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Why i’m bullish on Zilliqa (long read)

Edit: TL;DR added in the comments
 
Hey all, I've been researching coins since 2017 and have gone through 100s of them in the last 3 years. I got introduced to blockchain via Bitcoin of course, analyzed Ethereum thereafter and from that moment I have a keen interest in smart contact platforms. I’m passionate about Ethereum but I find Zilliqa to have a better risk-reward ratio. Especially because Zilliqa has found an elegant balance between being secure, decentralized and scalable in my opinion.
 
Below I post my analysis of why from all the coins I went through I’m most bullish on Zilliqa (yes I went through Tezos, EOS, NEO, VeChain, Harmony, Algorand, Cardano etc.). Note that this is not investment advice and although it's a thorough analysis there is obviously some bias involved. Looking forward to what you all think!
 
Fun fact: the name Zilliqa is a play on ‘silica’ silicon dioxide which means “Silicon for the high-throughput consensus computer.”
 
This post is divided into (i) Technology, (ii) Business & Partnerships, and (iii) Marketing & Community. I’ve tried to make the technology part readable for a broad audience. If you’ve ever tried understanding the inner workings of Bitcoin and Ethereum you should be able to grasp most parts. Otherwise, just skim through and once you are zoning out head to the next part.
 
Technology and some more:
 
Introduction
 
The technology is one of the main reasons why I’m so bullish on Zilliqa. First thing you see on their website is: “Zilliqa is a high-performance, high-security blockchain platform for enterprises and next-generation applications.” These are some bold statements.
 
Before we deep dive into the technology let’s take a step back in time first as they have quite the history. The initial research paper from which Zilliqa originated dates back to August 2016: Elastico: A Secure Sharding Protocol For Open Blockchains where Loi Luu (Kyber Network) is one of the co-authors. Other ideas that led to the development of what Zilliqa has become today are: Bitcoin-NG, collective signing CoSi, ByzCoin and Omniledger.
 
The technical white paper was made public in August 2017 and since then they have achieved everything stated in the white paper and also created their own open source intermediate level smart contract language called Scilla (functional programming language similar to OCaml) too.
 
Mainnet is live since the end of January 2019 with daily transaction rates growing continuously. About a week ago mainnet reached 5 million transactions, 500.000+ addresses in total along with 2400 nodes keeping the network decentralized and secure. Circulating supply is nearing 11 billion and currently only mining rewards are left. The maximum supply is 21 billion with annual inflation being 7.13% currently and will only decrease with time.
 
Zilliqa realized early on that the usage of public cryptocurrencies and smart contracts were increasing but decentralized, secure, and scalable alternatives were lacking in the crypto space. They proposed to apply sharding onto a public smart contract blockchain where the transaction rate increases almost linear with the increase in the amount of nodes. More nodes = higher transaction throughput and increased decentralization. Sharding comes in many forms and Zilliqa uses network-, transaction- and computational sharding. Network sharding opens up the possibility of using transaction- and computational sharding on top. Zilliqa does not use state sharding for now. We’ll come back to this later.
 
Before we continue dissecting how Zilliqa achieves such from a technological standpoint it’s good to keep in mind that a blockchain being decentralised and secure and scalable is still one of the main hurdles in allowing widespread usage of decentralised networks. In my opinion this needs to be solved first before blockchains can get to the point where they can create and add large scale value. So I invite you to read the next section to grasp the underlying fundamentals. Because after all these premises need to be true otherwise there isn’t a fundamental case to be bullish on Zilliqa, right?
 
Down the rabbit hole
 
How have they achieved this? Let’s define the basics first: key players on Zilliqa are the users and the miners. A user is anybody who uses the blockchain to transfer funds or run smart contracts. Miners are the (shard) nodes in the network who run the consensus protocol and get rewarded for their service in Zillings (ZIL). The mining network is divided into several smaller networks called shards, which is also referred to as ‘network sharding’. Miners subsequently are randomly assigned to a shard by another set of miners called DS (Directory Service) nodes. The regular shards process transactions and the outputs of these shards are eventually combined by the DS shard as they reach consensus on the final state. More on how these DS shards reach consensus (via pBFT) will be explained later on.
 
The Zilliqa network produces two types of blocks: DS blocks and Tx blocks. One DS Block consists of 100 Tx Blocks. And as previously mentioned there are two types of nodes concerned with reaching consensus: shard nodes and DS nodes. Becoming a shard node or DS node is being defined by the result of a PoW cycle (Ethash) at the beginning of the DS Block. All candidate mining nodes compete with each other and run the PoW (Proof-of-Work) cycle for 60 seconds and the submissions achieving the highest difficulty will be allowed on the network. And to put it in perspective: the average difficulty for one DS node is ~ 2 Th/s equaling 2.000.000 Mh/s or 55 thousand+ GeForce GTX 1070 / 8 GB GPUs at 35.4 Mh/s. Each DS Block 10 new DS nodes are allowed. And a shard node needs to provide around 8.53 GH/s currently (around 240 GTX 1070s). Dual mining ETH/ETC and ZIL is possible and can be done via mining software such as Phoenix and Claymore. There are pools and if you have large amounts of hashing power (Ethash) available you could mine solo.
 
The PoW cycle of 60 seconds is a peak performance and acts as an entry ticket to the network. The entry ticket is called a sybil resistance mechanism and makes it incredibly hard for adversaries to spawn lots of identities and manipulate the network with these identities. And after every 100 Tx Blocks which corresponds to roughly 1,5 hour this PoW process repeats. In between these 1,5 hour, no PoW needs to be done meaning Zilliqa’s energy consumption to keep the network secure is low. For more detailed information on how mining works click here.
Okay, hats off to you. You have made it this far. Before we go any deeper down the rabbit hole we first must understand why Zilliqa goes through all of the above technicalities and understand a bit more what a blockchain on a more fundamental level is. Because the core of Zilliqa’s consensus protocol relies on the usage of pBFT (practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance) we need to know more about state machines and their function. Navigate to Viewblock, a Zilliqa block explorer, and just come back to this article. We will use this site to navigate through a few concepts.
 
We have established that Zilliqa is a public and distributed blockchain. Meaning that everyone with an internet connection can send ZILs, trigger smart contracts, etc. and there is no central authority who fully controls the network. Zilliqa and other public and distributed blockchains (like Bitcoin and Ethereum) can also be defined as state machines.
 
Taking the liberty of paraphrasing examples and definitions given by Samuel Brooks’ medium article, he describes the definition of a blockchain (like Zilliqa) as: “A peer-to-peer, append-only datastore that uses consensus to synchronize cryptographically-secure data”.
 
Next, he states that: "blockchains are fundamentally systems for managing valid state transitions”. For some more context, I recommend reading the whole medium article to get a better grasp of the definitions and understanding of state machines. Nevertheless, let’s try to simplify and compile it into a single paragraph. Take traffic lights as an example: all its states (red, amber, and green) are predefined, all possible outcomes are known and it doesn’t matter if you encounter the traffic light today or tomorrow. It will still behave the same. Managing the states of a traffic light can be done by triggering a sensor on the road or pushing a button resulting in one traffic lights’ state going from green to red (via amber) and another light from red to green.
 
With public blockchains like Zilliqa, this isn’t so straightforward and simple. It started with block #1 almost 1,5 years ago and every 45 seconds or so a new block linked to the previous block is being added. Resulting in a chain of blocks with transactions in it that everyone can verify from block #1 to the current #647.000+ block. The state is ever changing and the states it can find itself in are infinite. And while the traffic light might work together in tandem with various other traffic lights, it’s rather insignificant comparing it to a public blockchain. Because Zilliqa consists of 2400 nodes who need to work together to achieve consensus on what the latest valid state is while some of these nodes may have latency or broadcast issues, drop offline or are deliberately trying to attack the network, etc.
 
Now go back to the Viewblock page take a look at the amount of transaction, addresses, block and DS height and then hit refresh. Obviously as expected you see new incremented values on one or all parameters. And how did the Zilliqa blockchain manage to transition from a previous valid state to the latest valid state? By using pBFT to reach consensus on the latest valid state.
 
After having obtained the entry ticket, miners execute pBFT to reach consensus on the ever-changing state of the blockchain. pBFT requires a series of network communication between nodes, and as such there is no GPU involved (but CPU). Resulting in the total energy consumed to keep the blockchain secure, decentralized and scalable being low.
 
pBFT stands for practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance and is an optimization on the Byzantine Fault Tolerant algorithm. To quote Blockonomi: “In the context of distributed systems, Byzantine Fault Tolerance is the ability of a distributed computer network to function as desired and correctly reach a sufficient consensus despite malicious components (nodes) of the system failing or propagating incorrect information to other peers.” Zilliqa is such a distributed computer network and depends on the honesty of the nodes (shard and DS) to reach consensus and to continuously update the state with the latest block. If pBFT is a new term for you I can highly recommend the Blockonomi article.
 
The idea of pBFT was introduced in 1999 - one of the authors even won a Turing award for it - and it is well researched and applied in various blockchains and distributed systems nowadays. If you want more advanced information than the Blockonomi link provides click here. And if you’re in between Blockonomi and the University of Singapore read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 2 dating from October 2017.
Quoting from the Zilliqa tech whitepaper: “pBFT relies upon a correct leader (which is randomly selected) to begin each phase and proceed when the sufficient majority exists. In case the leader is byzantine it can stall the entire consensus protocol. To address this challenge, pBFT offers a view change protocol to replace the byzantine leader with another one.”
 
pBFT can tolerate ⅓ of the nodes being dishonest (offline counts as Byzantine = dishonest) and the consensus protocol will function without stalling or hiccups. Once there are more than ⅓ of dishonest nodes but no more than ⅔ the network will be stalled and a view change will be triggered to elect a new DS leader. Only when more than ⅔ of the nodes are dishonest (66%) double-spend attacks become possible.
 
If the network stalls no transactions can be processed and one has to wait until a new honest leader has been elected. When the mainnet was just launched and in its early phases, view changes happened regularly. As of today the last stalling of the network - and view change being triggered - was at the end of October 2019.
 
Another benefit of using pBFT for consensus besides low energy is the immediate finality it provides. Once your transaction is included in a block and the block is added to the chain it’s done. Lastly, take a look at this article where three types of finality are being defined: probabilistic, absolute and economic finality. Zilliqa falls under the absolute finality (just like Tendermint for example). Although lengthy already we skipped through some of the inner workings from Zilliqa’s consensus: read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 3 and you will be close to having a complete picture on it. Enough about PoW, sybil resistance mechanism, pBFT, etc. Another thing we haven’t looked at yet is the amount of decentralization.
 
Decentralisation
 
Currently, there are four shards, each one of them consisting of 600 nodes. 1 shard with 600 so-called DS nodes (Directory Service - they need to achieve a higher difficulty than shard nodes) and 1800 shard nodes of which 250 are shard guards (centralized nodes controlled by the team). The amount of shard guards has been steadily declining from 1200 in January 2019 to 250 as of May 2020. On the Viewblock statistics, you can see that many of the nodes are being located in the US but those are only the (CPU parts of the) shard nodes who perform pBFT. There is no data from where the PoW sources are coming. And when the Zilliqa blockchain starts reaching its transaction capacity limit, a network upgrade needs to be executed to lift the current cap of maximum 2400 nodes to allow more nodes and formation of more shards which will allow to network to keep on scaling according to demand.
Besides shard nodes there are also seed nodes. The main role of seed nodes is to serve as direct access points (for end-users and clients) to the core Zilliqa network that validates transactions. Seed nodes consolidate transaction requests and forward these to the lookup nodes (another type of nodes) for distribution to the shards in the network. Seed nodes also maintain the entire transaction history and the global state of the blockchain which is needed to provide services such as block explorers. Seed nodes in the Zilliqa network are comparable to Infura on Ethereum.
 
The seed nodes were first only operated by Zilliqa themselves, exchanges and Viewblock. Operators of seed nodes like exchanges had no incentive to open them for the greater public. They were centralised at first. Decentralisation at the seed nodes level has been steadily rolled out since March 2020 ( Zilliqa Improvement Proposal 3 ). Currently the amount of seed nodes is being increased, they are public-facing and at the same time PoS is applied to incentivize seed node operators and make it possible for ZIL holders to stake and earn passive yields. Important distinction: seed nodes are not involved with consensus! That is still PoW as entry ticket and pBFT for the actual consensus.
 
5% of the block rewards are being assigned to seed nodes (from the beginning in 2019) and those are being used to pay out ZIL stakers. The 5% block rewards with an annual yield of 10.03% translate to roughly 610 MM ZILs in total that can be staked. Exchanges use the custodial variant of staking and wallets like Moonlet will use the non-custodial version (starting in Q3 2020). Staking is being done by sending ZILs to a smart contract created by Zilliqa and audited by Quantstamp.
 
With a high amount of DS; shard nodes and seed nodes becoming more decentralized too, Zilliqa qualifies for the label of decentralized in my opinion.
 
Smart contracts
 
Let me start by saying I’m not a developer and my programming skills are quite limited. So I‘m taking the ELI5 route (maybe 12) but if you are familiar with Javascript, Solidity or specifically OCaml please head straight to Scilla - read the docs to get a good initial grasp of how Zilliqa’s smart contract language Scilla works and if you ask yourself “why another programming language?” check this article. And if you want to play around with some sample contracts in an IDE click here. The faucet can be found here. And more information on architecture, dapp development and API can be found on the Developer Portal.
If you are more into listening and watching: check this recent webinar explaining Zilliqa and Scilla. Link is time-stamped so you’ll start right away with a platform introduction, roadmap 2020 and afterwards a proper Scilla introduction.
 
Generalized: programming languages can be divided into being ‘object-oriented’ or ‘functional’. Here is an ELI5 given by software development academy: * “all programs have two basic components, data – what the program knows – and behavior – what the program can do with that data. So object-oriented programming states that combining data and related behaviors in one place, is called “object”, which makes it easier to understand how a particular program works. On the other hand, functional programming argues that data and behavior are different things and should be separated to ensure their clarity.” *
 
Scilla is on the functional side and shares similarities with OCaml: OCaml is a general-purpose programming language with an emphasis on expressiveness and safety. It has an advanced type system that helps catch your mistakes without getting in your way. It's used in environments where a single mistake can cost millions and speed matters, is supported by an active community, and has a rich set of libraries and development tools. For all its power, OCaml is also pretty simple, which is one reason it's often used as a teaching language.
 
Scilla is blockchain agnostic, can be implemented onto other blockchains as well, is recognized by academics and won a so-called Distinguished Artifact Award award at the end of last year.
 
One of the reasons why the Zilliqa team decided to create their own programming language focused on preventing smart contract vulnerabilities is that adding logic on a blockchain, programming, means that you cannot afford to make mistakes. Otherwise, it could cost you. It’s all great and fun blockchains being immutable but updating your code because you found a bug isn’t the same as with a regular web application for example. And with smart contracts, it inherently involves cryptocurrencies in some form thus value.
 
Another difference with programming languages on a blockchain is gas. Every transaction you do on a smart contract platform like Zilliqa or Ethereum costs gas. With gas you basically pay for computational costs. Sending a ZIL from address A to address B costs 0.001 ZIL currently. Smart contracts are more complex, often involve various functions and require more gas (if gas is a new concept click here ).
 
So with Scilla, similar to Solidity, you need to make sure that “every function in your smart contract will run as expected without hitting gas limits. An improper resource analysis may lead to situations where funds may get stuck simply because a part of the smart contract code cannot be executed due to gas limits. Such constraints are not present in traditional software systems”. Scilla design story part 1
 
Some examples of smart contract issues you’d want to avoid are: leaking funds, ‘unexpected changes to critical state variables’ (example: someone other than you setting his or her address as the owner of the smart contract after creation) or simply killing a contract.
 
Scilla also allows for formal verification. Wikipedia to the rescue: In the context of hardware and software systems, formal verification is the act of proving or disproving the correctness of intended algorithms underlying a system with respect to a certain formal specification or property, using formal methods of mathematics.
 
Formal verification can be helpful in proving the correctness of systems such as: cryptographic protocols, combinational circuits, digital circuits with internal memory, and software expressed as source code.
 
Scilla is being developed hand-in-hand with formalization of its semantics and its embedding into the Coq proof assistant — a state-of-the art tool for mechanized proofs about properties of programs.”
 
Simply put, with Scilla and accompanying tooling developers can be mathematically sure and proof that the smart contract they’ve written does what he or she intends it to do.
 
Smart contract on a sharded environment and state sharding
 
There is one more topic I’d like to touch on: smart contract execution in a sharded environment (and what is the effect of state sharding). This is a complex topic. I’m not able to explain it any easier than what is posted here. But I will try to compress the post into something easy to digest.
 
Earlier on we have established that Zilliqa can process transactions in parallel due to network sharding. This is where the linear scalability comes from. We can define simple transactions: a transaction from address A to B (Category 1), a transaction where a user interacts with one smart contract (Category 2) and the most complex ones where triggering a transaction results in multiple smart contracts being involved (Category 3). The shards are able to process transactions on their own without interference of the other shards. With Category 1 transactions that is doable, with Category 2 transactions sometimes if that address is in the same shard as the smart contract but with Category 3 you definitely need communication between the shards. Solving that requires to make a set of communication rules the protocol needs to follow in order to process all transactions in a generalised fashion.
 
And this is where the downsides of state sharding comes in currently. All shards in Zilliqa have access to the complete state. Yes the state size (0.1 GB at the moment) grows and all of the nodes need to store it but it also means that they don’t need to shop around for information available on other shards. Requiring more communication and adding more complexity. Computer science knowledge and/or developer knowledge required links if you want to dig further: Scilla - language grammar Scilla - Foundations for Verifiable Decentralised Computations on a Blockchain Gas Accounting NUS x Zilliqa: Smart contract language workshop
 
Easier to follow links on programming Scilla https://learnscilla.com/home Ivan on Tech
 
Roadmap / Zilliqa 2.0
 
There is no strict defined roadmap but here are topics being worked on. And via the Zilliqa website there is also more information on the projects they are working on.
 
Business & Partnerships
 
It’s not only technology in which Zilliqa seems to be excelling as their ecosystem has been expanding and starting to grow rapidly. The project is on a mission to provide OpenFinance (OpFi) to the world and Singapore is the right place to be due to its progressive regulations and futuristic thinking. Singapore has taken a proactive approach towards cryptocurrencies by introducing the Payment Services Act 2019 (PS Act). Among other things, the PS Act will regulate intermediaries dealing with certain cryptocurrencies, with a particular focus on consumer protection and anti-money laundering. It will also provide a stable regulatory licensing and operating framework for cryptocurrency entities, effectively covering all crypto businesses and exchanges based in Singapore. According to PWC 82% of the surveyed executives in Singapore reported blockchain initiatives underway and 13% of them have already brought the initiatives live to the market. There is also an increasing list of organizations that are starting to provide digital payment services. Moreover, Singaporean blockchain developers Building Cities Beyond has recently created an innovation $15 million grant to encourage development on its ecosystem. This all suggests that Singapore tries to position itself as (one of) the leading blockchain hubs in the world.
 
Zilliqa seems to already take advantage of this and recently helped launch Hg Exchange on their platform, together with financial institutions PhillipCapital, PrimePartners and Fundnel. Hg Exchange, which is now approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), uses smart contracts to represent digital assets. Through Hg Exchange financial institutions worldwide can use Zilliqa's safe-by-design smart contracts to enable the trading of private equities. For example, think of companies such as Grab, Airbnb, SpaceX that are not available for public trading right now. Hg Exchange will allow investors to buy shares of private companies & unicorns and capture their value before an IPO. Anquan, the main company behind Zilliqa, has also recently announced that they became a partner and shareholder in TEN31 Bank, which is a fully regulated bank allowing for tokenization of assets and is aiming to bridge the gap between conventional banking and the blockchain world. If STOs, the tokenization of assets, and equity trading will continue to increase, then Zilliqa’s public blockchain would be the ideal candidate due to its strategic positioning, partnerships, regulatory compliance and the technology that is being built on top of it.
 
What is also very encouraging is their focus on banking the un(der)banked. They are launching a stablecoin basket starting with XSGD. As many of you know, stablecoins are currently mostly used for trading. However, Zilliqa is actively trying to broaden the use case of stablecoins. I recommend everybody to read this text that Amrit Kumar wrote (one of the co-founders). These stablecoins will be integrated in the traditional markets and bridge the gap between the crypto world and the traditional world. This could potentially revolutionize and legitimise the crypto space if retailers and companies will for example start to use stablecoins for payments or remittances, instead of it solely being used for trading.
 
Zilliqa also released their DeFi strategic roadmap (dating November 2019) which seems to be aligning well with their OpFi strategy. A non-custodial DEX is coming to Zilliqa made by Switcheo which allows cross-chain trading (atomic swaps) between ETH, EOS and ZIL based tokens. They also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a (soon to be announced) USD stablecoin. And as Zilliqa is all about regulations and being compliant, I’m speculating on it to be a regulated USD stablecoin. Furthermore, XSGD is already created and visible on block explorer and XIDR (Indonesian Stablecoin) is also coming soon via StraitsX. Here also an overview of the Tech Stack for Financial Applications from September 2019. Further quoting Amrit Kumar on this:
 
There are two basic building blocks in DeFi/OpFi though: 1) stablecoins as you need a non-volatile currency to get access to this market and 2) a dex to be able to trade all these financial assets. The rest are built on top of these blocks.
 
So far, together with our partners and community, we have worked on developing these building blocks with XSGD as a stablecoin. We are working on bringing a USD-backed stablecoin as well. We will soon have a decentralised exchange developed by Switcheo. And with HGX going live, we are also venturing into the tokenization space. More to come in the future.”
 
Additionally, they also have this ZILHive initiative that injects capital into projects. There have been already 6 waves of various teams working on infrastructure, innovation and research, and they are not from ASEAN or Singapore only but global: see Grantees breakdown by country. Over 60 project teams from over 20 countries have contributed to Zilliqa's ecosystem. This includes individuals and teams developing wallets, explorers, developer toolkits, smart contract testing frameworks, dapps, etc. As some of you may know, Unstoppable Domains (UD) blew up when they launched on Zilliqa. UD aims to replace cryptocurrency addresses with a human-readable name and allows for uncensorable websites. Zilliqa will probably be the only one able to handle all these transactions onchain due to ability to scale and its resulting low fees which is why the UD team launched this on Zilliqa in the first place. Furthermore, Zilliqa also has a strong emphasis on security, compliance, and privacy, which is why they partnered with companies like Elliptic, ChainSecurity (part of PwC Switzerland), and Incognito. Their sister company Aqilliz (Zilliqa spelled backwards) focuses on revolutionizing the digital advertising space and is doing interesting things like using Zilliqa to track outdoor digital ads with companies like Foodpanda.
 
Zilliqa is listed on nearly all major exchanges, having several different fiat-gateways and recently have been added to Binance’s margin trading and futures trading with really good volume. They also have a very impressive team with good credentials and experience. They don't just have “tech people”. They have a mix of tech people, business people, marketeers, scientists, and more. Naturally, it's good to have a mix of people with different skill sets if you work in the crypto space.
 
Marketing & Community
 
Zilliqa has a very strong community. If you just follow their Twitter their engagement is much higher for a coin that has approximately 80k followers. They also have been ‘coin of the day’ by LunarCrush many times. LunarCrush tracks real-time cryptocurrency value and social data. According to their data, it seems Zilliqa has a more fundamental and deeper understanding of marketing and community engagement than almost all other coins. While almost all coins have been a bit frozen in the last months, Zilliqa seems to be on its own bull run. It was somewhere in the 100s a few months ago and is currently ranked #46 on CoinGecko. Their official Telegram also has over 20k people and is very active, and their community channel which is over 7k now is more active and larger than many other official channels. Their local communities also seem to be growing.
 
Moreover, their community started ‘Zillacracy’ together with the Zilliqa core team ( see www.zillacracy.com ). It’s a community-run initiative where people from all over the world are now helping with marketing and development on Zilliqa. Since its launch in February 2020 they have been doing a lot and will also run their own non-custodial seed node for staking. This seed node will also allow them to start generating revenue for them to become a self sustaining entity that could potentially scale up to become a decentralized company working in parallel with the Zilliqa core team. Comparing it to all the other smart contract platforms (e.g. Cardano, EOS, Tezos etc.) they don't seem to have started a similar initiative (correct me if I’m wrong though). This suggests in my opinion that these other smart contract platforms do not fully understand how to utilize the ‘power of the community’. This is something you cannot ‘buy with money’ and gives many projects in the space a disadvantage.
 
Zilliqa also released two social products called SocialPay and Zeeves. SocialPay allows users to earn ZILs while tweeting with a specific hashtag. They have recently used it in partnership with the Singapore Red Cross for a marketing campaign after their initial pilot program. It seems like a very valuable social product with a good use case. I can see a lot of traditional companies entering the space through this product, which they seem to suggest will happen. Tokenizing hashtags with smart contracts to get network effect is a very smart and innovative idea.
 
Regarding Zeeves, this is a tipping bot for Telegram. They already have 1000s of signups and they plan to keep upgrading it for more and more people to use it (e.g. they recently have added a quiz features). They also use it during AMAs to reward people in real-time. It’s a very smart approach to grow their communities and get familiar with ZIL. I can see this becoming very big on Telegram. This tool suggests, again, that the Zilliqa team has a deeper understanding of what the crypto space and community needs and is good at finding the right innovative tools to grow and scale.
 
To be honest, I haven’t covered everything (i’m also reaching the character limited haha). So many updates happening lately that it's hard to keep up, such as the International Monetary Fund mentioning Zilliqa in their report, custodial and non-custodial Staking, Binance Margin, Futures, Widget, entering the Indian market, and more. The Head of Marketing Colin Miles has also released this as an overview of what is coming next. And last but not least, Vitalik Buterin has been mentioning Zilliqa lately acknowledging Zilliqa and mentioning that both projects have a lot of room to grow. There is much more info of course and a good part of it has been served to you on a silver platter. I invite you to continue researching by yourself :-) And if you have any comments or questions please post here!
submitted by haveyouheardaboutit to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

The Unofficial Cardano FAQ - V3

(if you would like to add information or see mistakes, just comment below and I will credit you)
What is Cardano? Cardano is an open source and permissionless "Third Generation" blockchain project being developed by IOHK. Development and research started in 2015, with the 1.0 mainnet launching in 2017. Cardano blockchain is currently being developed into two layers. The first one is the ledger of account values, and the second one is the reason why values are transferred from one account to the other.
  1. Cardano Settlement Layer (CSL) - The CSL acts as the ledger of account or balance ledger. This is an idea created as an improvement of bitcoin blockchain. It uses a proof-of-stake consensus algorithm known as Ouroboros to generate new blocks and confirm transactions.
  2. Cardano Computation Layer (CCL) - The CCL contains the data how values are transferred. Since the computation layer is not connected to balance ledger, users of the CCL can create customized rules (smart contracts) when evaluating transactions. (https://support.bitkub.com/hc/en-us/articles/360006678892-What-are-the-two-layers-of-Cardano-)
IOHK has the contract with an undisclosed party to develop the project until the end of 2020, at which point the community may elect another development team - on the assumption that the voting infrastructure has been completed. However CEO Charles Hoskinson has stated that they will develop the project until it is completed, and they are simply financed until the end of 2020.
Cardano was the first project built on a peer-reviewed scientific development method, resulting in dozens of research papers produced by IOHK. Among these papers is Ouroboros Genesis, proving that a Proof of Stake protocol can be just as secure as Proof of Work - which was originally developed for Bitcoin, and refined for Ethereum. This PoS protocol considerably lowers the resources cost to maintain network while still maintaining security and network speed.
Cardano as a financial infrastructure is not yet completed, With significant development to be rolled out.
What were the other two generations of blockchain? Gen 1 was Bitcoin. It exists by itself and talks to nobody but Bitcoin. It is capable of peer to peer transactions without a third party in such a way that you cannot cheat the system. This was a major step forward for the E-cash concept that people have been working on for the 20 years prior.
Gen 2 was Ethereum and other smart-contract platforms that allow other coins and platforms to be built on top of their infrastructure. These coins can interact with others on the platform, but cannot interact with other platforms. Meaning it is still not truly interoperable. Most Gen 2 blockchains are also using Proof of Work likes Bitcoin, which effects scaling. Also missing is a built-in method to pay for upgrades and voting mechanics for decision making.
Gen 3 blockchains are a complete package designed to replace the current financial infrastructure of the world. Cardano is using Proof of Stake to ensure security and decentralisation(Shelley). Scaling through parallel computation (Hydra in Basho), Sidechains to allow the platform to interact with other platforms (Basho), and also include mechanisms for voting for project funding, changes to the protocol and improvement proposals (Voltaire). Finally smart contracts platform for new and established projects that are developer friendly (Goguen).
Who is the team behind Cardano? There are three organisations that are contributing to the development of Cardano. The first is the Cardano Foundation, an objective, non-profit organisation based in Switzerland. Its core responsibilities are to nurture, grow and educate Cardano users and commercial communities, to engage with authorities on regulatory and commercial matters and to act as a blockchain and cryptocurrency standards body. The second entity is IOHK, a leading cryptocurrency research and development company, which holds the contract to develop the platform until 2020. The final business partner is Emurgo, which invests in start-ups and assists commercial ventures to build on the Cardano blockchain.
www.Cardano.org www.emurgo.io https://cardanofoundation.org/en/
What is the difference between Proof of Work and Proof of stake? Both these protocols are known as “consensus protocols” that confirm whether a transaction is valid or invalid without a middleman like Visa or your bank. Every node (active and updated copy of the blockchain) can agree that the transaction did take place legitimately. If more than half validators agree, then the ledger is updated and the transaction is now secured. Proof-of-Work (PoW) happens when a miner is elected to solve an exceptionally difficult math problem and gets credit for adding a verified block to the blockchain. Finding a solution is an arduous guessing game that takes a considerable amount of computing power to compete for the correct answer. It is like “pick a number between 1 and one trillion” and when you get it right, you get $30,000 in Bitcoin, so the more computers you have working on it, the faster you can solve it. Also the more people who are trying to solve the same block, the harder the algorithm, so it may become 1 in 20 trillion. The downside is the massive amounts of power required to run the computers that run the network, and the slow pace that blocks are solved. To “Hack” a PoW system, you need 51% of the computing power, which would allow you to deny transactions, or spend the same coin twice. At the moment there are 8 main mining operations for bitcoin, and 4 of them make up more that 51% of the mining power.
PoS instead selects a coin at random that already exists, and the person who owns that coin is elected to put the work in to validate the block. This means there is no contest and no guessing game. Some computer power is required, but only a fraction of a PoW system. The complex nature of selecting a coin that exists on the correct and longest chain and is owned by someone who can complete the block, AND in such a way that it is secure AND that computer currently running AND that person also having an incentive to complete the work, has made the development of PoS very slow. However only a few years ago it wasn’t even possible. In this method, the more of the coin (ADA) you stake, the more likely you are to be selected to close a block. Cardano also allows you to delegate your stake to someone else to validate the block so they do the work, and you share in the reward for doing so.
To “hack” a PoS blockchain you need to own 51% of the tokens, which is significantly harder than owning 51% of the computing power.
What is ADA and how is it different to Cardano? Cardano is the name of the network infrastructure, and can be thought of like a rail network. ADA is the native token that has been developed alongside Cardano to facilitate the network operation. This helps confusion and maintains distinction, compared to Ethereum being the native token of Ethereum. Similar to bitcoin or any other token, ADA can be sent peer to peer as payment, but is also the reward for running the network, and what is taken as transaction fees.
In this metaphor “Cardano” is the train tracks, that everything runs on. A stake pool would be the locomotive, facilitating transactions on the network while ADA is the coal that powers the locomotive. The train carriages are Decentralised applications (Dapps) that are also running on cardano tracks, but are not actively powering the network.
What is staking Cardano is a Proof of Stake protocol, and uses already existing coins like a marker to ensure security. The protocol chooses a coin at random and the owner of that coin is elected to validate a block of transactions. Staking is the process of adding your ADA coins to a Pool that has the resources to run the network. If the pool you have chosen to "delegate" your stake to is chosen to close/validate a block, then you get a portion of the rewards. The ADA never leaves your wallet, and you can "undelegate" whenever you like. this increases stability of the network and also gives an incentive to pool operators to invest the time and hardware required to run a pool.
What is a stake-pool and how does it work? Cardano.org FAQ on the issue goes into much more detail
A stake pool is where the computing power of the network takes place. During ITN there was 1200 registered stake pools while 300 were creating blocks. You can manage your own stake-pool or delegate your ADA to an already registered pool. Rewards are determined by the protocol, however the pool may elect to charge fee Percentages, or flat rate fee to upkeep their pool.
Can I Stake my ADA right now? The staking testnet has closed, If you participated in the Incentivised Test Net and earned rewards, instructions to check the balance are here.
However if you have just purchased some or it was held on an exchange, then you will need to wait until the Shelley mainnet launch happening at the end of July 2020.
Where do I stake my ADA? Daedalus Flight wallet, and Yoroi Wallet (as a chrome extension) are the current best options. Adalite and several other third-party wallets also exist. Coinbase will also allow staking as a custodial service, and many exchanges may offer “staking as a service” so you can leave your coins on the exchange and still earn rewards if you enjoy trading. I do not recommend leaving coins on an exchange unless you are actively trading.
What are the staking rewards now and what can I expect on a return in the future? The Incentivised Test Net (ITN) Delivered 10%-15%pa returns on average. The future of staking will most likely be lower, but will depend on the amount of ADA staked across the network and the amount of network traffic.
Check https://staking.cardano.org/en/calculato for a clearer picture.
what is a Pledge? To stop one person operating many pools, the rewards that a pool earns will vary depending on the amount of personal ADA they “pledge” to open the pool. This means that 50 pools with a 1,00ADA pledge each will be overall less profitable than 1-2 pool with the max ADA pledge (unknown but likely around 300k). Even if the 50 pools have the same over stake delegated by other users and have a better chance of being selected to close a block, the 50 pools may receive lower rewards.. (at least that is the theory)
Who is IOHK? IOHK is a for-profit software engineering company founded by CEO Charles Hoskinson and Jeremy Wood in 2015 that has taken a scientific approach to the development of blockchain. IOHK started with “first principles” and looked at questions like “what is a blockchain” and “what should a blockchain be able to do” rather than accepting the established paradigm of Bitcoin and Ethereum. IOHK was originally Input Output Hong Kong, but is now Input Output Global and is based in Wyoming USA employing over 230 staff. IOHK has established research labs in several universities in order to complete the Cardano project, and is also developing Ethereum Classic, Atala, Mantis and possibly other Blockchain related programs and infrastructure.
Who is Charles? Charles Hoskinson is an early adopter of cryptocurrencies, American entrepreneur and cryptocurrency specialist. Charles Co-founded Ethereum with Vitalik Buterin and 5-8 others, However he only worked on that project for approximately six-months. Charles is now the CEO of IOHK and the director of The Bitcoin Education Project.
Why isn’t ADA on coinbase? Cardano and coinbase have recently connected in a big way. With IOHK turning over all their ADA to the custodial services of Coinbase. This means that Cardano and Coinbase have been working together for some time and there is a strong partnership forming. Staking and cold storage will be available and trading on Coinbase will most likely become available after the release of Shelley (although no official word yet)
Why Doesn’t Cardano have a Wikipedia Page? Wikipedia has strict guidelines on what can be turned into an article. As there has been no coverage of Cardano from mainstream media or “noteworthy” sources, there is no article yet. Wikipedia will also not accept sources from IOHK as they are not considered “reliable” and must come from a third party. This will most likely change soon.
Cardano does have a dedicated community driven wiki
https://cardanowiki.info/wiki/Home
What is Atala and why do I care?*
Atala is a suite of services being developed on top of the cardano blockchain by IOHK that focusses on credential certification, for things like education, work history and degrees (Atala Prism). Product counterfeiting protection through registering products on a blockchain and create taper-proof provenance. This does not only apply to Gucci handbags, but also medication, art, and anything that can be counterfeited (Atala Scan). As well as supply chain tracking to see issues and inefficiencies with greater transparency(Atala Trace).
Im new, how much is a good investment?
Cardano is still a speculative market and although there is amazing potential here, it is still only potential. When investing in any High risk market like Crypto, only every invest what you are willing to lose. Cardano may be testing the 10c barrier now. But in March it dumped to 1.7c. And if you suddenly need your money back during the dump then you are out of luck. Do your research before you FOMO in. Start with a small amount and send it between wallets and exchanges to understand how the system works. Store your private keys offline (or online cloud service but encrypted) with a method that is unlikely to be damaged AND have multiple copies. So in the case of a house fire or a blow to the head, or the cloud service being shutdown/destroyed, you do not lose your money.
Timelines
https://roadmap.cardano.org/en/
Shelley Decentralisation rollout and news
Goguen smart contract rollout
Voltaire Voting mechanics – no official roll out timeline (though promised for 2020)
Basho scaling and sidechains – no official roll out time line (most likely 2021)
submitted by YourBestMateRobbo to cardano [link] [comments]

TkeyNet: release date, a brief analysis of the system, future plans

TkeyNet: release date, a brief analysis of the system, future plans

https://preview.redd.it/ayym7cl9c1b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=367792bdc6acdcc670345cf1d6e12865d681b21b
During the development of the project, we published 3 documents about the technology that we are developing and preparing for the market. Some decisions were changed, but the main idea and goal remained the same — effective financial management.
Since the ICO boom, several years have passed, blockchain and cryptocurrencies have become synonymous and are perceived only as a means of earning money and the obvious advantages of using the technology itself in combination with others are of little interest to anyone. A user, business representatives, or some government officials associate the word “blockchain” directly with cryptocurrency or Bitcoin, without thinking about using systems built on a distributed registry in the current reality.
As we mentioned above, during the development of the project, several documents were published in which we announced our technology and clearly said that we are mixing modern concepts and approaching the market from an economic and scientific point of view, borrowing the best from Bitcoin, Ethereum, DASH, and other alternative currencies.
It is important to note that the concept of Bitcoin or Monero will be different from the concept of TkeyNet. These are other areas and practical application that some market participants may perceive as similar, but this is far from the case.
“When you innovate, you must be prepared for a prolonged lack of understanding of your actions on the part of your environment. You can do something you believe in, but for a long time, people who only wish you well may criticize your endeavors. When faced with such criticism, ask yourself — Are they right? And if you answer this question positively, accept the criticism and adjust your work accordingly. If the answer is negative, if you are firmly convinced of your rightness, you should prepare for a long defense, defending your positions. This approach is a key component of innovation.” ©
The idea of Bitcoin is beautiful, even if it has not yet been accepted by society as planned, but at least the idea of using Bitcoin as a means of accumulating value and storing savings has a place to be. Bitcoin actively strives for a high price mark and dominates the market by more than 50%, and this is a great result. Bitcoin set the necessary vector for many developers around the world, people were able to review the systems used and make their own decisions based on the Bitcoin core, for example, DASH or Ethereum, and users, in turn, learned about such a phenomenon as cryptocurrency.
In General, what was this introduction for? That TKEY should be considered as a universal asset, without defining it as a cryptocurrency. The question may immediately arise, why is this so? It doesn’t have explicit currency properties? Bitcoin also does not have the properties of cash but is called a cryptocurrency, and the types of applications of the peer-to-peer payment system Bitcoin and TkeyNet can differ significantly from each other.
https://preview.redd.it/3qfe582cc1b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=406f3c93314c473f9b9c9512e543fa33c6211067
The purpose of this publication is to tell you about the new features of TkeyNet, when the official transition to the new Protocol will take place, and why TKEY is a universal asset that simply needs liquidity? In General, we will talk about the clear advantages of switching to new technologies that we have been striving for so long and about your benefits of using them accordingly.

What is TkeyNet, and what are its advantages?

TkeyNet is an infrastructure that combines various solutions for users, businesses, and the public sector. Secure corporate networks, payment processors, liquidity, cross-border payments, trading tools, information security, instant exchanges, investment tools. One platform — millions of opportunities.
https://preview.redd.it/bwewihsdc1b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=4bfc1343b46a1eb51f0b972cac509cc1893f3fa4
When creating TkeyNet, we immediately turned to e-cash protocols, concepts of electronic currencies, considered the movements of Bank international transfers, and also drew attention to the obvious complexity of these systems. Therefore, to build a high-quality architecture of TkeyNet, the team took as a basis — blockchain technology, cryptography, payment and banking system, electronic cash protocols, exchanges, stock markets, DHT, and other p2p networks.
Now more than ever, businesses, users, and most financial market participants need reliable and modern systems that will meet the needs of the market.
For example, a user wants to quickly send funds to another user, and they do not want to think about how the blockchain works and who the “miners” are and what they do for the network. Any of us want to open the app and click a few buttons on the screen to pay for a particular service or send money to relatives abroad and the most importantly, know that the funds will reach you quickly and with a minimum Commission. Or let’s say you came to India, you have some funds in Bitcoin, but you would like to pay for your purchases in the local currency — the Indian rupee without extra conversions.
You are the owner of a payment system or Bank, and you want to receive % for conversion transactions, or banks want to create their consortium for cross-border payments. Either you are an entrepreneur and plan to open an exchange or trading platform for trading various assets, not necessarily digital, but, for example, gold and diamonds, or you are a young and purposeful startup team and want to quickly launch your Digital Bank, or you do not want to do business, and you have several million euros or dollars, you want to get % of their use.
https://preview.redd.it/hkv2xcpfc1b51.png?width=626&format=png&auto=webp&s=4ae497765a2d02b66046d5a112eb0dd4f1eeb0bc
TkeyNet makes these features available to all participants.
As we can see with you, there are quite a lot of use cases, and it may seem that TKEY is again torn into 100500 different directions, but this is far from the case. Here, a specific and clear direction is Finance and its movement.

How TkeyNet works

Remember, we said that — “to develop the platform on a global level, it is necessary to reach a consensus between government regulation, business, and society. We understand that it is impossible to achieve 100% of this, but it is possible to create favorable conditions favorable to all parties.”
How will the system work? All participants are connected to the system using TkeyNet technology that allows the financial gateway to control their transactions with increased speed, transparency, and efficiency. Independent verification servers constantly compare their transaction records. To hack the system, you will need to get access to all the devices that are logged in.
https://preview.redd.it/ltwgjrhhc1b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=413d03504eafa2b496cf99d837b6a2a1c9ba6818
TkeyNet solutions offer a cryptographically secure, end-to-end payment flow with the immutability of transactions and redundancy of information contained in them. It is developed to meet each financial gateway’s risk, privacy, and compliance requirements. Since the software is developed to be easily integrated into the existing financial infrastructure, it minimizes any integration costs and failures, and also meets international standards (ISO, etc.).

TkeyNet can be a neu