These Digital Monsters Live on Ethereum, But They’ll Fight on Zilliqa
Before my one and only”mon” reached level 4, I had been out of ether. Such was the end result of my very first experience with Etheremon, a game inspired by Pokemon and built on the world’s second-largest blockchain, ethereum. I had around $15 value of ether to spare, so I decided to try it out, finally arming myself with a cute, fire-themed monster called Kyari.
However, I immediately ran into an issue with all the blockchain game. Namely, with $15, I never got a opportunity to move on to more interesting gameplay: battling different users’ mons,”evolving” my mon into stronger forms, laying eggs or making trades.
Each action, from”catching” the mon (in reality a non-fungible ERC-721 token) into”coaching” it into gym sessions with different mons (i.e., altering the information related to that nominal ), had cost the equivalent of a dollar or 2.
The main reason is that every update to Etheremon’s smart contracts calls for”gas,” a part of a complex fee mechanism which incentivizes the miners that keep that the ethereum blockchain. Making matters worse, these transactions often took a few minutes to finish.
Such problems — trades that cost too much and take too long are known by the shorthand”scalability” in the blockchain planet, and they’ve caused intense headaches for game designers who wish to use a decentralized platform such as ethereum.
Inadequate user experience — that also involves having to buy ether and install a browser extension that may connect to the blockchain — has stunted adoption. Etheremon is the second-most popular ethereum-based game, but that is not saying much. In the time of writing, it’s had only 209 users within the past 24 hours, according to DappRadar.
At one point, gas prices rose so much that Etheremon’s developers had to take extreme action.
“It became superexpensive, and we saw our daily busy user fall a lot,” co-founder and business development director Nedrick Ngo told BMI.
As a result, the team moved”conflicts” — where users pit their mons against other people’ for experience points and bragging rights — off the ethereum series and onto centralized servers.
Partially re-centralizing a decentralized game sounds like it is missing the point, nevertheless, therefore Etheremon declared earlier this month that it is likely to move a lot of the gameplay to a new, soon-to-be-launched blockchain protocol called Zilliqa (both Zilliqa’s and Etheremon’s teams are located in Singapore).
But decided that may reflect an emerging trend in the development of decentralized applications (dapps) such as Etheremon, the designers do not plan to move the game’s assets. The tokenized”mons” that encode information like degree, experience points and evolutionary type — data that gamers have earned through several slow and costly actions — will stay on ethereum for now.
To put it differently, Etheremon is going to be one match on 2 blockchains: a zippier, more scalable chain on top, allowing users to play with the sport fast and cheaply; and also an (arguably) more protected chain below, providing users with all the reassurance that their hard-won funds are safe from attack.
As Ngo set it:
“Zilliqa would work as a side-chain for us.”
Zilliqa: sharding from launch
Ethereum’s programmers have numerous scalability projects in the works. However, based on Ngo, Etheremon’s staff and its users can not wait for people to be executed.
“They must perpetrate Casper after which proof-of-stake after which sharding, therefore it is going to have quite a while,” he advised BMI.
Zilliqa, by contrast, is rare if not unique in the realm of blockchain protocols, since it is incorporating sharding, a method that has been used to handle more conventional databases for decades, even by the get-go.
Amrit Kumar, Zilliqa’s co-founder and head of research, said the method has enabled the system to process 2,488 trades per second in evaluations, whereas ethereum, right now, can handle perhaps a few dozen.
Kumar clarified how sharding functions within an blockchain network utilizing an example.
Each shard would subsequently process a subset of their overall transactions. Each time Alice delivered some cryptocurrency tokens, as an instance, shard A would process the trade. Every time Bob delivered some, the trade goes to shard B.
Two writers of an early newspaper laying a blockchain sharding protocol are included: Zilliqa chief scientific adviser Prateek Saxena, and Kyber Network CEO Loi Luu, that advises that the project.
Kumar stated Zilliqa, that is expected to start before the end of this next quarter, plans to be”the platform for applications that need high throughput and higher scalability.”
Scalability and throughput are not the only factors for Etheremon’s developers, however.
Users want gameplay to be fast, but they want to be sure there’s no risk of losing their densely filmed, educated and evolved creatures. The mons represent a good deal of accumulated time and cost for some users, and so there are now no plans to migrate these tokens over to a brand new series.
Instead, the data from gameplay Zilliqa will periodically be synced to those tokens.
“We really believe maintaining all the in-game resources on the ethereum system is quite stable,” said Ngo.
Kumar said he understood why Etheremon would maintain in-game resources where they were:
“Ethereum is certainly an established network and we do understand that there’s still some benefit of using ethereum.”
He contended, however, that in some manners Zilliqa offers more safety than ethereum, since Zilliqa’s non-Turing total speech, Scilla, means”you will not have the ability to compose a buggy contract such as [the] DAO,” that the ethereum-based victim of an infamous 2016 hack. According to Kumar, since Scilla isn’t as complicated as ethereum’s terminology, Solidity, it’s simpler to check for vulnerabilities.
On the flip side, Zilliqa’s way of attaining network consensus, sensible Byzantine fault tolerance (PBFT), is possibly more vulnerable to particular types of attacks compared to ethereum’s proof-of-work technique. Contrary to bitcoin or even ethereum, which can be theoretically secure provided that the vast majority of the nodes follows the principles, PBFT poses a possible limitation, as it takes two-thirds of nodes to be”honest.”
To put it differently, PBFT runs the risk not only of 51 percent strikes, but 34 percent strikes. Although, Kumar contended that the problem is actually more complex, as it is possible to strike a proof-of-work blockchain without commanding the vast majority of nodes.
No matter the true security benefits of maintaining Etheremon resources on ethereum versus transferring them to Zilliqa, this type of structure — where a diminished, battle-tested series is utilized to store resources as a high coating processes transactions — might be yanking.
Loom Network provides tools to construct committed sidechains for decentralized games which are anchored to ethereum, and has started investigating shared sidechains that host numerous matches.
Right now, Etheremon and Zilliqa have to determine how just how to juggle two chains, however Ngo was optimistic, telling BMI that is”only the very first phase of the collaboration.”