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Why i’m bullish on Zilliqa (long read)

Edit: TL;DR added in the comments
 
Hey all, I've been researching coins since 2017 and have gone through 100s of them in the last 3 years. I got introduced to blockchain via Bitcoin of course, analyzed Ethereum thereafter and from that moment I have a keen interest in smart contact platforms. I’m passionate about Ethereum but I find Zilliqa to have a better risk-reward ratio. Especially because Zilliqa has found an elegant balance between being secure, decentralized and scalable in my opinion.
 
Below I post my analysis of why from all the coins I went through I’m most bullish on Zilliqa (yes I went through Tezos, EOS, NEO, VeChain, Harmony, Algorand, Cardano etc.). Note that this is not investment advice and although it's a thorough analysis there is obviously some bias involved. Looking forward to what you all think!
 
Fun fact: the name Zilliqa is a play on ‘silica’ silicon dioxide which means “Silicon for the high-throughput consensus computer.”
 
This post is divided into (i) Technology, (ii) Business & Partnerships, and (iii) Marketing & Community. I’ve tried to make the technology part readable for a broad audience. If you’ve ever tried understanding the inner workings of Bitcoin and Ethereum you should be able to grasp most parts. Otherwise, just skim through and once you are zoning out head to the next part.
 
Technology and some more:
 
Introduction
 
The technology is one of the main reasons why I’m so bullish on Zilliqa. First thing you see on their website is: “Zilliqa is a high-performance, high-security blockchain platform for enterprises and next-generation applications.” These are some bold statements.
 
Before we deep dive into the technology let’s take a step back in time first as they have quite the history. The initial research paper from which Zilliqa originated dates back to August 2016: Elastico: A Secure Sharding Protocol For Open Blockchains where Loi Luu (Kyber Network) is one of the co-authors. Other ideas that led to the development of what Zilliqa has become today are: Bitcoin-NG, collective signing CoSi, ByzCoin and Omniledger.
 
The technical white paper was made public in August 2017 and since then they have achieved everything stated in the white paper and also created their own open source intermediate level smart contract language called Scilla (functional programming language similar to OCaml) too.
 
Mainnet is live since the end of January 2019 with daily transaction rates growing continuously. About a week ago mainnet reached 5 million transactions, 500.000+ addresses in total along with 2400 nodes keeping the network decentralized and secure. Circulating supply is nearing 11 billion and currently only mining rewards are left. The maximum supply is 21 billion with annual inflation being 7.13% currently and will only decrease with time.
 
Zilliqa realized early on that the usage of public cryptocurrencies and smart contracts were increasing but decentralized, secure, and scalable alternatives were lacking in the crypto space. They proposed to apply sharding onto a public smart contract blockchain where the transaction rate increases almost linear with the increase in the amount of nodes. More nodes = higher transaction throughput and increased decentralization. Sharding comes in many forms and Zilliqa uses network-, transaction- and computational sharding. Network sharding opens up the possibility of using transaction- and computational sharding on top. Zilliqa does not use state sharding for now. We’ll come back to this later.
 
Before we continue dissecting how Zilliqa achieves such from a technological standpoint it’s good to keep in mind that a blockchain being decentralised and secure and scalable is still one of the main hurdles in allowing widespread usage of decentralised networks. In my opinion this needs to be solved first before blockchains can get to the point where they can create and add large scale value. So I invite you to read the next section to grasp the underlying fundamentals. Because after all these premises need to be true otherwise there isn’t a fundamental case to be bullish on Zilliqa, right?
 
Down the rabbit hole
 
How have they achieved this? Let’s define the basics first: key players on Zilliqa are the users and the miners. A user is anybody who uses the blockchain to transfer funds or run smart contracts. Miners are the (shard) nodes in the network who run the consensus protocol and get rewarded for their service in Zillings (ZIL). The mining network is divided into several smaller networks called shards, which is also referred to as ‘network sharding’. Miners subsequently are randomly assigned to a shard by another set of miners called DS (Directory Service) nodes. The regular shards process transactions and the outputs of these shards are eventually combined by the DS shard as they reach consensus on the final state. More on how these DS shards reach consensus (via pBFT) will be explained later on.
 
The Zilliqa network produces two types of blocks: DS blocks and Tx blocks. One DS Block consists of 100 Tx Blocks. And as previously mentioned there are two types of nodes concerned with reaching consensus: shard nodes and DS nodes. Becoming a shard node or DS node is being defined by the result of a PoW cycle (Ethash) at the beginning of the DS Block. All candidate mining nodes compete with each other and run the PoW (Proof-of-Work) cycle for 60 seconds and the submissions achieving the highest difficulty will be allowed on the network. And to put it in perspective: the average difficulty for one DS node is ~ 2 Th/s equaling 2.000.000 Mh/s or 55 thousand+ GeForce GTX 1070 / 8 GB GPUs at 35.4 Mh/s. Each DS Block 10 new DS nodes are allowed. And a shard node needs to provide around 8.53 GH/s currently (around 240 GTX 1070s). Dual mining ETH/ETC and ZIL is possible and can be done via mining software such as Phoenix and Claymore. There are pools and if you have large amounts of hashing power (Ethash) available you could mine solo.
 
The PoW cycle of 60 seconds is a peak performance and acts as an entry ticket to the network. The entry ticket is called a sybil resistance mechanism and makes it incredibly hard for adversaries to spawn lots of identities and manipulate the network with these identities. And after every 100 Tx Blocks which corresponds to roughly 1,5 hour this PoW process repeats. In between these 1,5 hour, no PoW needs to be done meaning Zilliqa’s energy consumption to keep the network secure is low. For more detailed information on how mining works click here.
Okay, hats off to you. You have made it this far. Before we go any deeper down the rabbit hole we first must understand why Zilliqa goes through all of the above technicalities and understand a bit more what a blockchain on a more fundamental level is. Because the core of Zilliqa’s consensus protocol relies on the usage of pBFT (practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance) we need to know more about state machines and their function. Navigate to Viewblock, a Zilliqa block explorer, and just come back to this article. We will use this site to navigate through a few concepts.
 
We have established that Zilliqa is a public and distributed blockchain. Meaning that everyone with an internet connection can send ZILs, trigger smart contracts, etc. and there is no central authority who fully controls the network. Zilliqa and other public and distributed blockchains (like Bitcoin and Ethereum) can also be defined as state machines.
 
Taking the liberty of paraphrasing examples and definitions given by Samuel Brooks’ medium article, he describes the definition of a blockchain (like Zilliqa) as: “A peer-to-peer, append-only datastore that uses consensus to synchronize cryptographically-secure data”.
 
Next, he states that: "blockchains are fundamentally systems for managing valid state transitions”. For some more context, I recommend reading the whole medium article to get a better grasp of the definitions and understanding of state machines. Nevertheless, let’s try to simplify and compile it into a single paragraph. Take traffic lights as an example: all its states (red, amber, and green) are predefined, all possible outcomes are known and it doesn’t matter if you encounter the traffic light today or tomorrow. It will still behave the same. Managing the states of a traffic light can be done by triggering a sensor on the road or pushing a button resulting in one traffic lights’ state going from green to red (via amber) and another light from red to green.
 
With public blockchains like Zilliqa, this isn’t so straightforward and simple. It started with block #1 almost 1,5 years ago and every 45 seconds or so a new block linked to the previous block is being added. Resulting in a chain of blocks with transactions in it that everyone can verify from block #1 to the current #647.000+ block. The state is ever changing and the states it can find itself in are infinite. And while the traffic light might work together in tandem with various other traffic lights, it’s rather insignificant comparing it to a public blockchain. Because Zilliqa consists of 2400 nodes who need to work together to achieve consensus on what the latest valid state is while some of these nodes may have latency or broadcast issues, drop offline or are deliberately trying to attack the network, etc.
 
Now go back to the Viewblock page take a look at the amount of transaction, addresses, block and DS height and then hit refresh. Obviously as expected you see new incremented values on one or all parameters. And how did the Zilliqa blockchain manage to transition from a previous valid state to the latest valid state? By using pBFT to reach consensus on the latest valid state.
 
After having obtained the entry ticket, miners execute pBFT to reach consensus on the ever-changing state of the blockchain. pBFT requires a series of network communication between nodes, and as such there is no GPU involved (but CPU). Resulting in the total energy consumed to keep the blockchain secure, decentralized and scalable being low.
 
pBFT stands for practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance and is an optimization on the Byzantine Fault Tolerant algorithm. To quote Blockonomi: “In the context of distributed systems, Byzantine Fault Tolerance is the ability of a distributed computer network to function as desired and correctly reach a sufficient consensus despite malicious components (nodes) of the system failing or propagating incorrect information to other peers.” Zilliqa is such a distributed computer network and depends on the honesty of the nodes (shard and DS) to reach consensus and to continuously update the state with the latest block. If pBFT is a new term for you I can highly recommend the Blockonomi article.
 
The idea of pBFT was introduced in 1999 - one of the authors even won a Turing award for it - and it is well researched and applied in various blockchains and distributed systems nowadays. If you want more advanced information than the Blockonomi link provides click here. And if you’re in between Blockonomi and the University of Singapore read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 2 dating from October 2017.
Quoting from the Zilliqa tech whitepaper: “pBFT relies upon a correct leader (which is randomly selected) to begin each phase and proceed when the sufficient majority exists. In case the leader is byzantine it can stall the entire consensus protocol. To address this challenge, pBFT offers a view change protocol to replace the byzantine leader with another one.”
 
pBFT can tolerate ⅓ of the nodes being dishonest (offline counts as Byzantine = dishonest) and the consensus protocol will function without stalling or hiccups. Once there are more than ⅓ of dishonest nodes but no more than ⅔ the network will be stalled and a view change will be triggered to elect a new DS leader. Only when more than ⅔ of the nodes are dishonest (66%) double-spend attacks become possible.
 
If the network stalls no transactions can be processed and one has to wait until a new honest leader has been elected. When the mainnet was just launched and in its early phases, view changes happened regularly. As of today the last stalling of the network - and view change being triggered - was at the end of October 2019.
 
Another benefit of using pBFT for consensus besides low energy is the immediate finality it provides. Once your transaction is included in a block and the block is added to the chain it’s done. Lastly, take a look at this article where three types of finality are being defined: probabilistic, absolute and economic finality. Zilliqa falls under the absolute finality (just like Tendermint for example). Although lengthy already we skipped through some of the inner workings from Zilliqa’s consensus: read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 3 and you will be close to having a complete picture on it. Enough about PoW, sybil resistance mechanism, pBFT, etc. Another thing we haven’t looked at yet is the amount of decentralization.
 
Decentralisation
 
Currently, there are four shards, each one of them consisting of 600 nodes. 1 shard with 600 so-called DS nodes (Directory Service - they need to achieve a higher difficulty than shard nodes) and 1800 shard nodes of which 250 are shard guards (centralized nodes controlled by the team). The amount of shard guards has been steadily declining from 1200 in January 2019 to 250 as of May 2020. On the Viewblock statistics, you can see that many of the nodes are being located in the US but those are only the (CPU parts of the) shard nodes who perform pBFT. There is no data from where the PoW sources are coming. And when the Zilliqa blockchain starts reaching its transaction capacity limit, a network upgrade needs to be executed to lift the current cap of maximum 2400 nodes to allow more nodes and formation of more shards which will allow to network to keep on scaling according to demand.
Besides shard nodes there are also seed nodes. The main role of seed nodes is to serve as direct access points (for end-users and clients) to the core Zilliqa network that validates transactions. Seed nodes consolidate transaction requests and forward these to the lookup nodes (another type of nodes) for distribution to the shards in the network. Seed nodes also maintain the entire transaction history and the global state of the blockchain which is needed to provide services such as block explorers. Seed nodes in the Zilliqa network are comparable to Infura on Ethereum.
 
The seed nodes were first only operated by Zilliqa themselves, exchanges and Viewblock. Operators of seed nodes like exchanges had no incentive to open them for the greater public. They were centralised at first. Decentralisation at the seed nodes level has been steadily rolled out since March 2020 ( Zilliqa Improvement Proposal 3 ). Currently the amount of seed nodes is being increased, they are public-facing and at the same time PoS is applied to incentivize seed node operators and make it possible for ZIL holders to stake and earn passive yields. Important distinction: seed nodes are not involved with consensus! That is still PoW as entry ticket and pBFT for the actual consensus.
 
5% of the block rewards are being assigned to seed nodes (from the beginning in 2019) and those are being used to pay out ZIL stakers. The 5% block rewards with an annual yield of 10.03% translate to roughly 610 MM ZILs in total that can be staked. Exchanges use the custodial variant of staking and wallets like Moonlet will use the non-custodial version (starting in Q3 2020). Staking is being done by sending ZILs to a smart contract created by Zilliqa and audited by Quantstamp.
 
With a high amount of DS; shard nodes and seed nodes becoming more decentralized too, Zilliqa qualifies for the label of decentralized in my opinion.
 
Smart contracts
 
Let me start by saying I’m not a developer and my programming skills are quite limited. So I‘m taking the ELI5 route (maybe 12) but if you are familiar with Javascript, Solidity or specifically OCaml please head straight to Scilla - read the docs to get a good initial grasp of how Zilliqa’s smart contract language Scilla works and if you ask yourself “why another programming language?” check this article. And if you want to play around with some sample contracts in an IDE click here. The faucet can be found here. And more information on architecture, dapp development and API can be found on the Developer Portal.
If you are more into listening and watching: check this recent webinar explaining Zilliqa and Scilla. Link is time-stamped so you’ll start right away with a platform introduction, roadmap 2020 and afterwards a proper Scilla introduction.
 
Generalized: programming languages can be divided into being ‘object-oriented’ or ‘functional’. Here is an ELI5 given by software development academy: * “all programs have two basic components, data – what the program knows – and behavior – what the program can do with that data. So object-oriented programming states that combining data and related behaviors in one place, is called “object”, which makes it easier to understand how a particular program works. On the other hand, functional programming argues that data and behavior are different things and should be separated to ensure their clarity.” *
 
Scilla is on the functional side and shares similarities with OCaml: OCaml is a general-purpose programming language with an emphasis on expressiveness and safety. It has an advanced type system that helps catch your mistakes without getting in your way. It's used in environments where a single mistake can cost millions and speed matters, is supported by an active community, and has a rich set of libraries and development tools. For all its power, OCaml is also pretty simple, which is one reason it's often used as a teaching language.
 
Scilla is blockchain agnostic, can be implemented onto other blockchains as well, is recognized by academics and won a so-called Distinguished Artifact Award award at the end of last year.
 
One of the reasons why the Zilliqa team decided to create their own programming language focused on preventing smart contract vulnerabilities is that adding logic on a blockchain, programming, means that you cannot afford to make mistakes. Otherwise, it could cost you. It’s all great and fun blockchains being immutable but updating your code because you found a bug isn’t the same as with a regular web application for example. And with smart contracts, it inherently involves cryptocurrencies in some form thus value.
 
Another difference with programming languages on a blockchain is gas. Every transaction you do on a smart contract platform like Zilliqa or Ethereum costs gas. With gas you basically pay for computational costs. Sending a ZIL from address A to address B costs 0.001 ZIL currently. Smart contracts are more complex, often involve various functions and require more gas (if gas is a new concept click here ).
 
So with Scilla, similar to Solidity, you need to make sure that “every function in your smart contract will run as expected without hitting gas limits. An improper resource analysis may lead to situations where funds may get stuck simply because a part of the smart contract code cannot be executed due to gas limits. Such constraints are not present in traditional software systems”. Scilla design story part 1
 
Some examples of smart contract issues you’d want to avoid are: leaking funds, ‘unexpected changes to critical state variables’ (example: someone other than you setting his or her address as the owner of the smart contract after creation) or simply killing a contract.
 
Scilla also allows for formal verification. Wikipedia to the rescue: In the context of hardware and software systems, formal verification is the act of proving or disproving the correctness of intended algorithms underlying a system with respect to a certain formal specification or property, using formal methods of mathematics.
 
Formal verification can be helpful in proving the correctness of systems such as: cryptographic protocols, combinational circuits, digital circuits with internal memory, and software expressed as source code.
 
Scilla is being developed hand-in-hand with formalization of its semantics and its embedding into the Coq proof assistant — a state-of-the art tool for mechanized proofs about properties of programs.”
 
Simply put, with Scilla and accompanying tooling developers can be mathematically sure and proof that the smart contract they’ve written does what he or she intends it to do.
 
Smart contract on a sharded environment and state sharding
 
There is one more topic I’d like to touch on: smart contract execution in a sharded environment (and what is the effect of state sharding). This is a complex topic. I’m not able to explain it any easier than what is posted here. But I will try to compress the post into something easy to digest.
 
Earlier on we have established that Zilliqa can process transactions in parallel due to network sharding. This is where the linear scalability comes from. We can define simple transactions: a transaction from address A to B (Category 1), a transaction where a user interacts with one smart contract (Category 2) and the most complex ones where triggering a transaction results in multiple smart contracts being involved (Category 3). The shards are able to process transactions on their own without interference of the other shards. With Category 1 transactions that is doable, with Category 2 transactions sometimes if that address is in the same shard as the smart contract but with Category 3 you definitely need communication between the shards. Solving that requires to make a set of communication rules the protocol needs to follow in order to process all transactions in a generalised fashion.
 
And this is where the downsides of state sharding comes in currently. All shards in Zilliqa have access to the complete state. Yes the state size (0.1 GB at the moment) grows and all of the nodes need to store it but it also means that they don’t need to shop around for information available on other shards. Requiring more communication and adding more complexity. Computer science knowledge and/or developer knowledge required links if you want to dig further: Scilla - language grammar Scilla - Foundations for Verifiable Decentralised Computations on a Blockchain Gas Accounting NUS x Zilliqa: Smart contract language workshop
 
Easier to follow links on programming Scilla https://learnscilla.com/home Ivan on Tech
 
Roadmap / Zilliqa 2.0
 
There is no strict defined roadmap but here are topics being worked on. And via the Zilliqa website there is also more information on the projects they are working on.
 
Business & Partnerships
 
It’s not only technology in which Zilliqa seems to be excelling as their ecosystem has been expanding and starting to grow rapidly. The project is on a mission to provide OpenFinance (OpFi) to the world and Singapore is the right place to be due to its progressive regulations and futuristic thinking. Singapore has taken a proactive approach towards cryptocurrencies by introducing the Payment Services Act 2019 (PS Act). Among other things, the PS Act will regulate intermediaries dealing with certain cryptocurrencies, with a particular focus on consumer protection and anti-money laundering. It will also provide a stable regulatory licensing and operating framework for cryptocurrency entities, effectively covering all crypto businesses and exchanges based in Singapore. According to PWC 82% of the surveyed executives in Singapore reported blockchain initiatives underway and 13% of them have already brought the initiatives live to the market. There is also an increasing list of organizations that are starting to provide digital payment services. Moreover, Singaporean blockchain developers Building Cities Beyond has recently created an innovation $15 million grant to encourage development on its ecosystem. This all suggests that Singapore tries to position itself as (one of) the leading blockchain hubs in the world.
 
Zilliqa seems to already take advantage of this and recently helped launch Hg Exchange on their platform, together with financial institutions PhillipCapital, PrimePartners and Fundnel. Hg Exchange, which is now approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), uses smart contracts to represent digital assets. Through Hg Exchange financial institutions worldwide can use Zilliqa's safe-by-design smart contracts to enable the trading of private equities. For example, think of companies such as Grab, Airbnb, SpaceX that are not available for public trading right now. Hg Exchange will allow investors to buy shares of private companies & unicorns and capture their value before an IPO. Anquan, the main company behind Zilliqa, has also recently announced that they became a partner and shareholder in TEN31 Bank, which is a fully regulated bank allowing for tokenization of assets and is aiming to bridge the gap between conventional banking and the blockchain world. If STOs, the tokenization of assets, and equity trading will continue to increase, then Zilliqa’s public blockchain would be the ideal candidate due to its strategic positioning, partnerships, regulatory compliance and the technology that is being built on top of it.
 
What is also very encouraging is their focus on banking the un(der)banked. They are launching a stablecoin basket starting with XSGD. As many of you know, stablecoins are currently mostly used for trading. However, Zilliqa is actively trying to broaden the use case of stablecoins. I recommend everybody to read this text that Amrit Kumar wrote (one of the co-founders). These stablecoins will be integrated in the traditional markets and bridge the gap between the crypto world and the traditional world. This could potentially revolutionize and legitimise the crypto space if retailers and companies will for example start to use stablecoins for payments or remittances, instead of it solely being used for trading.
 
Zilliqa also released their DeFi strategic roadmap (dating November 2019) which seems to be aligning well with their OpFi strategy. A non-custodial DEX is coming to Zilliqa made by Switcheo which allows cross-chain trading (atomic swaps) between ETH, EOS and ZIL based tokens. They also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a (soon to be announced) USD stablecoin. And as Zilliqa is all about regulations and being compliant, I’m speculating on it to be a regulated USD stablecoin. Furthermore, XSGD is already created and visible on block explorer and XIDR (Indonesian Stablecoin) is also coming soon via StraitsX. Here also an overview of the Tech Stack for Financial Applications from September 2019. Further quoting Amrit Kumar on this:
 
There are two basic building blocks in DeFi/OpFi though: 1) stablecoins as you need a non-volatile currency to get access to this market and 2) a dex to be able to trade all these financial assets. The rest are built on top of these blocks.
 
So far, together with our partners and community, we have worked on developing these building blocks with XSGD as a stablecoin. We are working on bringing a USD-backed stablecoin as well. We will soon have a decentralised exchange developed by Switcheo. And with HGX going live, we are also venturing into the tokenization space. More to come in the future.”
 
Additionally, they also have this ZILHive initiative that injects capital into projects. There have been already 6 waves of various teams working on infrastructure, innovation and research, and they are not from ASEAN or Singapore only but global: see Grantees breakdown by country. Over 60 project teams from over 20 countries have contributed to Zilliqa's ecosystem. This includes individuals and teams developing wallets, explorers, developer toolkits, smart contract testing frameworks, dapps, etc. As some of you may know, Unstoppable Domains (UD) blew up when they launched on Zilliqa. UD aims to replace cryptocurrency addresses with a human-readable name and allows for uncensorable websites. Zilliqa will probably be the only one able to handle all these transactions onchain due to ability to scale and its resulting low fees which is why the UD team launched this on Zilliqa in the first place. Furthermore, Zilliqa also has a strong emphasis on security, compliance, and privacy, which is why they partnered with companies like Elliptic, ChainSecurity (part of PwC Switzerland), and Incognito. Their sister company Aqilliz (Zilliqa spelled backwards) focuses on revolutionizing the digital advertising space and is doing interesting things like using Zilliqa to track outdoor digital ads with companies like Foodpanda.
 
Zilliqa is listed on nearly all major exchanges, having several different fiat-gateways and recently have been added to Binance’s margin trading and futures trading with really good volume. They also have a very impressive team with good credentials and experience. They don't just have “tech people”. They have a mix of tech people, business people, marketeers, scientists, and more. Naturally, it's good to have a mix of people with different skill sets if you work in the crypto space.
 
Marketing & Community
 
Zilliqa has a very strong community. If you just follow their Twitter their engagement is much higher for a coin that has approximately 80k followers. They also have been ‘coin of the day’ by LunarCrush many times. LunarCrush tracks real-time cryptocurrency value and social data. According to their data, it seems Zilliqa has a more fundamental and deeper understanding of marketing and community engagement than almost all other coins. While almost all coins have been a bit frozen in the last months, Zilliqa seems to be on its own bull run. It was somewhere in the 100s a few months ago and is currently ranked #46 on CoinGecko. Their official Telegram also has over 20k people and is very active, and their community channel which is over 7k now is more active and larger than many other official channels. Their local communities also seem to be growing.
 
Moreover, their community started ‘Zillacracy’ together with the Zilliqa core team ( see www.zillacracy.com ). It’s a community-run initiative where people from all over the world are now helping with marketing and development on Zilliqa. Since its launch in February 2020 they have been doing a lot and will also run their own non-custodial seed node for staking. This seed node will also allow them to start generating revenue for them to become a self sustaining entity that could potentially scale up to become a decentralized company working in parallel with the Zilliqa core team. Comparing it to all the other smart contract platforms (e.g. Cardano, EOS, Tezos etc.) they don't seem to have started a similar initiative (correct me if I’m wrong though). This suggests in my opinion that these other smart contract platforms do not fully understand how to utilize the ‘power of the community’. This is something you cannot ‘buy with money’ and gives many projects in the space a disadvantage.
 
Zilliqa also released two social products called SocialPay and Zeeves. SocialPay allows users to earn ZILs while tweeting with a specific hashtag. They have recently used it in partnership with the Singapore Red Cross for a marketing campaign after their initial pilot program. It seems like a very valuable social product with a good use case. I can see a lot of traditional companies entering the space through this product, which they seem to suggest will happen. Tokenizing hashtags with smart contracts to get network effect is a very smart and innovative idea.
 
Regarding Zeeves, this is a tipping bot for Telegram. They already have 1000s of signups and they plan to keep upgrading it for more and more people to use it (e.g. they recently have added a quiz features). They also use it during AMAs to reward people in real-time. It’s a very smart approach to grow their communities and get familiar with ZIL. I can see this becoming very big on Telegram. This tool suggests, again, that the Zilliqa team has a deeper understanding of what the crypto space and community needs and is good at finding the right innovative tools to grow and scale.
 
To be honest, I haven’t covered everything (i’m also reaching the character limited haha). So many updates happening lately that it's hard to keep up, such as the International Monetary Fund mentioning Zilliqa in their report, custodial and non-custodial Staking, Binance Margin, Futures, Widget, entering the Indian market, and more. The Head of Marketing Colin Miles has also released this as an overview of what is coming next. And last but not least, Vitalik Buterin has been mentioning Zilliqa lately acknowledging Zilliqa and mentioning that both projects have a lot of room to grow. There is much more info of course and a good part of it has been served to you on a silver platter. I invite you to continue researching by yourself :-) And if you have any comments or questions please post here!
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Why i’m bullish on Zilliqa (long read)

Hey all, I've been researching coins since 2017 and have gone through 100s of them in the last 3 years. I got introduced to blockchain via Bitcoin of course, analysed Ethereum thereafter and from that moment I have a keen interest in smart contact platforms. I’m passionate about Ethereum but I find Zilliqa to have a better risk reward ratio. Especially because Zilliqa has found an elegant balance between being secure, decentralised and scalable in my opinion.
 
Below I post my analysis why from all the coins I went through I’m most bullish on Zilliqa (yes I went through Tezos, EOS, NEO, VeChain, Harmony, Algorand, Cardano etc.). Note that this is not investment advice and although it's a thorough analysis there is obviously some bias involved. Looking forward to what you all think!
 
Fun fact: the name Zilliqa is a play on ‘silica’ silicon dioxide which means “Silicon for the high-throughput consensus computer.”
 
This post is divided into (i) Technology, (ii) Business & Partnerships, and (iii) Marketing & Community. I’ve tried to make the technology part readable for a broad audience. If you’ve ever tried understanding the inner workings of Bitcoin and Ethereum you should be able to grasp most parts. Otherwise just skim through and once you are zoning out head to the next part.
 
Technology and some more:
 
Introduction The technology is one of the main reasons why I’m so bullish on Zilliqa. First thing you see on their website is: “Zilliqa is a high-performance, high-security blockchain platform for enterprises and next-generation applications.” These are some bold statements.
 
Before we deep dive into the technology let’s take a step back in time first as they have quite the history. The initial research paper from which Zilliqa originated dates back to August 2016: Elastico: A Secure Sharding Protocol For Open Blockchains where Loi Luu (Kyber Network) is one of the co-authors. Other ideas that led to the development of what Zilliqa has become today are: Bitcoin-NG, collective signing CoSi, ByzCoin and Omniledger.
 
The technical white paper was made public in August 2017 and since then they have achieved everything stated in the white paper and also created their own open source intermediate level smart contract language called Scilla (functional programming language similar to OCaml) too.
 
Mainnet is live since end of January 2019 with daily transaction rate growing continuously. About a week ago mainnet reached 5 million transactions, 500.000+ addresses in total along with 2400 nodes keeping the network decentralised and secure. Circulating supply is nearing 11 billion and currently only mining rewards are left. Maximum supply is 21 billion with annual inflation being 7.13% currently and will only decrease with time.
 
Zilliqa realised early on that the usage of public cryptocurrencies and smart contracts were increasing but decentralised, secure and scalable alternatives were lacking in the crypto space. They proposed to apply sharding onto a public smart contract blockchain where the transaction rate increases almost linear with the increase in amount of nodes. More nodes = higher transaction throughput and increased decentralisation. Sharding comes in many forms and Zilliqa uses network-, transaction- and computational sharding. Network sharding opens up the possibility of using transaction- and computational sharding on top. Zilliqa does not use state sharding for now. We’ll come back to this later.
 
Before we continue disecting how Zilliqa achieves such from a technological standpoint it’s good to keep in mind that a blockchain being decentralised and secure and scalable is still one of the main hurdles in allowing widespread usage of decentralised networks. In my opinion this needs to be solved first before blockchains can get to the point where they can create and add large scale value. So I invite you to read the next section to grasp the underlying fundamentals. Because after all these premises need to be true otherwise there isn’t a fundamental case to be bullish on Zilliqa, right?
 
Down the rabbit hole
 
How have they achieved this? Let’s define the basics first: key players on Zilliqa are the users and the miners. A user is anybody who uses the blockchain to transfer funds or run smart contracts. Miners are the (shard) nodes in the network who run the consensus protocol and get rewarded for their service in Zillings (ZIL). The mining network is divided into several smaller networks called shards, which is also referred to as ‘network sharding’. Miners subsequently are randomly assigned to a shard by another set of miners called DS (Directory Service) nodes. The regular shards process transactions and the outputs of these shards are eventually combined by the DS shard as they reach consensus on the final state. More on how these DS shards reach consensus (via pBFT) will be explained later on.
 
The Zilliqa network produces two types of blocks: DS blocks and Tx blocks. One DS Block consists of 100 Tx Blocks. And as previously mentioned there are two types of nodes concerned with reaching consensus: shard nodes and DS nodes. Becoming a shard node or DS node is being defined by the result of a PoW cycle (Ethash) at the beginning of the DS Block. All candidate mining nodes compete with each other and run the PoW (Proof-of-Work) cycle for 60 seconds and the submissions achieving the highest difficulty will be allowed on the network. And to put it in perspective: the average difficulty for one DS node is ~ 2 Th/s equaling 2.000.000 Mh/s or 55 thousand+ GeForce GTX 1070 / 8 GB GPUs at 35.4 Mh/s. Each DS Block 10 new DS nodes are allowed. And a shard node needs to provide around 8.53 GH/s currently (around 240 GTX 1070s). Dual mining ETH/ETC and ZIL is possible and can be done via mining software such as Phoenix and Claymore. There are pools and if you have large amounts of hashing power (Ethash) available you could mine solo.
 
The PoW cycle of 60 seconds is a peak performance and acts as an entry ticket to the network. The entry ticket is called a sybil resistance mechanism and makes it incredibly hard for adversaries to spawn lots of identities and manipulate the network with these identities. And after every 100 Tx Blocks which corresponds to roughly 1,5 hour this PoW process repeats. In between these 1,5 hour no PoW needs to be done meaning Zilliqa’s energy consumption to keep the network secure is low. For more detailed information on how mining works click here.
Okay, hats off to you. You have made it this far. Before we go any deeper down the rabbit hole we first must understand why Zilliqa goes through all of the above technicalities and understand a bit more what a blockchain on a more fundamental level is. Because the core of Zilliqa’s consensus protocol relies on the usage of pBFT (practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance) we need to know more about state machines and their function. Navigate to Viewblock, a Zilliqa block explorer, and just come back to this article. We will use this site to navigate through a few concepts.
 
We have established that Zilliqa is a public and distributed blockchain. Meaning that everyone with an internet connection can send ZILs, trigger smart contracts etc. and there is no central authority who fully controls the network. Zilliqa and other public and distributed blockchains (like Bitcoin and Ethereum) can also be defined as state machines.
 
Taking the liberty of paraphrasing examples and definitions given by Samuel Brooks’ medium article, he describes the definition of a blockchain (like Zilliqa) as:
“A peer-to-peer, append-only datastore that uses consensus to synchronise cryptographically-secure data”.
 
Next he states that: >“blockchains are fundamentally systems for managing valid state transitions”.* For some more context, I recommend reading the whole medium article to get a better grasp of the definitions and understanding of state machines. Nevertheless, let’s try to simplify and compile it into a single paragraph. Take traffic lights as an example: all its states (red, amber and green) are predefined, all possible outcomes are known and it doesn’t matter if you encounter the traffic light today or tomorrow. It will still behave the same. Managing the states of a traffic light can be done by triggering a sensor on the road or pushing a button resulting in one traffic lights’ state going from green to red (via amber) and another light from red to green.
 
With public blockchains like Zilliqa this isn’t so straightforward and simple. It started with block #1 almost 1,5 years ago and every 45 seconds or so a new block linked to the previous block is being added. Resulting in a chain of blocks with transactions in it that everyone can verify from block #1 to the current #647.000+ block. The state is ever changing and the states it can find itself in are infinite. And while the traffic light might work together in tandem with various other traffic lights, it’s rather insignificant comparing it to a public blockchain. Because Zilliqa consists of 2400 nodes who need to work together to achieve consensus on what the latest valid state is while some of these nodes may have latency or broadcast issues, drop offline or are deliberately trying to attack the network etc.
 
Now go back to the Viewblock page take a look at the amount of transaction, addresses, block and DS height and then hit refresh. Obviously as expected you see new incremented values on one or all parameters. And how did the Zilliqa blockchain manage to transition from a previous valid state to the latest valid state? By using pBFT to reach consensus on the latest valid state.
 
After having obtained the entry ticket, miners execute pBFT to reach consensus on the ever changing state of the blockchain. pBFT requires a series of network communication between nodes, and as such there is no GPU involved (but CPU). Resulting in the total energy consumed to keep the blockchain secure, decentralised and scalable being low.
 
pBFT stands for practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance and is an optimisation on the Byzantine Fault Tolerant algorithm. To quote Blockonomi: “In the context of distributed systems, Byzantine Fault Tolerance is the ability of a distributed computer network to function as desired and correctly reach a sufficient consensus despite malicious components (nodes) of the system failing or propagating incorrect information to other peers.” Zilliqa is such a distributed computer network and depends on the honesty of the nodes (shard and DS) to reach consensus and to continuously update the state with the latest block. If pBFT is a new term for you I can highly recommend the Blockonomi article.
 
The idea of pBFT was introduced in 1999 - one of the authors even won a Turing award for it - and it is well researched and applied in various blockchains and distributed systems nowadays. If you want more advanced information than the Blockonomi link provides click here. And if you’re in between Blockonomi and University of Singapore read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 2 dating from October 2017.
Quoting from the Zilliqa tech whitepaper: “pBFT relies upon a correct leader (which is randomly selected) to begin each phase and proceed when the sufficient majority exists. In case the leader is byzantine it can stall the entire consensus protocol. To address this challenge, pBFT offers a view change protocol to replace the byzantine leader with another one.”
 
pBFT can tolerate ⅓ of the nodes being dishonest (offline counts as Byzantine = dishonest) and the consensus protocol will function without stalling or hiccups. Once there are more than ⅓ of dishonest nodes but no more than ⅔ the network will be stalled and a view change will be triggered to elect a new DS leader. Only when more than ⅔ of the nodes are dishonest (>66%) double spend attacks become possible.
 
If the network stalls no transactions can be processed and one has to wait until a new honest leader has been elected. When the mainnet was just launched and in its early phases, view changes happened regularly. As of today the last stalling of the network - and view change being triggered - was at the end of October 2019.
 
Another benefit of using pBFT for consensus besides low energy is the immediate finality it provides. Once your transaction is included in a block and the block is added to the chain it’s done. Lastly, take a look at this article where three types of finality are being defined: probabilistic, absolute and economic finality. Zilliqa falls under the absolute finality (just like Tendermint for example). Although lengthy already we skipped through some of the inner workings from Zilliqa’s consensus: read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 3 and you will be close to having a complete picture on it. Enough about PoW, sybil resistance mechanism, pBFT etc. Another thing we haven’t looked at yet is the amount of decentralisation.
 
Decentralisation
 
Currently there are four shards, each one of them consisting of 600 nodes. 1 shard with 600 so called DS nodes (Directory Service - they need to achieve a higher difficulty than shard nodes) and 1800 shard nodes of which 250 are shard guards (centralised nodes controlled by the team). The amount of shard guards has been steadily declining from 1200 in January 2019 to 250 as of May 2020. On the Viewblock statistics you can see that many of the nodes are being located in the US but those are only the (CPU parts of the) shard nodes who perform pBFT. There is no data from where the PoW sources are coming. And when the Zilliqa blockchain starts reaching their transaction capacity limit, a network upgrade needs to be executed to lift the current cap of maximum 2400 nodes to allow more nodes and formation of more shards which will allow to network to keep on scaling according to demand.
Besides shard nodes there are also seed nodes. The main role of seed nodes is to serve as direct access points (for end users and clients) to the core Zilliqa network that validates transactions. Seed nodes consolidate transaction requests and forward these to the lookup nodes (another type of nodes) for distribution to the shards in the network. Seed nodes also maintain the entire transaction history and the global state of the blockchain which is needed to provide services such as block explorers. Seed nodes in the Zilliqa network are comparable to Infura on Ethereum.
 
The seed nodes were first only operated by Zilliqa themselves, exchanges and Viewblock. Operators of seed nodes like exchanges had no incentive to open them for the greater public.They were centralised at first. Decentralisation at the seed nodes level has been steadily rolled out since March 2020 ( Zilliqa Improvement Proposal 3 ). Currently the amount of seed nodes is being increased, they are public facing and at the same time PoS is applied to incentivize seed node operators and make it possible for ZIL holders to stake and earn passive yields. Important distinction: seed nodes are not involved with consensus! That is still PoW as entry ticket and pBFT for the actual consensus.
 
5% of the block rewards are being assigned to seed nodes (from the beginning in 2019) and those are being used to pay out ZIL stakers.The 5% block rewards with an annual yield of 10.03% translates to roughly 610 MM ZILs in total that can be staked. Exchanges use the custodial variant of staking and wallets like Moonlet will use the non custodial version (starting in Q3 2020). Staking is being done by sending ZILs to a smart contract created by Zilliqa and audited by Quantstamp.
 
With a high amount of DS & shard nodes and seed nodes becoming more decentralised too, Zilliqa qualifies for the label of decentralised in my opinion.
 
Smart contracts
 
Let me start by saying I’m not a developer and my programming skills are quite limited. So I‘m taking the ELI5 route (maybe 12) but if you are familiar with Javascript, Solidity or specifically OCaml please head straight to Scilla - read the docs to get a good initial grasp of how Zilliqa’s smart contract language Scilla works and if you ask yourself “why another programming language?” check this article. And if you want to play around with some sample contracts in an IDE click here. Faucet can be found here. And more information on architecture, dapp development and API can be found on the Developer Portal.
If you are more into listening and watching: check this recent webinar explaining Zilliqa and Scilla. Link is time stamped so you’ll start right away with a platform introduction, R&D roadmap 2020 and afterwards a proper Scilla introduction.
 
Generalised: programming languages can be divided into being ‘object oriented’ or ‘functional’. Here is an ELI5 given by software development academy: > “all programmes have two basic components, data – what the programme knows – and behaviour – what the programme can do with that data. So object-oriented programming states that combining data and related behaviours in one place, is called “object”, which makes it easier to understand how a particular program works. On the other hand, functional programming argues that data and behaviour are different things and should be separated to ensure their clarity.”
 
Scilla is on the functional side and shares similarities with OCaml: > OCaml is a general purpose programming language with an emphasis on expressiveness and safety. It has an advanced type system that helps catch your mistakes without getting in your way. It's used in environments where a single mistake can cost millions and speed matters, is supported by an active community, and has a rich set of libraries and development tools. For all its power, OCaml is also pretty simple, which is one reason it's often used as a teaching language.
 
Scilla is blockchain agnostic, can be implemented onto other blockchains as well, is recognised by academics and won a so called Distinguished Artifact Award award at the end of last year.
 
One of the reasons why the Zilliqa team decided to create their own programming language focused on preventing smart contract vulnerabilities safety is that adding logic on a blockchain, programming, means that you cannot afford to make mistakes. Otherwise it could cost you. It’s all great and fun blockchains being immutable but updating your code because you found a bug isn’t the same as with a regular web application for example. And with smart contracts it inherently involves cryptocurrencies in some form thus value.
 
Another difference with programming languages on a blockchain is gas. Every transaction you do on a smart contract platform like Zilliqa for Ethereum costs gas. With gas you basically pay for computational costs. Sending a ZIL from address A to address B costs 0.001 ZIL currently. Smart contracts are more complex, often involve various functions and require more gas (if gas is a new concept click here ).
 
So with Scilla, similar to Solidity, you need to make sure that “every function in your smart contract will run as expected without hitting gas limits. An improper resource analysis may lead to situations where funds may get stuck simply because a part of the smart contract code cannot be executed due to gas limits. Such constraints are not present in traditional software systems”. Scilla design story part 1
 
Some examples of smart contract issues you’d want to avoid are: leaking funds, ‘unexpected changes to critical state variables’ (example: someone other than you setting his or her address as the owner of the smart contract after creation) or simply killing a contract.
 
Scilla also allows for formal verification. Wikipedia to the rescue:
In the context of hardware and software systems, formal verification is the act of proving or disproving the correctness of intended algorithms underlying a system with respect to a certain formal specification or property, using formal methods of mathematics.
 
Formal verification can be helpful in proving the correctness of systems such as: cryptographic protocols, combinational circuits, digital circuits with internal memory, and software expressed as source code.
 
Scilla is being developed hand-in-hand with formalization of its semantics and its embedding into the Coq proof assistant — a state-of-the art tool for mechanized proofs about properties of programs.”
 
Simply put, with Scilla and accompanying tooling developers can be mathematically sure and proof that the smart contract they’ve written does what he or she intends it to do.
 
Smart contract on a sharded environment and state sharding
 
There is one more topic I’d like to touch on: smart contract execution in a sharded environment (and what is the effect of state sharding). This is a complex topic. I’m not able to explain it any easier than what is posted here. But I will try to compress the post into something easy to digest.
 
Earlier on we have established that Zilliqa can process transactions in parallel due to network sharding. This is where the linear scalability comes from. We can define simple transactions: a transaction from address A to B (Category 1), a transaction where a user interacts with one smart contract (Category 2) and the most complex ones where triggering a transaction results in multiple smart contracts being involved (Category 3). The shards are able to process transactions on their own without interference of the other shards. With Category 1 transactions that is doable, with Category 2 transactions sometimes if that address is in the same shard as the smart contract but with Category 3 you definitely need communication between the shards. Solving that requires to make a set of communication rules the protocol needs to follow in order to process all transactions in a generalised fashion.
 
And this is where the downsides of state sharding comes in currently. All shards in Zilliqa have access to the complete state. Yes the state size (0.1 GB at the moment) grows and all of the nodes need to store it but it also means that they don’t need to shop around for information available on other shards. Requiring more communication and adding more complexity. Computer science knowledge and/or developer knowledge required links if you want to dig further: Scilla - language grammar Scilla - Foundations for Verifiable Decentralised Computations on a Blockchain Gas Accounting NUS x Zilliqa: Smart contract language workshop
 
Easier to follow links on programming Scilla https://learnscilla.com/home Ivan on Tech
 
Roadmap / Zilliqa 2.0
 
There is no strict defined roadmap but here are topics being worked on. And via the Zilliqa website there is also more information on the projects they are working on.
 
Business & Partnerships  
It’s not only technology in which Zilliqa seems to be excelling as their ecosystem has been expanding and starting to grow rapidly. The project is on a mission to provide OpenFinance (OpFi) to the world and Singapore is the right place to be due to its progressive regulations and futuristic thinking. Singapore has taken a proactive approach towards cryptocurrencies by introducing the Payment Services Act 2019 (PS Act). Among other things, the PS Act will regulate intermediaries dealing with certain cryptocurrencies, with a particular focus on consumer protection and anti-money laundering. It will also provide a stable regulatory licensing and operating framework for cryptocurrency entities, effectively covering all crypto businesses and exchanges based in Singapore. According to PWC 82% of the surveyed executives in Singapore reported blockchain initiatives underway and 13% of them have already brought the initiatives live to the market. There is also an increasing list of organisations that are starting to provide digital payment services. Moreover, Singaporean blockchain developers Building Cities Beyond has recently created an innovation $15 million grant to encourage development on its ecosystem. This all suggest that Singapore tries to position itself as (one of) the leading blockchain hubs in the world.
 
Zilliqa seems to already taking advantage of this and recently helped launch Hg Exchange on their platform, together with financial institutions PhillipCapital, PrimePartners and Fundnel. Hg Exchange, which is now approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), uses smart contracts to represent digital assets. Through Hg Exchange financial institutions worldwide can use Zilliqa's safe-by-design smart contracts to enable the trading of private equities. For example, think of companies such as Grab, AirBnB, SpaceX that are not available for public trading right now. Hg Exchange will allow investors to buy shares of private companies & unicorns and capture their value before an IPO. Anquan, the main company behind Zilliqa, has also recently announced that they became a partner and shareholder in TEN31 Bank, which is a fully regulated bank allowing for tokenization of assets and is aiming to bridge the gap between conventional banking and the blockchain world. If STOs, the tokenization of assets, and equity trading will continue to increase, then Zilliqa’s public blockchain would be the ideal candidate due to its strategic positioning, partnerships, regulatory compliance and the technology that is being built on top of it.
 
What is also very encouraging is their focus on banking the un(der)banked. They are launching a stablecoin basket starting with XSGD. As many of you know, stablecoins are currently mostly used for trading. However, Zilliqa is actively trying to broaden the use case of stablecoins. I recommend everybody to read this text that Amrit Kumar wrote (one of the co-founders). These stablecoins will be integrated in the traditional markets and bridge the gap between the crypto world and the traditional world. This could potentially revolutionize and legitimise the crypto space if retailers and companies will for example start to use stablecoins for payments or remittances, instead of it solely being used for trading.
 
Zilliqa also released their DeFi strategic roadmap (dating November 2019) which seems to be aligning well with their OpFi strategy. A non-custodial DEX is coming to Zilliqa made by Switcheo which allows cross-chain trading (atomic swaps) between ETH, EOS and ZIL based tokens. They also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a (soon to be announced) USD stablecoin. And as Zilliqa is all about regulations and being compliant, I’m speculating on it to be a regulated USD stablecoin. Furthermore, XSGD is already created and visible on block explorer and XIDR (Indonesian Stablecoin) is also coming soon via StraitsX. Here also an overview of the Tech Stack for Financial Applications from September 2019. Further quoting Amrit Kumar on this:
 
There are two basic building blocks in DeFi/OpFi though: 1) stablecoins as you need a non-volatile currency to get access to this market and 2) a dex to be able to trade all these financial assets. The rest are build on top of these blocks.
 
So far, together with our partners and community, we have worked on developing these building blocks with XSGD as a stablecoin. We are working on bringing a USD-backed stablecoin as well. We will soon have a decentralised exchange developed by Switcheo. And with HGX going live, we are also venturing into the tokenization space. More to come in the future.”*
 
Additionally, they also have this ZILHive initiative that injects capital into projects. There have been already 6 waves of various teams working on infrastructure, innovation and research, and they are not from ASEAN or Singapore only but global: see Grantees breakdown by country. Over 60 project teams from over 20 countries have contributed to Zilliqa's ecosystem. This includes individuals and teams developing wallets, explorers, developer toolkits, smart contract testing frameworks, dapps, etc. As some of you may know, Unstoppable Domains (UD) blew up when they launched on Zilliqa. UD aims to replace cryptocurrency addresses with a human readable name and allows for uncensorable websites. Zilliqa will probably be the only one able to handle all these transactions onchain due to ability to scale and its resulting low fees which is why the UD team launched this on Zilliqa in the first place. Furthermore, Zilliqa also has a strong emphasis on security, compliance, and privacy, which is why they partnered with companies like Elliptic, ChainSecurity (part of PwC Switzerland), and Incognito. Their sister company Aqilliz (Zilliqa spelled backwards) focuses on revolutionizing the digital advertising space and is doing interesting things like using Zilliqa to track outdoor digital ads with companies like Foodpanda.
 
Zilliqa is listed on nearly all major exchanges, having several different fiat-gateways and recently have been added to Binance’s margin trading and futures trading with really good volume. They also have a very impressive team with good credentials and experience. They dont just have “tech people”. They have a mix of tech people, business people, marketeers, scientists, and more. Naturally, it's good to have a mix of people with different skill sets if you work in the crypto space.
 
Marketing & Community
 
Zilliqa has a very strong community. If you just follow their Twitter their engagement is much higher for a coin that has approximately 80k followers. They also have been ‘coin of the day’ by LunarCrush many times. LunarCrush tracks real-time cryptocurrency value and social data. According to their data it seems Zilliqa has a more fundamental and deeper understanding of marketing and community engagement than almost all other coins. While almost all coins have been a bit frozen in the last months, Zilliqa seems to be on its own bull run. It was somewhere in the 100s a few months ago and is currently ranked #46 on CoinGecko. Their official Telegram also has over 20k people and is very active, and their community channel which is over 7k now is more active and larger than many other official channels. Their local communities) also seem to be growing.
 
Moreover, their community started ‘Zillacracy’ together with the Zilliqa core team ( see www.zillacracy.com ). It’s a community run initiative where people from all over the world are now helping with marketing and development on Zilliqa. Since its launch in February 2020 they have been doing a lot and will also run their own non custodial seed node for staking. This seed node will also allow them to start generating revenue for them to become a self sustaining entity that could potentially scale up to become a decentralized company working in parallel with the Zilliqa core team. Comparing it to all the other smart contract platforms (e.g. Cardano, EOS, Tezos etc.) they don't seem to have started a similar initiatives (correct me if I’m wrong though). This suggest in my opinion that these other smart contract platforms do not fully understand how to utilize the ‘power of the community’. This is something you cannot ‘buy with money’ and gives many projects in the space a disadvantage.
 
Zilliqa also released two social products called SocialPay and Zeeves. SocialPay allows users to earn ZILs while tweeting with a specific hashtag. They have recently used it in partnership with the Singapore Red Cross for a marketing campaign after their initial pilot program. It seems like a very valuable social product with a good use case. I can see a lot of traditional companies entering the space through this product, which they seem to suggest will happen. Tokenizing hashtags with smart contracts to get network effect is a very smart and innovative idea.
 
Regarding Zeeves, this is a tipping bot for Telegram. They already have 1000s of signups and they plan to keep upgrading it for more and more people to use it (e.g. they recently have added a quiz features). They also use it during AMAs to reward people in real time. It’s a very smart approach to grow their communities and get familiar with ZIL. I can see this becoming very big on Telegram. This tool suggests, again, that the Zilliqa team has a deeper understanding what the crypto space and community needs and is good at finding the right innovative tools to grow and scale.
 
To be honest, I haven’t covered everything (i’m also reaching the character limited haha). So many updates happening lately that it's hard to keep up, such as the International Monetary Fund mentioning Zilliqa in their report, custodial and non-custodial Staking, Binance Margin, Futures & Widget, entering the Indian market, and more. The Head of Marketing Colin Miles has also released this as an overview of what is coming next. And last but not least, Vitalik Buterin has been mentioning Zilliqa lately acknowledging Zilliqa and mentioning that both projects have a lot of room to grow. There is much more info of course and a good part of it has been served to you on a silver platter. I invite you to continue researching by yourself :-) And if you have any comments or questions please post here!
submitted by haveyouheardaboutit to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

[Updated Jan 2020] How many Irish Subs are there really?

The first time I made this post I had uncovered 500+ Irish related subs on reddit, from the abandoned to the large. This was some time in 2016ish and I have continued to try and track as many new subs as I can.
Below is the updated list, again including some of the Discord Servers & useful other external links (although not counted) and the count stands at 710 plus some redirects/banned subs/karma farms. I have also continued to included some of the North American Subs that could be mistaken for Irish just for information.
As you can see from the notations many, many of them are inactive but it's more about finding as many of them as possible than anything else.
If anyone knows of, or can find, new ones not listed below, throw them in the comments and I'll add them to the list. A rich vein of new ones continue to be towns etc, people from Ireland (bands etc) and products.
To any owners of Discords that appear on this list or not, let me know of perma invitation links as I know some of the below have expired but I'd rather have them as reminders/ place holders than not.
Notes:
To anyone who owns a sub...put a description in the bleedin' sidebar! (Growing is easier if people don't have to guess what the sub is for)
If you find a sub you might like to resurrect you can head over the /redditrequest and request to take it over. See their sidebar for full rules and process.
(P) = Currently Private Sub
(O) = Out of Use
(m) = Authors Notation
(NI) = Northern Ireland
(R) = Redirects

Visiting & Moving to Ireland

Also see ‘Hobbies & Interests’ and ‘Locations’ below.
General Discords

Irish Language/ As Gaeilge Subs

History & Heritage

Media, Music & Art

Media Discussion
News Subs
Media Creatives
Music
Underground Film & Music
Instruments
Dance
Art, Design & Visual

IT, Developers & Tech

Developers
Infrastructure
Data & Crypto
PC Parts
Gaming
  • See below

LGBT

Womens Issues

Teens

Health & Well-being Issues

Education Subs

Second Level
Third Level
Clubs/ Societies & College Interests

Political Parties/ Discussion

Discussions
Parties
State Institutions
Political Issues
Political Satire
Pol Discords

Model Government & Related Subs

Model Houses & Parties
Model Media
Model Meta & Misc

Religion & Religious Issues

Sports

GAA
Football
Teams
Fans Subs
Rugby
Other Sports

Jobs

Legal, Financial & Property

Legal
** Legal System**
Financial
Community Assistance
Bargains & For Sale
Earn Credit
Property

Transport

Rail
Buses
MotorBikes
Cars

Hobbies & Interests

Drug Culture
Vaping
Books
Board Gaming
Crafts
Computer Gaming
Discords
Tech Interests
Food & Drink
Dating & Social Groups
Events
Outdoor Activities
Weapons Enthusiasts
Fun Subs
Fun Discords
Places to Moan
Fandom Subs
Celtic Subs
Discords
NSFW Adulty Subs
Meta & Alternative Ireland Subs
Misc Defunct/ Unknown Content

Ireland not local enough for ya? Subscribe to:

Locations

Counties
Cities/ Towns/ Townlands
Areas
Northern Ireland
Ex-Pat Communities
Location Based Discords

Sandboxes

Not Irish Subs

  • Irish Subs Count: 710 + 9
submitted by louiseber to ireland [link] [comments]

Current state of MapHack in Starcraft II [2019]

Current state of MapHack in Starcraft II [2019]
Disclaimer :
This thread Is not an advertisement for maphack. This was only made In order to gather as much informations as possible about the current state of this type of hack in Starcraft 2 so people can be more aware of this problem.Most of people think maphack is dead/only present at high level or is just a « reveal the map » hack, but it’s much more complicated than that. I hope It will help to rise awarness about this, and make blizzard do something about it. I’m keeping an eye on hack communities of my differents games for years, and i recently wanted to see what changed about the MH part in SC2 since the last time i checked (2016). It took me 2 month to have all the informations I wanted, and here is the result :)
Also, no name/direct access to the hack will be revealed in public, for 2 mains reasons :
- 99% chances they are not using their real name/game tag, so it’s useless I think.- It could help some people to find them and then buy the hack.
Blizzard probably already know about this (specially the last one i will talk about), but If you can prove me in PM that you are from blizzard staff I’ll of course share you the uncensored pictures + other screens that I can’t post here.
Also, english is not my native language, so there will be mistakes in the thread and the video, feel free to correct me :)
_________________________________________________________________________________________________
I’ll talk about 2 differents hack I found, one seems to be the most populapowerful hack tool for a long time, the other one have less feature but still work great.I’m also pretty sure there is a third one, but i couldn’t find after a month of research.
1) Generalities
To begin with, MH is not that simple to find.
I remember in 2014/2015, it was pretty easy to find one by just googling « SC2 maphack ».Some of them were free to use, best ones (better UI + other features) were pretty expensives like ValiantChaos’s maphack (one of the most famous at the time).
Then around 2015/2016 (can’t remember exactly), a big update of Warden, the Blizzard anti cheat system, stopped most of them. It was impossible to find one for free, and it was very rare to play against it on the ladder. Since this update, if you really want one you now require to pay a monthly fee to the hacker in order to use his sofware and have the new versions each time an official patch is published by blizzard.It’s also a lot harder to find them, and unless you know the right place to get this type of hack (not specifically for SC2, but for hacks in general) it’s very unlikely you’ll be able to find what you want (or you’ll be scammed with a fake MH, it happens very often from what i can read in this community).
2) First hack
The first one took me a week to find. He offered a free trial of 3 days, that allowed me to see everything that can be done with this software .Once the trial is over, you are supposed to send back a document included in the folder, and the hacker is supposed to send you back a new version of the software, this time linked to your PC (i guess the software creates a specific signature of your PC, maybe linked to your motherboard).
Here are some screens of the hack interface: https://imgur.com/a/HkyqMpP

Ingame Overlay
I used it on a throwaway account for 48h, then deleted it.
Here is a commentated gameplay with it (it’s impossible to reccord the ingame overlay no matter what i tried with OBS, so i can’t really show it in action) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9kx-F_Mu4E&feature=youtu.be
TLDW :
It include some basics feature :
- Sound alert for macro (upcoming supply block, probe production stopped…) or enemy army (drop, big move out… .
- Second minimap with unit movement and building placement.
- Production tab.- Energy left for scans/chronos….
It’s a bit disturbing at first to have another overlay to look at, just like in gold league when it’s hard to check frequently the minimap, but it’s obvioulsy worth it.
Also, in the video someone spotted me, I PMed him after i stopped reccording to tell him what i was doing, i’ll link him this thread so hello to you buddy if you see this ^^
I used it for 4-5 games at low mmr (at low mmr, my macro was good enough so i could talk and properly expain without losing because of macro errors) in the videos just in order to explain how it’s used, but after that i used another account to test how far I could go with this.The 2nd account was with my real mmr (4k7, i'm very stable usually, rarely drop below 4k6), and i’ve done 15 games with it. I wanted to know how big the impact was, maybe you just get out macro very quickly after all.I managed to reach 5k mmr (my peak mmr was 4800 with my main account) with a 14-1 ratio, the only lose being due to a Zerg late game with mass infestors broolords.I feel like i could have reach much higher, but i prefered to stop here since it was enough.
This is indeed a very strong tool, that allows people who know how the game works (counter, strategy, build analysis) to stop loosing to anything linked to harass/scout. You can only lose due to micro error during fight or a big out macro.However, the maphack feature itself is pretty useless if you don’t undestand well enough the game of course, i think below mid/high diamond it’s 100% useless.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________
3) Second hack
During my research, I also heard about 2 other maphack.
I never found enough informations about the first one, but the second one was very interesting.It seems like it’s the most popular and avanced hack tool for SC2, I think you can’t even call this a maphack anymore since it’s just a small feature in this one.
This one was a bit harder to find, and the person selling it seems to have a very well organised marketplace (honestly impressed by all his system).
Screen of his Discord, including detailes features of the hack : https://imgur.com/a/AozxjtK

![img](6ngslja3udj31 "166 peoples on it, a bit bigger than i expected tbh. ")
Prices : similar to the first hack I found.
![img](ia97d55xudj31 " Payement : much more different this time. The first hacker gave me a PayPal link, but this one want to be payed in Bitcoin !")
To obtain the hack, once you sent the bitcoint to his wallet, the bot will check and send you a license key to unlock the hack (you can dowload it in a specific channel on his discord, once you have the « Free trial » or « member » role). This time you don’t have to send back a document to link kit to your PC, you only need a license key.The trial last for 72h this time.
Screen of differents features of the hack when you unlock the software with a license key, including auto creep spread example : https://imgur.com/a/dJW49A3

Aside form the production tab and economy informations, the new ingame UI is interesting
Since i didn’t want to play again with something like that in ladder, I asked one my friend to test it in custom games with me.
Replays :
Auto Blink PvP : https://drop.sc/replay/11541493
AOE dodge TvP : https://drop.sc/replay/11541495
ZvP with various hack activated, such as auto creep spread, auto inject and auto AOE dodge : https://drop.sc/replay/11541492I'm 3k9-4k Z, he's 4k5-4k6 P.
ZvZ split hack, game lagged pretty hard for both of us during apm peak (over 6k5 apm sometimes) : https://drop.sc/replay/11541494Split hack is the most obvious of all, since it need a very big apm to work

15mn game, guess which I am ?
Auto split typical APM
Each time an official patch is out, the hack is patched as well, most of the time very quickly after the official releasehttps://liquipedia.net/starcraft2/Patches for comparison
https://preview.redd.it/pmn48t0yydj31.png?width=871&format=png&auto=webp&s=388d3105cb69664a92afb4afac09fe8d03f4132f

As you can see, you can hardly just call that a maphack. It help a lot with auto split, and change pretty much everything as a Zerg since auto creep spread and auto inject are very effective.There are a lot of features i can't show because there are too much of them, but most of them are macro help. For example, if you select 12 workers and right click a gas, 3 of them will automatically mine vespene gas and the other ones wont stop what they are doing.Terran also become very weak since you can prevent any form of harassEtc...
I only found these 2 hacks in 1 month, but there are probably a lot more in specific community such as Russian or KR community.For both hack, i found at least 250 people using them, most of them between 4k8-5k5, and some of them seems to be GM on EU/NA or KR :
Profile picture of one of the people i found in the second hack servor
This hack is very scary, because this is clearly a very well organised and powerful machine.Just imagine a tool like this in the hands of some low/mid gm players, they could easily qualify for WCS for example since qualifiers are online (not saying it happened in the past, maybe it did, i'm just saying it could happen).I have no idea of how the owner of this could be punished since it would be very hard to find any personnal informations about him
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This conclude this thread, I hope you enjoyed it :)
I problably forgot some details, so ask your questions in the comments and I'll try to answer them if I can (you can ask in french if you want).Again, It's just in order for most people to know about the current state of this : It's not that rare and It's much more developped than just a maphack.
I hope you'll play a healthy ladder, but if you meet one of them don't forget to still report them :)
submitted by NeWHoriiZonS to starcraft [link] [comments]

Canaan's new ASIC is a Pipe Dream, not an Ethereum Threat

So, yesterday Kristy-Leigh Minehan posted on Twitter that a company named Canaan announced an ASIC that is capable of 0.68W/Mhs
That's 2200Mh/s running at 1500w
https://twitter.com/OhGodAGirl/status/1176938519866089473
Here is a list of how it compares to other ASICs and GPUs.
https://blog.miningstore.com/blog/ethereum-mining-hardware-for-2019
She used this tweet to promote the need for ProgPoW
Today, I am attempting to explain that Canaan is not a threat to centralize Ethereum mining with their ASICs.
First, I cannot find any information regarding Canaan announcing an Ethereum ASIC other than Kristy's twitter post
There is only one article written about it and it uses Kristy's twitter post as their source.
https://cryptoslate.com/ethereum-asic-dominates-gpu-performance/
Nothing on Canaan's website talks about this miner
Nor does Canaan's twitter account mention anything like this.
If we look closely at Kristy's twitter picture, you can see the Canaan Ethereum miner will be called the V10.
I cannot find any info anywhere on this miner.
You would think that if Canaan is unveiling a new product, they would be talking about it more to spread awareness and raise hype, but they aren't.
I mean, they made a big to-do when they announced the A10 bitcoin miner in March, so why are they posting nothing about the V10 ethereum miner.
https://twitter.com/canaanio/status/1111513725733724160
And a google search will show many many more articles written about the bitcoin A10 after its announcement.
I'm not saying the announcement isn't real, just that I find it odd that the company isn't talking about it themselves.
Canaan did respond to a tweet from “cryptoState”, the writer's of the article based on Kristy's tweet.
Canaan replied that the v10 is not an official worldwide Canaan product.
https://twitter.com/canaanio/status/1177088253431668736
and further in the cryptostate article, Canaan says “It is a little hard to explain, but those are not products designed and built by Canaan engineering. They are products sold by the domestic sales team and are not an official worldwide Canaan product,”
I do not know what that means exactly. If it means it's not an official Canaan product, or that it won't be available worldwide, or what.
But this is the first clue to me that it isn't anything to worry about.
If it's not an official Canaan product, then it doesn't seem like it will have support from Canaan to bring it to market.
It won't be marketed by Canaan, use it's supply chain, it's business resources and contacts, use it's support system, or be built by Canaan.
Next, yes 0.68W/Mhs is more efficient than GPUs, but that isn't all that matters when miners choose the devices to use.
What matters also is how much the machine costs.
If the V10 is price too high, then it's not something to worry about.
Without a price, Kristy can't claim in good faith that the V10 is something Ethereum needs to worry about and a reason ProgPoW needs to be adopted.
I'm not sure how to price the thing, myself, but at current ETH prices and hashrate, it would make $2200 in 4 months.
I think generally ASIC mfgs price their machines to break even in 3-4 months.
So that would be the machine will cost around $2200.
BUT, that's only if ONE machine is running on the network.
The more machines on the network, the less profitable they are.
If we look at the Avalon A1066, it's november batch costs $1390, and has a break-even time of 464 months at current bitcoin prices.
So it seems to me the Canaan V10 will be quite a bit more expensive than $2200.
Which doesn't make it feasible for that many people to buy.
Next, there was no product on display at the New Era Mining Summit, where this product was announced.
Only some graphics of numbers they claim.
Nor can I find any technical documentation talking about how they plan to achieve the advertised hashrate
I tweeted Kristy telling her that this seems, at best, like just an idea to me, to help them raise money and that it takes more than an idea to bring an ASIC to market.
https://twitter.com/AltcoinXP/status/1177290387205054464
Kristy then blocked me on Twitter and told me to stop spreading misinformation.
https://imgur.com/lWEAWbd
So, now let's talk about the article I replied to her with, claiming that Canaan doesn't have enough funding for this.
Granted, I said this without doing as much research as I could've, but let's see if what I said holds true.
Here is the article I linked in the tweet.
https://www.coindesk.com/avalon-bitcoin-miner-maker-canaan-is-plotting-another-ipo-attempt
Notice the date this article was published. March 27th 2019.
Notice that Avalon announce their Bitcoin A10 miner the next day.
https://twitter.com/canaanio/status/1111513725733724160
Perhaps to help attract funding from new investors, which the Coindesk article says they haven't been able to bring on any new investors in a long time.
I'm not going to cite the whole article here, read it for yourself, but it generally explains that Canaan is unable to attract new funding.
Also, Xianfu Lui, a 17.2% shareholder in Canaan left the company in February, so I doubt he invested money into Canaan.
https://www.coindesk.com/co-founder-quits-avalon-mining-chip-maker-canaan-over-differences
Here are some more Coindesk articles speaking about Canaan trying to raise money.
https://www.coindesk.com/huobi-plans-backdoor-ipo-attempt-in-hong-kong-document-suggests
“After mining giant Bitmain’s IPO attempt in Hong Kong was allowed to expire, apparently due to reluctance from HKEX, it’s reportedly now planning to list in the U.S. Another miner manufacturer, Canaan Creative, is also reported to have already confidentially filed in the U.S. after a failed HKEX attempt. “
https://www.coindesk.com/bitcoin-miner-maker-canaan-confidentially-files-for-ipo-in-us-report
https://www.coindesk.com/bitcoin-miner-canaans-ipo-likely-delayed-after-hong-kong-filing-expires
“The Reuters report, citing anonymous sources, further said the HKEX and financial regulators in Hong Kong have raised questions over Canaan’s business model, given the volatile nature of cryptocurrencies. As such, the news agency said the IPO might not go ahead this year, since there have been no updates from a listing hearing with the HKEX. “
So seems to be Caanan is having a hard time finding funding for their endeavors. Pretty much every single article on Coindesk about them is about them trying to get funding and failing at it.
So do they have enough money to bring the V10 to market AND bring enough V10s to be a problem?
They would need to produce 45,000 units to get 50% of the Ethereum mining power.
Current network is 197TH/s https://bitinfocharts.com/ethereum/
Currently Bitmain is estimated to have produced less than 20,000 units since the Antminer E3's announcement in April 2018.
https://www.reddit.com/ethereum/comments/d8fuvj/an_argument_against_progpow_a_day_part_1/f1axc2c/
https://www.coindesk.com/bitmain-confirms-release-first-ever-ethereum-asic-miners
Bitmain being a much larger company than Canaan, it seems unlikely they will produce 45,000 units quick enough to become a problem.
Anyway,
For those of you that don't know, Canaan manages the Avalon bitcoin ASICs and have done so since 2014. Canaan is fulling in charge of Avalon.
https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Avalon
Maybe I should've said that sooner, I don't know. I'm just typing as I come up with stuff.
But we can look at Avalon's bitcoin past to determine what the future ethereum miner supply might look like. Keep in mind though, this was also during a time when they were well-funded.
I'm not sure what their bank account looks like now, but they have been in the red every year since their existance, so I have to assume they have less money now than when they were releasing bitcoin miners
Avalon announce the A10 March 2019, and started shipping pre-orders in October 2019.
If the V10 follows suit, we won't see a V10 in the hands of miners until April 2020
https://www.coindesk.com/demand-for-new-bitcoin-miners-is-again-outstripping-supply
Ok, I'm done. That's all I put together and why I don't believe the Canaan ASIC that was announced is a concern warranting the immediate adoption of ProgPoW
Thanks for reading.
submitted by Anthony-AltcoinXP to ethereum [link] [comments]

I literally have tens of thousands of dollars in top-shelf hardware, looking to repurpose some before selling on eBay to build a NAS system, possibly a dedicated firewall device as well. o_O

Q1) What will you be doing with this PC? Be as specific as possible, and include specific games or programs you will be using.**

A1) This will be a dedicated NAS system for my home network. As such, I'm looking to have it:

- Host ##TB's of 720, 1080 & up resolution Movies and TV Shows I'm about to begin ripping from a MASSIVE DVD & Blueray collection I have.

- My kids are big on Minecraft. I understand it's possible to host your own "worlds" (or whatever they call the maps you can build) on your own "server". I think it would be pretty neat to offer them (& their friends - if can be done 'safely/securely') their own partition on one of my NAS HDD's.

- I also have accounts with a couple diff VPN companies... I understand it's possible (?) to sync said VPN's with a NAS, this might be a more relative topic on the next point/purpose...

- I'd like to be able to remotely link to this NAS for when I travel overseas and want to stream at my temp location from my house/this NAS.
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Q2) What is your maximum budget before rebates/shipping/taxes?**

* A2) Here's where I make matters more complicated than most others would... I've been an advocate for Bitcoin and crypto-currencies in general since 2013. I invested in a small mining outfit back in 2014 (strictly Bitcoin/ASIC's). One of my buddies is the President of a large-scale mining operation (foreign and domestic) and he convinced me to dabble in the GPU mining-space. I made my first hardware purchase in Q4, 2017 and launched a small-scale GPU-Farm in my house since then. I had the rigs mining up until Q3 of 2018 (not cost-efficient to keep on, especially living in SoFlo) and since then, the hardware's been collecting dust (& pissing off my family members since they lost access to 3X rooms in the house - I won't let anyone go near my gear). One of my New Years Resolutions for 2019 was to clear out the house of all my mining equipment so that's all about to go up on eBay. So "budget" is relative to whatever I "MUST" spend if I can't repurpose any of the parts I already have on hand for this build... (Anyone having something I "need" and is looking to barter for one of the items I'll list later on in here, LMK).
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Q3) When do you plan on building/buying the PC? Note: beyond a week or two from today means any build you receive will be out of date when you want to buy.**

A3) IMMEDIATELY! :)
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Q4) What, exactly, do you need included in the budget? (ToweOS/monitokeyboard/mouse/etc\)**

A4) Well I had a half-assed idea approximately 1 year ago that it might be wise to build a bunch of 'gaming rigs' to sell on eBay with my intended repurposed mining hardware so I went on a shopping spree for like 6 months. That said; I've got a plethora of various other components that aren't even unboxed yet. 90% of the items I've purchased for this additional project were items that were marked down via MIR (mail-in-rebates) & what-not...
AFAIK, there are only 3X items I absolutely do not have which I 'MUST' find. Those would be - 1) Motherboard which accepts "ECC RAM". 2) CPU for said MOBO. 3) Said "ECC RAM".\* 
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Q5) Which country (and state/province) will you be purchasing the parts in? If you're in US, do you have access to a Microcenter location?**

A5) I'm located in Southwest Florida. No Microcenter's here. Best Buy is pretty much my only option although I am a member of Newegg, Amazon & Costco if that makes any difference?
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Q6) If reusing any parts (including monitor(s)/keyboard/mouse/etc), what parts will you be reusing? Brands and models are appreciated.**

A6) In an attempt to better clean up this Q&A, I'm going to list the items I have on-hand at the end of this questionnaire in-case passers-by feel like this might be a TLDR.* (Scroll to the bottom & you'll see what I mean).
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Q7) Will you be overclocking? If yes, are you interested in overclocking right away, or down the line? CPU and/or GPU?**

A7) I don't think that's necessary for my intended purpose although - I'm not against it if that helps & FWIW, I'm pretty skilled @ this task already (it's not rocket science).
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Q8) Are there any specific features or items you want/need in the build? (ex: SSD, large amount of storage or a RAID setup, CUDA or OpenCL support, etc)**

A8) As stated in A4; ECC RAM is non-negotiable... RAID seems like a logical application here as well.

- This will predominantly be receiving commands from MacOS computers. I don't think that matters really but figured it couldn't hurt to let you guys know.\*

- I'd also be quite fond of implementing "PFSENSE" (or something of that caliber) applied to this system so I could give my Netgear Nighthawks less stress in that arena, plus my limited understanding of PFSENSE is that it's ability to act as a firewall runs circles around anything that comes with consumer-grade Wi-Fi routers (like my Nighthawks). Just the same, I'm open to building a second rig just for the firewall.\*

- Another desirable feature would be that it draws as little electricity from the wall as possible. (I'm EXTREMELY skilled in this arena. I have "Kill-A-Watts" to test/gauge on, as well as an intimate understanding of the differences between Silver, Gold, Platinum and Titanium rated PSU's. As well as having already measured each of the PSU's I have on-hand and taken note of the 'target TDP draw' ("Peak Power Efficiency Draw") each one offers when primed with X amount of GPU's when I used them for their original purpose.\*

- Last, but not least, sound (as in noise created from the rig). I'd like to prop this device up on my entertainment center in the living room. I've (almost) all of the top-shelf consumer grade products one could dream of regarding fans and other thermal-related artifacts.

- Almost forgot; this will be hosting to devices on the KODI platform (unless you guys have better alternative suggestions?)
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Q9) Do you have any specific case preferences (Size like ITX/microATX/mid-towefull-tower, styles, colors, window or not, LED lighting, etc), or a particular color theme preference for the components?**

A9) Definitely! Desired theme would be WHITE. If that doesn't work for whatever reason, black or gray would suffice. Regarding "Case Size". Nah, that's not too important although I don't foresee a mini-ITX build making sense if I'm going to be cramming double digit amounts of TB in the system, Internal HDD's sounds better than a bunch of externals plugged in all the USB ports.
______________________
Q10) Do you need a copy of Windows included in the budget? If you do need one included, do you have a preference?**

A10) I don't know. If I do need a copy of Windows, I don't have one so that's something I'll have to consider I guess. I doubt that's a necessity though.
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**Extra info or particulars:*\*

AND NOW TO THE FUN-STUFF... Here's a list of everything (PARTS PARTS PARTS) I have on-hand and ready to deploy into the wild &/or negotiate a trade/barter with:

CASES -
Corsair Carbide Series Air 540 Arctic White (Model# Crypto-Currency-9011048-WW) - (Probably my top pick for this build).
Cooler Master HAF XB EVO (This is probably my top 1st or 2nd pick for this build, the thing is a monster!).
Cooler Master Elite 130 - Mini ITX - Black
Cooler Master MasterBox 5 MID-Tower - Black & White
Raidmax Sigma-TWS - ATX - White
MasterBox Lite 5 - ATX - Black w/ diff. Colored accent attachments (included with purchase)
NZXT S340 Elite Matte White Steel/Tempered Glass Edition
EVGA DG-76 Alpine White - Mid Tower w/ window
EVGA DG-73 Black - Mid Tower w/ window (I have like 3 of these)

______________________
CPU's -
***7TH GEN OR BELOW INTEL's ("Code Name Class mentioned next to each one)**\*
Pentium G4400 (Skylake @54W TDP) - Intel ARK states is "ECC CAPABLE"
Celeron G3930 (Kaby Lake @ 51W TDP) - Intel ARK states is "ECC CAPABLE" :)
i5 6402P (Skylake @65W TDP) - Intel ARK states is "NOT ECC CAPABLE" :(
i5 6600k (Skylake @ 91W TDP) - Intel ARK states is "NOT ECC CAPABLE" :(
i7 6700 (Skylake @ 65W TDP) - Intel ARK states is "NOT ECC CAPABLE" :(
i7 7700k (Kaby Lake @ 95W TDP) - Intel ARK states is "NOT ECC CAPABLE" :(


***8TH GEN INTEL's **\*
i3-8350K (Coffee Lake @91W TDP) - Intel ARK states is "ECC FRIENDLY" :)
I5-8600K (Coffee Lake @95W TDP) - Intel ARK states is "NOT ECC CAPABLE" :(


***AMD RYZEN's **\*
Ryzen 3 2200G
Ryzen 5 1600
Ryzen 7 1700X

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MOTHERBOARDS -

***7TH GEN AND BELOW INTEL BASED MOBO'S - **\*
MSI Z170A-SLI
ASUS PRIME Z270-A
ASUS PRIME Z270-P
ASUS PRIME Z270-K
EVGA Z270 Stinger
GIGABYTE GA-Z270XP-SLI
MSI B150M ARCTIC
MSI B250M MICRO ATX (PRO OPT. BOOST EDITION)

***8TH GEN INTEL BASED MOBO'S - **\*
EVGA Z370 FTW
GIGABYTE Z370XP SLI (Rev. 1.0)
MSI Z370 SLI PLUS


***AMD RYZEN BASED MOBO'S - **\*
ASUS ROG STRIX B350-F GAMING
MSI B350 TOMAHAWK
MSI X370 GAMING PRO
ASROCK AB350M PRO4
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RAM -

Way too many to list, nothing but 4 & 8GB DDR4 sticks and unfortunately, none are ECC so it's not even worth mentioning/listing these unless someone reading this is willing to barter. At which time I'd be obliged to send an itemized list or see if I have what they're/you're specifically looking for.\*
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THERMAL APPLICATIONS/FANS -
JUST FANS -
BeQuiet -
Pure Wings 2 (80mm)
Pure Wings 2 (120mm)
Pure Wings 2 (140mm)
Silent Wings 3 PWM (120mm)

NOCTUA -
PoopBrown - NF-A20 PWM (200mm) Specifically for the BIG "CoolerMaster HAF XB EVO" Case
GREY - NF-P12 Redux - 1700RPM (120mm) PWM
Corsair -
Air Series AF120LED (120mm)

CPU COOLING SYSTEMS -
NOCTUA -
NT-HH 1.4ml Thermal Compound
NH-D15 6 Heatpipe system (this thing is the tits)

EVGA (Extremely crappy coding in the software here, I'm like 99.99% these will be problematic if I were to try and use in any OS outside of Windows, because they barely ever work in the intended Windows as it is).
CLC 240 (240mm Water-cooled system
CRYORIG -
Cryorig C7 Cu (Low-Profile Copper Edition*)

A few other oversized CPU cooling systems I forget off the top of my head but a CPU cooler is a CPU cooler after comparing to the previous 3 models I mentioned.
I almost exclusively am using these amazing "Innovation Cooling Graphite Thermal Pads" as an alternative to thermal paste for my CPU's. They're not cheap but they literally last forever.

NZXT - Sentry Mesh Fan Controller
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POWER SUPPLIES (PSU's) -
BeQuiet 550W Straight Power 11 (GOLD)

EVGA -
750P2 (750W, Platinum)
850P2 (850W, Platinum)
750T2 (750W, TITANIUM - yeah baby, yeah)

ROSEWILL -
Quark 750W Platinum
Quark 650W Platinum

SEASONIC -
Focus 750W Platinum
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STORAGE -
HGST Ultrastar 3TB - 64mb Cache - 7200RPM Sata III (3.5)
4X Samsung 860 EVO 500GB SSD's
2X Team Group L5 LITE 3D 2.5" SSD's 480GB
2X WD 10TB Essential EXT (I'm cool with shucking)
+ 6X various other external HDD's (from 4-8TB) - (Seagate, WD & G-Drives)
______________________

Other accessories worth mentioning -
PCI-E to 4X USB hub-adapter (I have a dozen or so of these - might not be sufficient enough &/or needed but again, 'worth mentioning' in case I somehow ever run out of SATA & USB ports and have extra external USB HDD's. Although, I'm sure there would be better suited components if I get to that point that probably won't cost all that much).
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Needless to say, I have at least 1X of everything mentioned above. In most all cases, I have multiples of these items but obviously won't be needing 2X CPU's, Cases, etc...

Naturally, I have GPU's. Specifically;

At least 1X of every. Single. NVIDIA GTX 1070 TI (Yes, I have every variation of the 1070 ti made by MSI, EVGA and Zotac. The only brand I don't have is the Gigabyte line. My partners have terrible experience with those so I didn't even bother. I'm clearly not going to be needing a GPU for this build but again, I'm cool with discussing the idea of a barter if anyone reading this is in the market for one.

I also have some GTX 1080 TI's but those are already spoken for, sorry.

It's my understanding that select CPU's I have on this list are ECC Friendly and AFAIK, only 1 of my MOBO's claims to be ECC Friendly (The ASROCK AB350M PRO4), but for the life of me, I can't find any corresponding forums that confirm this and/or direct me to a listing where I can buy compatible RAM. Just the same, if I go w/ the ASROCK MOBO, that means I'd be using one of the Ryzens. Those are DEF. power hungry little buggers. Not a deal-breaker, just hoping to find something a little more conservative in terms of TDP.


In closing, I don't really need someone to hold my hand with the build part as much as figuring out which motherboard, CPU and RAM to get. Then I'm DEFINITELY going to need some guidance on what OS is best for my desired purpose. If building 2X Rigs makes sense, I'm totally open to that as well...
Rig 1 = EPIC NAS SYSTEM
Rig 2 = EPIC PFSENSE (or the like) DEDICATED FIREWALL

Oh, I almost forgot... The current routers I'm using are...
1X Netgear Nighthawk 6900P (Modem + Router)
1X Netgear Nighthawk X6S (AC 4000 I believe - Router dedicated towards my personal devices - no IoT &/or Guests allowed on this one)
1X TP-Link Archer C5 (Router). Total overkill after implementing the Nighthawks but this old beast somehow has the best range, plus it has 2X USB ports so for now, it's dedicated towards my IoT devices.
---- I also have a few other Wi-Fi routers (Apple Airport Extreme & some inferior Netgear's but I can only allocate so many WiFi Routers to so many WiFi channels w/out pissing off my neighbors) On that note, I have managed to convince my neighbors to let me in their house/WiFi configuration so we all have our hardware locked on specific, non-competing frequencies/channels so everyone's happy. :)


Please spare me the insults as I insulted myself throughout this entire venture. Part of why I did this was because when I was a kid, I used to fantasize about building a 'DREAM PC' but could never afford such. To compensate for this deficiency, I would actually print out the latest and greatest hardware components on a word document, print the lists up & tape to wall (for motivation). I was C++ certified at the age of 14 and built my first PC when I was 7. At the age of 15 I abandoned all hope in the sector and moved on to other aspirations. This entire ordeal was largely based off me finally fulfilling a childhood fantasy. On that note = mission accomplished. Now if I'm actually able to fulfill my desires on this post, I'm definitely going to feel less shitty about blowing so much money on all this stuff over the last couple years.

TIA for assisting in any way possible. Gotta love the internets!


THE END.
:)

EDIT/UPDATE (5 hours after OP) - My inbox is being inundated with various people asking for prices and other reasonable questions about my hardware being up for sale. Not to be redundant but rather to expound on my previous remarks about 'being interested in a bartetrade' with any of you here...

I did say I was going to sell my gear on eBay in the near future, I also said I wanted to trade/barter for anything relative to helping me accomplish my OP's mission(s). I'm not desperate for the $$$ but I'm also not one of those people that likes to rip other people off. That said; I value my time and money invested in this hardware and I'm only willing to unload it all once I've established I have ZERO need for any of it here in my home first. Hence my writing this lengthy thread in an attempt to repurpose at least a grand or two I've already spent.

One of the most commonly asked questions I anticipate receiving from interested bodies is going to be "How hard were you on your hardware?" Contrary to what anyone else would have probably done in my scenario which is say they were light on it whether they were or weren't, I documented my handling of the hardware, and have no problem sharing such documentation with verified, interested buyers (WHEN THE TIME COMES) to offer you guys peace of mind.

I have photo's and video's of the venture from A-Z. I am also obliged to provide (redacted) electricity bill statements where you can correlate my photo's (power draw on each rig), and also accurately deduct the excess power my house consumed with our other household appliances. Even taking into consideration how much (more) I spent in electricity from keeping my house at a constant, cool 70-72F year-round (via my Nest thermostat). Even without the rigs, I keep my AC @ 70 when I'm home and for the last 1.5-2 years, I just so happened to spend 85% of my time here at my house. When I would travel, I'd keep it at 72 for my wife & kids.
Additionally; I had each GPU 'custom' oveunderclocke'd (MSI Afterburner for all GPU's but the EVGA's).*
I doubt everyone reading this is aware so this is for those that don't.... EVGA had the brilliant idea of implementing what they call "ICX technology" in their latest NVIDIA GTX GPU's. The short(est) explanation of this "feature" goes as follows:

EVGA GPU's w/ "ICX 9 & above" have EXTRA HEAT/THERMAL SENSORS. Unlike every other GTX 1070 ti on the market, the one's with this feature actually have each of 2/2 on-board fans connected to individual thermal sensors. Which means - if you were to use the MSI Afterburner program on one of these EVGA's and create a custom fan curve for it, you'd only be able to get 1/2 of the fans to function the way intended. The other fan simply would not engage as the MSI Afterburner software wasn't designed/coded to recognize/ communicate with an added sensor (let alone sensor'S). This, in-turn, would likely result in whoever's using it the unintended way having a GPU defect on them within the first few months I'd imagine... Perhaps if they had the TDP power settings dumbed down as much as I did (60-63%), they might get a year or two out of it since it wouldn't run as near as hot, but I doubt any longer than that since cutting off 50% of the cooling system on one of these can't be ignored too long, surely capacitors would start to blow and who knows what else...
(Warning = RANT) Another interesting side-note about the EVGA's and their "Precision-X" OveUnderclocking software is that it's designed to only recognize 4X GPU's on a single system. For miners, that's just not cool. My favorite builds had 8X and for the motherboards that weren't capable of maintaining stable sessions on 8, I set up with 6X. Only my EVGA Rigs had 3 or 4X GPU's dedicated to a single motherboard. Furthermore, and as stated in an earlier paragraph, (& this is just my opinion) = EVGA SOFTWARE SUCKS! Precision X wasn't friendly with every motherboard/CPU I threw at it and their extension software for the CLC Close-Loop-Cooling/ CPU water-coolers simply didn't work on anything, even integrating into their own Precision-X software. The amount of time it took me to finally find compatible matches with that stuff was beyond maddening. (END RANT).
Which leads me to my other comments on the matter. That's what I had every single 1070 ti set at for TDP = 60-63%. Dropping the power load that much allowed me to bring down (on average) each 1070 ti to a constant 110-115W (mind you, this is only possible w/ "Titanium" rated PSU's, Platinum comes pretty damn close to the Titanium though) while mining Ethereum and was still able to maintain a bottom of 30 MH/s and a ceiling of 32 MH/s. Increasing the TDP to 80, 90, 100% or more only increased my hashrates (yields) negligibly, like 35-36 MH/s TOPS, which also meant each one was not only pulling 160-180W+ (Vs. the aforementioned 115'ish range), it also meant my rigs were creating a significantly greater amount of heat! Fortunately for the GPU's and my own personal habits, I live in South Florida where it's hot as balls typically, last winter was nothing like this one. Increasing my yields by 10-15% didn't justify increasing the heat production in my house by >30%, nor the added electricity costs from subjecting my AC handlers to that much of an extra work-load. For anyone reading this that doesn't know/understand what I'm talking about - after spending no less than 2-3 hours with each. and. every. one. I didn't play with the settings on just one and universally apply the settings to the rest. I found the 'prime' settings and documented them with a label-maker and notepad. Here's the math in a more transparent manner:

*** I NEVER LET MY GPU's BREACH 61C, EVER. Only my 8X GPU rigs saw 60-61 & it was the ones I had in the center of the build (naturally). I have REALLY high power fans (used on BTC ASIC MINERS) that were sucking air from those GPU's which was the only way I was able to obtain such stellar results while mining with them. **\*
Mining at "acceptable" heat temps (not acceptable to me, but most of the internet would disagree = 70C) and overclocking accordingly brings in X amount of yields per unit. =
'Tweaking' (underclocking) the GPU's to my parameters reduced my yield per unit from -10-15%, but it SAVED me well over 30-35% in direct electricity consumption, and an unknown amount of passive electricity consumption via creating approximately 20%+ less heat for my AC handler to combat.

I say all this extra stuff not just for anyone interested in mining with their GPU's, but really to answer (in-depth) the apparent questions you people are asking me in PM's. Something else that should help justify my claims of being so conservative should be the fact I only have/used "Platinum and Titanium" rated PSU's. Heat production, power efficiency and longevity of the hardware were ALWAYS my top priority.* . I truly thought Crypto would continue to gain and/or recover and bounce back faster than it did. If this project had maintained positive income for 12 months+, I'd have expanded one of our sites to also cater to GPU mining on a gnarly scale.

Once I have my NAS (& possibly 2nd rig for the firewall) successfully built, I'll be willing/able to entertain selling you guys some/all of the remaining hardware prior to launching on eBay. If there's something you're specifically looking for that I listed having, feel free to PM me with that/those specific item(s). Don't count on an immediate response but what you can count on is me honoring my word in offering whoever asks first right of refusal when the time comes for me to sell this stuff. Fortunately for me, PM's are time-stamped so that's how I'll gauge everyone's place in line. I hope this extra edit answers most of the questions you guys wanted to have answered and if not, sorry I guess. I'll do my best to bring light to anything I've missed out on after I realize whatever that error was/is. The only way anyone is getting first dibs on my hardware otherwise is if they either offer compelling insight into my original questions, or have something I need to trade w/.

THE END (Round#2)


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