NEO-Backed Zilliqa (ZIL) Releases Inaugural Testnet
It didn’t take long for Zilliqa (ZIL) to make a splash in April, with the team launching their public testnet v1.0. Under the codename of ‘Red Prawn’, the Sunday release comes ahead of Zilliqa’s mainnet release, which is scheduled to drop some time between July and September (i.e., 3Q18).
Regarding the specificities of Sunday’s testnet v1.0 release (the culmination of over two years of research and development), Zilliqa outlined how:
Users will be able to send transactions through our web wallet to the network and use the block explorer to check the status of their transactions and other network and protocol parameters.”
Zilliqa will continue to develop their product, with feedback and analysis of their inaugural testnet expected to guide their efforts. Per the announcement, the following features of the Zilliqa network will be unavailable on testnet v1.0: the ability to  run a node,  mine on Zilliqa,  run a smart contract, and  validate a transaction. The latter is closest to going live, with Zilliqa anticipating the feature to “be enabled in the coming weeks.”
Zilliqa, according their whitepaper, is using the idea of sharding to create “a new blockchain platform that is designed to scale in transaction rates.” Sharding, of course, refers to the instance where a mining network is divided into smaller consensus groups, which are referred to as ‘shards’. Because of sharding, Zilliqa claims that they operate the “world’s first high-throughput public blockchain platform – designed to scale to thousands of transactions per second.”
Sharding is currently one of many potential scaling solutions being considered by Vitalik Buterin’s Ethereum blockchain. Unlike most of these, however, sharding is an on-chain scalability solution.
Others that are currently under development tend to be off-chain in nature (e.g. TrueBit, Plasma, Raiden state channel technology); not dissimilar to what the Lightning Network is to the Bitcoin ecosystem.
As we cross into April, it appears that Zilliqa has picked up where it left off. It was just over a week ago when Zilliqa featured in a breakthrough announcement which, presumably because of the despondent crypto market, was widely unacknowledged by the crypto community.
Indeed, Trinity Protocol (part of the NEO ecosystem) co-hosted an event with Zilliqa on March 24, where it was revealed that Trinity would expand upon their scalability-related work for NEO by contributing to off-chain scaling for both the Zilliqa and Ethereum blockchain networks as well. This saw Zilliqa’s top-50 cryptocurrency (by market cap), ZIL, spike in value despite the market-wide capitulation that plagued March.
It’s worth noting that NEO Global Capital – the investment arm of the NEO ecosystem – features Zilliqa in its portfolio; a strong indication of how much their sharding expertise is valued by blockchain protocols like NEO.
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