The Qtum open-source community released its whitepaper: Value Transfer Network and DAPPs Platform in August 2016. The whitepaper reveals a third blockchain ecosystem aside from the Bitcoin and the Ethereum ones. Qtum is committed to build a open-source community ecosystem with influence on a global scale through innovation in community, third party developers and technology. The ultimate goal is to integrate blockchain into financial sectors, social network, gaming industry, internet of things etc.
Shuai Chu is one of the early adopters among the Chinese community. He graduated from Chinese Academy of Sciences with doctoral degree in computer. He started research blockchain in 2011 and quit Alibaba to start his own business. With various involvement in blockchain projects, he accumulated rich experience in blockchain development and put them into a technology document How to build your own blockchain from 0 to 1.
The motive behind initiating the Qtum project is that: Chinese has no authority on blockchain development. Not a single Chinese could be found in the bitcoin core developers. AFIK, There are only two Chinese developers among the 40 core developers in the Ethereum dev team.
One reason is that the Chinese are interested in mining and exchange business. They didn’t see much importance in coding.
We found very few involvement from Chinese after a number of protocols and new apps were released. We want to build a platform and an ecosystem in China that has a strong development and community support.
A more pressing issue for the Qtum project is that the blockchain development in China is still in its infancy and cannot keep up with the fast pace of business demand. Shuai Chu said:
For example, several hundred apps have been developed over the ethereum network for the past two years. Despite its success, the problems encountered by the ethereum network are common seen by the whole community, like the online transaction speed, the scaling issue. Also the smart contract thing is at inception stage, which not strong enough to support the growing demand of the whole industry.
Qtum Blockchain Structure
Qtum proposes improvement to the issues in the bottom layer of blockchain. After multiple communications with financial institution and enterprises, Qtum team discovered that the the banking and financial institutions were seeking blockchain solutions but it’s not realistic for them deploy ASIC miners on a large scale to maintain the network security. Therefore mining mechanism was discarded in Qtum design. Network is secured by IPOS（Incentive Proof of Stake）so that small stake-holders are also properly incentivized.
The performance of the consensus system is good.
Shuai Cu said.
Sometimes blockchain network is DDOS attacked and on-chain transaction is nearly frozen. In order to solve the problem, Qtum separate the common tx from smart contract tx. In the Qtum network, Transaction Ledger allows traceable transaction based on UTXO feature, and Contract Ledger will host contract-type tx. The most straightforward benefits of dual layers is when contract transaction are DDOSed, normal transaction could proceed without problem. Shuai Cu said:
Sending and receiving are the most fundamental feature of a blockchain network, which should be prioritized to process. Smart contract transaction could wait and a upper layer feature. First we need to ensure the reliability and security of bottom layer.
Qtum explores various application scenarios in integrating with current business and society, including logic to comply with regulation through Oracle and Data Feed. Shuai Cu told 8btc that “Bitcoin blockchain is somehow a closed system. It is actually self-sufficient, with all participants forming a closed circle that is detached from the outside world. While Oracle and Data Feed offer a channel to introduce offchain features to be seen onchain without compromising the network security.
Another world’s first from Qtum is the concept of Master Contract. You may find Smart Contract and Master Contract in the Qtum system. For instance:
A contract signed by two banks could be terminated with the consensus of the two banks alone. A master contract gives total control to the contract-singers over the execution or termination of the contracts. That’s a mimic of real-life scenario. The Master Contract is a great step forward, bringing new potential to the blockchain application and extending the concept of smart contract.
As we all know that the public blockchain in existence are not acknowledged by banking or financial institutions due to the lack of ID idenfication or permissioned access. The issue has been taken into consideration by Qtum at the very beginning. Qtum set ID identification as an non-required option, allowing user to proceed with identification via the third party or use the network anonymously. They are distinguished by different types of accounts and address. Users with ID can get more priority service when accessing financial service.
More features are often linked to a more complicated system Does it lead to more attack vectors to the Qtum system? Shuai Cu:
We believe that attack vectors could be contained via separation of on-chain behaviour and off-chain behaviour. It’s true that system has become more complicated. But it’s worthy of exploration and research for its practical business value. We hope to do our part in expanding the blockchain boudaries. ” Why Qtum is willing to build open-source community and ecosystem from ground zero despite its’ obvious difficulty?
Shuai Cu told 8btc:
There are few dev teams that are truly into the blockchain technology. Many teams abroad are developing applications but genuine breakthrough in technology and innovation are difficult, so is improvements over existing system. With reference to the software development in China for the past two or three decades, we cannot exert influence on many open-source projects due to the lack of thorough research. We need to grasp the bottom layer technology to guide the future business development. We see the potentials of blockchain implementation and early research and systematic development will prove worthy of investment in the future.
With the completition of alpha test of testnet, Qtum’s code base will be opensource in the following months. Qtum development team currently has 10 developers, mostly of whom are found within the community . The team wish more developers and partners to join the Qtum open source community. It’s impossible to predict if large-scale business implementation in the future will be based on Qtum network. But it’s obvious that the Qtum’s practical innovations facilitates more enterprise to access the blockchain technology.