The CEO of Zillaqa Xinshu Dong talks about the downsizing of the blockchain


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Last week, I was able to interview the managing director of Zillaqa, Xinshu Dong. At the time of writing this article, Zilliqa (ZIL) is in 32nd place on CoinMarketCap with a market capitalization of just over $ 270 million. The currency peaked at over $ 1.6 billion in May 2017. The rapid rise of the currency occurred while the bitcoin was around $ 8,000 and historically proved to be exceptionally good even in bear markets.

What is Zilliqa?

Comparison of Zilliqa throughput to that of existing blockchains such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Zilliqa is a new high productivity blockchain that aims to "process thousands of transactions per second" with "high decentralization and high security". The goal of this high throughput is that developers "can concentrate on developing ideas [their] without worrying about network congestion, high transaction costs or security, which are the key issues with legacy blockchain platforms." The website contains the graph on the left that compares Zilliqa with existing blockchains.

This does not mean that other blockchains can not process higher transaction volumes, says Dong, but the question is what do these other blockchains sacrifice in order to increase their transaction throughput. Other blockchains achieve this with a slightly more centralized architecture, or having some transactions escaping from the blockchain. The Zilliqa team does not compromise on these performance improvements, with Dong stating that the team "believes in the original spirit of the blockchain [the]", which means that they "process things on the blockchain itself" and "maintain a level very high decentralization "Instead, most of the improvements made to their performance come either from sharing or processing their consent algorithm to be more efficient. Dong says that every transaction involves up to 600-800 knots. He goes on to explain how this differs from Ethereum and Bitcoin.

With Ethereum and Bitcoin, says Dong, you will have between 10,000 and 20,000 nodes processing all transactions. Although the process is very safe and resilient, it is not necessarily efficient. With Zilliqa, the challenge was to make sure that not all nodes were to process each transaction, but at the same time make sure that they involved enough nodes to achieve decentralization efficiently. The way this is done in Zilliqa (and as proposed to Ethereum) is through sharding. At a high level, sharding means distributing transactions on a number of different nodes so that not every node is doing each transaction. There are several types of sharding currently available and what Zilliqa is doing immediately is what is called network sharding or transaction and is different from the state sharding, which is done on Ethereum.

Sharding at Zilliqa vs. Sharding at Ethereum

While Dong explains the fragment of state in the interview, the best explanation I found was in an article by the chief scientific advisor by Zilliqa Prateek Saxena and councilor Loi Luu (who is also a consultant to Kambria, Republic Protocol and and many others who no longer seem to be involved in the Zilliqa project (ie Viswesh Narayanan, Chaodong Zheng, Kunal Baweja and Seth Gilbert) all at the National University of Singapore. The following excerpt from the document explains how it works:

"ZILLIQA does what is called network or transaction sharding .. Imagine a sample network of 1,000 nodes ZILLIQA will automatically divide the network into 10 fragments each with 100 nodes. parallel transactions If each fragment can process 100 transactions per second, all fragments can process 1000 transactions per second.The ability to process transactions in parallel due to simplified architecture ensures that the throughput in ZILLIQA increases (approximately) linearly with the size of the network. "

The document continues to explain how this differs from what is being sought in Ethereum:

" Ethereum is currently researching what is called state sharding, ie how to divide the blockchain status so that archiving does not become a problem in the long run.ZILLIQA is not doing it i of the state in its current immediate plan. Running smart contracts on a thicker network without sharing the state is already a big challenge. That said, the state shard is in our future plans. "

The document goes on to explain several problems that exist in the proposed version of the Ethereum state sharing that will not affect the implementation of the transactional sharification of Zilliqa.The most worrying thing is that the implementations proposed by Ethereum do not allow communication cross-shard in phase 1. This means that an intelligent contract that resides in a fragment (out of a total of 100) can not call a contract on another fragment.This is not the case with Zilliqa, with "every node having a vision of the global state ", which makes it much more practical to achieve success goals in the coming months, according to Dong, which is in stark contrast to the Ethereum prediction that they will split live by 2020. Having said this, the Zilliqa's team is certainly considering long-term status sharing as part of their implementation.

Challenges [1 9659015] Outside of some of the challenges that the Zilliqa team has undertaken to implement a work trial test implementation that allows nodes to holistically view the network by applying an efficient consensus mechanism, the team has met many more traditional problems. The Bandwith, for example, was a problem for which the Zilliqa team had to solve. The way they did it is that the nodes share the delta of change with respect to all transactional newspapers (for the entire network rather than a single fragment of nodes). These deltas are things like "account balances" or "values ​​of variables in an intelligent contract", which should be global.

In addition to downsizing the network and technology, Zilliqa also had to scale up his team. This challenge was further exacerbated by the team's position in Singapore, where it is notoriously difficult to find technological talents, with over 70% of the fintech companies in Singapore struggling to find talent. However, they had some advantages that they were able to exploit.

First of all the team had written the code three times before: the first in the research laboratory of the University of Singapore, then again as Dong and his team built private blockchains for the work of the clients and finally for the public blockchain.

Another thing that Dong has emphasized as a key component of his success has been his story with the team. Dong says he has worked with a number of team members for years. For example, the team CSO, Prateek, worked with Dong for seven years.


Zilliqa is a small team with the ambitious goal of creating a transactional blockchain of PoW sharwares capable of processing thousands of transactions per second without the use of side chains or centralization. The strong background of the academic research team gave him an edge in recruiting increasingly difficult to find blockchain talents, especially in Southeast Asia. The team intends to release its mainnet at the end of this year or at the beginning of next year, and with its current market capitalization it will be closely observed in the world of cryptocurrencies.

Note: This interview is part of the CCN Podcast. The podcast and this interview are also available on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Google Play Music, Spotify, SoundCloud, YouTube or wherever you have your podcast. Be sure to vote and sign up!

Close-up image of Shutterstock

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