A New Exciting Blockchain that Scales with Network Size
We have been educated on the latest and greatest technology to hit the world this century and with most people still not really understanding the excitement, new developments have landed and enhanced the useability of something that is already revolutionary. Distributed Ledger Technology is here. The Blockchain is the most commonly applied form of the DLT and has some limitations as with any technology. It's limitations are advanced applications for the last breakthrough in our time. So, let's explore what is new and exciting about "scaling" blockchain activity.
What is Zilliqa? Zilliqa is a public, open source blockchain platform that scales transactions linearly through the use of sharding. Seems pretty simple right? Not really unless you understand what "open source", blockchain, linear and sharding mean. Well, some may have some experience with the terms yet, others would be happy to have some definition here. What is sharding? Sharding seems to be the real difference here. According to Kim on Medium, "Sharding is a method of splitting the workload with multiple computers vs storing a single logical dataset to form consensus and validation." This is similar to horizontal partitioning or splitting in order to double the size of the activity and speed resulting in more tps. By distributing the data among multiple machines, a cluster of database systems can store larger dataset and handle additional requests. This happens when a dataset is too large to be stored in a single database. So you can allow for additional machines to be added with increased traffic and data flow.
Does Zilliqa use smart contracts? ZILLIQA comes with an innovative special-purpose smart contract language and execution environment that leverage the underlying architecture to provide a large scale and highly efficient computation platform. The smart contract language in ZILLIQA follows a dataflow programming style, where the smart contract can be represented as a directed graph.
Zilliqa utilizes PoW in order to establish mining identities but performs consensus checks at a much more local level with sharding. The team decided to use PoW due to it being much more studied than the more used Ethereum mechanism Proof of Stake even though they are running on ERC20 tokens. The ultimate goal is to run their own smart contract language and using their own tokens that will be exchanged 1:1 for the ERC20 tokens.
So, Zilliqa uses their platform to scale transactions linearly with the use of sharding. Linear scaling is an almost unseen feature and is able to occur through sharding, which makes it so mining operations can occur in parallel. Most cryptocurrencies see a decrease in throughput as size increases, but not Zilliqa. You may wonder how is this possible with smart contracts and PoW? Normally we see a consensus mechanism associated with either the bitcoin blockchain or the Ethereum blockchain. Zilliqa has taken the liberty of using the PBFT(Practical Byzantine fault tolerance) and increased their internal digital signature effectiveness.
According to the Zilliqa whitepaper, ZILLIQA uses PoW(proof of work) only to prevent Sybil attacks and generate node identities. This is in contrast to many existing blockchain platforms (in particular Bitcoin and Ethereum, where PoW is used to reach distributed consensus. ZILLIQA employs Ethash, the PoW algorithm used in Ethereum 1.0. Ethash is a memory hard hash function designed to make it easy to mine with GPUs but hard with specialized computing hardware such as ASICs.
But what's impressive about Zilliqa's blockchain platform is what happened when they launched their testnet. Zilliqa team launched the first version of the testnet, where users can test the features of the project. I believe the test was used with Amazon's web services. The testnet is seeing thousands (about 1500 tps) of transactions per second compared to Bitcoin’s 7, and Ethereum’s 20. So let's put this into perspective, they say payment processor Visa processes around 8,000 transactions per second. While the amount of transactions Visa supports is impressive, that number comes with the drawback of centralization and chargebacks. Note: in 2017 Zilliqa test reached almost 2500 tps. If their blockchain were fully functional they say they could run 22,000 nodes and have a tps of over 15,000! They have the fastest blockchain transactions out today. How about running 8,000 transactions per second without costly fees and chargebacks from a decentralized network?
A Bright Future Lies Ahead for Zilliqa
Zilliqa is proven to be a world-class blockchain platform that has found a way to use the latest technology and make it much better. Focused on leveraging the smart contract dataflow paradigm and developing their form of a Secure Proof of Stake (SPoS), we are in for a long ride with this one. Their new smart contract language is ideal for running computation-intensive task in an efficient manner. In today's financial environment you must be able to compete with the current payment processors to have a chance at gaining any market share. With Zilliqa blockchain platform and sharding architecture having the ability to process thousands of transactions per second, they are well on their way to lead this revolution. For more about Zilliqa please visit www.zilliqa.com