Qtum is an open-source Proof-of-Stake (PoS) protocol that combines the functionalities of Bitcoin and Ethereum onto a singular platform; leveraging the security of Bitcoin’s Unspent Transaction Output (UTXO) model while providing the functionality of Ethereum’s Virtual Machine. The protocol was founded in 2016 and managed by the Qtum Chain Foundation, a non-profit foundation built to support the growth of the ecosystem and blockchain.
Qtum Chain was designed to meet operating system and development requirements for different users by offering the Qtum system in different form factors. Qtum provides different versions of the Qtum system, including mobile terminal services, and commercial path modules to encourage third-party developers to build on the network. The protocol aims to provide blockchain technology across a range of industries including finance, social networking, gaming, and the Internet of Things.
The protocol positions itself and takes pride in four key areas which are critical in the crypto industry; Fast, Green, Stable, Decentralized.
Into The Fastlane
The protocol’s energy-efficient PoS consensus mechanism has operated at an average 128 32-second block interval since 2017. The Fastlane hard fork implemented last September which slashed the average block spacing from 128 seconds to 32 seconds resulted in daily block production increasing from 675 to 2,700. This translates to a speed of 70 transactions per second.
Setting up shop on Qtum has been made seamless with Janus; a wrapper that allows developers to access an Ethereum-compatible environment on Qtum. This allows teams to port over solidity-based applications to the chain with ease. Janus saves time for development teams to deploy on Qtum by allowing EVM based smart contracts such as DeFi and NFT applications to onboard seamlessly.
When it comes to setting up the smart contracts on Qtum, open-source project QTUM Remix is a ready tool for developers. Forked from Ethereum Remix, Qtum Remix is an in-browser Integrated Development Environment (IDE) which allows developers to create smart contracts in Solidity, and be compatible with Qtum. Teams are able to write, debug, compile, and deploy smart contracts directly with the Qtum Remix UI on Qtum testnet or mainnet.
No Cold Stake Problem
Qtum’s PoS consensus mechanism allows nodes to lock up their QTUM tokens into the network either directly or delegate to a third party to stake new blocks successfully. Aside from traditional staking, Qtum adopts a flexible system where it allows nodes to participate in offline (or cold) staking.
The fundamental difference from the conventional online staking mechanism is that instead of linking a Qtum Core Wallet to stake directly, users are permitted to delegate staking to third parties offline without giving up custody and privileges over their token. The process essentially freezes the user’s tokens offline whilst still offering the opportunity to partake in staking.
Offline staking introduces enhanced security over online staking, reducing the avenue of cyber attacks on software (or hot) wallets which have been prevalent in the news lately. Furthermore, offline staking is significantly more environmentally-friendly stemming from the reduced energy levels required for storage.
Qtum has an extensive network reach with over 500 nodes located across 60 countries, distributed along 6 continents. The chain is fully decentralized and every node can participate in consensus via staking.
Echoing its stride towards decentralization is its introduction of a Decentralized Governance Protocol (DGP) system being executed on-chain. DGP’s core differentiator derives from its multi-party nature; DGP introduces different ways for QTUM tokenholders and other participants in the ecosystem, including developers, community member representatives, miners, and other multi-party participants to propose and vote on on-chain governance proposals.
Beyond facilitating the voting and negotiation of upgrades and iterations of the blockchain network, Qtum has enabled a unique flexibility for the community to make changes or modifications to network parameters in a decentralized fashion. The community can vote on changes to be made to a particular set of smart contracts that can adjust the cost of gas, block size, and other important features.
QTUM, as a fork of Bitcoin, is able to also incorporate all of the updates made to the Bitcoin codebase as well. In the latest QTUM hard fork in July 2022, the chain successfully incorporated the Taproot upgrade which was implemented on Bitcoin in November 2021.
With Taproot, the QTUM chain gains Schnorr Signatures, smart contracts via Taproot, as well as an updated script language known as Tapscript. This upgrade brings improved privacy, chain efficiency as well as more smart contract capabilities to the chain. The achievement is particularly notable for QTUM as it has to also be compatible within an EVM ecosystem.
Recently, the QTUM Foundation announced a new partnership with Opside Network – a three-layer architecture for high-throughput web3 applications. Opside offers zk-Roll up-as-a-Service (RaaS), allowing projects to easily deploy either general-purpose or app-specific zk-rollups to Layer 1 blockchains such as Ethereum, BNB Smart Chain, and now QTUM.
This partnership is expected to improve the performance, scalability and transaction costs on QTUM, as well as enable more cross-chain capabilities with other L1 chains. Through this more complex apps such as games and DeFi can now be deployed to QTUM.
Gaming / NFTs
QTUM believes that metaverse gaming is the new hit in the gaming industry and has built the infrastructure for it. Users are able to mint and manage non-fungible tokens (NFTs) directly from the Qtum Qnekt Web3 Wallet. Beyond QRC20 tokens, users are now able to mint QRC1155 NFT tokens; which follow the ERC1155 token protocol and are based on the OpenZeppelin ERC1155 smart contract.
Furthermore, the QTUM Foundation has collaborated with Meta Studios to launch its first metaverse on the QTUM network. Labeled Moonland Metaverse, the protocol would not only be building a gaming metaverse, it would also be launching the first NFT collection “Moonland Punks” and building QTUM’s first NFT marketplace.
How To Get Started with QTUM?
Qtum Core Wallet
The Qtum Core Wallet is the blockchain’s desktop wallet where users can run full nodes to validate all transactions and blocks. The wallet allows participation in Proof-of-Stake consensus and staking yield. It also provides an easy avenue to delegate their tokens for offline staking.
Qnekt Web3 Wallet
Qnekt Web3 Wallet is the blockchain’s browser-based wallet where users could enable browser extensions to interact with decentralized applications. As with other crypto wallets, users are able to store and manage private keys, broadcast transactions, send, receive, and securely connect to DApps or Web3-compatible websites.
Qtum has made starting easy for aspiring builders by providing a Developer’s Guide which guides dev teams on the technical infrastructure behind the network and the granular details of using the smart contracts.
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