Ethereum Killers That Not Exploded Yet: Introducing Near and Zilliqa
29th September 2021
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Since its inception in mainnet in mid-2015, Ethereum is a benchmark of smart contracts environments. All notable concepts, designs, instruments, and so on had been first introduced on Ethereum and only then migrated to other blockchains.
However, in 2020-2021, Ethereum became a ‘rich-only network’: its fees rocketed to $200 per Uniswap transaction. Many enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and developers started considering other networks as the alternatives.
This proсess injected a new life into what is known as ‘Ethereum killers’, i.e. a class of smart contracts platforms suitable for massive DeFi and dApps onboarding.
The thorny path of Ethereum killers
Invented by Ethereum’s co-founder Charles Hoskinson, Cardano is the first-ever ‘Ethereum killer’. It boasts an eccentric transaction model: unlike Ethereum’s ‘account-based’ design, Cardano utilized EUTXO (‘Bitcoin-like’) model based on transactions outputs.
Cardano works on the top of Proof-of-Stake (PoS) blockchain consensus: its integrity is secure by staking of ADA tokens. Ethereum will use this consensus in v2.0 iteration that is expected to launch in 2022-2023.
Recently, Cardano (ADA) enabled smart contracts functionality after Alonzo hardfork activation in mainnet. As covered by GetBlock previously, smart contact release wasn’t all roses - and poisoned Ethereum cheerleaders did their best to mock its oldest rival.
Nevertheless, it’s better to experiment with Cardano (ADA) by yourself. For this purpose, you can connect whatever you’re building on blockchain to the GetBlock’s Cardano (ADA) node. It works with 100% uptime, so don't hesitate to contact our team and find out what is Cardano.
Much-overhyped blockchain platform Solana (SOL) is another textbook example of ‘Ethereum killer’. After receiving a gargantuan amount of money from both VCs and retail investors, Solana exploded onto the dApps and DeFis segments.
However, on Sep.13-14, Solana nodes were stuck amidst a savage DDoS-attack. Solana validators had to restart the blockchain operations and were slammed for ‘centralized’ approach to decentralized networks.
Events of today in crypto just go to show that genuine decentralisation and well-designed security make a far more valuable proposition than some big tps numbers coming from an exclusive and closed set of servers. If you can't run a full-node yourself then it's just another bank.— Gavin Wood (@gavofyork) September 14, 2021
So, building ‘Ethereum killers’ is a very challenging and ambitious mission. Here’s how it is addressed by sharded networks NEAR and Zilliqa.
Zilliqa: Introducing Pioneers of sharding
Proposed in 2017 by a group of researchers from National University of Singapore (NUS), Zilliqa blockchain and its token ZIL look like veteran products from today’s perspective. Zilliqa was the first (mainstream) product to deploy the sharded blockchain, i.e. the decentralized network that is split up into several parts (shards).
This design significantly reduces the latency and costs of computation: every node is getting synchronized only with a group of peers within its own shard instead of waiting for the entire blockchain.
To ensure the security and integrity of its blockchain, Zilliqa team introduced its own programming language Scilla that is promoted as ‘safe-by-design’ language for smart contracts builders.
Zilliqa targets ‘ultimate scalability’ as its top priority. As such, with 6 shards (600 nodes each), it can process more than 2,800 transactions per second. Due to the specifics of sharding, Zilliqa can scale in a modular manner.
In Q3, 2021, Zilliqa on-boarded many interesting dApps from all red-hot segments. Namely, its developers share the plans to launch NFT marketplace on the top of Zilliqa’s DeFi hub ZilSwap.
NEAR Protocol: New-gen protocol by Microsoft and Google devs
Not unlike Zilliqa, NEAR Protocol (or NEAR) adheres to a sharded scalability model. It was introduced by Illia Polosukhin and Alexander Skidanov in early 2017 as a machine-learning product. Prior to launching NEAR, Mr. Polosukhin worked as a lead contributor for TensorFlow at Google while Mr. Skidanov was the lead engineer at Microsoft’s MemSQL.
NEAR utilizes sharded Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus. The node synchronization is ensured by Doomslug and Nightshade protocols. NEAR pioneered the ‘Dynamic Re-Sharding’ concept that allows network participants to save on transactional fees.
The protocol and its governance went live in 2020. Aso, in 2021, NEAR Protocol activated its decentralized bridge to Ethereum dubbed Rainbow.