Blockchain technology has been rightly described as the “new internet”. Like the internet in the 1990s and early 2000s, blockchain is still finding and establishing itself as an industry disruptor. Chances are that the blockchains of today will be much different than blockchains ten years from now, similar to how the internet advanced from 1990 to 2000, and then from 2000 to 2010. Though blockchains are still in their infant stages, the future has never been brighter.
Today, there are several new and exciting developments emerging as the technology continues to grow. Whereas 2017 put blockchains on the map, 2018 will likely see further expansion and technological advancement. One particularly exciting development is the possibility of inter-blockchain communication and interaction. Blockchain platforms are in existence–or are currently in production mode–that let smart contracts operate on hybrid blockchains, creating the possibility of inter-blockchain operability. In the long run, this could prove vital to the survival of blockchain technology, especially as it relates to business adoption and implementation.
The existence of multiple blockchain platforms, and especially interchain operability, is very important when evaluated against the broader backdrop. With tech giants like IBM and Microsoft venturing into the industry, independent platforms will help maintain decentralization and prevent these major tech firms from monopolization, much like they have done with big data or internet based applications.
The Qtum Platform as a Hybrid Blockchain
One company, Qtum, is working on an open source blockchain project that hopes to solve some of the major issues associated with current blockchain solutions. Qtum is one of several “hybrid blockchain applications”, but is unique because it combines a Bitcoin Core fork, the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM; soon to be an X86 VM), and the proof-of-stake consensus protocol. The main effect of this combination is that smart contracts and decentralized applications (dApps) can run on a familiar foundation while still allowing developers to operate and create in a robust, secure environment. It essentially takes the best of both networks, synthesizes and fuses them, and cuts out the excess fat.
The platform’s development marks the very first time that users can run smart contracts on the Bitcoin UXTO model and on all UTXO based blockchains like Litecoin or Zcash. This is made possible through an account abstraction layer which acts as a bridge, or mediator, between the UXTO model of Bitcoin Core and the EVM. This abstraction layer is key in hiding the implementation details of a particular functionality while simultaneously facilitating interoperability and platform independence.
By merging aspects of the modified Bitcoin Core infrastructure with Ethereum’s Virtual Machine, the platform joins the reliability and security of Bitcoin’s blockchain with the flexibility and practicality of smart contracts, which to this point have been largely confined to the Ethereum blockchain. The hybrid blockchain Qtum opens up the possibilities of cross-chain transactions, where Ethereum-like smart contracts operate on a Bitcoin-like blockchain.
In addition, developers can port projects from both the Ethereum and Bitcoin blockchains with ease, helping maintain network compatibility with ongoing processes derived from the Ethereum and Bitcoin networks. This means that a dApp’s key operations and features don’t need to be redesigned when migrating to Qtum.
What Does Qtum Mean for Blockchain Based Businesses?
The overarching objective of Qtum’s hybrid blockchain is to provide a stable foundation for blockchain based companies. Much like the Ethereum network, it aims to be a platform from which others can launch their unique blockchain projects and applications. Developers will have a tremendous amount of flexibility as they work on their projects because the platform is business-adaptable and ideally suited for a whole gamot of industries.
A major thrust of the platform is to provide native support for dApps and mobile applications. In a world that is increasingly dependent on smartphones, this will provide businesses with the tools they need to reach customers through a mobile platform. What’s more, businesses can manage their operations from mobile devices, giving executives and managers more flexibility with day-to-day functions.
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