Amrit Kumar is Head of Research in Zilliqa. We are pleased to bring you an interview with him about Zilliqa platform, which will start its Mainnet in January 2019.
Hi Amrit, thank you for joining the interview. Can you tell our readers something about yourself and how you began working on Zilliqa? How long do you know professor Prateek Saxena and CEO Xinshu Dong?
Hi! Thank you for inviting me over. I am a researcher in information security and privacy. I did my PhD from Inria, France. During my PhD, my work was mostly focused on understanding how using a specific data structure in a software system can impact its security and privacy guarantees.
After my PhD, I moved over to National University of Singapore to work as a Research Fellow with Prateek. I met Xinshu through Prateek who back then was working at Anquan (a sister company of Zilliqa) co-founded by Prateek. I worked with Prateek for around a year during which I focused on the privacy aspects of blockchains.
Back in around May 2017, I had finished a research project on Monero and was looking for a new topic to work on. And one day, Prateek called me over phone and asked me, if I was interested in doing a project around a scalable blockchain. And I said yes right away. Later this project turned into Zilliqa.
How did the price correction of both Zilliqa and Ethereum affected your work? When do you expect the crypto market could heal?
We never relied on the price correction and therefore we always had sufficient cash to support our R&D. I will let the market decide on when the right healing time will be :)
Let’s talk little bit about your Testnet, how many transactions per second can you make already? Is the progress as expected?
During our internal stress tests, we observed a capacity of around 2500 tx/s with non-smart contract transactions. Yes, our development is on track.
What about your Mainnet then? It was rescheduled from Q3 2018 to January 2019. Why did you postpone the launch? Do you see this term 01/2019 realistic for launching?
We rescheduled the mainnet launch so as to ensure that we had enough time to implement some of the new ideas that we had to make the platform more secure and more robust. Once implemented, we also needed some time to adequately test them both internally and also by engaging established third party auditors. Yes, Jan 2019 is realistic and we are working hard towards it. We have already released a version of the testnet that can be called the candidate release for the mainnet.
What are your main advantages in compare with some competitors bringing high-throughput solutions like Cardano, EOS, ArcBlock or Quarkchain? Why should an investor or dApp developer choose Zilliqa instead of the others?
We are the first platform to make sharding work --- a solution that several other blockchains are now exploring (e.g., Quarkchain). Sharding provides a scaling solution that ensures that the throughput scales linearly as the network expands. Blockchains such as Cardano and EOS do not provide this feature. Along the way, we also decided to provide a safer smart contract layer through our new smart contract language Scilla. Scilla aims to eliminate some of the known issues with smart contracts that led to incidents like the DAO and Parity multi-sig wallet hacks. Furthermore, with Scilla it will become much easier to provide mathematical guarantees about the correctness and safety of a contract. I feel that Zilliqa is uniquely placed in terms of the balance that it offers in terms of security, decentralization and scalability.
Something about your partnerships, our readers already could get info about your fight against fake news in cooperation with Mindshare and also your cooperation on Project Proton. Could you reveal some plans for some new partnerships for the incoming future?
We are actively working with some of the established players in the gaming industry for instance. For example, Etheremon is one of the most popular game on Ethereum today. We are closely working with them to bring gaming dapps on Zilliqa.
What about your discussions with Vitalik Buterin on sharding, did you continue your cooperation with Ethereum?
We have met several times in the past and we are always looking forward to working together on challenging research problems that lay ahead of us.
Where do you see Zilliqa in the next five years?
I would like to see Zilliqa grow into a larger and activity community of developers who passionately explore new areas to make Zilliqa better. I do want to see Zilliqa to be the go to platform for future dapps.
Do you want to send a word to our Czech and Slovak Zilliqa community?
On behalf of the entire Zilliqa team, I would like to thank the entire community for their support to the project. We cannot wait to meet you in person someday. And now, that I am based in London, it should be easier for us to cover Europe and meet our community members.
Also, do let us know your feedback on the work that we have been doing on both technical and non-technical side. It will help us do things in a better way.
Thank you Amrit for this interview and have a great day!