Zilliqa Project Update #1
Greetings everyone, and happy February!
Thank you everyone for your continued support! We are elated to welcome all of you who have become part of the Zilliqa community. We love the conversations about the future of Zilliqa and want to bring you some updates about what we are accomplishing.
Looking back at January, it has been a huge month at Zilliqa and we would like to take this opportunity to pause and extend our thanks to each and every one of you for your continued support and dedication. Our voice in the blockchain community is quickly growing and we look forward to accomplishing even bigger things with you all in 2018.
January was a busy month. The Zilliqa interim tokens were successfully launched. ZILs are now available on Huobi which listed the token on 25 January.
We are committed to Zilliqa becoming an active and established contributor in the blockchain community, and to this end we have been involved with a number of events this past month.
On January 20, we traveled to Tokyo to participate in a meetup on the future of smart contracts, where we presented and held a discussion alongside OmiseGO, Quantstamp, NuCypher, and Electrify.Asia.
Xinshu at the Smartcontract Tokyo Meetup on January 20
This past week Xinshu and Yaoqi were in the San Francisco Bay Area speaking at events and meeting with projects.
Meeting with Truebit — an exciting computational scaling protocol — in San Francisco
26 January marked our presence at Blockchain Connect, which witnesses the synergy between the US and China in the blockchain space. It was fascinating to see speakers from some of the most influential projects presenting on the pertinent issues facing blockchains today: from improving fees to the challenges in achieving mass adoption globally.
We also spoke at Stanford and Berkeley and received positive feedback. In these meetups, we outlined the key overview of Zilliqa, our recent leaps towards realizing our vision and also a deep dive in the underlying technology.
Xinshu and Yaoqi speaking at the meetup hosted by Blockchain at Berkeley
Yaoqi presenting at NEO Devcon this week
Finally, we were honored to present at the NEO DevCon, the first NEO Developers Conference to date. The conference featured some of the top minds in blockchain, and we were thrilled to have participated in such a monumental event.
You can find our updated presentation here with a new section on smart contracts.
After releasing our alpha source code (codename: Durian) last month, we have been busy preparing our platform for public testnet release. Since the release of our source code, we have added plenty of functionalities mainly at the DS committee level to help the DS committee perform as expected even in unfavorable network scenarios such as packet loss, unavailable blocks due to poor synchronizations etc. We have also been running both large and small scale testing for the different functionalities that have been implemented.
A quick snapshot of the technical features that we have worked on is given below:
- We’ve added the state root to the final block of the last mini epoch, added calls to store unavailable blocks for Directory Service (DS), and implemented state root checks for DS backups. DS committee builds the state which includes the information of all accounts on the blockchain. Every DS node computes the root hash of a Merkle tree generated based on the state. The leader will write the state root into the final block and broadcast it to the DS committee. The other DS nodes will verify the state root field and reach an agreement on the final block.
- We implemented a feedback mechanism to handle missing transactions for microblock consensus, so that nodes can efficiently detect the differences between their transaction pools.
- We have added the verification checks for microblocks at the DS level.
- We’ve conducted large-scale tests for our current implementation, running stably with 600 DS nodes. We’ll perform more stress tests in the future. In the meantime, we performed small-scale tests which allowed new nodes to join the network.
In the coming weeks we will be giving the finishing touches on the next iteration of our platform in anticipation of the launch of our public testnet.
Earlier this month, Amrit alongside Zilliqa advisor, Aquinas Hobor from the National University of Singapore and Yale-NUS College, and Ilya Sergey from the University College London published a paper introducing Scilla — a new proof-carrying, intermediate-level smart contract language.
There are several higher-level languages that can be used to write smart contracts. The most popular of those languages is arguably Solidity. Scilla on the other hand is designed to be an “intermediate” level language for smart contracts, whose underlying computational model is based on communicating automata. Higher-level languages such as Solidity can be compiled to Scilla.
While Solidity is arguably the most popular language, contracts written in Solidity are however complex to reason about as the communication (e.g., sending funds to other contracts) and computation (e.g., updating a contract’s state) aspects of the language are not cleanly separated. This makes it hard for developers to write safe contracts in Solidity. The key innovation that Scilla brings in is that it offers various layers of separation for the communication and operational aspects of smart contracts which makes contracts amenable to formal verification.
In the Scilla whitepaper, the authors provide an example, wherein, the language supports the operations of a crowdfunding campaign similar to those seen in a kickstarter. Scilla’s smart contract language can manage parameters like soft caps, e.g., if funding is not achieved in a certain time period, investors are refunded. Using proof assistants such as COQ, it then becomes straightforward to prove that a Scilla contract is safe and incidents like the contract freezing funds, investors not getting the right refund, etc., won’t occur.
While designed in the context of Zilliqa, Scilla can certainly be used for other blockchain platforms such as Ethereum and will allow developers to build better smart contract applications.
Read the Scilla whitepaper here: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1801.00687.pdf
We are actively interviewing and looking to bring on high quality members to help Zilliqa achieve its maximum potential. We’re actively looking for programmers with deep C++ experience, and compiler engineers. Please reach out if you feel you can bring value to the growing Zilliqa ecosystem!
We are planning to hold a community AMA with the Zilliqa team on February 10. Please stay tuned for an announcement.
Moving forward we plan to publish such project updates once every two weeks.
Please feel free to give us feedback via our social media channels on how you like the format of these updates and what you would like to see going forward. We look forward to embarking on this journey with all of you.