What is Zilliqa? (ZIL)
Zilliqa is a software that seeks to incentivize a global, distributed network of computers to run a blockchain platform that aims to increase user scalability through sharding.
In this way, Zilliza is one of a number of competing blockchain aiming to grow an ecosystem of decentralized applications (dapps) and cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum, Tron and EOS.
To differentiate itself from others, Zilliqa uses a sharding process which splits its infrastructure into several interconnected blockchains to support more transactions.
Zilliqa also launched Scilla, a native programming language that focuses on security and enables developers to write and launch customizable dapps intended to replicate real world services.
To achieve all of these features, the network’s native cryptocurrency, ZIL, is used to execute programs, send transactions, and incentivize actors that support the network.
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How Does Zilliqa Work?
The Zilliqa network offers many features common to other cryptocurrency networks such as smart contracting, transaction settlement, and token issuance.
Developers can use its proprietary language, Scilla, to run custom programming logic (smart contracts) and design new programs (decentralized applications) to offer a variety of products and services.
While this system is complex in implementation, Zilliqa is ultimately designed to execute smart contracts and confirm network transactions in a scalable and efficient manner.
Sharding is a structural technique that splits the network into several pieces, or shards, allowing nodes to only process a fraction of the network’s transactions.
Each shard acts as its own blockchain and allows nodes assigned to them to store data, process transactions and add new blocks to their specific shard chain, called microblocks.
Microblocks are then combined into a transaction block by Directory Service Nodes (or DS nodes) to be added to the Zilliqa blockchain.
Of note, the shard nodes contain a specific subset of the Zilliqa blockchain, and do not have to store Zilliqa’s entire history.
Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance (pBFT)
Central to Zilliqa is the Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance (pBFT) governance mechanism that keeps the distributed network of computers in sync.
In order for nodes to power the blockchain and vote on changes, they must first stake ZIL, meaning that anyone who owns ZIL can help operate the network. Using pBFT, all nodes assigned to specific shards must agree before a microblock is finalized and combined into a transaction block.
Each node is subsequently rewarded with a portion of the block reward for validating the transactions.
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