BTC Inc
by Giulio Prisco, Jun 07, 2018

High-Throughput Blockchain Developer Zilliqa Showcases Next-Generation Smart Contracts


Shards

In November, Distributed.com reported that Zilliqa — a project to develop next-generation distributed ledger technology (DLT) with high throughput, a relatively low energy footprint and a light, non-Turing-complete smart contracts system — was positioning itself as a strong candidate for implementation in legacy enterprises. In fact, Zilliqa’s estimated throughput (number of transactions per second) was much higher than other open DLTs like the Bitcoin or Ethereum blockchains, and it could support high-performance DLT applications in financial markets and global trade. 

“Test results show the [Zilliqa] network hitting 2,400 transactions per second (TX/S) with ambitions to hit Visa level throughputs of 4,000 TX/S,” noted Forbes in December.

Since throughput scalability is considered to be a strong requirement for mainstream financial applications of DLT, investors are bullish. In May, the Zilliqa cryptocoin ZIL achieved a market capitalization of over $1 billion. After a drop, ZIL is getting close to a $1 billion market cap again, according to CoinMarketCap. ZIL is traded on major exchanges such as Binance, Bithumb and Huobi. 

Zilliqa, headquartered in Singapore, was created to solve two of the most crucial issues plaguing blockchain technology: scalability and security. 

“Since first proposed in an academic research paper in 2015, our team has fully developed this concept into a working technology and earlier this year released our public testnet  — the first blockchain platform to implement sharding technology to enable high blockchain transaction speeds,” said Xinshu Dong, CEO of Zilliqa, summarizing a progress update event that took place in Singapore on May 23. “[We] gave a glimpse of our solution for building a better, more scalable, more secure, public blockchain platform that we believe will be a better way for enterprise and developers to build blockchain applications.” 

According to the company’s white paper, “The cornerstone in [Zilliqa’s] design is the idea of sharding — dividing the mining network into smaller … shards each capable of processing transactions in parallel.”

“At Ethereum’s present network size of 30,000 miners, [Zilliqa] would expect to process about a thousand times the transaction rates of Ethereum,” claims the white paper. 

The Zilliqa platform also features special-purpose smart contract language and an execution environment that leverages the underlying architecture to provide a scalable and efficient computation platform.

At a progress update event, the Zilliqa team demonstrated Scilla, a new smart contract programming language. 

“With Scilla, developers will be able to write and test their contracts before deploying, thereby getting the assurance that their contracts are safe to use and preventing issues like the DAO hack,” said Dong. “Combined with our high throughput platform based on the technology of sharding, Scilla will allow for new, more powerful blockchain applications with use cases in gaming, digital advertising, e-commerce and many more [sectors].” 

The Zilliqa team is planning to launch a testnet 2.0 with smart contracts alpha in Q2 2018, a mainnet with smart contracts beta in Q3 2018 and then work on privacy, interoperability and decentralized applications (DApps). The company plans to support DApps developers with a $5 million grant program.

Other plans in Zilliqa’s roadmap are centered on partnerships, for example with the global ad agency Mindshare

"Blockchain technology is going to influence the media and entertainment industry at a much more rapid pace than we ever thought possible,” said senior Mindshare executive Gowthaman Ragothaman. “Mindshare is absolutely delighted to partner with Zilliqa to test this technology and its possible future application in the media and entertainment industry.” 

For instance, Mindshare and Zilliqa will run an application pilot for advertising in partnership with two undisclosed, publicly traded companies.