Zilliqa, a new blockchain platform based on the technology of sharding to alleviate the scalability issue faced by current blockchain platforms, has announced the release of its public testnet. Ithis marks the first ever implementation of sharding used in a public, permissionless blockchain, opening the possibility of transaction rates that could match VISA.
The Zilliqa testnet can be accessed via a fully functional block explorer that allows users to view specific blocks, transactions and addresses, and to view data such as transaction rate, block rate and number of peers using a clean and user-friendly interface. A wallet application is also available for users to create test transactions. Initially, the platform has been launched in a scaled-down state using less than 1,000 nodes that are Amazon AWS Virtual Computers Instances. During stress testing the testnet showed speeds of up to 2,000 transactions per second.
Xinshu Dong, CEO of Zilliqa, remarked: “This is a tremendous milestone for Zilliqa but also for blockchain technology as a whole. It is incredibly challenging to create a high transaction rate blockchain while maintaining the security and decentralization of the system, but we feel we have made a breakthrough with what we have achieved. The team behind Zilliqa is made up of some of the brightest minds in blockchain, business, and finance, and what we have built is extraordinary, but it is just a small step compared with the potential our technology has.”
Originally proposed in an academic paper in 2015 by a team of researchers at the National University of Singapore, Zilliqa uses the technology of blockchain sharding, a framework in which different components that make up the network and its functions are divided into smaller consensus groups known as shards. This enables transactions and smart contracts to be confirmed in parallel, without the risk of double-spending.
In private internal tests in November 2017 [LINK], the Zilliqa team achieved speeds of 2,488 transactions per second using 3,600 Amazon EC2 instances to serve as nodes. Notably, as the number of nodes on the network increased, the number of transactions per second also increased, showing an almost linear scalability of the system as it grew larger and more computers joined the network. Once scaled up to a similar number of participating computers, Zilliqa’s high throughput blockchain has been estimated to perform up to 1,000 times faster than Ethereum.
The underlying architecture of Zilliqa also allows for high-throughput on a public blockchain platform without exposing the system or the applications that run on top of it to additional security risks. The company has announced the creation of a new, more secure, intermediate smart contract language called Scilla that will be used to run applications on Zilliqa and other blockchains and will help ensure the security of the system.