The team behind the Shardus project is building the foundation for creating globally accessible decentralized applications (dApps). Existing blockchain-based platforms are plagued by scalability issues and security vulnerabilities. Some crypto projects such as NEO and EOS have been criticized for being prone to centralization.
The developers of Shardus are currently building distributed ledger technology (DLT)-based software to address the problems affecting the blockchains of today. These include challenges associated with scalability, decentralization, and the overall efficiency of DLT-powered networks.
Using Compute and State Sharding to Build Scalable Applications
According to the Shardus project’s website, the platform’s developers intend to use compute and state sharding in order to build scalable dApps that can be accessed by billions of users each day.
Sharding is a process that divides network nodes into smaller groups, known as shards. This technique allows transactions to be processed in parallel and a lot faster – as each shard handles a different set of transactions.
State Sharding Is “Essential for Global Scalability of Networks”
State sharding involves storing network (and ledger) state data in a distributed manner, among different shards. This approach allows each network node to participate in transaction validation processes without needing access to the complete state or ledger history.
According to the Shardus team, state sharding is “essential for global scalability of networks and mass adoption of cryptocurrencies.”
Building High Throughput, Low Latency Networks with “Immediate” Finality
As mentioned on Shardus’ website, the project’s development team is planning to launch a payment network and a cryptocurrency known as Liberdus. Shardus-based peer-to-peer (P2P) networks will have a high throughput rate, low latency, and “immediate” finality. This, as Shardus will allow for auto-scaling and use advanced sharding techniques to develop the foundation for creating secure and decentralized, enterprise-grade applications.
Proof-of-Quorum-based Shardus Consensus Algorithm
According to its developers, Shardus’ platform uses the Proof-of-Quorum-based, Shardus Consensus Algorithm and the Shardus Distributed Ledger. The unique combination of this architecture and its associated protocols addresses challenges related to linear scaling and state sharding as the platform continues to grow.
As explained, applications that use Shardus will be able to process transactions instantaneously, as TXs are not grouped together in blocks. This approach results in
“fully confirmed transaction times of just a few seconds”, Shardus project’s developers claim.
Scaling to Millions of Transactions Per Second (TPS)
In order to process transactions more quickly, Shardus routes TXs to groups of nodes, called shards. With this technique, transactions need not be validated by every node on the network, which allows platforms to scale to millions of transactions per second (TPS)
To provide scalable storage, Shardus distributes state data to multiple shards, which helps create networks that can manage “trillions of accounts” without requiring network nodes to have petabytes of storage space.
“Off the Shelf” Computers May Function As Full-Nodes
According to the Shardus team, the platform offers a high level of decentralization as average desktop PCs may function as full nodes – while earning a “steady regular income” and not having to participate in mining pools.
The Shardus team claims that the platform’s energy-efficient, Proof-of-Quorum consensus offers the greatest level of security and data consistency. As explained by its development team, Proof-of-Quorum is a consensus protocol that provides a “provable receipt” for each transaction accepted on the Shardus platform.
The Shardus team claims that Proof-of-Quorum is significantly more energy efficient than the proof-of-work (PoW) consensus mechanism, which requires large amounts of electricity. Shardus’ consensus algorithm is also not based on proof-of-stake (PoS), meaning that network participants need not stake their coins on the platform.
Achieving Sustainability with Fixed Periodic Rewards Distributions
Shardus’ incentivization model is based on “fixed periodic distributions” that are provided to network nodes. Network participants are compensated for providing resources, and Shardus’ incentive model eliminates the “variance” in reward, which improves the sustainability of the project.
Trading with Shardus Tokens Is Powered By Uniswap
Previously referred to as the “Unblocked Ledger Token”, the Shardus Token may still be listed or referenced using the old ULT ticker on some platforms. The ULT token’s name will be officially changed to Shardus (SHRD) in the foreseeable future.
Notably, the widget used to enable trading with Shardus Tokens runs on Uniswap, an Ethereum-powered peer-to-peer (P2P) protocol for “automated token exchange.” Shardus tokens are given at rate of $0.10 per token.
As stated on Shardus’ website, Shardus Tokens may be purchased from individuals who may have earned them. The Shardus project itself does not sell the tokens.
Shardus Tokens to Appreciate in Value Based on “the Efforts” of Project Contributors
As noted on its Github page, Shardus Tokens were not sold in exchange for other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) or Ether (ETH). Instead, the platform’s developers are offering the tokens to developers as “gratuity” for “completing bounties” or providing various other types of services to help advance the project.
The Shardus team expects the tokens to appreciate in value based on “the efforts” of those who may have made contributions to the DLT-based project. If the project’s ongoing development remains on track and is successfully completed, then its main contributors will be among the first to “realize the gains of their efforts.” Shardus’ developers believe that this incentive model will ensure that the Shardus project achieves its developmental goals.
Shardus Tokens Are ERC-20 Compliant
Developers, advisors, promoters, and bounty hunters that contribute to the Shardus project may be awarded Shardus’ ERC-20 compliant tokens (as compensation for their work). To promote transparency, a report on distributed Shardus Tokens is released every month.
Developers looking to earn Shardus Tokens have to fill out a “Join” form and apply to become part of the project’s development team. Tokens may be earned by contributing code to the Shardus project. Project bounties are also available at certain times, and tokens can also be earned by completing them. Bancor network’s decentralized converter can also be used to purchase and/or convert Shardus tokens.
Liberdus Coin: the “First Public Project” Based on Shardus Technology
Enterprises that are planning to use the Shardus software must acquire a “license token” by sending a certain amount of Shardus Tokens to a smart contract on the platform. After receiving them, the associated smart contract will burn (destroy) the tokens and issue a new license token.
Public projects that build solutions using Shardus are required to distribute a certain amount of their coins to Shardus Token holders. According to Shardus’ developers, the Liberdus coin will be “the first public project” developed using Shardus technology. Shardus tokens holders will receive Liberdus coins when they become available.
Shardus Tokens may be earned by participating in the project’s social media bounty program
Notably, the Shardus project also has special bounty offers for top influencers, video production teams, and for referring talented developers to contribute to the Shardus initiative.
Shardus Project Research Began In 2011
Research for the Shardus project began in the last quarter of 2011. At that time, developers tested and simulated various consensus algorithms. In Q2 2016, the project’s software architects began working on the design of the Shardus Ledger and the platform’s consensus algorithm.
By Q2 2017, the specifications for the Shardus consensus protocol were finalized. During Q3 2017, specifications for the Shardus distributed ledger were completed. Towards the end of 2017, the Shardus team started small-scale testing of the platform’s consensus algorithm.
Shardus Project Developers Did Not Conduct An ICO
In early 2018, “legal opinion” on the Shardus project incentivization and funding model was obtained. During the first quarter of 2018, the Shardus whitepaper and website were developed.
In Q2 2018, the Shardus project was introduced as “Unblocked Ledger Coin” (now called Shardus). Several new application developers also joined the Shardus project in Q2 2018. Unlike many other projects launched during 2017 and 2018, the Shardus project developers did not raise funds through an initial coin offering (ICO).
Project Rebrands During Q3 2018
As noted by its developers, the DLT-focused project was rebranded from Unblocked Ledger Coin to Shardus in Q3 2018. Shardus team members’ plan to launch Liberdus coin and a payment network was also announced in Q3 2018.
During this time period, the Shardus consensus algorithm began working for a single shard, and large-scale testing of the consensus protocol was conducted on “a global network.”
Explainer Videos, Blogs for Shardus Project Published In Q2 2018
The Shardus web wallet and mobile application were also developed in Q2 2018. Explainer videos and educational blog posts were created for the project as well during this time period.
Special software programs were also launched in Q2 2018 to manage the Shadrus project social media bounty program. In October 2018, the project’s team delivered a presentation that went over the unique features of the Shardus project.
Liberdus Payment Network Application Under Development
During Q1 2019, the Shardus Enterprise Server was launched, a process which involved “node rotation, load detection, rating limiting and auto-scaling”
At the time of writing, the project team members are working on the Shardus Global Server – as they intend to add support for “data sync and data repair in sharded network.” Additionally, the Liberdus payment network’s website is currently under development.
As mentioned on the project’s website, the Liberdus payment network application will be created by forking (upgrading and/or modifying) the Shardus codebase and the software’s application layer.
Liberdus Mainnet Scheduled for Launch In 2020
The Liberdus test network (testnet) and main network (mainnet) are scheduled for launch in 2020.
As noted on Shardus’ FAQ page, Liberdus holders may take part in “the future direction” of the network by casting their votes on matters related to economic activity. These may include proposed changes to transaction fees, determining validator rewards, and allocating funds for the project’s maintenance.
As stated on the project’s FAQ page, the Shardus project aims to build technology solutions that will benefit society. One of the main objectives of the project is to further the development of DLT-based systems.
According to its creators, the Shardus software may be used as “a starting point” for various other public or permissioned (private) decentralized applications (dApps). Shardus-based dApps may be developed by adding a “custom transaction layer” to software platforms.
Shardus-based dApps Will Be Decentralized, Scalable, Sustainable
Decentralized applications created on top of Shardus will inherit several features such as a high level of scalability, efficiency, decentralization, and sustainability. As noted on its website, Shardus-based applications can scale to achieve greater throughput as network activity increases. A platform can be scaled by “adding more nodes to the network”, according to the Shardus team.
Shardus’ Code Can Be Reviewed After Signing NDA
Shardus’ source code has not been shared publicly. However, the project’s code may be viewed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license – after development work on Shardus has been completed.
Ten years after the launch of the completed Shardus project, its source code may be viewed under a Creative Commons BY license (without restrictions). Developers who are interested in viewing Shardus’ source code at this time may do so after signing a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that expires once the codebase has been officially released.
Somewhat Similar to EOS, But Different Overall
According to its developers, the Shardus project is somewhat similar to EOS, one of the largest platforms for building and deploying dApps. While both EOS and Shardus are platforms for building distributed applications with their own native tokens, the Shardus team intends to create a truly decentralized platform with many nodes being able to join its network, in addition to having low resource requirements for full-nodes.
Reasons Why Shardus Doesn’t Use Blockchain Technology
Shardus’ development team claims that grouping transactions into blocks (which blockchain networks do) has several “inherent” disadvantages. By processing transactions individually, instead of in batches, a network can achieve significantly higher throughput rates and low latency, according to Shardus’ developers.
Existing blockchains have limited throughput, because there’s usually a fixed block size and average block times may slow down the network considerably. For example, the Bitcoin network has 10 minute block times, which is too slow for enterprise-level applications.
Adding More Computing Nodes Does Not Increase Throughput on Blockchains
Adding more computing resources to a network does not significantly increase a blockchain’s throughput. Instead, a blockchain may be negatively affected when more nodes join the network – as it increases the network bandwidth “consumed by each transaction.”
According to the Shardus team, blockchains may also suffer from “node bias”, meaning that a single node that generates blocks may decide not to include certain transactions, or it may create new blocks that only contain its own transactions.
Moreover, transactions in blocks are not always processed in the order they were broadcasted on the network. This could result in a situation where older transactions could be pending for a long time while newer transactions are being processed.