Zilliqa — a Very Serious Ethereum Competitor
The Zilliqa project started in 2017 and initially was called ‘the Ethereum killer’. Its the most important and breakthrough feature at that time was the implementation of sharding technology, dividing the entire blockchain into a large number of shards, each of which processes its own set of transactions. The implementation of this technology is very complex, but the founders of Zilliqa were professors of computer science and mathematics from universities in California and Singapore aided by advisors from the Kyber Network. They raised $ 22 million during the ICOs and launched the mainnet in 2019. Currently, it’s one of the most advanced blockchains on the market and even has its own smart contract language, Scilla.
Types of Nodes
The Zilliqa network has several types of nodes. Shard nodes are the miners that process transactions. Miners get automatically allocated to shards — groups of nodes, each of which processes its own set of transactions. In addition, each shard has one DS (Directory Service) node that aggregates all microblocks in the shard to create the Transaction Block and the DS block at the beginning of each new mining cycle. Both types of nodes receive ZIL rewards for their work. In addition, there are Lookup nodes that store all the blockchain data generated by miner nodes and provide this data to end users, all the other nodes, and nodes that want to sync with or join the network. In addition, they aggregate new transactions to pass them on to miners for processing. The last type of nodes is Seed nodes, they collect transactions and transmit them to Lookup nodes.
This architecture allows to reach the scalability of thousands of transactions per second. In addition, in October 2020, token staking was added to the network, with staking supported both natively, via clients and wallets such as Atom and Moonlet, and via various custodians and exchanges. Staked Seed nodes serve the same role as the regular Seed nodes.
Despite all the interesting features, Zilliqa had problems with real-world use cases — the network had a very small community of developers and hence almost no users. The initial launch of the mainnet took too long, the network was launched with many bugs, and the initial advantage was lost. Scalability isn’t a unique feature anymore — there are many competitors such as Quarkchain, Cosmos, Polkadot, and even Ethereum has gotten very close to implementing sharding in its network. Zilliqa’s community fell into depression and even long-term investors began to lose faith. But suddenly the development team managed to change the general perception of the project. They started working on building partnerships in different market niches. One of their partners, Xfers, developed the first XSGD stablecoin pegged to the Singapore dollar. In partnership with Paxos Trust and Binance, the Zilliqa team added the BUSD stablecoin to its blockchain. The staking feature now attracts all DeFi and yield farming lovers to the project, because the minimum amount for staking is affordable for everyone — only 10 ZIL. Large exchanges and crypto wallets partner with Zilliqa to give their users the possibility to stake ZIL via their platforms. Currently, all ZIL stakers receive an additional bonus, available only during the first year after the launch of the new functionality — they are rewarded gZIL governance tokens, which will be used to vote in the Zilliqa DAO, currently being developed by the team. In addition, another development team recently launched an upgrade that allows Ethereum Classic miners to switch to mining ZIL using the same hardware.
Now it’s absolutely impossible to say that ZIL has no future — on the contrary, it seems to be at the beginning of its road and it’s probable that their ecosystem will develop at a very fast pace. If you want to get access to Zilliqa blockchain without setting up your own node, you can use our service GetBlock.io which fully supports Zilliqa nodes and use the fully functional node whenever you like.
Originally published at https://getblock.io on January 21, 2021.