Crypto Analysis: Zilliqa (ZIL)

SUMMARY

  • Project name: Zilliqa
  • Ticker symbol: ZIL
  • Token type: Protocol native Zil utility token
  • Consensus mechanism: Hybrid PoW & PBFT
    • Hash algorithm: Ethash algorithm
  • Genesis date: January 12, 2018
  • Key exchanges: Binance, Ubit, Coinbase & Coinbase Custody, Bittrex
  • Wallets: Moonlet (audit complete), Trust Wallet, ZHIP, Light-waller, Midas Protocol, xZil, Ledger Companion.
  • Current Market Cap: $135,787,048 (04.03.2019 @CoinGecko)
  • Current circulating supply: 8,299,187,391
  • Total supply: 12,000,000,000 ZIL

zilliqa chart

Overview

Launched in January 2018, Zilliqa is a clean-slate public blockchain protocol designed to scale efficiently, without compromise to the security and resilience of the network. This is achieved via the implementation of sharding – network, transaction and computational. Zilliqa is the first public blockchain protocol to implement it. The network employs Proof of Work to establish node identifiers and shard formation while within the shards, Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance (PBFT) is employed to achieve consensus. Smart contracts are implemented in Scilla, a language created by the Zilliqa team who is mainly located in Singapore.

Product

“To develop a clean-slate protocol that is capable of scaling, without compromising security and resilience.” 

 The company is working on building a blockchain platform where DApps can be built on a platform designed to scale in an open, permission-less distributed network. Implementation of sharding to increase scalability and security characterize this project set as the main differentiator against competitive baseline protocols. The idea of Sharding in the Blockchain field was first put forward in an academic paper co-authored by the Zilliqa team members in 2015. The ability to process transactions in parallel due to the sharded architecture ensures that the throughput in Zilliqa linearly increases with the size of the network. Moreover, it follows a dataflow programming style, where the program can be seen as a DAG. Nodes in the graph represent computations, while arcs represent input/output. Data flow programs are known to be inherently parallelizable and easy to reason about. The key advantage of employing a dataflow approach is that more than one instruction can be executed at once. Several nodes can be activated at the same time running in parallel.

Zilliqa seeks to become the main competitor of Ethereum. A number of initiatives such as developer relations, grants and events aimed at bringing DApps on the platform have been created by the project. Zilliqa aims to provide a platform to run highly scalable computations in a multitude of fields such as data mining, machine learning and financial modelling to name a few. The main industry that the protocol is seeking to disrupt and build a platform for DApps is digital supply chains and advertising. Other possible use cases are automated high-volume auctions & decentralized exchanges. Zilliqa provides the infrastructural support for conducting any trading application at high volume and large scale. Another use case is in DApps for the scientific and academic community where high-performance computing and reliable, accurate results are required. It is evident that efficiency is key to the success of such an application.

The Token Generation Event (TGE) was finished by January 2018, having raised roughly US$22,000,000 for the initial development of the product.  This funding will be able to support the research, development and operations of the project for at least 3 years. The funds raised were given in exchange of its utility token ZIL which is meant to be used as the main currency to exchange for DApps built on top of the blockchain. Along with its use as a utility token, it also supports smart contracts. Scilla is the smart contract language used in Zilliqa.

Zilliqa’s version of mining only requires GPUs to run at full load for a small fraction of time, as Proof of Work is only used to establish identities. Zilliqa uses PoW also to prevent Sybil attacks (a type of network attack based on the attacker forging their identity). Every new node who wishes to join the Zilliqa network has to first perform a PoW.

Key Features:

  • Fault tolerant – no single node controlling the data transaction and data records in the P2P decentralized network, there is no single point of failure in the network
  • No Internet Censorship – It controls and prevents internet Censorship violation as there is no central controlling authority owning the DApps in the network
  • Enhanced Trust – no single entity owns or controls applications on the platform making data theft and manipulation very difficult
  • Sharding – through the use of sharding Zilliqa seeks to solve some of the biggest scalability issues with the blockchain technology. Sharding works by dividing the mining network into small shards, each capable of processing transactions in parallel.
  • Consensus – hybrid POW/PBFT. PoW is used only to prevent Sybil attacks and generate node identities. It uses Ethash algorithm which can be mined with a GPU.

Management

Zilliqa’s leadership team consists of computer scientists with PhDs from top world universities and research institutions such as Princeton, Berkley, and the National University of Singapore (NUS). The solid educational background of the lead team members is also backed up by the experience and track record of its management. Xinshu Dong, CEO of Zilliqa, has previous experience in Blockchain research and development with Anquan. Anquan is primarily deployed for financial and e-commerce applications and is in many ways a precursor to the Zilliqa project. Christel Quek , is an all-star member of the Zilliqa team. She is a Co-Founder of BOLT, a live TV and gaming service with over 3m users in Kenya, Southeast Asia and Latin America.

A number of high profile advisors are involved in the project. Loi Luu, the founder of Khyber who is a frequent speaker at Bitcoin and Ethereum workshops, DevCon2, EdCon and an influencer in the crypto space. Stuart Prior, who is a FinTech veteran with 20+ years of experience in investment banking. He currently works on corporate banking initiatives for the adoption of Blockchain technology.

Zilliqa hasn’t only got an outstanding management team and advisory. It has also secured a number of commercial partnerships with potential use cases and commercialization of its protocol. Mediamath, a leading digital media buying platform and services company based in New York, serving over 250b ad impressions a day. Mindshare, a global media and marketing services company with 7,000 employees across 116 countries and global annual revenue at USD34.5B. Integral Ad Science (IAS), a global software company, headquartered in New York, that builds verification, optimization, and analytics solutions, acting as leaders in viewability, brand safety and ad fraud. Integral Ad Science is part of the mindshare project and a major partnership in the advertising industry for Zilliqa. Other notable partnerships include Genaro Network, Bluzelle, LayerX, Rubicon Project.

Development

Developers with many years of secure software systems-building expertise, software architecture and software engineering work on building Zilliqa’s product. Jia Yaoqi leads the technical team acting as a CTO for the company. The development team is more than 15 strong and they are clearly listed and visible on LinkedIn. Moreover, the GitHub commits and activity can be tracked and clearly demonstrate that constant work on building the protocol is being delivered.

Github.PNG

To bring developers and DApps builders on its platform, the company has an Ecosystem grant program initiative – BuildOnZil:

  • A pool of $5 million USD that will be given to great projects, teams & individuals to start building tools & applications for the Zilliqa platform.
  • Objective: To support & encourage great individuals/teams around the world to start developing tools, libraries & Dapps for the Zilliqa platform.
  • Disbursement method: Min 30% native Zil tokens – the remainder can be in USD or ETH.
  • Disbursement schedule: The selected teams will work with Zilliqa on a set of technical milestones & corresponding deliverables. The award will be dispatched in three batches: initial payment, mid-term payment (once a No. of milestones have been reached) & the final payment (on completion). For each project the code has to be open source and the team is required to maintain the code base for at least 1-year.
  • What is provided:
    • Non-dilutive funding
    • Technical advice (subject to the Zilliqa team’s resources)
    • A feature on the Zilliqa website/other channels as the first batch of developer tools/Dapps
  • Funded development stratified by project type & duration, with grant values awarded based on the prior:
    • Tools & libraries – E.g. plug-in support for existing editors such as Sublime
    • Cross-OS support e.g. Windows, Block explorer, a browser extension to integrate with Zilliqa wallets, Web wallet/desktop/mobile wallet, Debugger for Scilla, etc.
    • Dapps – DEX, games, stable coins, auctions, market places, other Dapps

The final part of the development we are going to quickly look at is the roadmap and expected delivery of features of the product. The project has been active for more than two years and it has already launched their main-net and accomplished the main token swap. The team always delivers on time and clearly communicates on its development and issues that may have arisen.

Roadmap

Community

A strong, professional presence is essential for the long term success of a company, as well as the health of its token. Having multiple, trustworthy communication channels gives a method to reach customers and investors to increase adoption and token value. Zilliqa’s builds its credibility and reputation with PR, events, and regular communications. This creates a pipeline of developers, partners and investors for the company and its healthy future development. Prompting the admins in the telegram channel with a couple of quick-fire questions @Joona came back immediately with answers to the questions:

  1. What features did the project build recently that a consumer or enterprise is using or benefiting from?

We recently released our mainnet on the 31st of Jan, do see.

You can start building on top of mainnet after the bootstrap phase has finished. https://blog.zilliqa.com/zilliqa-mainnet-the-launch-and-beyond-4cd7e113369f

  1. How much did they improve the infrastructure and stack by in terms of scalability, privacy, confidentiality?

We have reached 2488 TPS in testnet previously which is multiple of hundreds time higher than on Ethereum for example.

Privacy is part of our future researches.

  1. What are some of the weaknesses and threads of the project?

 To start with, competing in an open source framework like in the blockchain space does not make much sense. Since, the project is open source, anybody is free to reuse the idea in another project. The biggest problem in blockchains today is scalability. There are several solutions to this problem. The beauty is that each project provides its own solution and this creates a healthy environment of learning from one project and building another one. Each project usually has its own strengths and weaknesses. Attempting to compete with any blockchain whatsoever will take the project nowhere. This will prevent us from adopting smart ideas out there in our so-called competitors. Our philosophy is that one needs to identify the strength of the idea, follow it and be open to learning from other projects.

Community:


Strengths

  • Sharding implemented now not sometime in the future
  • Transaction Speeds increase linearly
  • Environmentally friendly and very secure due to its mixed consensus mechanism
  • Lower transaction fees and higher transactions speed compared to its main competitors like Ethereum or NEO

Weaknesses

  • The niche language used for smart contracts means a smaller pool of talent and a learning curve for new developers
  • Approach to governance is a weakness of the protocol

Opportunities

  • The smart contract language Scilla that Zilliqa uses follows dataflow programming making it ideal for large-scale computations that can be parallelized
  • As the project is open source, it will be capable of being tested by independent parties
  • The ZIL research team is exploring securing PoS consensus, storage pruning, cross-chain support and privacy-preserving computation.

Threats

  • The possible partnership with Ethereum andTron

Conclusion

The current landscape of blockchain protocol platforms is facing major issues regarding their scalability. Zilliqa has a solution to the exact same problem. The exponential increase of the amounts of DApps built on top of different protocols grows every day. The demand for higher transaction throughput is becoming an important factor for those considering building on top of protocols that don’t offer speed. The protocol has been redesigned from scratch over a period of two years by a team with proven academic credentials and relevant industry experience. Moreover, a team of industry movers setting up the bar for novelty within the Blockchain space is putting a serious competition out there to the other main baseline protocols.

 

External Resources:

 Zilliqa website:  https://zilliqa.com/

Zilliqa Whitepaper: https://docs.zilliqa.com/positionpaper.pdf

Zilliqa Technical Paper: https://docs.zilliqa.com/whitepaper.pdf

Zilliqa Blog: https://blog.zilliqa.com/

GitHub: https://github.com/Zilliqa

Block explorer: https://explorer.zilliqa.com/

Wallet: https://wallet.zilliqa.com/

Charts: CoinMarketCap – https://coinmarketcap.com

CoinGecko: https://www.coingecko.com/en/coins/zilliqa

Metrics: https://messari.io

 

Disclaimer: This document is for information and illustrative purposes only. It is not, and should not be regarded as “investment advice” or as a “recommendation” regarding a course of action, including without limitation as those terms are used in any applicable law or regulation.

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