Zilliqa’s at $1 Billion- Defining this Partial Competitor to Ethereum
Maybe you’ve heard of ZIlliqa, maybe you haven’t, but it’s worth talking about now that it’s at a $1 billion market cap. Zilliqa does function like a cryptocurrency with a big focus on increasing transactions per second through what is called, “high throughput,” but it is primarily trying to tackle the issues that have arisen over the years related to scaling a blockchain.
Sharding is one concept related to the way that databases, including Blockchains, are structured that has been floated around as a serious answer to scaling Blockchains. What is sharding? To truly understand this, it’s actually importantly to start with what a Blockchain network looks like without sharding. A network that hasn’t yet implemented this idea still to needs to run through and validate every network transaction, on a node by node basis.
On the flip side, a network with sharding is one in which a Blockchain is split into pieces called shards. In theory, certain shards or separate groups of nodes, process certain transactions and these transactions never cross over to be processed by other shards. Therefore, the big idea here is that the network gets done with everything in a quicker and more efficient way in that the consensus and validation processes are not repeated for every transaction.
A primary example of a Blockchain that could benefit from sharding is Ethereum, and Vitalik Buterin and his team have been taking this possibility quite seriously. In fact, Buterin’s actually proposed that Ethereum developers start working on a Minimum Viable Version of sharding to be immediately implemented on the network, once it is finished. This sense of urgency could come from the fact that Ethereum has faced a fair amount of backlash from the community, related to network latency and dropped transactions.
Even so, it seems that Zilliqa has beat Ethereum to the punch. Zilliqa’s test net is live and by all accounts, they are already actively using sharding on their network. The most interesting part of sharding that’s been floated around recently is that it allows a Blockchain network’s transactions per second to be limitless. The common explanation for this appears to be that as the network grows, the number of shards that it has grows and therefore, its transactions per second continually rise.
Sharding is not, in fact, the only feature that makes Zilliqa appear to be a strong competitor to Ethereum. Zilliqa also plans to host smart contracts, which on a Sharing network, apparently involves jumping over a lot of technical hurdles. On top of this, they also plan to be a platform for decentralized applications as Ethereum has already established itself to be. Keeping all of this in mind, it’s quite possible that many of us in the crypto space will be anxiously awaiting the coming conflict between these two networks.