Zilliqa has just launched their mainnet and interestingly they are going to have a one-month bootstrap phase where essentially usability will be very limited. This is what they are calling a safety period so there will be no transactions made on the network. Miners will still be able to receive rewards but they will be unable to spend them until the safety period is over. This step is to ensure that the technology is working on the mainnet as it is supposed to be. Also because the mainnet swap has just happened this is a reminder to everyone to make sure that you are aware of how to swap the tokens. Many exchanges like binance will be supporting the token swap which is going to continue until June 2019 for swapping the old ERC20 tokens for ZIL mainnet tokens although exchanges have not revealed exactly when it is going to happen. Before the launch of the mainnet, Zilliqa had multiple audits to make sure that the code worked.
The advertised speed of 2828 transactions per second. They are doing this will sharding. Sharding has been a major part of the conversations since 2018 considering the scalability issues. It is one of the many ways that has been discussed as a way to make blockchain scale more effectively which allows a high amount of on chain transactions. Sharding splits to computational load of blockchain transactions. So nodes establish consensus in smaller groups making transactions faster and cheaper than if they were processed by the entire network. With Zilliqa specifically, they are going to have six shards which would be six different smaller groups who come to consensus. There will be six hundred nodes per shard for very high security. So if an attacker wants to come in and attack the network, he would have to control four hundred nodes on any given shard and then he would control just 1/6th of the network. This is a very unlikely attack factor because if the attacker was able to direct the attack at a single shard, Zilliqa randomizes the nodes between shards thus making an attack nearly impossible because of that randomization process.
Zilliqa network also has its own bug resistant Scilla smart contracts that can also use sharding but it is another new contract programming language.
Zilliqa is one of the very few practical byzantine fault-tolerant blockchains. So essentially a PBFT style consensus mechanism which while being efficient also gives finality to transactions so that confirmations are not required.
Zilliqa miners will only need to run the proof of work process for the first five minutes of every one and a half hour cycle. This will basically result in a much lower electricity cost. It is also possible to dual mine Zilliqa and Ethereum. Currently, Asic which are designed to mine cryptocurrencies on one algorithm are not suitable for mining Zilliqa. The miners are rewarded based on their contribution of valid signatures per epoch so mining reward is far more distributed compared to the existing ‘winner takes all kind’ of model. This will essentially allow thousands of different miners potentially to be rewarded for a single mined block. The energy footprint will be lower which is nice.
There are a lot of apps which are currently being built and will be running on Zilliqa. For example, Mindshare which is an ads platform, Bolt which is content delivery focusing on East Asia, South East Asia and developing places in Africa, TransactTrain which is a supply chain, HG exchange which will be the first member-driven exchange in South East Asia for privately held shares and security token offerings for startups etc.
Zilliqa also has some very big partners such as DMM internet which is a Japenese internet monster. DMM was into bitcoin mining but had shut down their bitcoin mining operations. Looking at the future of Zilliqa, they have some core protocol enhancements coming in 2019 as well as increased language support. The team is also exploring different implementations for things like ZK Snarks.
If Zilliqa is able to get more Dapps, does great marketing, gets more presence and brand awareness it can surely have a negative impact on Ethereum. Right now Ethereum is a big brand and everyone knows Ethereum because of their great brand awareness and partnerships. But with the famous scaling problems and delays to the solutions to their scaling problems, Zilliqa does have a great chance to be something bigger than Ethereum with sharding on mainnet especially for the miners who are frustrated with Ethereum. We could see this being another point of migration for projects that are built on Ethereum but for whom Ethereum is not working.
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