Zilliqa
(ZIL)

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Reviewed: 22-2-18
Blockchain scalability is a pressing issue that has attracted much attention, as seen in recent plans to scale Bitcoin and Ethereum in the future. However, it is unclear whether such proposals can scale up to the increasing network size without discarding legacy transactions. The design of Zilliqa should support thousands of transactions per second.

They claim that Zilliqa is built to scale from many aspects so they gave it some key features; It leverages a network-level sharding mechanism to divide the nodes in the network.. Sharding is a type of database partitioning that separates very large databases into smaller, faster and more easily managed parts called data shards.
Zilliqa also proposes a novel computational sharding framework to allow computation intensive applications to be executed efficiently over the network. In order to facilitate a high-level understanding of them, they describe the following key ideas; Network Sharding, Secure & Efficient Consensus Algorithm, Transaction Sharding, Computational Sharding & Data-flow Smart Contract Language, and Profitable Mining.  (1)

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Network Sharding
Zilliqa dynamically splits the network of blockchain nodes into different subgroups, called shards, with each shard formed to process and reach consensus on a subset of transactions. This way, disjoint subsets of transactions can be processed in parallel, and significantly boost the transaction throughput by orders of magnitude. Eventually, such transactions are merged into a new block that is committed to the blockchain.

Unlike several existing blockchain platforms (such as Ethereum and Bitcoin), Zilliqa does not employ PoW to achieve consensus. PoW is used only to prevent sybil attacks and perform sharding.

Secure & Efficient Consensus Algorithm
Within the directory service committee and each shard that processes and accepts transactions, they run a secure and efficient consensus protocol. The protocol enables each shard to reach an agreement on the blocks to propose. Their consensus protocol is based on the idea of byzantine fault tolerance (BFT). This means that every shard should have the same intentions and that there’s no ‘’traitor’’ in the group. (2)

Transaction Sharding
For better scalability, Zilliqa makes two choices in the design of transaction sharding; Zilliqa provides atomic transaction commits without involving cross-shard communication that is often costly and complex. And second, Zilliqa allows transactions to be processed asynchronously with the consensus processes of the blockchain. Zilliqa adopts a “reject-and-retry” mechanism to asynchronously process transactions as and when the majority of nodes become up-to-date.

Computational Sharding & Data-flow Smart Contract Language
The smart contract language in Zilliqa follows a dataflow programming pattern. The key advantage of employing a dataflow approach is that more than one instruction can be executed at once. Thus, if several nodes in the graph become activated at the same time, they can be executed in parallel. This simple principle provides the potential for massive scalable execution.

Profitable Mining
Zilliqa does not use PoW to reach consensus on blocks. This has the following two advantages; the nodes can reach consensus on several blocks in a row and since miners can reach consensus on multiple blocks during a particular period of time, they are guaranteed more stable rewards with low variance.

Use of tokens
The tokens of Zilliqa, ZIL, only give platform usage rights to the holders to pay for sending transactions and running smart contracts.
Token distribution (3)
Zilliqa states the following order of distribution; 40% Mining Rewards; 30% Company, Team and Agencies; 30% Early & community Contributions.

Team and advisors (4)
CEO: Xinshu Dong He got his PhD in Computer Science at the National University of Singapore. He used to work on several other aspects of systems security, including defenses against the threats to web applications, web browsers, mobile platforms, and cyber-physical systems (5)
Co-Founder: Prateek Saxena, He is a research professor in computer science at National University of Singapore, and has a PhD in Computer Science from UC Berkeley. He works on blockchains and computer security. (6)
Blockchain Architect: Yaoqi Jia, His prior experience focuses on building secure and privacy-preserving web and distributed systems with cryptographic mechanisms. He proposed several technologies in his research as the building blocks for next-generation blockchain, addressing consensus and privacy issues. His research work has been published in international conferences, such as CCS, USENIX Security, PETS, RAID, ESORICS. (7)
Advisor: Vincent Zhou, He is one of the advisors for Zilliqa. He is a founding partner of FBG Capital, with experience in digital assets trading and investment. Vincent is also an early investor of a broad spectrum of blockchain companies and projects. He is considered as one of the most well-connected and visionary crypto hedge fund managers in Asia. (8)

Partnerships
Zilliqa has at the moment of writing a partnership with Mindshare, an advertising agency. (9) The partnership will involve testing whether Zilliqa’s blockchain protocol can be used to address pervasive industry challenges including contextual advertising in relation to fake news; develop strategic initiatives around data privacy and develop an industry-wide tokenisation program, which can be used for publisher and content scoring.

Roadmap (10)
‘18 Feb: Releasing public testnet v1.5 (with basic smart contract support)
‘18 March: Releasing public testnet v2.0 (with computational sharding)
‘18 Q2: Launching Ziliqa public mainnet
‘18 Q3: Releasing dApps

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