The year 2017 saw blockchain technology rise to new heights. The rapid price appreciation of many coins, coupled with widespread news coverage, put cryptocurrencies squarely in the public’s view. As the industry continues to develop, 2018 will be the year blockchain technology expands more than ever.
One coin garnering more and more attention is Qtum (pronounced Quantum), which, despite its public listing in May 2017, was one of last year’s best-performing coins. Qtum saw a price increase of over 900 percent, far outperforming many of its competitors.
The hype surrounding Qtum is not unwarranted. Despite being in its infant stage, the network runs over 2,400 nodes in several different countries. It is built as a new and better Ethereum that will allow businesses and institutions to utilize the many advantages of blockchain technology.
How Qtum Stands Out from Other Blockchains
The greatest advantage of the Qtum network is its flexibility. It is built on Bitcoin’s UTXO model, which allows the blockchain to guarantee transaction consistency as well as token traceability. The platform also expands on the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) so that all Ethereum smart contracts can operate on the Qtum blockchain with little to no changes.
By utilizing unique elements of the two major blockchains, the Qtum has created a more efficient and secure blockchain. It also means that Qtum allows for inter-blockchain compatibility, so users don’t have to redo or undo prior work. It perfectly synthesizes the Bitcoin and Ethereum networks and solves their inherent issues.
For businesses, the impact of these features cannot be overstated. It allows them to use blockchain applications and protocols with previously incompatible ones. Qtum-based applications can interact directly with Bitcoin-based and Ethereum-based systems without having to use anything other than the Qtum network. This will help streamline costs and increase operational efficiency, creating a better experience for businesses and clients alike.
The model is already being put to good use. Chronicled, Inc. and Qtum have recently announced a coordinated effort to join the Internet of Things (IoT) with the nascent blockchains developments. The goal is to develop real-world use cases, able to combine smart devices with a secure distributed ledger platform.
According to Qtum founder Patrick Dai,
“The partnership with Chronicled and UC Berkeley represents the frontier of innovation in IoT, smart contracts, and privacy for enterprise applications. We are delighted to be partnering with some of the strongest researchers and innovators in the world who are leading enterprise implementations.”
In addition, the Qtum protocol operates on the Proof-of-Stake protocol. This is crucial because it gives the network greater scalability than the Bitcoin and Ethereum networks. A growing problem for both blockchains is their ever-expanding blockchain bloat. As the blockchains grow larger, it makes it much harder for individuals and businesses to use them. In contrast, the Qtum network is designed to combat blockchain bloat, allowing businesses to use the network as their foundation without fear of slow and inconsistent operation.
A lesser-known feature of Qtum that deserves attention is its x86 virtual machine (VM). Not only does the x86 VM allow additional programming language support, but it also provides a standard library, something Ethereum’s VM lacks. The existence of a standard library allows for a smaller and more efficient blockchain. Additionally, it permits standard library functions to have special internal code. As a result, contracts can use previous, unoptimized codes and optimize them without needing to change consensus. In this sense, the blockchain is self-updating.
The x86 VM has an incredible amount of memory space available, opening up the possibility of blockchain analysis, something that can’t be done with the EVM. The full blockchain could potentially be exposed, allowing AI-powered smart contracts to monitor and audit the blockchain automatically. In this case, smart contracts will adjust their own behavior dependent on existing network conditions. There is hardly any downside in exposing the data because it is completely constant and only results in an incremental amount of memory usage. The net effect is an extremely efficient and storage-conscious blockchain.
The combination of an upgraded blockchain, the Proof-of-Stake protocol, and the x86 VM make Qtum a blockchain destined for greatness. The team has implemented several features that will make the blockchain slimmer, quicker, and more efficient, and the industry is already sitting up and taking notice.
For businesses that want to develop apps and programs on the blockchain, this is a dream come true. They don’t have to worry about network security or blockchain bloat, and also have compatibility with other networks. 2018 will be a hallmark year for blockchain technology, and it could also be the year developers abandon the Ethereum blockchain in favor of Qtum.
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