Zilliqa (ZIL), the first cryptocurrency to successfully implement sharding, has officially launched their mainnet today at 16:00 GMT on January 31, 2019.
Throughout the past 18 months, the team at Zilliqa has made significant scientific and engineering progress, continuously refining their protocol to deliver a scalable, secure, high-performance public blockchain platform.
In an exclusive press release shared with IIB, Xinshu Dong, the CEO and co-founder of Zilliqa, said:
“Today, we are taking a leap towards our vision of enabling innovative blockchain-powered solutions to real-world problems. With this launch, Zilliqa is now the first public blockchain platform to successfully implement sharding, to address one of the biggest challenges to mainstream blockchain adoption – scalability.”
Zilliqa’s Secure, Phased Mainnet Launch Approach
To date, Zilliqa is one of the most complex blockchains built. Therefore, to ensure a smooth and robust launch of the blockchain’s mainnet, it is being launched in a unique phased approach. First and foremost, security is a key priority during the Zilliqa mainnet launch.
The mainnet release has integrated an array of protection mechanisms and conservative settings to mitigate attacks. In any new blockchain when it’s first launched, the hash power is relatively low, making them susceptible to network attacks.
To safeguard Zilliqa from these initial network attacks, the network will be launched in a bootstrap phase which will automatically end once a set number of blocks are mined and the network is proven secure. According to Dong, they anticipate this to happen around March 2019.
As for nodes running the network, Guard nodes will automatically join the network for safeguarding purposes. The number of nodes will be adjusted dynamically to maintain network size and stability, and the guard nodes will be replaced by community-run nodes once the system is mature enough.
In addition to Guard nodes, Lookup and Seed nodes will be maintaining transaction history and the global state of the blockchain to offload the full storage responsibility from the nodes that run consensus. As well, Seed nodes help protect the network from Denial-of-Service (DoS) attacks.
Just as the Guard nodes will be replaced by community-run nodes, Lookup and Seed nodes will be passed to consensus nodes over time.
Core Features of Zilliqa’s Mainnet
The Zilliqa blockchain platform was built with the vision of it being the backbone of future decentralized applications (dapps), and drive real and meaningful user adoption of blockchain technology. As stated in a recent Zilliqa blog post:
“At Zilliqa, our goal has always been to build a better blockchain platform — one that will be capable of powering an ecosystem of decentralized applications and products.”
To accomplish this vision, Zilliqa’s mainnet had to be equipped with highly complex and technically advanced features such as sharding, PBFT-style blockchain, safe smart contracts, dual and eco-friendly mining, and low variance in block rewards.
The network supports transaction sharding for both regular payment transactions and those that invoke smart contracts.
PBFT-Style Blockchain (Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance)
Zilliqa will be one of the very few blockchains to use this type of consensus mechanism. However, it is very efficient and allows transactions to be finalized without confirmation.
Dual and Eco-Friendly Mining
By using PoW only for Sybil resistance, the energy footprint of mining on Zilliqa will be much smaller compared to the blockchains that use PoW to reach consensus on every block.
Safe Smart Contracts
Unlike many other smart contract platforms, Zilliqa’s protocol utilizes their very own safe-by-design smart contract language called Scilla.
Low Variance in Block Rewards
A novel incentive mechanism to reward miners by measuring their contributions in the consensus protocol allows thousands (or more) of miners to be rewarded for a single block.
Future Research and Developments
Now that Zilliqa’s mainnet has been successfully launched in the bootstrap phase, the team can finally focus on new features and protocols to enhance their platform.
As put by Dong:
“Some areas that we will be exploring include a more efficient backend for Scilla, efficient smart contract sharding, and research on incentive and staking mechanisms for different blockchains… This is a tremendously exciting time for me personally, our team and our community.”
What do you think of the Zilliqa cryptocurrency project? Will they shape up to be a competitor with Ethereum, EOS, Tron, and other smart contract and dapp development platforms? Let us know what you think in the comment section below?