Zilliqa Breaks 2,400 Transactions per Second with their ‘Sharding’ Blockchain

The team reaches a milestone in blockchain transaction scalability using a technology called ‘sharding.’

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Zilliqa, a Blockchain platform developed by National University of Singapore researchers, recently reached a breakthrough for scalability on its platform by increasing the throughput threshold to 2,488 transactions per second on an internal testnet thanks to their “sharding” technology.

What is often seen as a thorn in the side of Blockchain technology is the issue of how to properly scale the transaction load to meet market-ready standards. Currently both the Ethereum and Bitcoin are vastly inferior at handling large scale transaction loads; on average both Blockchains process between 7-10 TX/sec.

In a live interview with “The Rundown” on CNBC International in Singapore, Dr. Xinshu Dong, CEO of Zilliqa, explained that the concept of sharding has the potential to solve the scalability problem with existing Blockchains using their technology of sharding.  He also stated that goal of Zilliqa would be to “at least hit the average throughput of VISA and MasterCard,” which is around 8,000 TX/s.

The breakthrough was made thanks to the Ziliqa team’s coordinated effort that leveraged all available Amazon Web Services (AWS) EC2 instances in Singapore which met required criteria. A total of 3,600 AWS EC2 instances operated as single nodes and performed tests on the infrastructure of the Blockchain system, providing verifiable results. Testing rounds from a month prior yielded a result of 1,400 TX/s on 2,800 similarly deployed AWS EC2 nodes.

The Ziliqa team estimates that if it had as many nodes as are active in Ethereum, the platform would be able to manage over 15,000 TX/s, nearly twice as many as the VISA network’s average throughput, the largest global electronic payment system in the world.

Dr. Dong leads a the team of researchers and engineers at Zilliqa who are developing the Ziliqa Blockchain platform and achieved the breakthrough. This marks the first time such a “sharding” protocol, introduced in 2015 by Prof. Prateek Saxena’s team, has met with a scalable deployment on a permission-less system. The sharding technique partitions transaction block verification to machines in a network by running parallel subcommittees (shards) that process and then collate the verified data into a final block.

A particular challenge with sharding comes with accounting for bias. Meeting the challenge of secure sharding in an unbiased manner, the Ziliqa team has developed a mechanism that dynamically elects and manages updates to special committees of machines.

In addition Ziliqa is creating a smart contract language that, although non-Turing complete, is instead scalability driven. This language will be perfect for applications like automated auctions, digital advertising, or in shared economies. The language follows a dataflow-like programming style wherein it can be visualized as a directed graph. Nodes on the graph are represented by computations, whereas arcs represent input and output.

Ziliqa’s successful implementation of sharding protocols put it on par with other high frequency transaction projects set to be deployed to Blockchains, such as the Ethereum complementary Raiden Network, an off-chain payment processing platform compatible with ERC-20 tokens, or the Lightning Network, a bitcoin Blockchain-based instant payment system, and Plasma protocol, authored by developer Joseph Poon and Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin.

In December 2017 the Ziliqa team will release the source code for its platform and open a public testnet. The public and developed alike are invited to engage in testing the system’s functionality, robustness and join in the design of the next iteration of dApps that can be integrated with the platform.

About Richard Kastelein

Founder of industry publication Blockchain News, partner at ICO services collective CryptoAsset Design Group (helped raise over $200m+), director of education company Blockchain Partners (Oracle Partner) and ICO event organiser at leading industry event  CryptoFinancing (first ICO event in Europe) – Richard Kastelein is an award-winning publisher, innovation executive and entrepreneur. He sits on the advisory boards of half a dozen Blockchain startups and has written over 1200 articles on Blockchain technology and startups at Blockchain News and has also published pioneering articles on ICOs in Harvard Business Review and Venturebeat.
 
Kastelein has spoken (keynotes & panels) on Blockchain technology in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Barcelona, Beijing, Brussels, Bucharest, Dubai, Eindhoven, Gdansk, Groningen, the Hague, Helsinki, London, Manchester, Minsk, Nairobi, Nanchang, San Mateo, Shanghai,Tel Aviv and Venice. His network is global and extensive.
 
He is a Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Métis) whose writing career has ranged from the Canadian Native Press (Arctic) to the Caribbean & Europe. He’s written occasionally for Harvard Business Review, Wired, Venturebeat, The Guardian and Virgin.com and his work and ideas have been translated into Dutch, Greek, Polish, German and French.
 
A journalist by trade, an entrepreneur and adventurer at heart, Kastelein’s professional career has ranged from political publishing to TV technology, boatbuilding to judging startups, skippering yachts to marketing and more as he’s travelled for nearly 30 years as a Canadian expatriate living around the world.
 
In his 20s, he sailed around the world on small yachts and wrote a series of travel articles called, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Seas’ travelling by hitching rides on yachts (1989) in major travel and yachting publications. He currently lives in Groningen, Netherlands where he’s raising three teenage daughters with his wife and sailing partner, Wieke Beenen.

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