Zilliqa Mainnet Live, First to Run ‘Sharding’, Facebook Rumors

Colin Muller

Zilliqa (ZIL), a smart contract platform loosely in the style of Ethereum (ETH), has launched its mainnet and is the first blockchain to successfully implement “sharding.” Through a combination of sharding and a hybrid consensus algorithm using both Proof-of-Work (PoW) and Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance (PBFT), Zilliqa’s team claims a current transaction speed of 2,500 per second.

Unlike Ethereum, Zilliqa have no intention to transition to a Proof-of-Stake model and instead seek an “accelerated path to scalability.”

Sharding, PoW, PBFT

Essentially, sharding spares a blockchain from having to process every action or transaction on all of its nodes, and distributes the workload around its network. This method is designed to greatly increase the amount of transactions possible, and the team claim that current speeds are on the measure of 2,500 transactions per second.

According to a Zilliqa blog post from last year, the workload of a blockchain can be broken down and distributed to “sufficiently large subset[s]” of a blockchain’s computational power and nodes - thus retaining security while dividing the network’s load.

The Zilliqa chain - whose name is an elaboration of the word “silica,” the central ingredient in circuit boards, and sand - makes use of Proof-of-Work only to prevent Sybil attacks, with general consensus being performed by a PBFT style consensus mechanism. Thus it is a hybrid consensus protocol, and the team believe the upshot of this is that "Since the PoW period on Zilliqa will last for roughly 1 min every 2–3 hours, we believe that the energy footprint of mining on Zilliqa will be much smaller compared to the blockchains that use PoW to reach consensus on every block."

Careful Start

Until March of 2019, the new mainnet will be in a “bootstrap phase.” During this time no transactions will be processed by Zilliqa miners - even though miners will still be rewarded for their computational power. The purpose of this regime is to “ensure that [Zilliqa’s] network is protected against attacks during this initial launch period when the hash power is relatively low.”

Responding to recent rumors that Zilliqa could be in talks to supply Facebook with blockchain technology, the Zilliqa team in today’s ask-me-anything round categorically quashed such rumors.

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Binance Raises Eyebrows After Confirming Coinmarketcap Acquisition

Binance Holdings Ltd., the firm behind leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance, has confirmed the acquisition of cryptoasset tracking platform CoinMarketCap.

In a blog post, Binance confirmed the acquisition and claimed CoinMaketCap “stays committed” to providing quality cryptocurrency data to its users “while benefiting from Binance’s expertise, resources and scale.” It added CoinMarketCap has “maintained independence from external stakeholders since its inception” and will keep being an independent business entity.

In the post, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao was quoted as saying CoinMarketCap is the “landing page of crypto.” The acquisition was first reported on by TheBlock, which wrote the platform could be changing hands for as much as $400 million in cash and stock.

While Binance’s BNB token and the Binance exchange are listed on the platform, the post responded to users’ concerns surrounding the acquisition writing:

CoinMarketCap and Binance are separate entities that maintain a strict policy of independence from one another: Binance has no bearing on CoinMarketCap rankings, while CoinMarketCap has no influence over Binance’s operations.

As CryptoGlobe reported, users expressed concern surrounding CoinMarketCap’s data after the acquisition was first reported, as managing the platform could be very beneficial for Binance, which could use it as a funnel to gain new users.

Speaking to Bloomberg News Nic Carter, co-founder of Coin Metrics, noted that Binance could also set its platform as the preferred exchange by topping the rankings by default.  Carter added:

While the move may cause some to question CMC’s [CoinMarketCap’s] ability to remain a neutral data provider, it could potentially be very productive for Binance.

Binance’s blog post details CoinMarketCap’s founder Brandon Chez is stepping down as CEO to focus on his family, while current Chief Strategy Officer Carylyne Chain has been named interim CEO.

The cryptocurrency exchange recently raised users’ ire after participating in what was dubbed a hostile takeover of the STEEM blockchain, later on removing the vote. CoinMarketCap’s data itself has also been heavily criticized, with one filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission from Bitwise Asset Management arguing 95% of the trading volume it reports is fake or non-economical in nature.

Cryptocurrency exchanges have been known to use schemes that help boost their trading volumes – in some cases allegedly going as far as wash trading – to boost their rankings on CoinMarketCap and gain visibility.

Addressing the issue Zhao noted it wasn’t an easy problem to fix, adding that almost everything “requires some kind of judgement or algorithm.” While the acquisition comes at a time in which the economy has been suffering because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Market volatility has, however, been good for crypto exchanges. Zhao revealed Binance’s traffic increased about five times over the past few weeks, while Coinbase had already revealed its volumes grew after the March 12-13 market crash.

Featured image by David McBee from Pexels