The Singapore registered organization, The Quantum Foundation, recently surpassed $1 million in investments from top fintech industry players. Prominent supporters include Chinese angel investor Xiaolai Li, blockchain enthusiast and investor Bo Shen, Ethereum co-founder Anthony Di Iorio, and more. They are working on an endeavor called Qtum, which is an open source community project, a digital currency, and a platform for creating smart contracts.
Since the Quantum Foundation’s goal is to release a stable product with a low learning curve that’s marketed toward mass business adoption, they’re combining their favorite aspects of the two most popular blockchains: Bitcoin and Ethereum. Currently, most companies are not utilizing the many benefits of blockchain technology for real world use cases, but Qtum hopes that by combining the two most prominent blockchains, enterprises will be encouraged to integrate the tech into their daily operations.
For a reference of comparison, the project Rootstock is a sidechain meant to allow Ethereum smart contract functionality on Bitcoin’s blockchain. However, Qtum is different since it uses a proof-of-stake consensus protocol and also supports the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), which Rootstock does not. While Qtum is using Bitcoin’s Unspent Transaction Output (UTXO) model to handle transactions, they’re also using the EVM to write and deploy smart contracts. By forking the code of Bitcoin Core 0.13, and “adding new Bitcoin Script opcodes” and “special processing conditions,” existing Ethereum contracts are able to work on Qtum with minimal changes.
It would appear that Qtum is taking a ‘best of both worlds’ approach of attracting potential customers. They plan to design Oracles and DataFeeds to deliver relevant information to the blockchain, which is integral to the functionality of certain smart contracts. This will present relevant use cases for businesses, hopefully increasing adoption. If companies start using Qtum, it will add to the validation of the EVM’s smart contract utility. According to a draft of Qtum’s whitepaper:
While Qtum can be used just like Bitcoin (except for the Proof-of-Stake modifications) to send and receive digital currency, the real power of Qtum is the Smart Contract system. The Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) has been integrated into Qtum and a blockchain abstraction layer has been placed between the EVM and the UTXO based blockchain. This way existing Ethereum smart contracts run with little or no modifications to the contract source code.
If businesses see the power and increased efficiency of smart contracts, it will benefit Ethereum with greater adoption. As Ethereum continues to become stronger, more secure, and more user friendly, it could stand to be the preferred choice for smart contract writing and deployment.
Even though bitcoin’s transaction model was chosen by Qtum, that doesn’t mean it’s ideal. As Ethereum will eventually make the switch to a Proof-of-Stake consensus protocol, and continue to refine all aspects of its platform, there’s a good chance Ethereum will still become the standard for enterprise blockchain needs.