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Zilliqa and its ZIL token: A starter's guide

Zilliqa and its ZIL token: A starter’s guide

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The public interest in Zilliqa (ZIL) is quickly pushing this cryptocurrency into headlines. The token boasts a unique technology platform focused on solving issues of scalability that have plagued Bitcoin and Ethereum. In this article, we break down the basics of Zilliqa with the goal of educating prospectors in a non-biased manner.

What is Zilliqa?

The philosophy driving the creation of Zilliqa is founded on the idea of solving existing pain points within the crypto space. The team behind Zilliqa have a proven solution to blockchain scalability, called sharding. Breaking the network into smaller collectives of a number of nodes, parallel computation can be done on a large scale. The token launched January 2018, and the community, as well as company behind the blockchain technology, are excited about its potential.

Zilliqa Token Price

As of this writing, Ziliqa is priced at, $0.081127 USD, 0.00000921 Bitcoin (BTC) and 0.00013194 Ethereum (ETH).

Zilliqa ICO review

Contribution cap: 48,889 ETH, or US$24 million at a locked rate of US$450 USD/ETH
Announcement: November 29, 2017

Initial price (January 15, 2018): $0.13

Total supply: 21 billion tokens

Miners: 40 percent of tokens, 8.4 billion

Early and community contributors: 30 percent 6.3 billion

Company, team, and agency: 30 percent 6.3 billion

The team behind Zilliqa readily believes in their product and the numbers support their enthusiasm. The largest amount of tokens are reserved for miners, providing an incentive to grow the network. To fund the project, initial sales of tokens reached their limit, 6.3 billion. The remaining 30 percent stays with the company. The current price of Zilliqa is roughly 60 percent of what it once was but it shows signs of stabilization.

Zilliqa: How it works and its key features

Sharding

Zilliqa employs a technology known as sharding. From the whitepaper:

“Sharding – dividing the mining network into smaller consensus groups, each capable of processing transactions in parallel.”

By creating groups of nodes, Zilliqa has invented a method of running parallel computer functions while maintaining a single blockchain. Unlike other crypto coins, increasing the pool of miners linearly increases the speed of transactions. The more nodes hosting the network, the more sharding that occurs, which results in faster transaction speed.

Each shard is created automatically, with roughly equal numbers of nodes. These “sub-networks” communicate internally to reach consensus and complete transactions. Like Ethereum, gas is used to facilitate transactions in a block and create an incentive for miners.

Smart Contract Layer

Smart contract language makes it possible to run specific tasks with time frames and goals on the Zilliqa network. The underlying protocol provides infrastructure for running applications requiring high amounts of transactions per second (Tx/s).

Smart contracts are written to follow dataflow programming language. The data flow approach allows more than one transaction to be executed at once. Each node in each shard can run the data flow program, either independently or with a group of nodes. If several nodes in the network become activated at the same time, they can execute multiple functions simultaneously. This principle provides the potential for massively parallel execution.

Picture: The data flow program can compute these two values in parallel. The node that performs addition gets activated as soon as A and B are available.

Ziliqa nodes

Zilliqa: Use and utilities

Infrastructure for DApps: An example provided by Zilliqa is digital marketing. Tracking ads run on various search platforms and can be done without delays or 3rd party intervention. The shard network makes it possible to run multiple ad networks at once. Tracking clicks and impressions will be facilitated by the fast number of transactions speed.

High-Performance Computing: Utilizing a decentralized network of nodes that have limitless potential to use parallel computing is a possible foundation for large problem-solving. Having plentiful and cheap computing power will open the doors to machine learning and Artificial Intelligence. Zilliqa presents an idea to volunteer the network for helping in the task for the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI).

Applications Requiring Highly Reliable Results: Computations of financial models – cryptocurrency trading – requires extremely accurate results. Shards allow for large tasks to be cross-referenced by huge amounts of computing power in a short time frame. Algorithmic trading on a global scale is theoretically possible to implement on top of the Zilliqa protocol.

Zilliqa: Platform and technology

Built on PoW

There are two kinds of nodes, each is necessary for communication between the blockchain and shards. The words nodes and miners are used interchangeably by the development team and each term accurately describes their function.

Directory Service Committee: A group of nodes chosen via a Proof-of-Work puzzle. Their role is to publish information of each shard, node identities, and sharding logic for transactions. A 2/3rd majority is needed to verify accurate transactions on the consensus layer.

Shard Nodes: Each shard is made of a number of nodes, with a designated leader. The leader organizes the decision-making process. Dishonest (byzantine) nodes are replaced when two-thirds of nodes vote to replace it, triggered when transaction time is affected. The algorithm automatically changes leaders periodically, and randomly.

Zilliqa: Team and founders

Xinshu Dong (CEO) Ph.D., National University of Singapore
A computer security expert with previous work defending web-based applications, mobile platforms, and wide-scale transportation networks. He has been with Zilliqa since August 2017 and is working on solving cryptocurrency scalability.

Prateek Saxena (Chief Scientific Advisor) Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Coming from a background as a researcher in computer science at the National University of Singapore. He has worked on 14 blockchain projects and is a recognized figure in the industry.

Christel Quek (Head of Marketing) BSc Social Sciences. The National University of Singapore.
Former VP of Asia Pacific at Brandwatch, she was the Head of Content at Twitter across their International Markets and led Social Business for Samsung Asia. She sees potential in blockchain technology making digital marketing more efficient.

Zilliqa: Wallets

Zilliqa is an ERC-20 token (Ethereum), as such, it can be held in any wallet supporting ER-20 tokens such as MyEtherWallet and Zilliqa Wallet.

Can you mine Zilliqa?

Zilliqa is mineable cryptocurrency implementing a hybrid system of PoW and a practical Byzantine Fault Tolerant (pBFT) protocol. Roughly 12 hours of Pow must be performed each month to fill the graphics card. For the duration of the next epoch (1 month), the graphics card runs in idle mode, consuming minimal electricity.

According to the Zilliqa site, the estimated electricity cost of mining is about USD $2.80/month in Singapore.

Zilliqa Road Map

Relatively untested, Zilliqa has proven sharding is possible. Following a successful launch of the coin, development will focus on improving the protocol.

Zilliqa and its ZIL token: A starter's guide

Future Projects:

  • State Sharding
  • Secure Proof-of-Stake
  • Storage Pruning
  • Cross-Chain Support
  • Privacy-Preserving Computation

Zilliqa Community

Twitter
Followers – 30k
Active on a weekly basis, this is the official twitter account for Zilliqa. Follow for updates and press releases surrounding the coin.

Reddit
Readers – 5,449
The community is active and if you’re looking to talk with fellow enthusiasts, this is the place. Talk is focused on technology aspects, trading, and brainstorming ways to shill the coin.

Telegram
Members – 24,835
Looking for specific conversations about mining or creating DApps? This is the chat for you. Use Telegram for real-time discussions surrounding Zilliqa’s projects.

Medium
Followers – 581
This is the location for updates surrounding the programming aspect of the project but it’s as active as the other social apps, the last update was in November, 2017.

How to Buy Zilliqa

Zilliqa has plenty of room to grow and for now, it can be found on the following cryptocurrency exchange:

  • Binance
  • Huobi
  • Kucoin
  • Idex
  • Etherdelta
  • Forkdelta

Zilliqa Review

Created in the likeness of Ethereum, Zilliqa’s creation is in response to scalability problems. Without trying to be more than it is, the laser focus of the development team on making sharding a reality is refreshing to see. While there is plenty of excitement for future potential, the underlying infrastructure is still being perfected.

Final Thoughts

Sharding is a unique idea proving the possibility of cryptocurrencies competing with credit card companies, such as VISA and Mastercard, in terms of transactions per second. Zilliqa is a fascinating project, hell-bent on creating a real-world solution to scalability. The question remains, will Zilliqa be a successful standalone cryptocurrency? Or will the technology pioneer be used on other projects, such as Ethereum? Only time will tell the staying power of this coin

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