Zilliqa (ZIL) is one of the world’s first blockchains being built on a sharded architecture and features smart contracts written in the platform’s proprietary programming language: Scilla.
Zilliqa’s smart-contract platform scales linearly without compromising on the needed security provided by the decentralization of validating nodes. The platform successfully balances the prevailing blockchain “trilemma”: security, scalability, and decentralization.
Zilliqa is committed to building a convenient and secure building experience for developers, and has cultivated a 1000+ person-strong developer community.
The company’s ecosystem growth arm called “ZILHive” has supported 70+ projects through grants, incubation, and mentorship facilities. Notable grant recipients include UnstoppableDomains, TEEX, and Transak. Zilliqa aims to leverage blockchain to develop an infrastructure for Open Finance in emerging markets (especially ASEAN) in collaboration with key partners and talent within our ecosystem.
Zilliqa's utility token, ZIL, can be used to navigate the Zilliqa blockchain by executing smart contracts and paying transactions fees. ZIL is further paid out as a block reward.
1. What is Zilliqa (ZIL)?
Zilliqa is a public blockchain platform that is designed to "scale financial transactions".
At its core, Zilliqa utilizes sharding technology, which enables increased transaction rates as the network expands. The team states the latest experimental results demonstrate a throughput of more than 2,800 transactions per second.
In addition to scalability, Zilliqa aims to provide a secure and efficient smart-contract layer to enable security-by-design smart-contract programming and verification.
Zilliqa's mission is to create a network that is , while staying true to blockchain security principles.
Some of Zilliqa's key features include:
Two-layer blockchain structure: Directory Service ("DS") blockchain stores the identities of the nodes in the network, while the Transaction ("TX") blockchain stores information on the transactions validated by the network.
Scilla: the Zilliqa team has proposed a new smart contract language, Scilla, which scales better for applications such as automated auctions, shared economy, and financial modelling.
Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance ("pBFT"): Zilliqa uses an improved version of pBFT to achieve a more even payout for each node, lower communication overhead, and instant block finality to eliminate the need for block confirmations.
ZIL is the native asset of the Zilliqa network. A few examples of the use cases of the ZIL token include:
Incentive for PoW mining.
Payment as gas fees for smart-contract execution.
Tender for transaction fees.
2. Zilliqa's key features
2.1 Sharding and an optimized pBFT consensus
Zilliqa's network consists of several group of nodes, and each of them is called a shard. A special shard among these is referred to as . The DS committee acts as a supervisory shard and helps in the formation of shards and aggregate transaction validation results from each shard among others.
Zilliqa leverages on the shards for parallel processing of transactions. Each shard and the DS committee run an optimized pBFT for consensus on valid transactions. In pBFT, there is deterministic finality of blocks, unlike the probabilistic finality in Nakamoto consensus (e.g., in Bitcoin and Ethereum). Therefore, there is no need for several block confirmation, the latest state of the latest block is the "truth" of the chain.
2.2 A two-blockchain system
There are two blockchains in Zilliqa's architecture: the DS blockchain and TX blockchain. The DS blockchain stores the identities of the nodes in the network, while the TX blockchain stores information on the transactions validated by the network.
Time for each blockchain epoch are:
TX block epochs are dynamic (1-2 mins).
DS block epochs are dynamic and dependent on TX epochs (1-2 hours).
2.3 Unique transaction model with multiple transaction types
Zilliqa uses an account-based model, similar to Ethereum). The network currently supports account-to-account and account-to-contract transactions. Batch transactions will be supported in later versions.
There are 3 different types of transactions in the Zilliqa network:
Type I - user account to user account transactions
Type II - simple user account to contract transactions
Type III - complicated user account to contract transactions
Transactions are allocated to each shard based on the last few bits of the sender's and the recipient's addresses.
All Type I and most Type II transactions are handled within a shard.
Some Type II transactions and all Type III transactions that require cross-shard communications are handled by the DS Committee.
The transactions made in point 2 as stated above are only processed after shards have finished processing the transactions in point 1. This eliminates the case in which conflicting transactions get handled in parallel.
2.4 5-node types in Zilliqa
There are 5 types of nodes on the Zilliqa network:
The shard nodes handle the Type I and Type II intra-shard transactions, and submit a micro TX-block signed. They get rewarded based on the number of signatures produced during this DS epoch.
The DS nodes handle the assembling of micro TX-blocks submitted by the shards. They also process Type II and Type III transactions that are cross-shard transactions. They are also rewarded based on the number of signatures produced during this DS epoch.
The lookup nodes handle the dispatching of transactions to the correct shard and assist seed nodes in fetching states and transaction history. They earn 5% of the transaction fees and coinbase reward.
The seed nodes help to forward transactions to lookup nodes, assist new validating nodes in joining the network by providing the DS-blocks history, and expose transactional APIs to allow explorer/wallets to send transactions and fetch historical transaction data. They share the rewards earned by lookup nodes.
The archival storage fetches historical data including transactions and blocks from seed nodes every DS epoch and store them in LevelDB. They also provide the historical data for new seed nodes that are joining.
MB4 and SD4 are for the Type II and Type III cross-shard transactions as discussed earlier, and they will be handled and processed by the DS committee. After MB4 and SD4, all MBs and SDs will be aggregated into FB and FSD respectively.
2.5 Gas accounting
The gas accounting in Zilliqa has the same format as that of Ethereum. There is a gas limit that is set based on the complexity of the computation involved in processing a transaction, and there is a gas price (in the denomination Li) that is set by the free market.
The initial gas price will be set at 1,000 Li at the bootstrap phase. A simple account-to-account transaction costs 1,000 Li as well.
2.6 Scilla and smart contracts in Zilliqa
Zilliqa Research created a domain-specific functional programming language called Scilla to power its high-throughput smart-contract platform safely. Scilla, short for Smart Contract Intermediate Level Language, is designed as a principled language with smart contract safety in mind.
Scilla imposes a structure on smart contracts that will make applications running on Zilliqa less vulnerable to attacks by eliminating certain known vulnerabilities directly at the language-level. Furthermore, the principled structure of Scilla will make applications inherently more secure.
A more detailed explanation of Scilla can be found here.
Zilliqa uses JSON-RPC protocol to broadcast transactions in the network. Sending of ZILs and deploying/calling of contracts are all done via JSON-RPC methods. Several SDKs in different programming languages are made available for developers to choose from to ease their dApp development process.
3. Economics and supply
ERC-20 at TGE
Private Sale Allocation
27.3% of Total Supply
Private Token Sale Date
1 Oct 2017 to 20 Dec 2017
Private Token Sale Price
Amount Raised in Private Sale
~$18.3MM (43,942 ETH)
Public Sale Allocation
2.7% of Total Supply
Public Token Sale Date
27 Dec 2017 to 4 Jan 2018
Public Token Sale Price
Amount Raised in Public Sale
~$2.2MM (4,947 ETH)
The token supply distribution is:
Private sale tokens make up 27.3% of the total token supply. It was conducted from 1 October 2017 to 20 December 2017 for 5,725,875,682 ZIL at a rate of 130,305 ZIL = 1 ETH and raised a total of 43,942 ETH (~$18.3MM) at ~$0.0032 per token, selling 27.3% of the total token supply.
Public sale tokens make up 2.7% of the total token supply. It was conducted on 27 December 2017 to 4 January 2018 for 574,107,038 ZIL at a rate of 116,052 ZIL = 1 ETH and raised a total of 4,947 ETH (~$2.2MM) at ~$0.0038 per token, selling 2.7% of the total token supply.
Team is allocated 5.0% of total token supply (unlocked in Jan 2019).
Advisors received 2.1% of the total token supply.
Strategic sale tokens make up 10.0% of the total token supply.
Token treasury constitutes 12.0% of the total token supply.
One-time advisors receives 0.9% of the total token supply.
Mining is allocated 40% of the total token supply.
ZIL token distribution (%)
The Zilliqa team listed its use of sales proceeds as the following:
4.5% to Key Partnerships.
13.6% to Marketing.
5% to Founding Team.
24.6% to Development.
4.5% to Community Engagement and Bounty Programmes.
5.5% to Compliance, Legal and Finance.
13.6% to Cloud Hosting, Operations, Equipment.
15% to Anquan Capital, which funds new ventures like Anqlave (secure chips) to support Zilliqa's infrastructure.
13.7% to Research.
Zilliqa holds its funds in cold storage with multi-signature wallets. The keys are held by 3 different persons, whose identity the team chose not to disclose for security purposes. 2 out of 3 signatures are required to unlock the multi-sig wallet.
The following chart represents the number and breakdown of all ZIL tokens that are to be released into circulation on a monthly basis.
ZIL token release schedule
4. Roadmap, updates, and business development
Zilliqa has been on time for most communicated milestones.
The team communicates with its community via biweekly project updates.
All blog updates can be found here.
Technical Whitepaper released
Scilla design document
Zilliqa source code released
Bootstrap Phase ends
Testnet v1.0 release: Red Prawn
Testnet v2.0 release: D24
Testnet v3.0 release: Mao Shan Wang
Token Swap ends
Zilliqa Core Protocol enhancements
Core protocol refactoring and Scilla enhancements
Support for higher-level languages
4.2 Commercial partnerships and business development progress
Zilliqa's teams have listed 3 verticals in which they pursue constantly.
Programmatic advertising suffers from ad frauds and too many intermediaries that reduce the value that the advertisers get for their money. Mindshare is using Zilliqa's blockchain to tackle these issues within Project Proton.
For more information on Project Proton, see here.
Aqilliz, a sister company of Zilliqa, will be focused on building this ad-tech blockchain-based product for Mindshare clients.
For more information on Aqilliz, see here.
Security Token Offerings ("STO") present a new way to tokenize esoteric asset-backed securities like a fleet of aircraft, or patents and licensing agreements for example, which are harder to securitize with traditional methods. This offers greater flexibility to investors by enabling fractional ownership at lower costs, making it more accessible to new investors seeking to enter the space.
Hg Exchange is a joint venture between Maicoin and Zilliqa, with Phillip Securities, PrimePartners, RHT Capital and Fundnel as the first members of this exchange platform. Hg Exchange aims to be the first compliant STO platform in Southeast Asia and is currently applying for the Monetary Authority of Singapore ("MAS") fintech regulatory sandbox.
For more information on the Hg exchange, see here.
StraitsX is a stablecoin initiative for Southeast Asia launched by Xfers in partnership with Zilliqa.
For more information on Xfers, see here.
Gaming (with Krypton)
Blockchains provide a useful tool for gamers for various reasons including decentralized asset exchanges, verifiable scarcity of virtual objects and collectibles, fast and secure payment networks, and an ability for developers to properly monetize their creations.
The most popular implementation of blockchain technology for gaming is with non-fungible assets. In gaming, these assets can be anything from game skins to virtual cards part of a specific game that are verifiably scarce. The authenticity of individual virtual items is guaranteed using smart contract standards such as the ERC-721 non-fungible token standard and the newer ERC-1155 reference implementation on top of Ethereum network.
Zilliqa and Krypton are currently working together to create non-fungible token templates and gaming SDKs for gaming studios around the world to launch their blockchain games on top of the Zilliqa network. Blockchain mobile game Zilliqa Planet is available on both iOS and Android devices.
5. Project team
6. Zilliqa's activity and community overview
6.1 Social and community data
The team cites education as the most important community interaction. As part of this, Zilliqa organised the Blockchain A-Z Workshop at King's College London (in collaboration with the KCL Blockchain Society). Additionally, Zilliqa was recently a partner of the Future of Blockchain hackathon, educating student developers from Cambridge, Oxford, Imperial, LSE, UCL, and KCL.
Zilliqa also regularly engage its developer and miner communities via its Ecosystem Grant programme. As of writing, Zilliqa has engaged 40 different teams from 19 different countries and the team states they look to expanding this engagement with the help of a new streaming system that further streamlines the grant application and development process.
The team had launched the inaugural ZILHive Accelerator programme in in 2019 in partnership with LongHash Incubator to incubate 5 teams building on top of Zilliqa platform. The ZILHive Accelerator will continue its 2020 season with a new partner, Tribe Accelerator.