13/06/2019 Zilliqa’s smart contracts and Facebook’s crypto tease
Blockchain startup Zilliqa unveiled smart contract capabilities this week, via a specially developed language called Scilla.
Zilliqa launched its mainnet (a blockchain capable of running live transactions) in January. It has already been adopted by Project Proton, a venture by WPP offshoot Mindshare to deliver programmatic advertising more efficiently.
The firm’s president Amrit Kumar claims Zilliqa’s blockchain has a couple of things going for it that make it stand out in an increasingly crowded space. The first is its early adoption of the principle of sharding, dividing workloads between nodes – or groups of nodes – rather than requiring every node in the network to participate in verifying an event or transaction.
“While there are many blockchains today that are now exploring different flavours of sharding, whether by way of network sharing, transaction sharding, or even state sharding, Zilliqa remains the first public blockchain platform to have a working model that applies network and transaction sharding,” Kumar said, adding that the advantage of network-level sharding is around security.
Sharding allows new nodes to be added without decreasing performance, and blockchain projects such as Ethereum are looking to introduce it as a solution to scalability problems. Zilliqa claims to have achieved a throughput of 2,828 transactions per second in an earlier testnet, compared to Ethereum’s 15 or so.
The second key feature is secure smart contracts. Smart contracts are immutable; they cannot be changed, which makes bugs extremely problematic, as famously illustrated in the case of the DAO where millions of dollars were lost because of a programmatic oversight.
Some of the main vulnerabilities are inherent programming languages themselves, as explored earlier in this blog. Scilla is a language developed by Zilliqa to address some of these issues while retaining usability, he explained. It is a…