Zilliqa: Hello World!

Introducing Zilliqa: A next generation, high-throughput blockchain platform

The financial services industry has become a graveyard of Proof-of-Concepts (POC), with projects that never see the light of day. Amongst these POCs are cases where a blockchain need not be deployed, and there are others which have been hindered by existing blockchain protocols that do not scale.

We decided to remove this hurdle by building a clean-slate protocol that could scale but without compromising resilience and security.

Zilliqa is a new blockchain platform that is designed to scale in an open, permission-less distributed network securely.

Scalability — The bottleneck for blockchains

One of the most pressing problems facing blockchain platforms is their lack of scalability, i.e., the ability to handle a larger number of transactions per second as the network grows.

It has been widely discussed that existing blockchains are not able to scale for the next generation of Internet-style applications. An often cited example is the 7–10 transactions/second (TX/s) available in Bitcoin and Ethereum today, and the demands of payment processing in centralised operators (e.g., VISA, MasterCard) for supporting thousands of TX/s.

How does Zilliqa differ from existing protocols?

Scalability. The core feature that makes Zilliqa scalable is sharding — dividing the network into several smaller component networks (called shards) capable of processing transactions in parallel.

The Zilliqa team proposed the theory of sharding in a paper in 2015, and since then this protocol has been under research, refinement and active development.

Thanks to the team’s work around sharding, the transaction rate in Zilliqa increases as the mining network expands.

Zilliqa aims to rival traditional centralised payment methods such as VISA and MasterCard.

In fact, with a network size of 10,000 nodes, Zilliqa will enable a throughput which matches that of VISA and MasterCard with much lower fees for the merchants.

Data-flow Smart Contracts. Smart contracts allow applications to be built on top of the distributed ledger provided by the blockchain storage and consensus. However, today’s mainstream public blockchains are not suitable for running computation-intensive tasks, as any of the computation tasks would have to be repeated at all full nodes for validation. Albeit being secure, such a fully redundant programming model is prohibitively expensive for running large-scale computations.

With scalability as the main goal of Zilliqa, we propose a new smart contract language that is not Turing-complete but scales much better for a multitude of applications that range from automated auctions, shared economy to financial modelling.

The smart contract language in Zilliqa follows a dataflow programming style, where the program can be seen as a directed graph. Nodes in the graph represent computations, while arcs represent input/output. Dataflow programs are known to be inherently parallelizable and easy to reason about.

We will be sharing more about our technology features in our next post on Medium.

Our Internal Testnet Trial Run — 1,389 TX/s (4 shards, 2,400 nodes)

A quick capture of results seen in our experiments conducted daily on our testnet.All nodes currently run on AWS EC2 instances.

Our current internal testnet of 2,400 nodes can process 1,389 transactions per second. However, there are many more innovations and development milestones ahead of us that will enable further scalability and add many features to Zilliqa.

We plan to release the source code and a public testnet of Zilliqa in December 2017. We believe that the public release of the Zilliqa protocol will enable development of scalable blockchain applications that will return enormous benefits to the users of Zilliqa and the applications built on it.

The Team behind Zilliqa

Our team at Zilliqa, led by our CEO, Xinshu Dong, is a diverse mix of deep tech practitioners, venture creators, and financial veterans. You may read more of the team’s bios at our website.

Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing more details around our technology, roadmap, and ambitions for the Zilliqa platform.

Here’s how you can follow our progress — we would love to have you join our community of technology , financial services, and crypto enthusiasts!

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