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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]

dxDAO aims to power DeFi protocols through decentralized governance

I found this article on internet. It's repost of it to help educate people about all DXDao advantages:
These are positive and necessary steps for DeFi. The new governance structures are intended to help coordinate across community stakeholders and make better decisions. These dynamics are influenced by the issues covered in Dose of DeFi, but I believe they deserve their own focused analysis.
Govern This aims to educate token holders and make them better voters. Emphasis will be placed on specific governance proposals and relaying community governance discussions on forums and weekly calls.
Governance is a coordination technology that has helped countries and companies build more than the sum of their parts. Blockchains are also a coordination technology, but for computers, not humans***.*** Govern This will track the development of the melding of these two over the coming years.
Like governance, Govern This is a work in progress. I would appreciate any feedback on format, topics covered or any other suggestions to make the newsletter better. Just hit reply.
The first issue of Govern This is below. Please click here to subscribe.
Thanks for reading,
Chris
📷
dxDAO aims to power DeFi protocols through decentralized governance
Gnosis launched a long-awaited DEX last week with batched auctions for low-liquidity trade pairs. The front-end, Mesa.Eth.Link is owned and operated by dxDAO, a decentralized collective that hopes to power other DeFi protocols.
While dYdX does not have any specific governance plans (yet), this tweet from dYdX founder Antonio Juliano is a common approach to governance.
📷Antonio Juliano @AntonioMJuliano3) 0x should focus less on governance in the short term. It’s way more important to first build something with a large amount of adoption that’s worth governing
December 6th 2018
3 Retweets62 Likes
The tweet at the end of 2018 was in response to 0x and its native token, ZRX. The project was popular but the token had no use case outside of governance.
This governance strategy – build now, decentralize later – is widely accepted in the space and is perhaps best exemplified by the A16Z’s Jesse Walden’s post, “Progressive Decentralization: A Playbook for Building Crypto Applications”, which the A16Z-backed Compound has essentially implemented (more in the section below).
dxDAO, on the other hand, maintains that decentralization must come at the beginning or else the core team and investors will have an outsized influence on the project in formal (token voting) or informal ways (dictators for life).
Background
dxDAO was launched in May 2019, spun out of a collaboration between Gnosis and DAOstack over managing the DutchX platform. dxDAO’s key governance design is separating financial rights to the DAO (DXD) from voting power over the DAO (Reputation). It used an Edgeware-style lock drop to distribute reputation to stakeholders in May of last year. Any user could lock up ETH or an accepted ERC-20 for a month and receive Reputation, which are voting rights in dxDAO, even though it is not a token and cannot be transferred.
Over 400 unique Ethereum addresses participated in the distribution scheme. Gnosis went through a pretty extensive process in July 2019 to “step back” from its involvement in the DAO, and since then, the community and dxDAO have aligned behind a mission of “putting the ‘De’ in Decentralized Finance”.
Following on last week’s launch of Mesa.ETH.Link, dxDAO is conducting a fundraiser or (“DAICO”?) to help fund its new slate of DeFi products, including a prediction market platform (Omen) and a privacy-centric DeFi dashboard (Mix).
Project launch is typically when a project is most centralized. Execution is hard and direction and accountability are important. dxDAO’s approach will be an interesting counterexample to the “decentralize later” trend and may provide insight into new governance strategies.
Click here for more information about the dxDAO fundraiser.
Here’s what is on the dxDAO docket this week:
Compound governance goes live, has it found Market-Protocol-Fit?
Since its founding in 2017, Compound has executed with an almost flawless record: no bugs/hacks, a major protocol upgrade and a big name fundraise (twice).
But all of that has been because Compound, the company, has executed well, but can protocol development and the growth of the platform be sustained with community management? We shall see.
Compound’s governance system could not be simpler. Anyone with at least 1% of COMP can submit a proposal of executable code. COMP holders have a 3 day voting period; the proposal passes with a majority of token votes AND a 4% quorum of all COMP tokens.
The 1% minimum for proposal submission is a good anti-Sybil mechanism but it greatly limits participation by small users. There is delegation, so you could imagine a “proposal petition” where you would delegate your COMP to a proposal instead of signing your name.
Compound is clearly taking the “less governance is the best governance” approach. This has worked surprisingly well with Bitcoin and Ethereum, which of course, do not have any formal governance, but those communities clearly have informal governance systems that make decisions.
The biggest governance question for Compound: who is the community?
Market-Protocol-Fit
Other Internet has an intriguing essay on the emergent order from new blockchain tokens and their communities. It is worth a read. It discusses the emergent iteration that blockchains – as a technology and a community – go through to find a niche, both in culture and product.
While it focuses on base-layer blockchains that launch with a token, the essay underscores the most underrated governance element: token distribution. It quotes an insightful tweet from Eric Wall
📷Eric Wall @ercwlA question that keeps me up at night: Is it possible to create a rubbish coin based on advanced bullshit, build a community of misguided fans nevertheless, run it centralized for 5 yrs, hardfork-copy the design of a real working project, keep the community and become a success?
keysheet @keysheet
@ErcWll was one of the first vocal critics of IOTA back in 2017, shortly before the project hit a market cap of $15B. https://t.co/2267e8LEpl Today, the project is down 99% and appears to be brutally falling apart. A thread:
February 13th 2020
17 Retweets163 Likes
Before Bitcoin could harden its code and find ‘Digital Gold’ and before Ethereum found ‘DeFi’ and ships ETH2.0, both needed to find a “a strong community of believers” in order to create a “virtuous cycle between headless brands and infrastructural build-out to progressively realize [their] initial promise.”
Communities are connected through a wide spread token distribution, Bitcoin through cypherpunks and online drugs and Ethereum through a global ICO (what Teo Leibowitz called “The Immaculate ICO”).
$COMP distribution
The biggest “news” has been details about $COMP distribution:
There are no explicit plans yet, but the widely held assumption is that the COMP distribution will be determined by the interest earned and paid by users on the protocol since its inception. This is a clever way that only incentivizes more use of the protocol and is hard to game because interests accrues over time.
But the question still remains, what will the COMP community look like and what values will it espouse? Can emergent cultures arise out of Silicon Valley too?
Here’s what is on the Compound docket this week:
Maker and wBTC, a test case for the MIP process
While Maker had planned to spend Q2 moving forward with their upgraded governance process, most of its focus has been on restoring the Dai peg.
For more on how the Maker governance process has expanded outside the core community, check out the previous edition of Govern This.
Here’s what is on the Maker docket this week:
Governance and Risk meeting (April 23)
Single Collateral Dai shutdown – the process has begun. A poll passed with May 12 as the official SCD shutdown. Just yesterday, an executive just passed yesterday to make the MKR oracle fee-less, which will help with migration. Many in the community think the migration of debt from SCD will do more than enough to restore the peg.
13 MIPs and 2 sub proposals – Core to the new Maker governance process is the “Maker Improvement Proposals (MIPs), which are modeled off of BIPs (for Bitcoin) and EIPs (for Ethereum). The two sub-proposals are to appoint the Smart Contracts Team and assign Charles St. Louis as the MIP editor.
The 13 MIPs are listed below:
- MIP1 (Maker Governance Paradigms)- MIP2 (Launch Period)- MIP3 (Governance Cycle)- MIP4 (MIP Amendment and Removal Process)- MIP5 (Emergency Voting System)- MIP6 (Collateral Onboarding Form/Forum Template)- MIP7 (Onboarding and Offboarding Domain Teams for Collateral Onboarding)- MIP8 (Domain Greenlight)- MIP9 (Community Greenlight)- MIP10 (Oracle Management)- MIP11 (Collateral Onboarding General Risk Model Management)- MIP12 (Collateral and Risk Parameter Management)
By and large, the MIPs codify many of the informal Maker governance processes. There is currently a request for comments period (MIP forum) and there will be an informal poll on Monday, April 27 on whether to proceed with the 13 MIPs and 2 sub proposals. If it’s a “Yes”, than an executive for an official ratification vote would start on May 1 and lasts for 4 days. If it passes, the official governance cycle will begin and the rest of the MIPs will likely be approved from May 4 – 6.
Other Governing Things
That’s it! Feedback definitely appreciated. Just hit reply. Written in Brooklyn where it rained all day. No euchre today, but yesterday was epic.
Govern This is written by Chris Powers. Opinions expressed are my own. All content is for informational purposes and is not intended as investment advice.
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Question Roundup - June 2020

The following questions were asked in our Telegram: t.me/ptokens

Q: What is the use case for pBTC tokens?
A: pBTC and other pTokens (pLTC, pEOS, etc) ensure that DApps can be accessible to anyone using cryptocurrencies, without them having to sell their Bitcoin, LItecoin, EOS, or any blockchain asset that they hold.
With the pTokens DApp, you can deposit your bitcoin and mint pBTC to enable portability to Ethereum and EOS blockchains. This allows you to explore new DApps and DeFi opportunities outside of the Bitcoin blockchain without selling your underlying BTC asset.
With pBTC you can:

Q: What is Crosschain?
A: Crosschain is a term indicating that multiple blockchains are connected and interoperable.

Q: Can I exchange pBTC for WBTC?
A: Yes you can swap for WBTC directly through the Eidoo wallet or with Kyber Network.
Or to move from Bitcoin to WBTC, you can utilize pBTC. First, swap BTC for pBTC via the pTokens DApp. Then swap pBTC for WBTC on Uniswap, utilizing the pBTC/WBTC liquidity pool, or through Kyber Network.

Q: Let's say I can get 6% interest over my pBTC in a DeFi project – how does it work when I redeem my BTC?
A: If you peg-in 1 BTC in pTokens, 1 pBTC is minted. Suppose that after one year you earn 6% on your pBTC and want to redeem your underlying asset. You will peg-out 1.06 pBTC and you will receive 1.06 BTC.

Q: What are the contract addresses of pBTC?
A: pBTC on ETH: https://etherscan.io/token/0x5228a22e72ccc52d415ecfd199f99d0665e7733b
pBTC EOS: https://bloks.io/account/btc.ptokens

Q: What projects have integrated pTokens?
A: We’ve integrated with a range of liquidity providers, DEXs, and frameworks such as dMEX, Loopring, Kyber Network, Bancor, and Equilibrium.
There’s also support for pBTC on popular DEX aggregators like 1inchExchange, Dex.ag, and Paraswap, as well as on wallets like Argent, MyEtherWallet, Trust Wallet, and Eidoo.
You can find our full (and growing) list of integrations at: ptokens.io/integrations

Q: Do you have any new pTokens bridges planned? Which are live now?
A: pBTC is currently on mainnet, both on Ethereum and EOS. And on testnet, pTokens currently has pLTC on ETH and pEOS on ETH. We are working on a few more pTokens bridges that will be released in the coming months, but going forward the pNetwork DAO will decide which pTokens assets and bridges are implemented.
You can see our planned assets here under “assets supported.”

Q: What phase is pTokens in, and when will it start the next phase?
A: p.Network is currently in phase 0 of its progressive decentralization roadmap. This means that pTokens are currently running on a single enclave, trust minimized, while future phases will be decentralized and trustless. The pNetwork DAO will launch in the coming weeks, and Phase1 will launch in Q3.
For more on the pNetwork roadmap, visit: https://p.network/project#roadmap

Q: Is there any concern for vulnerabilities with the use of a TEE given the history of SGX?
A: In our current phase0, we are not decentralized, but are utilizing a stronger-than-SGX TEE (strongbox). In phase1, we’ll be using multiTEE (no point of failure in a single tee)+MPC.

Q: Are there any minting fees?
A: In our current phase0, there are no peg-in/-out fees, as we subsidize the cost. In phase1 the fee will be chosen by the DAO and enforced by validators (the fee will be distributed among them as a reward for their work). At that point you can expect the fee to be similar to the ones applied by competing projects, which is normally between 0.1 and 0.2% (conceptually similar to the "trading fee" being applied by exchanges).

Q: Why are two pTokens BTC listed on Crossmarketcap? (11 e 13)?
A: Crossmarketcap shows data for several chains so they show two pBTC tokens: pBTC-on-eth and pBTC-on-eos.

Q: What is the difference between pTokens.io and p.Network?
A: pTokens.io is the project to unchain assets by creating 1:1 pTokenized assets (like pBTC) to move liquidity from one blockchain to another. It's integrated into various DeFi DApps and platforms across multiple blockchains. p.Network is the governance layer that supports and secures pTokens, and other projects, via a network of validators and a DAO.

Q: What is PNT? What happened to EDO?
A: The pNetwork Token (PNT) is the governance token for the upcoming p.Network, the decentralized network powering pTokens. Thanks to a collaborative effort between Eidoo and pTokens, the EDO token was upgraded and effectively transformed into PNT on June 18. On this day, EDO holders received an equal amount of PNT tokens in their Ethereum wallets, with leading exchanges listing PNT. EDO is no longer supported, as the value and utility of EDO was transferred to PNT.
As a governance token, PNT will be used for staking, voting and earning interest within the p.Network. PNT is available on a growing list of exchanges, including: Binance, Bitfinex, HitBTC, Kyber Network and Loopring. For more on the token upgrade, visit: https://medium.com/provable/introducing-the-pnetwork-pnt-2354f7ab06f

Q: What is the reason behind burning 28 million+ edo?
A: This is a step to reduce company held tokens so ownership is spread more equitably to the community when we move to the introduction of a community-governed DAO system.

Q: How much PNT does the team have now?
A: The team has 13M PNT locked, they unlock after 1 and 2 years. The token economy is outlined in the pNetwork deck on p.network/learn.

Q: Is there a public audit report?
A: The audit report for pBTC on ETH is available here. And the audit report for pBTC on EOS is here.

Q: Will the burning of PNT occur, similar to EDO burning for the Eidoo core services?
A: Yes. PNT extends the EDO token economy with p.Network so all Eidoo core services will continue as planned. Currently, 5M tokens are locked because of the previous Eidoo staking initiatives and burning happens on a daily basis (edo.watch).

Q: What is the contract address of PNT? Where can I find the total supply and circulating supply?
A: The contract addresses for PNT is: https://etherscan.io/address/0x89Ab32156e46F46D02ade3FEcbe5Fc4243B9AAeD
The total supply is approx 59.65M EDO: https://etherscan.io/token/0xced4e93198734ddaff8492d525bd258d49eb388e
The circulating supply is approximately 34M EDO as described on page #22 in our deck.
For more on the circulating supply, visit: https://www.coingecko.com/en/coins/pnetwork

Q: I see another project on Coingecko with PNT called Penta network – What is it?
A: We are not associated with Penta. Please be mindful to check the full name of the asset before interacting with it. For example, on HitBTC, Penta is listed as PNT, and pNetwork Token is listed as XPNT, but this is the only exchange where this occurs.

Q: Is PNT listed on any exchanges?
A: PNT is available on a growing list of exchanges, including: Binance, Bitfinex, HitBTC, Kyber Network and Loopring. We will continue to update our blog as more are added.
Coingecko also reports the exchanges where the trading of the pNetwork Token is active: https://www.coingecko.com/en/coins/pnetwork#markets.

Q: Why is PNT not supported on OKex?
A: Given the very small number of EDO tokens deposited on OKex we have decided not to list PNT there.

Q: What is the minimum amount of PNT required to stake
A: No minimum is required.

Q: How much is required to run a node?
A: Validators must stake 200k PNT. As an incentive, they would be able to earn 63% interest over two years - 42% the first year, and 21% the second. The pNetwork litepaper goes into more details on validators, PNT and token economics.

Q: How can you guarantee those interest rates?
A: They will be guaranteed by an inflation mechanism. The supply of PNT is just below 60 million tokens after launch. During the first stages of the pNetwork, an economic incentive is also introduced to the system to encourage users to actively participate within the DAO. In these first two years, all those who stake PNT will see their tokens grow with an overall interest rate of 63% over two years. Up to 28,350,000 PNT tokens are dedicated to this initiative, which are generated through an inflation mechanism.

Q: Where can I find community questions from the previous months?
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
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Central Bank Digital Currencies: A Threat Or A Blessing?

Central Bank Digital Currencies: A Threat Or A Blessing?
Central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) have been in the rumors since 2013, with China allegedly developing in secrecy a government-issued centralized cryptocurrency to fight off increasingly popular Bitcoin. But it wasn’t until September 2015 when the Bank of England had publicly discussed for the first time the use of a blockchain-based central bank currency as a way to implement negative interest rates, and March 2016 when the phrase “central bank digital currency” had been coined.
by StealthEX
To be sure, CBDCs have been a scarecrow for the cryptocurrency community for quite some time now. But how real is the danger? And couldn’t it in fact turn out to be a blessing in disguise for Bitcoin and its brothers in arms over the long haul? A sober look into the reality of CBDCs and their seemingly brewing stand-off with cryptocurrencies is due and invited.
A New Twist on an Old Tune
As soon as CBDCs started to make headlines across major news outlets in 2019, a new wave of soothsayers has risen. This time, Bitcoin skeptics and haters alike have gotten something looking solid on the surface. CBDCs came in handy to scare the cryptocurrency public into fear and depression for being touted as an ultimate weapon that would destroy Bitcoin. Aside from the regular fear mongering that has been following cryptocurrencies through years, there are a few apparently rational considerations that could, at least in theory, herald the autumn of cryptocurrencies.
As it happened, the first proposals on CBDCs were in fact inspired by Bitcoin and the idea of a distributed digital ledger underpinning it. Moreover, they were actually suggesting the use of blockchain technology in one way or another. Today, this is no longer the case, and the concept of a digital fiat currency as it presently stands has little to do with blockchain. But how much would then a CBDC be different from conventional fiat which is already digital almost everywhere but in a few exceptionally backward countries?
A number of mainstream economists try to address this issue, with Nouriel Roubini, a professor of economics at New York University and former senior adviser to the White House council of economic advisers and the US Treasury, leading the assault on Bitcoin. He goes as far as to claim that CBDCs are going to replace most private digital payment systems like PayPal and its likes by allowing anyone to transact directly through the central bank. That would reduce the need for cash and make traditional bank accounts along with digital payment services obsolete and unnecessary.
In his view, cryptocurrencies are no more than a pile of overhyped blockchain technologies promoted by a bunch of “starry-eyed crypto-fanatics”. Roubini reasons that once CBDCs arrive, they would instantly displace cryptocurrencies, which, as he senses them, are far from scalable, cheap, and secure, nor they are actually decentralised and anonymous according to him. Whether his prophecy of an impending doom for crypto has any real ground remains a matter of scrutiny, which takes us to the next part of this essay.
Much Ado about Nothing
The argument in favor of CBDCs taking over cryptocurrencies is essentially based on misunderstanding Bitcoin’s primary value proposition. Although the advantages and benefits of CBDCs may be real, to a varying degree, the idea of a central bank digital currency doesn’t part ways with the original idea of fiat money itself. In other words, CBDCs will always remain a somewhat enhanced or updated version of fiat. As such, every major flaw or fault that fiat has ever revealed can be rightfully ascribed to this form of a centrally-controlled currency.
Most importantly, CBDCs don’t seek to address the arbitrariness of their governing bodies, that is to say, central banks, in the majority of cases. Whatever has been said positive toward CBDCs can be reversed through the misuse and abuse by the monetary authorities. It is just a matter of time till they start turning advantages of CBDCs into disadvantages as has always been the case in the past, but now more efficiently and with a vengeance. And this is in stark contrast to Bitcoin which sets forth a distinctively different governance model by removing any central authority from the equation.
This point has been reiterated and emphasized by many notable and well-known figures in the cryptoverse. For example, Barry Silbert, the founder of venture capital firm Digital Currency Group and a major investor in the blockchain space, strongly believes that central banks won’t be capping the supply of CBDCs because they “love to print money”. In this manner, CBDCs aren’t going to fix broken monetary policies carried out by most, if not all, central banks. Then we are instantly back to square one.
And that comes down to a simple but time-proven truth that fiat currencies, no matter what form they may take, are set to depreciate and lose value over time. There is no way around this, and CBDCs will be of little help here, if ever. On the other hand, these currencies allow central bankers to gain more power over financial activities of the general public by requiring common people to use the financial system based on a CBDC, and, by extension, subjecting them to other forms of control in their efforts to maintain state supremacy over money – in addition to its costs and restrictions.
Put shortly, digital currencies issued by central authorities cannot on their own pose a real threat to Bitcoin and undermine its value proposition coming from its decentralized nature and capped supply, especially in the long term. But could it play out in an altogether different direction? Could CBDCs actually help, in some convoluted or even controversial way, non-central bank currencies such as Bitcoin, and contribute to their mainstream adoption and wider acceptance? As it turns out, it is not totally impossible, and this might be the most interesting piece of the CBDC puzzle.
A Blessing in Disguise
Now that we established that CBDCs are unlikely to hurt Bitcoin, it is time to explore the opportunities they could offer the crypto space. Barry Silbert says that the efficient and cost-effective infrastructure every financial institution will have to build in order to safely store and support CBDCs happens to be the same infrastructure that could be used to transact with and provide support to cryptocurrencies. Consequently, Bitcoin will benefit in the long run from the world’s central bankers issuing their own digital currencies – when these currencies start to fail at the end of the day, which is inevitable with any form of fiat money as many economists claim.
At a fundamental level, CBDCs, if they kick off for real, are set to compete not so much with Bitcoin and the rest of the pack but rather with other central bank currencies, digital or otherwise. Whatever nation launches such a currency first, the others will quickly follow. You don’t exactly need a master’s degree in economics to understand who will benefit most from the dog-eat-dog fight that will without doubt ensue, just like fiat currencies benefit from cryptocurrencies competing with each other.
And remember if you need to exchange your coins StealthEX is here for you. We provide a selection of more than 250 coins and constantly updating the list so that our customers will find a suitable option. Why don’t you check it out? Just go to StealthEX and follow these easy steps:
✔ Choose the pair and the amount for your exchange. For example ETH to BTC.
✔ Press the “Start exchange” button.
✔ Provide the recipient address to which the coins will be transferred.
✔ Move your cryptocurrency for the exchange.
✔ Receive your coins.
Follow us on Medium, Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit to get StealthEX.io updates and the latest news about the crypto world. For all requests message us via [email protected].
The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.
Original article was posted on https://stealthex.io/blog/2020/07/21/central-bank-digital-currencies-a-threat-or-a-blessing/
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Polkadot Launch AMA Recap

Polkadot Launch AMA Recap

The Polkadot Telegram AMA below took place on June 10, 2020

https://preview.redd.it/4ti681okap951.png?width=4920&format=png&auto=webp&s=e21f6a9a276d35bb9cdec59f46744f23c37966ef
AMA featured:
Dieter Fishbein, Ecosystem Development Lead, Web3 Foundation
Logan Saether, Technical Education, Web3 Foundation
Will Pankiewicz, Master of Validators, Parity Technologies
Moderated by Dan Reecer, Community and Growth, Polkadot & Kusama at Web3 Foundation

Transcription compiled by Theresa Boettger, Polkadot Ambassador:

Dieter Fishbein, Ecosystem Development Lead, Web3 Foundation

Dan: Hey everyone, thanks for joining us for the Polkadot Launch AMA. We have Dieter Fishbein (Head of Ecosystem Development, our business development team), Logan Saether (Technical Education), and Will Pankiewicz (Master of Validators) joining us today.
We had some great questions submitted in advance, and we’ll start by answering those and learning a bit about each of our guests. After we go through the pre-submitted questions, then we’ll open up the chat to live Q&A and the hosts will answer as many questions as they can.
We’ll start off with Dieter and ask him a set of some business-related questions.

Dieter could you introduce yourself, your background, and your role within the Polkadot ecosystem?

Dieter: I got my start in the space as a cryptography researcher at the University of Waterloo. This is where I first learned about Bitcoin and started following the space. I spent the next four years or so on the investment team for a large asset manager where I primarily focused on emerging markets. In 2017 I decided to take the plunge and join the space full-time. I worked at a small blockchain-focused VC fund and then joined the Polkadot team just over a year ago. My role at Polkadot is mainly focused on ensuring there is a vibrant community of projects building on our technology.

Q: Adoption of Polkadot of the important factors that all projects need to focus on to become more attractive to the industry. So, what is Polkadot's plan to gain more Adoption? [sic]

A (Dieter): Polkadot is fundamentally a developer-focused product so much of our adoption strategy is focused around making Polkadot an attractive product for developers. This has many elements. Right now the path for most developers to build on Polkadot is by creating a blockchain using the Substrate framework which they will later connect to Polkadot when parachains are enabled. This means that much of our adoption strategy comes down to making Substrate an attractive tool and framework. However, it’s not just enough to make building on Substrate attractive, we must also provide an incentive to these developers to actually connect their Substrate-based chain to Polkadot. Part of this incentive is the security that the Polkadot relay chain provides but another key incentive is becoming interoperable with a rich ecosystem of other projects that connect to Polkadot. This means that a key part of our adoption strategy is outreach focused. We go out there and try to convince the best projects in the space that building on our technology will provide them with significant value-add. This is not a purely technical argument. We provide significant support to projects building in our ecosystem through grants, technical support, incubatoaccelerator programs and other structured support programs such as the Substrate Builders Program (https://www.substrate.io/builders-program). I do think we really stand out in the significant, continued support that we provide to builders in our ecosystem. You can also take a look at the over 100 Grants that we’ve given from the Web3 Foundation: https://medium.com/web3foundation/web3-foundation-grants-program-reaches-100-projects-milestone-8fd2a775fd6b

Q: On moving forward through your roadmap, what are your most important next priorities? Does the Polkadot team have enough fundamentals (Funds, Community, etc.) to achieve those milestones?

A (Dieter): I would say the top priority by far is to ensure a smooth roll-out of key Polkadot features such as parachains, XCMP and other key parts of the protocol. Our recent Proof of Authority network launch was only just the beginning, it’s crucial that we carefully and successfully deploy features that allow builders to build meaningful technology. Second to that, we want to promote adoption by making more teams aware of Polkadot and how they can leverage it to build their product. Part of this comes down to the outreach that I discussed before but a major part of it is much more community-driven and many members of the team focus on this.
We are also blessed to have an awesome community to make this process easier 🙂

Q: Where can a list of Polkadot's application-specific chains can be found?

A (Dieter): The best list right now is http://www.polkaproject.com/. This is a community-led effort and the team behind it has done a terrific job. We’re also working on providing our own resource for this and we’ll share that with the community when it’s ready.

Q: Could you explain the differences and similarities between Kusama and Polkadot?

A (Dieter): Kusama is fundamentally a less robust, faster-moving version of Polkadot with less economic backing by validators. It is less robust since we will be deploying new technology to Kusama before Polkadot so it may break more frequently. It has less economic backing than Polkadot, so a network takeover is easier on Kusama than on Polkadot, lending itself more to use cases without the need for bank-like security.
In exchange for lower security and robustness, we expect the cost of a parachain lease to be lower on Kusama than Polkadot. Polkadot will always be 100% focused on security and robustness and I expect that applications that deal with high-value transactions such as those in the DeFi space will always want a Polkadot deployment, I think there will be a market for applications that are willing to trade cheap, high throughput for lower security and robustness such as those in the gaming, content distribution or social networking sectors. Check out - https://polkadot.network/kusama-polkadot-comparing-the-cousins/ for more detailed info!

Q: and for what reasons would a developer choose one over the other?

A (Dieter): Firstly, I see some earlier stage teams who are still iterating on their technology choosing to deploy to Kusama exclusively because of its lower-stakes, faster moving environment where it will be easier for them to iterate on their technology and build their user base. These will likely encompass the above sectors I identified earlier. To these teams, Polkadot becomes an eventual upgrade path for them if, and when, they are able to perfect their product, build a larger community of users and start to need the increased stability and security that Polkadot will provide.
Secondly, I suspect many teams who have their main deployment on Polkadot will also have an additional deployment on Kusama to allow them to test new features, either their tech or changes to the network, before these are deployed to Polkadot mainnet.

Logan Saether, Technical Education, Web3 Foundation

Q: Sweet, let's move over to Logan. Logan - could you introduce yourself, your background, and your role within the Polkadot ecosystem?

A (Logan): My initial involvement in the industry was as a smart contract engineer. During this time I worked on a few projects, including a reboot of the Ethereum Alarm Clock project originally by Piper Merriam. However, I had some frustrations at the time with the limitations of the EVM environment and began to look at other tools which could help me build the projects that I envisioned. This led to me looking at Substrate and completing a bounty for Web3 Foundation, after which I applied and joined the Technical Education team. My responsibilities at the Technical Education team include maintaining the Polkadot Wiki as a source of truth on the Polkadot ecosystem, creating example applications, writing technical documentation, giving talks and workshops, as well as helping initiatives such as the Thousand Validator Programme.

Q: The first technical question submitted for you was: "When will an official Polkadot mobile wallet appear?"

A (Logan): There is already an “official” wallet from Parity Technologies called the Parity Signer. Parity Signer allows you to keep your private keys on an air-gapped mobile device and to interactively sign messages using web interfaces such as Polkadot JS Apps. If you’re looking for something that is more of an interface to the blockchain as well as a wallet, you might be interested in PolkaWallet which is a community team that is building a full mobile interface for Polkadot.
For more information on Parity Signer check out the website: https://www.parity.io/signe

Q: Great thanks...our next question is: If someone already developed an application to run on Ethereum, but wants the interoperability that Polkadot will offer, are there any advantages to rebuilding with Substrate to run as a parachain on the Polkadot network instead of just keeping it on Ethereum and using the Ethereum bridge for use with Polkadot?

A (Logan): Yes, the advantage you would get from building on Substrate is more control over how your application will interact with the greater Polkadot ecosystem, as well as a larger design canvas for future iterations of your application.
Using an Ethereum bridge will probably have more cross chain latency than using a Polkadot parachain directly. The reason for this is due to the nature of Ethereum’s separate consensus protocol from Polkadot. For parachains, messages can be sent to be included in the next block with guarantees that they will be delivered. On bridged chains, your application will need to go through more routes in order to execute on the desired destination. It must first route from your application on Ethereum to the Ethereum bridge parachain, and afterward dispatch the XCMP message from the Polkadot side of the parachain. In other words, an application on Ethereum would first need to cross the bridge then send a message, while an application as a parachain would only need to send the message without needing to route across an external bridge.

Q: DOT transfers won't go live until Web3 removes the Sudo module and token holders approve the proposal to unlock them. But when will staking rewards start to be distributed? Will it have to after token transfers unlock? Or will accounts be able to accumulate rewards (still locked) once the network transitions to NPoS?

A (Logan): Staking rewards will be distributed starting with the transition to NPoS. Transfers will still be locked during the beginning of this phase, but reward payments are technically different from the normal transfer mechanism. You can read more about the launch process and steps at http://polkadot.network/launch-roadmap

Q: Next question is: I'm interested in how Cumulus/parachain development is going. ETA for when we will see the first parachain registered working on Kusama or some other public testnet like Westend maybe?

A (Logan): Parachains and Cumulus is a current high priority development objective of the Parity team. There have already been PoC parachains running with Cumulus on local testnets for months. The current work now is making the availability and validity subprotocols production ready in the Polkadot client. The best way to stay up to date would be to follow the project boards on GitHub that have delineated all of the tasks that should be done. Ideally, we can start seeing parachains on Westend soon with the first real parachains being deployed on Kusama thereafter.
The projects board can be viewed here: https://github.com/paritytech/polkadot/projects
Dan: Also...check out Basti's tweet from yesterday on the Cumulus topic: https://twitter.com/bkchstatus/1270479898696695808?s=20

Q: In what ways does Polkadot support smart contracts?

A (Logan): The philosophy behind the Polkadot Relay Chain is to be as minimal as possible, but allow arbitrary logic at the edges in the parachains. For this reason, Polkadot does not support smart contracts natively on the Relay Chain. However, it will support smart contracts on parachains. There are already a couple major initiatives out there. One initiative is to allow EVM contracts to be deployed on parachains, this includes the Substrate EVM module, Parity’s Frontier, and projects such as Moonbeam. Another initiative is to create a completely new smart contract stack that is native to Substrate. This includes the Substrate Contracts pallet, and the ink! DSL for writing smart contracts.
Learn more about Substrate's compatibility layer with Ethereum smart contracts here: https://github.com/paritytech/frontier

Will Pankiewicz, Master of Validators, Parity Technologies


Q: (Dan) Thanks for all the answers. Now we’ll start going through some staking questions with Will related to validating and nominating on Polkadot. Will - could you introduce yourself, your background, and your role within the Polkadot ecosystem?

A (Will): Sure thing. Like many others, Bitcoin drew me in back in 2013, but it wasn't until Ethereum came that I took the deep dive into working in the space full time. It was the financial infrastructure aspects of cryptocurrencies I was initially interested in, and first worked on dexes, algorithmic trading, and crypto funds. I really liked the idea of "Generalized Mining" that CoinFund came up with, and started to explore the whacky ways the crypto funds and others can both support ecosystems and be self-sustaining at the same time. This drew me to a lot of interesting experiments in what later became DeFi, as well as running validators on Proof of Stake networks. My role in the Polkadot ecosystem as “Master of Validators” is ensuring the needs of our validator community get met.

Q: Cool thanks. Our first community question was "Is it still more profitable to nominate the validators with lesser stake?"

A (Will): It depends on their commission, but generally yes it is more profitable to nominate validators with lesser stake. When validators have lesser stake, when you nominate them this makes your nomination stake a higher percentage of total stake. This means when rewards get distributed, it will be split more favorably toward you, as rewards are split by total stake percentage. Our entire rewards scheme is that every era (6 hours in Kusama, 24 hours in Polkadot), a certain amount of rewards get distributed, where that amount of rewards is dependent on the total amount of tokens staked for the entire network (50% of all tokens staked is currently optimal). These rewards from the end of an era get distributed roughly equally to all validators active in the validator set. The reward given to each validator is then split between the validators and all their nominators, determined by the total stake that each entity contributes. So if you contribute to a higher percentage of the total stake, you will earn more rewards.

Q: What does priority ranking under nominator addresses mean? For example, what does it mean that nominator A has priority 1 and nominator B has priority 6?

A (Will): Priority ranking is just the index of the nomination that gets stored on chain. It has no effect on how stake gets distributed in Phragmen or how rewards get calculated. This is only the order that the nominator chose their validators. The way that stake from a nominator gets distributed from a nominator to validators is via Phragmen, which is an algorithm that will optimally put stake behind validators so that distribution is roughly equal to those that will get in the validator set. It will try to maximize the total amount at stake in the network and maximize the stake behind minimally staked validators.

Q: On Polkadot.js, what does it mean when there are nodes waiting on Polkadot?

**A (Will):**In Polkadot there is a fixed validator set size that is determined by governance. The way validators get in the active set is by having the highest amount of total stake relative to other validators. So if the validator set size is 100, the top 100 validators by total stake will be in the validator set. Those not active in the validator set will be considered “waiting”.

Q: Another question...Is it necessary to become a waiting validator node right now?

A (Will): It's not necessary, but highly encouraged if you actively want to validate on Polkadot. The longer you are in the waiting tab, the longer you get exposure to nominators that may nominate you.

Q: Will current validators for Kusama also validate for Polkadot? How strongly should I consider their history (with Kusama) when looking to nominate a good validator for DOTs?

A (Will): A lot of Kusama validators will also be validators for Polkadot, as KSM was initially distributed to DOT holders. The early Kusama Validators will also likely be the first Polkadot validators. Being a Kusama validator should be a strong indicator for who to nominate on Polkadot, as the chaos that has ensued with Kusama has allowed validators to battle test their infrastructure. Kusama validators by now are very familiar with tooling, block explorers, terminology, common errors, log formats, upgrades, backups, and other aspects of node operation. This gives them an edge against Polkadot validators that may be new to the ecosystem. You should strongly consider well known Kusama validators when making your choices as a nominator on Polkadot.

Q: Can you go into more details about the process for becoming a DOT validator? Is it similar as the KSM 1000 validators program?

A (Will): The Process for becoming a DOT validators is first to have DOTs. You cannot be a validator without DOTs, as DOTs are used to pay transaction fees, and the minimum amount of DOTs you need is enough to create a validate transaction. After obtaining enough DOTs, you will need to set up your validator infrastructure. Ideally you should have a validator node with specs that match what we call standard hardware, as well as one or more sentry nodes to help isolate the validator node from attacks. After the infrastructure is up and running, you should have your Polkadot accounts set up right with a stash bonded to a controller account, and then submit a validate transaction, which will tell the network your nodes are ready to be a part of the network. You should then try and build a community around your validator to let others know you are trustworthy so that they will nominate you. The 1000 validators programme for Kusama is a programme that gives a certain amount of nominations from the Web3 Foundation and Parity to help bootstrap a community and reputation for validators. There may eventually be a similar type of programme for Polkadot as well.
Dan: Thanks a lot for all the answers, Will. That’s the end of the pre-submitted questions and now we’ll open the chat up to live Q&A, and our three team members will get through as many of your questions as possible.
We will take questions related to business development, technology, validating, and staking. For those wondering about DOT:
DOT tokens do not exist yet. Allocations of Polkadot's native DOT token are technically and legally non-transferable. Hence any publicized sale of DOTs is unsanctioned by Web3 Foundation and possibly fraudulent. Any official public sale of DOTs will be announced on the Web3 Foundation website. Polkadot’s launch process started in May and full network decentralization later this year, holders of DOT allocations will determine issuance and transferability. For those who participated in previous DOT sales, you can learn how to claim your DOTs here (https://wiki.polkadot.network/docs/en/claims).


Telegram Community Follow-up Questions Addressed Below


Q: Polkadot looks good but it confuses me that there are so many other Blockchain projects. What should I pay attention in Polkadot to give it the importance it deserves? What are your planning to achieve with your project?

A (Will): Personally, what I think differentiates it is the governance process. Coordinating forkless upgrades and social coordination helps stand it apart.
A (Dieter): The wiki is awesome - https://wiki.polkadot.network/

Q: Over 10,000 ETH paid as a transaction fee , what if this happens on Polkadot? Is it possible we can go through governance to return it to the owner?

A: Anything is possible with governance including transaction reversals, if a network quorum is reached on a topic.
A (Logan): Polkadot transaction fees work differently than the fees on Ethereum so it's a bit more difficult to shoot yourself in the foot as the whale who sent this unfortunate transaction. See here for details on fees: https://w3f-research.readthedocs.io/en/latest/polkadot/Token%20Economics.html?highlight=transaction%20fees#relay-chain-transaction-fees-and-per-block-transaction-limits
However, there is a tip that the user can input themselves which they could accidentally set to a large amount. In this cases, yes, they could proposition governance to reduce the amount that was paid in the tip.

Q: What is the minimum ideal amount of DOT and KSM to have if you want to become a validator and how much technical knowledge do you need aside from following the docs?

A (Will): It depends on what the other validators in the ecosystem are staking as well as the validator set size. You just need to be in the top staking amount of the validator set size. So if its 100 validators, you need to be in the top 100 validators by stake.

Q: Will Web3 nominate validators? If yes, which criteria to be elected?

A (Will): Web 3 Foundation is running programs like the 1000 validators programme for Kusama. There's a possibility this will continue on for Polkadot as well after transfers are enabled. https://thousand-validators.kusama.network/#/
You will need to be an active validator to earn rewards. Only those active in the validator set earn rewards. I would recommend checking out parts of the wiki: https://wiki.polkadot.network/docs/en/maintain-guides-validator-payout

Q: Is it possible to implement hastables or dag with substrate?

A (Logan): Yes.

Q: Polkadot project looks very futuristic! But, could you tell us the main role of DOT Tokens in the Polkadot Ecosystem?

A (Dan): That's a good question. The short answer is Staking, Governance, Bonding. More here: http://polkadot.network/dot-token

Q: How did you manage to prove that the consensus protocol is safe and unbreakable mathematically?

A (Dieter): We have a research teams of over a dozen scientists with PhDs and post-docs in cryptography and distributed computing who do thorough theoretical analyses on all the protocols used in Polkadot

Q: What are the prospects for NFT?

A: Already being built 🙂

Q: What will be Polkadot next roadmap for 2020 ?

A (Dieter): Building. But seriously - we will continue to add many more features and upgrades to Polkadot as well as continue to strongly focus on adoption from other builders in the ecosystem 🙂
A (Will): https://polkadot.network/launch-roadmap/
This is the launch roadmap. Ideally adding parachains and xcmp towards the end of the year

Q: How Do you stay active in terms of marketing developments during this PANDEMIC? Because I'm sure you're very excited to promote more after this settles down.

A (Dan): The main impact of covid was the impact on in-person events. We have been very active on Crowdcast for webinars since 2019, so it was quite the smooth transition to all-online events. You can see our 40+ past event recordings and follow us on Crowdcast here: https://www.crowdcast.io/polkadot. If you're interested in following our emails for updates (including online events), subscribe here: https://info.polkadot.network/subscribe

Q: Hi, who do you think is your biggest competitor in the space?

A (Dan): Polkadot is a metaprotocol that hasn't been seen in the industry up until this point. We hope to elevate the industry by providing interoperability between all major public networks as well as private blockchains.

Q: Is Polkadot a friend or competitor of Ethereum?

A: Polkadot aims to elevate the whole blockchain space with serious advancements in interoperability, governance and beyond :)

Q: When will there be hardware wallet support?

A (Will): Parity Signer works well for now. Other hardware wallets will be added pretty soon

Q: What are the attractive feature of DOT project that can attract any new users ?

A: https://polkadot.network/what-is-polkadot-a-brief-introduction/
A (Will): Buidling parachains with cross chain messaging + bridges to other chains I think will be a very appealing feature for developers

Q: According to you how much time will it take for Polkadot to get into mainstream adoption and execute all the plans set for this project?

A: We are solving many problems that have held back the blockchain industry up until now. Here is a summary in basic terms:
https://preview.redd.it/ls7i0bpm8p951.png?width=752&format=png&auto=webp&s=a8eb7bf26eac964f6b9056aa91924685ff359536

Q: When will bitpie or imtoken support DOT?

A: We are working on integrations on all the biggest and best wallet providers. ;)

Q: What event/call can we track to catch a switch to nPOS? Is it only force_new_era call? Thanks.

A (Will): If you're on riot, useful channels to follow for updates like this are #polkabot:matrix.org and #polkadot-announcements:matrix.parity.io
A (Logan): Yes this is the trigger for initiating the switch to NPoS. You can also poll the ForceEra storage for when it changes to ForceNew.

Q: What strategy will the Polkadot Team use to make new users trust its platform and be part of it?

A (Will): Pushing bleeding edge cryptography from web 3 foundation research
A (Dan): https://t.me/PolkadotOfficial/43378

Q: What technology stands behind and What are its advantages?

A (Dieter): Check out https://polkadot.network/technology/ for more info on our tech stack!

Q: What problems do you see occurring in the blockchain industry nowadays and how does your project aims to solve these problems?

A (Will): Governance I see as a huge problem. For example upgrading Bitcoin and making decisions for changing things is a very challenging process. We have robust systems of on-chain governance to help solve these coordination problems

Q: How involved are the Polkadot partners? Are they helping with the development?

A (Dieter): There are a variety of groups building in the Polkadot ecosystem. Check out http://www.polkaproject.com/ for a great list.

Q: Can you explain the role of the treasury in Polkadot?

A (Will): The treasury is for projects or people that want to build things, but don't want to go through the formal legal process of raising funds from VCs or grants or what have you. You can get paid by the community to build projects for the community.
A: There’s a whole section on the wiki about the treasury and how it functions here https://wiki.polkadot.network/docs/en/mirror-learn-treasury#docsNav

Q: Any plan to introduce Polkadot on Asia, or rising market on Asia?

**A (Will):**We're globally focused

Q: What kind of impact do you expect from the Council? Although it would be elected by token holders, what kind of people you wish to see there?

A (Will): Community focused individuals like u/jam10o that want to see cool things get built and cool communities form

If you have further questions, please ask in the official Polkadot Telegram channel.
submitted by dzr9127 to dot [link] [comments]

Top Proof Of Stake Networks and Staking Coin List

Proof of stake consensus algorithm was launched as an alternative to the proof of work algorithm and since its discovery in 2012, it has been used by a number of crypto platforms seeking to become more scalable than the Bitcoin network. With one of the main objectives of the proof of work model, allowing for a decentralized network to confirm transaction instead of a third party, the proof of stake model achieves this in a different manner. Before we dive into some of the top proof of stake cryptocurrency networks right now, it is best that we get an idea of what proof of stake is.
What Is Proof Of Stake?
Proof of Stake otherwise referred to as PoS is a consensus algorithm that makes use of the coin staking format. To explain better, for users on the network to be able to mine, they need to be able to stake a certain amount of coin on the network if they are to start mining. In addition to staking a certain amount, these individuals will only mine the total amount of coins that have been staked on the network. This simply means that if a manages to stake or lock up a huge amount of coins, let’s say about 10% of the total coins on the network, they will be able to validate about 10% of the total transactions that are carried out on the network. So if a network processes about 10,000 transactions each day, these miners will validate and receive rewards for validating 10% of the total blocks. Aside from the rewards they stand to gain, these miners are also paid transaction fees of users on the network each time they validate a transaction.
There are a couple of benefits that come from making use of PoS based blockchain networks and they include;
  1. They are less expensive; unlike the PoW mechanism that requires users to invest their hard-earned funds in the purchase of expensive hardware or mining rigs, these PoS networks do not require you to pay for mining rigs. All you have to do is buy or own a certain amount of coin on the network and you can begin validating transactions and earning rewards.
  2. It is eco-friendly; unlike PoW based networks, PoS networks offer users guaranteed returns. The value of these PoS based coins does not fall like the PoW based coins unless there is a slight change in the market.
  3. On this network, stakers can decide to delegate their responsibilities to third-party agents to help them carry out.
Top Proof Of Stake Networks And Staking Coins
1. Dash (DASH)
Otherwise referred to as “Digital Cash”, DASH happens to be one of the very advanced crypto networks to adopt the PoS algorithm. DASH simply acts like liquid cash or P2P platform that is used to make payments for goods and services that are purchased daily. Currently, in most countries, DASH has been integrated as a means of payment for goods and services bought daily. In the last couple of years, DASH has implemented the InstantSend and PrivateSend features which will facilitate a fast and secure transaction for all on the network. Holders of the DASH coin can run master nodes on the network or receive rewards in DASH coins.
On the DASH network, users will have to stake about 1000 DASH coins when the price of one (1) DASH is equal to $300. While this network was built on Bitcoin’s main core it happens to focus on the privacy and quick transfer of funds aspect.
Early adopters of DASH that have a large number of DASH coins in their possession will do well to become master nodes on the network. Individuals with about $300,000 worth of DASH coins will make approximately 7.5% annual profit from becoming master nodes on the network. Those seeking to stake DASH coins will do well to ensure that they have the DASH staking wallets in their possession.
2. NEO (NEO)
Previously referred to as Antshares, NEO happens to be the first Chinese open-source blockchain project in existence. The developers of this network have referred to it as the distributed network for the smart economy. Being a PoS powered network, users on the NEO blockchain can stake their coins if they want to become miners on the network. Aside from the fact that there is a crypto platform, NEO has a token which is referred to as GAS which can be staked on any of the NEO staking wallets available. Unlike some of the other PoS based crypto networks, NEO does not require users to keep their staking wallets open.
Stakers on the NEO network can expect a 4.5% annual profit when they stake on this network. There are a couple of benefits that are associated with making use of this PoS based network and they include; it is a smart network that affords you the opportunity to send and receive coins in less than no time. The certificates, as well as the identities, are digital. Also, there is a wide range of decentralized applications (DApps).
3. Vechain (VET)
This happens to be another top PoS based network and since its launch has been able to gather attention from members of the crypto community. This network has been said to be similar to the NEO network and it offers users the opportunity to carry out fast transactions at a reduced cost. Unlike some of the other PoS based networks, Vechain focus primarily on the supply chain industry. It has allied with the Amazon web service and Walmart China. When you stake VET on the Vechain network, you are given VTHO for staking VET coins on the network. It is used in transactions and it has a return of investment of about 2% or more. Users on the network get extra with the nodes and it is easy to make use of.
One of the main benefits of this network is that it is incredibly easy to make use of and it has a long-range of partnerships. In addition to this, it has a fair ROI rate as well as other amazing bonuses that users will have to enjoy as well.
As always, the team here at Affil Coin is happy to help where we can. So, if you ever have any questions, stop by the AffilCoin Telegram chat and talk to a member of our team! Furthermore, if you want to learn more about Delegated Proof of Stake, click here and visit the AffilCoin site!
submitted by affilcoin to affilcoin [link] [comments]

TecraCoin works on core wallet upgrade

TecraCoin works on core wallet upgrade

What is a TecraCoin TCR Wallet?

Crypto wallet is the basic software needed to use the cryptocurrencies properly. Every blockchain of cryptocurrency must have its own basic wallet (the most commonly used are the desktop and server ones), which is usually composed from the name of the cryptocurrency and the word “Core”, for example Bitcoin Core, Litecoin Core etc. Every developing blockchain project has to implement Core updates in order to make the system more secure and solid because the correct functioning of the basic wallet is crucial . (Tecra’s basic wallet is “Tecra QT wallet” — you can download from the GutHub — https://tecracoin.io/wallets)
This week, Teсra developers have prepared the first part of the update of the above mentioned wallet. Since the blockchain used by Tecra is the fork of the widely recognized Zcoin blockchain, we are working on the upgrade from version 11 to version 14 which includes all of the changes from the versions 12 and 13. The most significant reason for such changes was to enhance the masternodes and increase the safety of our blockchain.

Why is this update essential?

Masternodes are awarded in order of precedence. According to the previously set order, the last MN to receive the reward is transferred to the end of the queue, and from the next block, the reward will be given to the next MN. In every block, there is a vote between nodes to decide which one of the MasterNodes will get the reward from this particular block. However, there might be the situation in which MN that was supposed to get the reward will not receive it.
Currently The MN communication between nodes takes place off-chain, and the data is stored in the memory, without being saved to the blockchain. The winner of the voting receives the reward via the payment in the next block. However, sometimes it might be possible for the node to “unpin” from the rest of the blockchain’s node network and conduct its own voting, contrary to the majority of MNs’ preferences. This leads to a MN blockage and the approved winner of the vote might not receive the reward.
Following Zcoin’s solution Tecra will introduce a new masternodes launching and voting system. It will shift the process of their activation and voting directly to blockchain transactions. In result, we create the “deterministic masternodes” which cannot “unpin” from the voting chains. This guarantees that the approved winner of the vote will definitely be the only one. This will be the biggest change introduced when updating to Core 14.
https://preview.redd.it/livp48zlv0c51.jpg?width=875&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=2af1ef5a2748b8848ad3a34917eff293d3f256b4
submitted by tecraspace to u/tecraspace [link] [comments]

Review and Prospect of Crypto Economy-Development and Evolution of Consensus Mechanism (2)

Review and Prospect of Crypto Economy-Development and Evolution of Consensus Mechanism (2)

https://preview.redd.it/a51zsja94db51.png?width=567&format=png&auto=webp&s=99e8080c9e9b1fb5e11cbd70f915f9cb37188f81
Foreword
The consensus mechanism is one of the important elements of the blockchain and the core rule of the normal operation of the distributed ledger. It is mainly used to solve the trust problem between people and determine who is responsible for generating new blocks and maintaining the effective unification of the system in the blockchain system. Thus, it has become an everlasting research hot topic in blockchain.
This article starts with the concept and role of the consensus mechanism. First, it enables the reader to have a preliminary understanding of the consensus mechanism as a whole; then starting with the two armies and the Byzantine general problem, the evolution of the consensus mechanism is introduced in the order of the time when the consensus mechanism is proposed; Then, it briefly introduces the current mainstream consensus mechanism from three aspects of concept, working principle and representative project, and compares the advantages and disadvantages of the mainstream consensus mechanism; finally, it gives suggestions on how to choose a consensus mechanism for blockchain projects and pointed out the possibility of the future development of the consensus mechanism.
Contents
First, concept and function of the consensus mechanism
1.1 Concept: The core rules for the normal operation of distributed ledgers
1.2 Role: Solve the trust problem and decide the generation and maintenance of new blocks
1.2.1 Used to solve the trust problem between people
1.2.2 Used to decide who is responsible for generating new blocks and maintaining effective unity in the blockchain system
1.3 Mainstream model of consensus algorithm
Second, the origin of the consensus mechanism
2.1 The two armies and the Byzantine generals
2.1.1 The two armies problem
2.1.2 The Byzantine generals problem
2.2 Development history of consensus mechanism
2.2.1 Classification of consensus mechanism
2.2.2 Development frontier of consensus mechanism
Third, Common Consensus System
Fourth, Selection of consensus mechanism and summary of current situation
4.1 How to choose a consensus mechanism that suits you
4.1.1 Determine whether the final result is important
4.1.2 Determine how fast the application process needs to be
4.1.2 Determining the degree to which the application requires for decentralization
4.1.3 Determine whether the system can be terminated
4.1.4 Select a suitable consensus algorithm after weighing the advantages and disadvantages
4.2 Future development of consensus mechanism
Last lecture review: Chapter 1 Concept and Function of Consensus Mechanism plus Chapter 2 Origin of Consensus Mechanism
Chapter 3 Common Consensus Mechanisms (Part 1)
Figure 6 Summary of relatively mainstream consensus mechanisms
📷
https://preview.redd.it/9r7q3xra4db51.png?width=567&format=png&auto=webp&s=bae5554a596feaac948fae22dffafee98c4318a7
Source: Hasib Anwar, "Consensus Algorithms: The Root Of The Blockchain Technology"
The picture above shows 14 relatively mainstream consensus mechanisms summarized by a geek Hasib Anwar, including PoW (Proof of Work), PoS (Proof of Stake), DPoS (Delegated Proof of Stake), LPoS (Lease Proof of Stake), PoET ( Proof of Elapsed Time), PBFT (Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance), SBFT (Simple Byzantine Fault Tolerance), DBFT (Delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerance), DAG (Directed Acyclic Graph), Proof-of-Activity (Proof of Activity), Proof-of- Importance (Proof of Importance), Proof-of-Capacity (Proof of Capacity), Proof-of-Burn ( Proof of Burn), Proof-of-Weight (Proof of Weight).
Next, we will mainly introduce and analyze the top ten consensus mechanisms of the current blockchain.
》POW
-Concept:
Work proof mechanism. That is, the proof of work means that it takes a certain amount of computer time to confirm the work.
-Principle:
Figure 7 PoW work proof principle
📷
https://preview.redd.it/xupacdfc4db51.png?width=554&format=png&auto=webp&s=3b6994641f5890804d93dfed9ecfd29308c8e0cc
The PoW represented by Bitcoin uses the SHA-256 algorithm function, which is a 256-bit hash algorithm in the password hash function family:
Proof of work output = SHA256 (SHA256 (block header));
if (output of proof of work if (output of proof of work >= target value), change the random number, recursive i logic, continue to compare with the target value.
New difficulty value = old difficulty value* (time spent by last 2016 blocks /20160 minutes)
Target value = maximum target value / difficulty value
The maximum target value is a fixed number. If the last 2016 blocks took less than 20160 minutes, then this coefficient will be small, and the target value will be adjusted bigger, if not, the target value will be adjusted smaller. Bitcoin mining difficulty and block generation speed will be inversely proportional to the appropriate adjustment of block generation speed.
-Representative applications: BTC, etc.
》POS
-Concept:
Proof of stake. That is, a mechanism for reaching consensus based on the holding currency. The longer the currency is held, the greater the probability of getting a reward.
-Principle:
PoS implementation algorithm formula: hash(block_header) = Coin age calculation formula: coinage = number of coins * remaining usage time of coins
Among them, coinage means coin age, which means that the older the coin age, the easier it is to get answers. The calculation of the coin age is obtained by multiplying the coins owned by the miner by the remaining usage time of each coin, which also means that the more coins you have, the easier it is to get answers. In this way, pos solves the problem of wasting resources in pow, and miners cannot own 51% coins from the entire network, so it also solves the problem of 51% attacks.
-Representative applications: ETH, etc.
》DPoS
-Concept:
Delegated proof of stake. That is, currency holding investors select super nodes by voting to operate the entire network , similar to the people's congress system.
-Principle:
The DPOS algorithm is divided into two parts. Elect a group of block producers and schedule production.
Election: Only permanent nodes with the right to be elected can be elected, and ultimately only the top N witnesses can be elected. These N individuals must obtain more than 50% of the votes to be successfully elected. In addition, this list will be re-elected at regular intervals.
Scheduled production: Under normal circumstances, block producers take turns to generate a block every 3 seconds. Assuming that no producer misses his order, then the chain they produce is bound to be the longest chain. When a witness produces a block, a block needs to be generated every 2s. If the specified time is exceeded, the current witness will lose the right to produce and the right will be transferred to the next witness. Then the witness is not only unpaid, but also may lose his identity.
-Representative applications: EOS, etc.
》DPoW
-Concept:
Delayed proof of work. A new-generation consensus mechanism based on PoB and DPoS. Miners use their own computing power, through the hash algorithm, and finally prove their work, get the corresponding wood, wood is not tradable. After the wood has accumulated to a certain amount, you can go to the burning site to burn the wood. This can achieve a balance between computing power and mining rights.
-Principle:
In the DPoW-based blockchain, miners are no longer rewarded tokens, but "wood" that can be burned, burning wood. Miners use their own computing power, through the hash algorithm, and finally prove their work, get the corresponding wood, wood is not tradable. After the wood has accumulated to a certain amount, you can go to the burning site to burn the wood. Through a set of algorithms, people who burn more wood or BP or a group of BP can obtain the right to generate blocks in the next event segment, and get rewards (tokens) after successful block generation. Since more than one person may burn wood in a time period, the probability of producing blocks in the next time period is determined by the amount of wood burned by oneself. The more it is burned, the higher the probability of obtaining block rights in the next period.
Two node types: notary node and normal node.
The 64 notary nodes are elected by the stakeholders of the dPoW blockchain, and the notarized confirmed blocks can be added from the dPoW blockchain to the attached PoW blockchain. Once a block is added, the hash value of the block will be added to the Bitcoin transaction signed by 33 notary nodes, and a hash will be created to the dPow block record of the Bitcoin blockchain. This record has been notarized by most notary nodes in the network. In order to avoid wars on mining between notary nodes, and thereby reduce the efficiency of the network, Komodo designed a mining method that uses a polling mechanism. This method has two operating modes. In the "No Notary" (No Notary) mode, all network nodes can participate in mining, which is similar to the traditional PoW consensus mechanism. In the "Notaries Active" mode, network notaries use a significantly reduced network difficulty rate to mine. In the "Notary Public Activation" mode, each notary public is allowed to mine a block with its current difficulty, while other notary public nodes must use 10 times the difficulty of mining, and all normal nodes use 100 times the difficulty of the notary public node.
Figure 8 DPoW operation process without a notary node
📷
https://preview.redd.it/3yuzpemd4db51.png?width=500&format=png&auto=webp&s=f3bc2a1c97b13cb861414d3eb23a312b42ea6547
-Representative applications: CelesOS, Komodo, etc.
CelesOS Research Institute丨DPoW consensus mechanism-combustible mining and voting
》PBFT
-Concept:
Practical Byzantine fault tolerance algorithm. That is, the complexity of the algorithm is reduced from exponential to polynomial level, making the Byzantine fault-tolerant algorithm feasible in practical system applications.
-Principle:
Figure 9 PBFT algorithm principle
📷
https://preview.redd.it/8as7rgre4db51.png?width=567&format=png&auto=webp&s=372be730af428f991375146efedd5315926af1ca
First, the client sends a request to the master node to call the service operation, and then the master node broadcasts other copies of the request. All copies execute the request and send the result back to the client. The client needs to wait for f+1 different replica nodes to return the same result as the final result of the entire operation.
Two qualifications: 1. All nodes must be deterministic. That is to say, the results of the operation must be the same under the same conditions and parameters. 2. All nodes must start from the same status. Under these two limited qualifications, even if there are failed replica nodes, the PBFT algorithm agrees on the total order of execution of all non-failed replica nodes, thereby ensuring security.
-Representative applications: Tendermint Consensus, etc.
Next Lecture: Chapter 3 Common Consensus Mechanisms (Part 2) + Chapter 4 Consensus Mechanism Selection and Status Summary
CelesOS
As the first DPOW financial blockchain operating system, CelesOS adopts consensus mechanism 3.0 to break through the "impossible triangle", which can provide high TPS while also allowing for decentralization. Committed to creating a financial blockchain operating system that embraces supervision, providing services for financial institutions and the development of applications on the supervision chain, and formulating a role and consensus ecological supervision layer agreement for supervision.
The CelesOS team is dedicated to building a bridge between blockchain and regulatory agencies/financial industry. We believe that only blockchain technology that cooperates with regulators will have a real future. We believe in and contribute to achieving this goal.

📷Website
https://www.celesos.com/
📷 Telegram
https://t.me/celeschain
📷 Twitter
https://twitter.com/CelesChain
📷 Reddit
https://www.reddit.com/useCelesOS
📷 Medium
https://medium.com/@celesos
📷 Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/CelesOS1
📷 Youtube
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1Xsd8wU957D-R8RQVZPfGA
submitted by CelesOS to u/CelesOS [link] [comments]

How to Trade cryptocurrency?

How to Trade cryptocurrency?
https://preview.redd.it/0itz6rhbxs951.jpg?width=2400&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=ee51217e32d7e10f5510e86de00653161108f35a
Curious to know about cryptocurrency trading? Have you ever wondered how to do cryptocurrency trading? If yes, then you have landed on the right page. This article illustrates the concept of cryptocurrency trading.
Cryptocurrencies can be sold and bought through exchanges. Bitcoin is one of the most popular cryptocurrencies. There is no doubt that the demand for bitcoin certification is expanding day by day. The value of cryptocurrency is rising every day. The market sector of cryptocurrency is decentralized. Hence, there is no central authority like the government. The transactions of cryptocurrency are not managed by any financial institutions or banks. Cryptos operates across a network of systems.
What is Cryptocurrency?
A cryptocurrency is an encrypted form of decentralized digital money that can be transferred between individuals. It doesn’t exist as a physical object. This currency exists only in digital form. The nature of cryptocurrencies is volatile. They are totally unstable currencies. Each and every cryptocurrency is identified and coded based on complicated digital algorithms. It is basically a digital coin designed to do virtual transactions. Blockchain is the technology behind cryptocurrency. Blockchain technology is a digitally recorded register of data.
Top blockchain certifications in cryptocurrency will provide you deep insight into the cryptocurrency sector.
What is Cryptocurrency Trading?
Crypto training permits traders to buy cryptocurrency. The trading of crypto is the action of guessing on cryptocurrency cost movements through selling/buying coins or CFD trading accounts. CFD trading doesn’t take ownership of the coins. You need to put a small amount of deposit to gain exposure to the crypto market. You can sell or buy cryptocurrency through an exchange. A Certified Cryptocurrency Trader is a certified individual who understands the detailed working process of cryptocurrency trading.
Basic Tips For Cryptocurrency Trading
The market of cryptocurrency transforms very fast. Several new cryptocurrencies are born and others disappear. There are several different kinds of factors that push the cost of cryptocurrencies down or up. You should definitely consider the following points before you start trading Ethereum, Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency.
Let’s discuss some of the basic tips for trading cryptocurrency
· The first and basic rule for cryptocurrency trading is to sell high and buy low
· The first thing you should keep in mind while doing crypto trading is that the cost is exceptionally volatile
· The two important factors to be examined before crypto tradings are fundamental analysis and technical analysis
· The fundamental analysis considers the vulnerability of the crypto market sector
· The technical analysis consist of research for financial assets
· It is very crucial to follow news on digital currency. This will further help to select the best cryptocurrency
· Select your trading platform based on leverage available, currencies available, minimum investment and trading features
How To Get Started Trading Cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrencies are traded 24/7. The trading process of cryptocurrency is the same as that of fiat money except for the fact that there are Ethereum or Bitcoin instead of US dollars. Cryptocurrencies permit traders to modify their portfolio of investment. The price of cryptocurrency is analyzed by market supply, demand and sentiment.
Let’s discuss steps of how to get started crypto trading
  1. The first step is to select and research the selected platform for trading. You will require more time to learn the working process of the selected platform. Usually, the brokers provide their own trading platform
  2. The next step is to think about is this the right time to do trading? The sector of crypto moves high and low. You will have to do deep research before getting started for crypto trading. The first rule for cryptocurrency trading is to buy low and sell high
  3. The third step is to learn a trade. The best method to grasp how to trade is to actually do trade. Once you have explored all the concepts behind crypto trading then you will get in there. Just remember to set your limits first before purchasing some cryptocurrency
Final words
We hope that we provide you the answers you were looking for. The market of cryptocurrency is constantly increasing and provides several opportunities for traders. You should be very careful while doing cryptocurrency trading. Crypto trading is not a game. The real money is involved in crypto trading.
If you want to explore more about masters in cryptocurrencies traders, then you can check out the website of Blockchain Council.
submitted by Blockchain_org to BlockchainStartups [link] [comments]

Charles Hoskinson Reveals His 9 Favorite Crypto Projects

Cointelegraph recently sat down for an interview with Charles Hoskinson, who is the co-founder of Ethereum and CEO and founder of IOHK — the company developing Cardano. During that interview, Hoskinson shared details about some of the crypto projects that he is most interested in.
Ergo
“It's one of the most revolutionary cryptocurrencies ever built. Got so many crazy ideas like non-outsourceable puzzles and sigma protocols and pruning the blockchain and roller chains. All this crazy stuff. Even has a proof of no premine.”
Ergo was founded by Hoskinson’s “favorite technologist”, Alex Chepurnoy, who also contributed to the development of Cardano. It is a PoW blockchain platform with Turing complete smart contracts that employs a number of advanced features like zero-knowledge proofs, ring signatures, oracles, and adjustable block size.
ZCash
“They've advanced the entire discussion of zero knowledge cryptography. We've borrowed some of their stuff. We've innovated on some of the things.” … “They’re carrying the banner of privacy and the banner of inclusive accountability, and both of these things are incredibly important as a core.”
Zcash is a privacy coin that allows for both transparent and private transactions. Hoskinson has a lot of respect for ZCash and their work with zero knowledge proofs.
StarkWare
“Those are wonderful people and they're incredibly smart people. And again, they're allowing us to do amazing things with scale.”
Hoskinson likes the fact that StarkWare’s development also helps Cardano to improve its scalability. The company was co-founded by Eli Ben Sasson, who was one of Zcash’s founding scientists. Its goal is to enable on-chain scalability through the usage of zero-knowledge proofs.
Lightning Labs
“I have a lot of respect for Lightning Labs. <...> And that's a good solution, if not for scalability, for interoperability between cryptocurrencies. And they seem to be easy enough to talk to, to collaborate with, and fairly open people, good people.”
The company is building second layer solutions for the Bitcoin network. Their mission is to offer users a way to send and receive money more efficiently than ever before. Hoskinson noted that he approves of Elizabeth Stark’s specification-driven approach to development.
Dash
“I have a lot of respect for the Dash community. I think they were one of the first to really prove out a cryptocurrency treasury and show the power of a treasury. And they even sponsored research at Arizona State University with it.”
Dash is another project on Hoskinson’s list that is focused on privacy. It employs two layer consensus — with master nodes sitting on top of the proof-of-work base layer. Hoskinson believes that Dash proved “the power of a treasury”. He also has an appreciation for Dash’s community.
Tezos
“I don't really like their community too much because they're so toxic and negative towards us and they just never seem to let an opportunity kick us when we're down, escape. But overall, I do have a lot of respect for at least the philosophy and the technology that they've been deploying.”
Tezos is a proof of stake blockchain with on-chain governance. Tezos was created to provide the safety and code correctness required for assets and other high value use cases. Hoskinson praises Tezos, despite its community’s perceived toxicity towards Cardano.
Algorand
“... they are another one of the science coins and we all kind of support each other. Even though we get academically competitive, we're able to reference each other's work and learn from each other and grow from each other.”
Algorand is another proof-of-stake blockchain that was founded by Turing-award recipient, Silvio Micali. It’s main goal is to create a transparent system in which all users can achieve success via decentralization.
Avalanche
“I think Avalanche has some merit as well, especially in the IoT [Internet of Things] space in Ava is going to be an interesting coin that comes out. And there's a lot of interesting ideas there.”
Founded by another preeminent scholar, Cornell professor Emin Gün Sirer, Avalanche promises scalability and operability. Hoskinson is optimistic about Avalanche’s coin, which pays for fees and provides the basic unit of account between the multiple blockchains deployed on the larger AVA network.
Basic Attention Token
“... the growth curve and the adoption of BATs has been just phenomenal. And I think they're poised on a five or 10 years to become a major player in the very least displaced Firefox completely and potentially even have a meaningful share of the browser market, which could translate to billions of dollars of advertising revenue that's not connected to, you know, the cartels that exist and allow people to avoid being deplatformed.”
Brave browser rewards users for watching advertisements by distributing Basic Attention Tokens. Brave was founded by Brendan Eich, the creator of JavaScript and founder of the Mozilla project. Hoskinson believes that BAT has the potential to disrupt the “cartels” that control online advertising.
It is not surprising that Hoskinson, who is building Cardano with a research-first ethos and who studied number theory in school, has picked quite a few projects that both share his philosophies and focus on privacy.
submitted by eleanorcwhite to cardano [link] [comments]

Why i’m bullish on Zilliqa (long read)

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, analysed 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, decentralised and scalable in my opinion.
 
Below I post my analysis 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 end of January 2019 with daily transaction rate growing continuously. About a week ago mainnet reached 5 million transactions, 500.000+ addresses in total along with 2400 nodes keeping the network decentralised and secure. Circulating supply is nearing 11 billion and currently only mining rewards are left. Maximum supply is 21 billion with annual inflation being 7.13% currently and will only decrease with time.
 
Zilliqa realised early on that the usage of public cryptocurrencies and smart contracts were increasing but decentralised, 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 amount of nodes. More nodes = higher transaction throughput and increased decentralisation. 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 disecting 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 synchronise 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, decentralised and scalable being low.
 
pBFT stands for practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance and is an optimisation 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 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 decentralisation.
 
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 (centralised 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 their 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% translates 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 decentralised too, Zilliqa qualifies for the label of decentralised 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. 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, R&D roadmap 2020 and afterwards a proper Scilla introduction.
 
Generalised: programming languages can be divided into being ‘object oriented’ or ‘functional’. Here is an ELI5 given by software development academy: > “all programmes have two basic components, data – what the programme knows – and behaviour – what the programme can do with that data. So object-oriented programming states that combining data and related behaviours 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 behaviour 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 recognised 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 safety 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 for 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 organisations 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 suggest that Singapore tries to position itself as (one of) the leading blockchain hubs in the world.
 
Zilliqa seems to already taking 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 build 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 dont 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 initiatives (correct me if I’m wrong though). This suggest 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 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!
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