What Is Zilliqa?
Zilliqa is a cryptocurrency project that aims to make blockchains faster and more scalable. It uses sharding technology to streamline the consensus process, so that Ethereum and other blockchains can host distributed applications or provide rapid transaction processing successfully.
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When Ethereum’s scalability issues came to light, blockchain 3.0 projects rushed to build new networks that resolve them. Singapore-based Zilliqa was the first, using sharding to streamline the consensus mechanism.
As Bitcoin and Ethereum grow, their digital ledgers become larger and slower to process. On top of this, as more nodes are processing blocks, the longer it takes to reach majority consensus. Zilliqa relieves this issue by splitting nodes when approximately 600 nodes join the network.
Zilliqa is forging partnerships just as fast as it’s processing transactions. It’s partnered with Mindshare to work on blockchain in advertising. Ethermon is porting monster battles to Zilliqa, leaving Ethermon characters stored on the more expensive Ethereum blockchain.
Before examining the potential of this speedy altcoin, let’s check out the market performance of ZIL, Ziliqa’s crypto coin.
Market Breakdown of ZIL
Its peak price so far was $0.222415, at which time its market cap exceeded $1 billion.
The month-long Zilliqa ICO started in December 2017 and raised $22,000,000. At this time, 30 percent of the token supply was distributed to early and community contributors, 30 percent was held by the development team, and 40 percent was set aside as mining rewards.
In its Ethereum testnet, ZIL is an ERC-20 token. These will be transferred to native ZIL at a 1:1 ratio once the mainnet launches. This was originally scheduled for Q3 2018 but has since been pushed back to January 2019.
ZIL will be mined using a hybrid Proof-of-Work consensus protocol, which as mentioned above, won’t be the typical PoW blockchain.
Instead, PoW is used to establish identity when you begin mining and at timed intervals. The rest of the time, an Elliptic Curve Based Schnorr Signature Algorithm (which uses the still-not-sexy acronym EC-Schnorr) and the Practicial Byzantine Fault Tolerance (PBFT) consensus protocol NEO uses to mine each shard.
ZIL is tradeable on a wide variety of exchanges, including BITBOX, Binance, Huobi, Bithumb, and OKEx. Its trading pairs include ETH, USDT, and BTC.
As an ERC-20 token, ZIL can be stored in any ERC20-compatable wallet, such as MyEtherWallet. Development on wallets for the ZIL crypto coin is still underway and should be available by mainnet launch.
Sharding Yay or Sharding Nay?
Ethermon is actually a perfect use case to break down the weakness in Ethereum and strength of Zilliqa. When Ethereum was first created, the vision was to build a decentralized app platform that integrates the cryptocurrency concept for more practical usage.
ETH’s value shot up based on the proposal, and thousands of development teams rushed to create dApps on the Ethereum network. Unfortunately for Ethereum (and fortunately for the blockchain industry), this rush revealed the scalability problems of that generation’s blockchains.
As more dApps run and more nodes process transactions, Ethereum becomes both bloated and expensive. For games like Ethermon, Ethereum’s gas requirements effectively act as $1+ microtransactions while leveling your monsters. This creates a paywall that inhibits the dApp’s user and engagement growth.
Offchain and sidechain solutions are in the works for all blockchain 2.0 projects, but newer blockchain 3.0 projects like Zilliqa were able to learn from the mistakes of trailblazers before them. That’s why Ethermon is migrating much of its blockchain-based Pokemon’s action off Ethereum.
By moving battles and trades to Zilliqa, Ethermon acts more like traditional mobile business models in which dual currencies are used for leveling vs battling. Considering mobile games like Candy Crush Saga are so profitable that console and PC gaming companies were forced to adopt this same model, it would seem Zilliqa is on the right track to siphon away some of Ethereum’s shine.
Using sharding, dApps running on Zilliqa do so independent of each other. It’s not necessary for every node to process every update I run on my individual dApp. And even though Zilliqa’s testnet is already one of the fastest blockchains on the market, its speed exponentially increases as the network size does.
This means mass adoption can make Zilliqa the most powerful blockchain on the planet. Of course, it’s unlikely one chain will rule them all.
Can Zilliqa Fulfill Its Promises?
Much of Zilliqa’s market value at this point is in its potential. A fully functional betanet hasn’t even launched yet. The network is still in testing as a dApp on Ethereum, and there’s a long road between now and a finished product with the bugs worked out.
Still, Zilliqa’s promise isn’t just vaporware – it’s already performing as promised on Ethereum. What’s hindering it right now is development, and it has an incubator for that, called BuildOnZIL. Several teams are hard at work on wallets, APIs, web extensions, smart contract libraries, servers, games, and more. These vital components will arm Zilliqa for the real battle against Ethereum laced with Plasma.
It’s unlikely Zilliqa will become vaporware, although the possibility exists until the mainnet launch.
The Scilla programming language it uses isn’t Turing-complete, which doesn’t support certain loops or conditional statements, but it provides a more secure environment. Zilliqa’s smart contracts differ from Ethereum’s in that they focus on data flow and functional programming. This means they open throughput not possible on Ethereum yet.
The team behind Zilliqa has a strong technical background, and they’re leading an agile development team that will keep this blockchain in the running for a long time coming.
Zilliqa was the first sharding blockchain concept, but it’s no longer the only one. In fact there are already dozens in various stages of development. The race to beat Ethereum is made even more difficult with Ethereum itself racing to resolve its own network issues. Still, Zilliqa is a strong blockchain contender for several key reasons.
- The Zilliqa development team is strong in technology and business. A solid network is supported by an active community and strong partnerships.
- Zilliqa’s testnet already match’s Visa’s transaction speeds, beating legacy blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Its sharding solution uses a hybrid PoW consensus model for more efficient mining.
- Zilliqa is tradeable on a variety of exchanges and even as a testnet is performing well. When development is complete, this blockchain could take on Ethereum’s overflow, even if only partially or temporarily.
With these pieces in place, Zilliqa is a solid blockchain 3.0 project to watch. Moving into 2020, it’ll be interesting to see if the team completes its roadmap and how the free market reacts.
The author is not currently invested in any asset, coin, or token mentioned in this article.