In what has become a very familiar pattern in the world of blockchains, the topic of scalability crops up more often than we'd like. Understandably, this still newborn piece of technology is buckling by the wayside to cope with an ever-expanding ecosystem and new users around the world.
High network congestion and volatile gas fees are the norms nowadays, unfortunately. But could the scalability question be solved once and for all? For that, we'll try to answer it in our Zilliqa review.
You might not have heard of them before, but Zilliqa has appeared out of nowhere, seemingly with all the answers that we'll need to break past the challenges that most blockchains face today.
Zilliqa is building a decentralized, public blockchain that uses sharding to its benefit, with scalability that grows organically as more people join up its immensely powerful, impactful, and versatile blockchain. So, read along our Zilliqa review to find out why we're very hopeful for the future.
What Is Zilliqa?
Conceptually, Zilliqa was founded in 2017 by a group of academics from the National University of Singapore, with its main-net launch followed up in 2019. Zilliqa is claimed to be one of the world's first blockchains to rely entirely on a sharded architecture.
This allows for Zilliqa's smart contracts-capable platform to scale linearly as the network keeps growing, without having to sacrifice the typical core values of blockchains, such as top-notch security or decentralization.
As such, Zilliqa's blockchain has solved the significant ‘trilemma' faced by many blockchains today, which is trying to balance network security, scalability, and decentralization. Accordingly, Zilliqa claims to be able to scale upwards of being able to process thousands of transactions per second (TPS) and has been stress-tested to run happily at more than 2,800 TPS.
It's said that Zilliqa could, in its current state, ramp up its processing speeds to 250x faster than that of Ethereum‘s 15 TPS.
What Are Zilliqa's Key Features and Technologies?
So far, we've learned that Zilliqa's smart contracts-optimized blockchain is not just able to compute at scale, once growth comes along, but also does so quickly and efficiently.
For the most part, Zilliqa is targeting their blockchain to be adopted mainly by enterprises, institutions, or large development groups, primarily when it comes to commercial or financial transactions. Their high TPS count, for instance, is putting Zilliqa in range to compete against the common centralized solutions.
This includes the high processing capabilities shown off by VISA or Mastercard. But what is it that makes Zilliqa such an exciting blockchain, and how have they been able to achieve what they claim? For that, we'll explore some of the underlying technology and novel innovations that they've deployed to power their blockchain for our Zilliqa review.
1. Sharding Architecture
As we learned thus far in our Zilliqa review, we know that Zilliqa employs a sharding mechanism for their blockchain, whereby continued network growth and usage in real-time directly results in a linear scaling of the network's processing abilities.
This helps to prevent excess network congestion, which can result in slow processing times for transactions, as well as high or volatile fees. In their blockchain, Zilliqa uses its sharding architecture to power parallel processing for transactions.
Other blockchains today use every single node on their network to process every transaction. This is different on Zilliqa, as its sharding model sub-divides Zilliqa's entire blockchain into separate shards, with each shard processing only a subset of the network's transactions.
As such, it only requires some miners to work on a small series of transactions at any given time to improve computational efficiency. Moreover, each transaction has finality, so there's no need to run multiple confirmations.
2. Dual Blockchain Design
Based on the aforementioned sharding principle, Zilliqa is able to not only conserve computation resources (which results in lesser energy consumption overall) but also make it so that it can process transactions much faster and cheaper than other blockchains.
Another aspect of Zilliqa's ecosystem that helps with this is the fact that there are, in fact not one, but two separate blockchains powering their network. This dual-layer approach helps to make it run more efficiently.
At the top is the DS blockchain. The DS, or ‘Directory Service,' acts as an elected supervisory shard that manages regular shards and nodes beneath them, as well as forming shards together and aggregating transaction data to and from other shards.
The DS blockchain functions to store the identity of the shards and individual nodes on the network. Meanwhile, the TX blockchain below it is where transactions are processed and validated, as well as keeping transaction data safe.
3. Hybrid Proof-of-Work and BFT
One other unique factor of Zilliqa's blockchain ecosystem is its use of a hybrid structure that combines Proof-of-Work (PoW) mining together with a Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance (pBFT) consensus.
Although PoW is often very energy and resource-intensive, Zilliqa can mitigate this effect by using it only on certain occasions.PoW mining is only required to create a shard's identity and take part in the sharding process but is not used for consensus.
The latter is solved by a version of the pBFT algorithm. At its core, the Byzantine Fault Tolerance is where nodes are groups together with an elected leader, who is responsible for broadcasting transactions and governance decisions.
To prevent a malicious attack on the network, these leaders are changed regularly. Zilliqa's improved pBFT model should be able to reward each node more equitably, while also making communication easier and validating instant block with finality.
4. Scilla Smart Contracts Language
For our Zilliqa review, we'll also make a mention of Scilla, or ‘Smart Contract Intermediate-Level Language', which is Zilliqa's newly and specially-designed smart contracts language.
The main reason for using a specialized language is so that it's better optimized with the Zilliqa network and to ensure that it could scale better than competing solutions, especially for applications that require a large number of smart contract throughputs such as financial transactions or automation.
There is also another key driver that led Zilliqa to develop their own domain-specific smart contract language; security. Scilla can process and execute smart contracts more securely and is less vulnerable to malicious attacks by removing known or potential vulnerabilities at the base language level.
It does this to automatically scan for any vulnerabilities in the smart contracts while also verifying the safety of each smart contract using peer-reviewed mathematical proofs.
How Has Zilliqa Been Deployed in the Real World?
Overall, our Zilliqa review thus far can summarise how its innovative and unique technologies have made an impact with a couple more key metrics – the average transaction cost is a very low $0.000023, with a confirmation timing of around 40 seconds to just 2 minutes.
This is in contrast to chains such as Ethereum or Bitcoin, which could cost tens of dollars in fees for just a single transaction depending on congestion, which can take an hour or more to process in its completion.
It's no surprise then that Zilliqa has been able to attract a growing adoption as the basis for many projects worldwide, built atop their highly scalable smart contracts blockchain.
Two of their most exciting partnerships thus far, as of publishing our Zilliqa review, have been decentralized applications (dApps) built on their blockchain network by Unstoppable Domains and Krypton.
- Unstoppable Domains – They offer aspiring developers to buy censorship-resistant websites and allows them to natively receive and support cryptocurrency payments. They've worked with Zilliqa so that ‘.zil' domains built with Unstoppable can enable payments in any cryptocurrency.
- Krypton – They are the video game developer responsible for games like SuperPlayer, and the newly announced Zilliqa Planet, among others. With its cross-chain compatible games, you can earn cryptocurrency tokens, as well as trade non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
1. Digital Advertising
The regular programmatic advertising models that we use today have significant downsides, in that there are far too many ad frauds, user privacy infringements, as well as unfairly low compensation to advertisers.
Mindshares and Aqilliz (a sister company of Zilliqa) are using Zilliqa's blockchain to redesign new ad-tech solutions to help solve these problems, as well as improving consumer engagement, maintaining maximal privacy, and ensuring better ROI for advertisers and publishers.
2. Financial Services
Zilliqa has also partnered up with financial companies, such as Xfers and Hg Exchange to bring new and innovative fintech solutions to Southeast Asia. Xfers is an e-payments platform with more than 1-million users and has processed more than $260-million through its flexible payments and solutions, as well as its own stablecoin.
Meanwhile, Hg is pioneering the use of Zilliqa's smart contracts to represent both digital assets, as well as bring tokenized value to real-world assets.
What Are Zilliqa's ZIL Cryptocurrency Tokens?
The native cryptocurrency of the Zilliqa network is ZIL tokens. As a utility token, ZIL is generally used in one of three ways – carry value across as a network-wide currency for payments, used to cover gas fees or executing smart contracts, or be paid out as an incentive for PoW mining.
Since late 2020, users are able to monetize ZIL on Zilliqa's ecosystem through staking or yield farming to maximize their returns. ZIL tokens could also be used for governance.
A total of 21,000,000,000 ZIL (21-billion) tokens are planned to be distributed along an inflationary curve that will gradually emit around 2% of its supply per year. This distribution schedule is set to ensure that all tokens, including mining rewards, are to be distributed across the network until around 2040.
Currently, 11,222,572,558 ZIL tokens are in circulation. As of this Zilliqa review, the price of one ZIL is around $0.191383, which has been climbing steadily since late 2020.
This marks a huge jump of 7,625.73% from its all-time lows during the cryptocurrency market rout in March 2020 and is only 24.86% shy from its all-time highs in mid-April 2021. Overall, this puts Zilliqa's market capitalization value at $2,147,804,724, making ZIL tokens the 59th-most valuable cryptocurrency on the market.
There's a lot of exciting news following this growth, including data showing that more than $200-million are locked in the ZILSwap token swapping and DEX protocol.
What Are Zilliqa's Future Roadmap Updates?
While writing this Zilliqa review, we' have taken a detailed look at their roadmap plans for 2021 and beyond. For the time being, their most immediate focus would be implementing the ZIP-11 network proposal. This will see the advent of non-custodial staking on their network, as well as governance token farming with new $gZIL being issued alongside $ZIL staking rewards.
Otherwise, it should see a gradual improvement in its overall blockchain, as well as rolling out core features.
Other than ZIP-11, other important updates include improving the Scilla smart contracts language and adding better support for dApp developers. We'll also get to see more efficiency, security, and robustness overall, with the extra integration of zk-SNARKs to better enhance network-wide privacy.
Outside of technical developments, we'll also continue to see Zilliqa's ZILHive play a greater role in incubating and accelerating promising startups with new grants and partnerships.
Zilliqa Review – Conclusion
In ending our Zilliqa review, we hold a lot of good hopes and promises for the future to come. They've set out and rightfully accomplished building a blockchain ecosystem that is highly scalable to encourage organic and fundamental growth while being extremely modular and powerful.
Moreover, its smart contracts functionality is being used in a variety of dApps and services from games to financial services, technology, commerce, as well as digital advertising. To that end, they've also solved the more surface-level problems with blockchains that we experience today, with speedy processing times and very low fees.
Combined with the many benefits that their partners are actively building in real-time, such as better advertising or more accessible banking for all, we can conclude for certain in our Zilliqa review that the future of mass blockchain adoption hinges on some of the innovations that Zilliqa has helped to build.
Ease of Use
Long Term Sustainability
- Highly scalable that linearly increases as the overall network grows, with very high throughput speeds possible.
- Fast processing times with very low to negligible fees.
- Parallel processing allows for more efficient computational use, which decreases energy usage and is thus more environmentally sustainable.
- Highly secure owing to adoption of a hybrid PoW mining and improved pBFT consensus on top of a dual-layer blockchain design.
- Scilla smart contracts language is specially designed to improve reliability and safety.
- Non-Turing complete Scilla smart contracts language prevents complex dApps from being made.