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This is the first release used for mainnet (v4.0.1). It is bundled with novel features with sharding at the core. Below we discuss some of the core features of the Zilliqa mainnet:
The network supports transaction sharding for both regular payment transactions and those that invoke smart contracts. Processing smart contract transactions on a sharded architecture come with its own set of challenges. To learn more about Zilliqa’s approach to the problem, check out this blog post.
Zilliqa will be one of the very few PBFT-style (for Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance) blockchains available today. A PBFT-style consensus mechanism is efficient and gives finality to transactions so that confirmations are not required.
Safe Smart Contracts
The protocol comes shipped with a new smart contract language named Scilla. The language has been designed to eliminate many known vulnerabilities in existing smart contracts and make them amenable to formal verification.
Dual and Eco-Friendly Mining
It is possible to dual mine an Ethash-based PoW blockchain such as Ethereum and Zilliqa. This comes from the fact that Zilliqa uses a combination of PoW and PBFT, where, PoW is only used for Sybil resistance, while, PBFT is used for consensus. 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.
Low Variance in Block Rewards
The protocol employs a novel incentive mechanism to reward miners by measuring their contributions in the consensus protocol. As a result, thousands of (or more) miners may get rewarded for a single block resulting in low variance.