Qtum (pronounced ‘“quantum”) is a proof-of-stake (PoS) smart contract open-source blockchain platform and value transfer protocol. It aims to bring together the strengths of Bitcoin and Ethereum in one chain. Qtum is built on Bitcoin's UTXO transaction model, with the added functionality of smart contract execution and DApps. Recently, the platform added support for DeFi applications. As of March 2021, there are more than 20 tokens created on the Qtum blockchain.
The project was announced in March 2016 and held an ICO a year after, in March 2017, which brought its founders $15 million USD. The Qtum main chain was released on Sept.13, 2017. Initially, the Qtum coin was issued as a ETH-20 token, but with the launch of the mainnet, it was converted to native blockchain.
Who Are the Founders of Qtum?
Patrick Dai is the project’s founder and the chairman of the Qtum Foundation. He studied computer science in Draper University and then dropped out of PhD from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He started his career as a product manager at Alibaba and then worked on a series of blockchain projects, including Factom, Vechain, Bitse Group and Meilink before starting Qtum in 2016. It should be noted that he was previously once known under the name of Steven Dai, when he was the CTO of the infamous BitBay project, which has allegedly been subject of an exit scam scandal.
The other two co-founders are the CTO and blockchain architect Neil Mahi and lead developer Jordan Earls.
Stephen (Xiaolong) XU is a lead developer of Qtum since 2017, he previously worked at Tencent and Microsoft as a software developer and has a degree in Computer Vision from University of Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Many of the team members listed on the Qtum official website seem to not have an active Linkedin page or a Github profile. It is confirmed though that Qtum has several high-profile backers, including the Bitcoin.com’s Roger Ver and Jeremy Gardner, an early crypto investor turned skincare professional, co-founder of Augur and EIR in Blockchain Capital.
What Makes Qtum Unique?
Qtum is a general purpose blockchain that tries to address four issues its founders found most problematic in BTC and ETH blockchain platforms: interoperability, governance, rigidity and costliness of proof-of-work mechanism and difficulty of connecting smart contracts with real life applications. The Qtum blockchain has two unique technologies that aim to solve that: Account Abstraction Layer (AAL) and Decentralized Governance Protocol (DGP).
The Account Abstraction Layer integrates the UTXO (Unspent Transaction Output) account layer inherited from Bitcoin with the smart contract layer, inspired by Ethereum. It allows users to build applications and host them on virtual machines, including the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), and the x86 virtual machine. It also supports i686 instruction set and several programming languages like C, C++, Rust and Python, which makes it very easy to adopt existing apps and compile for Qtum. Not only does it allow turing-complete smart contracts, Qtum also plans to integrate common programming libraries in the form of smart contracts.
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