalable solution at lower fees.
In Zilliqa’s whitepaper, developers claim that the new blockchain will be at least one thousand times faster than Ethereum.
What problems it aims to solve
Ethereum, the most popular platform for creating decentralized apps, has many flaws that prevent blockchain mass adoption. The most painful of them are the following:
- Low throughput: Ethereum allows the processing of 19 transactions per second at the maximum while centralized VISA and MasterCard can handle several thousand.
- High fees and long confirmation time: On Ethereum, the size of transaction fees depends on the current level of the network’s congestion. The more people try to send funds in a given moment of time, the higher are the fees and the longer you have to wait for your transaction to be confirmed. This problem was revealed in December 2017 when the online game CryptoKitties was launched.
Zilliqa plans to resolve both of these issues with the help of sharding.
What is Sharding?
Sharding is a scaling solution for application that implies splitting the database into parts (or shards) and spreading them among a number of servers.
The big problem with Ethereum and Bitcoin is that every transaction must be verified by every node on the blockchain. As the network grows, more confirmations are needed, the system becomes more sluggish and loses its efficiency.
The main idea of sharding is that transactions don’t have to be confirmed by the whole network. It’s sufficient to get confirmation from a limited number of nodes that make up a shard and then link it to the main network. Thus, transaction confirmation requires less time and the fees become negligible.
The sharding technology itself is not new. It was first proposed by Computer Corporation of America in 1988 and is used by such huge database providers as Azure (Microsoft), MySQL, Elasticsearch, MongoDB and many more.
Ethereum has been working on implementing this solution for a while too but doesn’t seem to reach any sustainable success so far. In fact, Zilliqa is the first and the only blockchain based on the sharding technology right from the start.
5 facts about Zilliqa
- Zilliqa is based on the programming language Scilla. This language was developed by Zilliqa’s team specifically for their needs. It’s not very popular, which creates obstacles for developers who want to use this blockchain.
- Zilliqa plans to provide a front-end language similar to Solidity and the tools to convert it into Scilla to make developers’ life easier.
- Maximum throughput on the local testnet equals to 2,828 TPS. Zilliqa reached such numbers using 3,600 nodes or 6 shards.
- Maximum throughput on the public testnet with 961 nodes equals to 100 TPS. The results are not as impressive as on the private network, but still, they are much higher than what Ethereum can offer.
- The founders are academic people and don’t have too much experience with blockchain technologies. They rely on seasoned advisors for better understanding.
With everything said above, the advantages of this new blockchain are obvious.
First, the project seems to accomplish its goals and has indeed developed a scalable solution with fast transactions at low fees. Sharding is a great technology and has huge potential in the long perspective.
Second, although Zilliqa doesn’t spend too much time and money on marketing, it still has managed to gather a strong and dedicated community of supporters.
And finally, unlike most ICOs conducted in 2017, Zilliqa truly works on its product. It has been holding the top positions by the number of GitHub commits all through 2018.
In spite of all the upsides, the project has some disadvantages as well.
For one, the project is still raw. Its mainnet was launched on January 31st, 2019, and so far the stats are too few to make any conclusions.
Also, the new programming language Scilla that underlies Zilliqa’s blockchain is not well-known. Developers will have to learn a new language from scratch, which is just an additional obstacle on the path of the platform’s adoption.
Lastly, the founders of the project are not programmers and they have little experience with blockchain development and they don’t push the marketing too much, there’s no active promotion. The chances for the project’s boost after the mainnet is launched are small.
Zilliqa is a promising project with the purpose to resolve the blockchain scalability issue. The team is truly working on its product and the development goes on at a steady pace.
However, this project is not alone in the field. There are many other blockchains that are working on the same issues. Some of these projects such as TRON and EOS has already launched their mainnet and has started onboarding new dApps. Ethereum team doesn’t stand still either and works on implementing sharding. With such a big community and so many supporters, it will surely reach its goals earlier or later. This will be a good challenge for Zilliqa to beat them and get a sustainable part of the market.
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