by Jamie Holmes
A new hybrid blockchain Qtum, combining the UTXO set of Bitcoin and the smart contracts of Ethereum, will launch a crowdsale on March 16 lasting until April 15, with 51 percent of the token's total supply up for sale. Qtum have also announced their collaboration with PwC, a big player in the consultancy and finance space.
The Best of Both Worlds?
"One of the primary goals of Qtum is to build the first UTXO-based smart-contract system with a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus model. The latter means the creator of the next block is chosen based on the held wealth in cryptocurrency. Thus, blocks are usually forged, or minted instead of being mined, there are block rewards in addition to transaction fees and forgers receive a percentage of ”interest” for the amount of funds they stake."
Smart contracts that run on Ethereum's blockchain use the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) for their execution, assuming that all value transfers use an account-based method. Qtum is based on the blockchain design of Bitcoin and uses the UTXO-based model and consequently has an account abstraction layer that translates the UTXO-based model to an account-based interface for the EVM.
To achieve this, Qtum has extended the Bitcoin 'Script' language, adding three ‘opcodes’ so that it functions as a vehicle to transport code to the EVM, while also retaining compatibility with pre-existing Ethereum smart contracts.
The result, contracts are given more functionality thanks to the relative complexity of the UTXO model compared to an Ethereum-account like model. For example, enahnced traceability and privacy of smart contracts.
While Ethereum requires you to download the entire blockchain, presenting challenges for mobile applications, Qtum's blockchain supports the SPV (Simple Payment Verification) protocol from launch. SPV allows lite wallets, running on mobile devices, to engage natively with decentralized applications and smart contracts for the first time. More details can be found in the white paper, 'Smart-Contract Value-Transfer Protocols on a Distributed Mobile Application Platform,' with contributions from Alex Norta, Associate Professor at Tallinn University, Estonia and smart contract expert.
The whitepaper addresses many concerns presented by industry users because of what happened with the case of the Ethereum DAO attack. Smart Contract Lifecycle Management aims to resolve this issue and other potential issues by allowing contract collaboration, negotiation, review, and tracking. Blockchain technology's inherent distributed nature allows for contracts to run without being interrupted; however, change is the nature of life and contracts need updating to reflect new landscapes.
Qtum Gains Backing from PwC
PwC has helped the Qtum Foundation setting up their governance model, project management, and risk management. In the future, Qtum plans on expanding their cooperation with PwC to help expand the adoption of their blockchain technology. To bring the wide applications that can be built using Qtum to the forefront, ranging from industries such as the supply chain, media, and IoT, PwC's stature will no doubt help them to achieve adoption.
CY Cheung, a fintech and cybersecurity partner at PwC China stated that Qtum's efforts resonate with the goals of PwC:
"PwC sees enormous potential for blockchain to revolutionize business practices as we know them, and the firm has made great efforts in developing strategic and technical capabilities to adapt existing products and services for the new technology."
QTUM Crowdsale Begins March 16
To fuel computation operations and serve as the staking currency of Qtum, cryptographic software tokens used to engage with distributed applications (“dApps”) and smart contracts on the Qtum platform will be used to raise funds for the platform and support further development.
The tokens are known as QTUMs, with 51 percent (51 million) to be distributed through the crowdsale, beginning March 16 at 12PM GMT. Interested investors can participate with bitcoin or ether at various exchanges and platforms such as Yunbi, ICOAGE, and BTC9.
One hundred million QTUMs will be created as Qtum’s total token supply, on top of which approximately one percent annual Proof of Stake (PoS) inflation will be added. Nine percent of the token supply will be used to sponsor academic research, educational materials for developers, and contributions to open-source communities, in particular:
⦁ Establishing research labs in cooperation with high-profile universities.
⦁ Creating tutorials and educational materials for Qtum developers.
The remaining 40 percent of QTUMs will be distributed toward business development (20 percent) and to the founders, early investors, and development team (20 percent), with early investors including notable players in the crypto-space such as Anthony Di Iorio, OKCoin CEO Star Xu, and Roger Ver. The Qtum crowdsale includes four price tiers, lasting one week each, as well as an early bird bonus phase, with a rate of 3,800 QTUM per bitcoin for the first three days of the ICO.
In an attempt to combine the best of both worlds, capitalizing on the advantages of Bitcoin and Ethereum respectively, along with the backing of major consultancy firm PwC, Qtum is one project that you may want to keep a close eye on.