Frequently Asked Questions

Zilliqa Seed Node Staking

Where can I find the Zilliqa Improvement Proposal?
You can view the ZIP here.
What will be the expected annual yield?
Up to 10.42% per annum if the staked seed node passes all regular liveness checks.
Can I stake if I do not have 10 million ZIL?
The minimum of 10 million ZILs is the requirement for seed node operators (e.g. existing crypto exchanges, wallet and explorer providers, operators from within the Zilliqa community). You can stake your ZILs through the seed node operators - the minimum amount will be determined by the operators.
Will staking be custodial?
In Phase 0 of the staking implementation, seed node operators will have to deposit funds in a smart contract by transferring the tokens to the contract.

A seed node operator that does not have the minimum number of $ZILs to stake may open up this service to other token holders who may not have the right expertise to run a seed node themselves. This is often referred to as delegated staking. In Phase 0, the way in which the custody of delegated tokens is handled is left to the seed node operators.

We are however working on several improvements that we plan to implement in the next phases. For instance, one possible improvement would be to not require seed node operators or token holders to transfer funds but instead lock those funds at the core protocol level, i.e., funds do not move but only stay locked. This will require handling the entire staking architecture at the protocol-level, which, due to its intrusive nature, can be handled in the next phases based on the success of Phase 0.

Another idea that is not intrusive to the core protocol and yet presents a safer and more useful alternative to simple token locking for delegated staking would be to implement bonded stakes. Bonded stakes allow a token holder to delegate her stake (by transferring the tokens to a seed node operator), to receive wZILs (a wrapped version of ZILs) in return. wZILs however come with usage restrictions in the sense that the moment a token holder redeems wZILs for actual ZILs, she loses her stake. However, she can use wZILs in other applications such as a DeFi DApp that requires collateral.
Will Zilliqa Research run any seed node?
The seed node operators we are looking to get involved with the staking programme are: (i) existing crypto exchanges, (ii) wallet and explorer providers, and (iii) operators from within the Zilliqa community.

Zilliqa Research, as of now, has yet to make the decision on whether we will run a staked seed node. However, in the spirit of decentralisation, we would rather allow other parties to run staked seed nodes instead.
What will be the system requirements to run a seed node?
  • x64 Ubuntu operating system

  • Quad core processor (e.g. Intel Xeon Skylake family)

  • 16GB RAM

  • 300GB SSD

  • 200Mbps (up/down) bandwidth 24/7 uptime

  • Public IP address Domain name

  • Valid SSL certificate

What will be the minimum/maximum number of ZILs to be staked?
Each seed node operator will have to deposit a minimum of 10,000,000 ZILs. For the maximum figure, it will depend on the interest level of the community and the number of staked seed node operators we have.

However, the total number of ZILs to be staked across all see node operators will be 700,000,000 ZILs. With 10 seed nodes, the maximum that each seed node would be able to stake will be 70 million ZILs.
Total number of seed nodes?
Up to 10 staked seed node operators at launch in Phase 0, 1 staked seed node per operator.
When will staking be launched?
We are expected to start onboarding operators to our testnet in early to mid Q2 2020, with the official launch of staked seed node at the end of Q2 2020 on our mainnet.
How will seed node operators engage with end-users?
The seed node operators we are looking at are (i) existing crypto exchanges, (ii) wallet and explorer providers, and (iii) operators from within the Zilliqa community. As they are already part of the Zilliqa ecosystem, they can leverage this ecosystem to engage with end-users.
Can I withdraw my stake at any point of time?
That will be decided by seed node operators. The seed node operator will make the decision on their business operations aspect as the seed node operators will need to ensure they can meet the minimum stake amount in order to continue serving as staked seed node operators. But at the contract-level, a seed node operator can withdraw its stake at any point of time.
Will end-users have to lockup at all? If yes, for how long?
That will be decided by seed node operators. The seed node operator will make the decision on their business operations aspect as the seed node operators will need to ensure they can meet the minimum stake amount in order to continue serving as staked seed node operators. But, at the contract-level, a seed node operator can withdraw its stake at any point of time.
Why only 5% block reward for staking?
Currently, 5% of block rewards are allocated to seed nodes (run by Zilliqa) in order to cover the operational costs. As part of decentralising seed node architecture, we are allowing other parties to be a part of the seed node network. As such, there will be no adjustment to the mining rewards received by the miners.

However, in the future we may adjust this number based on the future adjustment to the reward curve. Any such adjustment will have to go through a formal Zilliqa ZIP process and feedback from the community.
What is the penalty if a seed node misbehaves or does not provide the intended service?
In Phase 0, misbehaviour will result in no rewards being paid out, but there will not be slashing of staked amount.

In future phases, we intend to implement protocols such as Proof of Replication to check for malicious behaviour. We may introduce hard slashing once all these protocols are in place.
Where can we see the list of seed node operators with whom we can stake?
We intend to launch a staked seed node status page in the near future.
When will Github documentation and instructions be ready?
ZIP is the first step. It will consist of a large portion of the initial documentation. Aside from that, we are working on a staked seed node operator guide so that the node operator can easily run and maintain their staked seed node(s).
Hot Questions
What is a token swap? How does it work and when did Zilliqa's token swap end?
Token swap is a mechanism to convert ERC20 ZILs from the Ethereum network to native ZILs on the Zilliqa network at the rate of 1:1. Token swap was facilitated via supporting exchanges over the last 6 months, and ended on 15 February 2020.

For recommendations on where you can securely store your tokens, please refer to this page.

You can now use native ZIL for the various dapps in the ZIL ecosystem, or as gas fees. Find out more about gas fees on Zilliqa here.
Any updates on the Hg Exchange collaboration?
The application made by Hg Exchange is currently undergoing approval with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and is at the 'Regulatory Sandbox' stage. We will only be able to reveal more once we have heard back from MAS, and received clearance to publicly discuss the project.
Are you still working with Mindshare?
Last year, we saw very successful results in our Project Proton pilot conducted in collaboration with Mindshare for its client PepsiCo (where we saw an increase of 28% in cost efficiencies when running the digital advertising campaign through Zilliqa smart contracts). Following this, our sister company Aqilliz, headed by ex-WPP global client lead Gowthaman Ragothaman, will be taking the project forward to restore authentic value discovery to the digital marketing landscape. Zilliqa is proud to be Aqilliz's exclusive technology infrastructure provider.
What did you achieve in 2019?
In 2019, Zilliqa fulfilled the promises it made two years ago - to deliver the first blockchain leveraging sharding, and to provide a safer smart contract language to help developers write their contracts easily. It has been a year full of accomplishments, learnings, and milestones.

  • With our mainnet launch in January 2019, Zilliqa officially became the first public blockchain to be built on a fully sharded network. Later in June, we deployed smart contract functionalities on our network, which was built on our very own secure-by-design programming language Scilla. With an immense amount of teamwork and hard work, the research that our co-founders had been undertaking since 2015, was brought to life.

  • We also supported the launch of dapps which played a key role in testing, troubleshooting and building up the network's capabilities. For example, the high volume of transactions brought in by one of our earliest grantees Unstoppable Domains in August led to a major network upgrade.

  • These proved to be valuable learning experiences in enriching our technical infrastructure, after which we started developing resources, setting up forums, and adding toolkits which would help developers build on Zilliqa much more conveniently and quickly.

  • Recognising that security is at the heart of our infrastructure, we placed it at the top of our priority list this year. In addition to periodic security audits conducted previously, we teamed up with experts like ChainSecurity - who have been instrumental in helping us analyse smart contract vulnerabilities - and Elliptic, whose regulatory and AML compliance expertise and tools will help shield Zilliqa-based tokens from illicit activities.

  • With a well functioning mainnet and a secure smart contracts platform in place, we turned our attention to enterprise adoption towards the latter half of the year. Today, we're working with payments platform Xfers to power their Singapore-backed stablecoin XSGD on our platform, a project we believe will propel financial openness across Southeast Asia. We were also named as the exclusive infrastructure provider by our sister company Aqilliz. Aqilliz (which is essentially Zilliqa spelt in reverse), shares our vision for enterprise adoption and is designing market-ready blockchain-based solutions catered to the digital marketing sector, and thereby furthering the work we began with Mindshare on Project Proton.

  • We welcomed talented grantees into our growing ecosystem - supporting and nurturing them to build their projects on ZIL. These developers and entrepreneurs represent a step forward in making blockchain mainstream in the near future. Today, we have over 60 project teams from over 20 countries building on and around Zilliqa. This includes wallets, explorers, developer toolkits, smart contract testing frameworks and dapps.

  • We expanded our educational programme - Blockchain A-Z to University of Oxford this year - and also revisiting King's College London. We supported the Future of Blockchain programme yet again, and again saw some very promising ideas by university students. Towards the end of the year, we transformed our educational programmes into something more accessible and sustainable by launching the LearnScilla website.

In December, we hit 2 million transactions on our blockchain, doubling what we achieved in a record two months.
What are your plans for 2020?
In 2020, the team will continue to build up Zilliqa's technical capabilities and protocol layer so that we become the industrial-grade platform-of-choice. We will be designing more tools and resources to help talented and budding entrepreneurs, developers, and students. We will also continue enriching our educational resources, such as the LearnScilla website, to train beginners who want to understand more about blockchains.

We're committed to building an open, interoperable blockchain which can really drive open finance across the world — especially in emerging markets across Southeast Asia where user demand is growing.
About Blockchain
What is a blockchain?
Think of a blockchain as a digital version of a ledger, which contains data for all the transactions that have ever taken place using a given cryptocurrency. This ledger is distributed, which means that it does not have a central source, and it is replicated throughout the network.
What is decentralisation?
In the interest of higher security, transparency and cost-efficiency, blockchain technology does not have a central point of control. Rather, it divides control of its transactions over a network of users such that it becomes more accurate, and is more resistant to censorship. This 'decentralised' approach in which data is stored in a distributed fashion is what makes blockchains so beneficial to contemporary industries and users.
What is TPS?
TPS stands for 'transactions per second'. This measure describes the speed at which a cryptocurrency can process its transactions on the blockchain. A transaction is often represented by 'Txn'.
What is sharding?
Sharding is a mechanism in which a blockchain network and data are split into smaller divisions called shards. By dividing the network into parts, the distributed labour allows multiple transactions to be processed in parallel, resulting in higher throughput and greater operational efficiency, while preserving decentralisation and security. This approach to scalability enables the network to scale as the number of participating nodes and transactions increases.

Recognising the challenges associated with blockchain scalability, the Zilliqa co-founders produced research on sharding while at National University of Singapore. You will find our whitepaper here.
What is throughput?
Throughput refers to the volume of data which can pass through a platform at a given time.
What is consensus?
A mechanism to reach agreement among the network of people (nodes) to further propagate the ledger. Typical blockchains, like Bitcoin or Ethereum, utilise the famous Nakamoto Proof of Work consensus mechanism. Zilliqa uses an optimised practical Byzantine Fault Tolerant (pBFT) protocol as the consensus mechanism.
What is Proof of Work (PoW) and how does it differ from Proof of Stake (PoS)?
Proof of Work (PoW) is a sybil resistance mechanism introduced by Bitcoin. It requires miners to compete against each other to create and add new blocks, which will allow them to earn rewards in return. It also serves as the underlying algorithm in which the Nakamoto consensus mechanism works. The longest and most 'worked' (mined) chain is the agreed upon 'true' chain in the network, and contains the correct ledger.

Proof of Stake (PoS) is currently being researched as an eco-friendly alternative to PoW. In this method, people within a given network can validate transactions based on the number of coins they stake in the network. Therefore, someone who holds a higher volume of a given token has more power.

Zilliqa uses PoW, albeit in a very different way compared to say Bitcoin. This ensures that PoW does not become a bottleneck for scalability. Zilliqa demonstrates that even with PoW, it is possible to hit a throughput of thousands of transactions per second.
What is mining?
As a large number of transactions on a given network are verified in a new block, new coins will be minted as block rewards for the miners. This process is called mining, and can be done in a few ways. To read about the benefits of mining Zilliqa, please refer to this page.
What are smart contracts?
A smart contract is a digitally-managed agreement or contract that automatically executes its terms when certain conditions are met. Written in code using an 'if then' format to outline obligations and respective outcomes, all negotiations are managed automatically and a consensus will be reached within the network of validators.

Smart contracts have gained popularity because they provide efficiency, transparency, and speed to two parties wishing to enter into a standard agreement.
What is staking?
Staking refers to the process of incentivising users to put their cryptocurrency at stake for a specific period of time in order to perform a function honestly, and earn interest in return. If the staker performs such function dishonestly, the staked asset will be slashed. Stakers can be rewarded in different ways based on length of time the currency is held. Longer staking durations usually imply higher returns for stakers.
What are nodes?
Nodes are smaller components of the blockchain network. Given the decentralised nature of blockchain, every user entering information or processing transactions on a data block constitutes a node. Think of laptops, servers, or desktops - they could all be nodes. Nodes are connected to and exchange information with each other.

When leader nodes add data to the blockchain, it is shared with all other nodes within the network. Essentially, there can be no blockchain without a node.
About Zilliqa
What is Zilliqa? What are its origins?
Zilliqa is a high-throughput public blockchain platform designed to scale to thousands of transactions per second. It is built to deliver performance, scalability, and security.

Zilliqa aims to drive the blockchain industry forward by developing the highest quality technology infrastructure which can create measurable and real-world impact. To that end, we have sought to establish partnerships across industry verticals that have emerged as clear beneficiaries to innovative, decentralised technologies, with participation across digital advertising, financial services, payments, gaming, as well as digital entertainment. With our platform, we hope users and businesses can leverage the full potential of decentralised technology.

The company (and platform) has its roots in academic research. The co- founders had identified scalability as one of the key issues that would potentially hinder widespread adoption of the technology. As such, our team realised that blockchain scalability was a problem that needed to be addressed today rather than tomorrow.

Zilliqa is pronounced ['zilikā'], where 'Zi' is pronounced as in 'Zi[nc]' and 'ca' is pronounced as in '[sili]ca'.
What are Zilliqa's USPs?
Zilliqa processes more transactions per second as more mining nodes join the network. This may sound like a natural thing at first, but it is actually technically challenging to accomplish and certainly hasn't been accomplished by existing blockchains. This is what separates Zilliqa from its competitors.

Our technical value proposition includes:

  1. Its two-layer blockchain structure: Directory Service ('DS') identities of the nodes are stored in the network by a directory service. A separate Transaction ('TX') blockchain is used to store the transactions. These are further validated by network.
  2. Scilla: A secure-by-design smart contract language designed from scratch that is amenable to formal verification, allowing developers to leverage mathematical proofs to ensure their code is provably correct at the language-level. This is especially beneficial for enterprise use cases involving high-value transactions, in industries such as digital advertising and marketing, payments, and financial services.
  3. Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance (pBFT): Zilliqa uses an improved version of pBFT for the platform's consensus algorithm to allow miners to receive better payouts and instant block finality such that block confirmations are no longer needed. pBFT also lowers the communication overhead.
Who are your competitors?
Any competition always drives the industry to be better, stronger, and more innovative. In an open-source framework like blockchains, where people can easily apply ideas into their own projects, competition takes on a different form.

Success is based on long-term quality, security, and infrastructure resilience. This is why even amid the myriad existing and upcoming projects - each with its strengths and weaknesses - these are the features we stay focused on.

Attempting to compete with any blockchain whatsoever will take the project nowhere. This will prevent us from adopting smart ideas out there in our so-called competitors. Our philosophy is that one needs to identify the strength of one's idea, follow it, and be open to learning from other projects.
Tell us about Scilla. What made you decide to develop a new language for smart contracts?
Scilla, short for Smart Contract Intermediate-Level Language is an intermediate-level smart contract language developed for Zilliqa. Amenable to formal verification whereby developers can use mathematical proofs to ensure their code satisfies a certain specification, Scilla has been designed as a principled language with smart contract safety in mind. Zilliqa developed this language in order to boost security and provide a robust environment for the deployment of smart contracts and dapps.

In August 2019, Scilla was peer-reviewed and accepted at one of the most prestigious programming languages conferences - OOPSLA 2019.
How can a dapp decide if Zilliqa is the right blockchain to build on?
Dapps that require high throughput are a good fit for Zilliqa. If you are unsure about whether Zilliqa will meet the needs of your business model, please reach out to our team.
How does Zilliqa support the developer community? What kind of initiatives do you have in place to make sure people build on your platform?
Focused on driving adoption of the Zilliqa platform, we are taking various measures to provide developers with the right support and tools to build on us.

  • Zilliqa remains focused on expanding our developer networks across the world by understanding their needs and pain-points and providing them with the required resources and guidance to solidify their ideas on our blockchain. In addition to this, we plan to have more meet-ups in blockchain hotspots across the world and organise more calls for the developer community's benefit.
  • In June 2018, Zilliqa launched the $5 million USD Zilliqa Ecosystem Grant Programme to encourage individuals/teams around the world to develop tools, libraries, and dapps for the Zilliqa platform. In addition to funding, selected individuals/teams will also receive technical advice and support from our team.
  • In the fall of 2019, Zilliqa and LongHash joined hands to host ZILHive, a 12-week accelerator programme which supports promising innovation-based projects building on Zilliqa.
© 2020 Zilliqa Research Pte. Ltd.
© 2020 Zilliqa Research Pte. Ltd.