Project to Watch: Quarkchain

QuarkChain is a peer-to-peer (P2P) blockchain network capable of processing up to 1 million transactions per second. It uses a unique design to achieve high throughput, including a system for efficient data distribution.

The authors of the project claim that such a design will make it possible to reach a compromise between the three “whales” of the blockchain technology – decentralization, security, and scalability.

QuarkChain Development Team

Information about the project first appeared on the network in February 2018. Its development is engaged in the company QuarkChain Foundation. In the introductory video, the creators of the idea describe their idea as a “scalable, decentralized, secure, publicly available, infinitely variable chain.” The goal of its implementation is the promotion of block technology by creating a network with increased transaction processing speed.

Several people are worth being mentioned:

  • Qi Zhou – Founder, graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology, has a Ph.D. in technical sciences, a software engineer and an expert in high-performance systems, a former Google employee with 15 years of experience.
  • Zhao Guang Wang – Software engineer, graduated from the University of Michigan, has a Master of Computer Science degree, an expert on large-scale distributed systems with six years of experience in Facebook and Google.
  • Xiaoli Ma – Research associate, works at Gatech & IEEE, a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology).
  • Yaodong Yang – Research associate, a professor at Xi’an University, Jiao Tung, a professor at the University of Technology in Virginia, co-founder of Demo ++, developer and researcher of blockchain technology.
  • Wencen Wu – Research associate, Ph.D., Technical Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology.

Overview of Project Goals

Scalability and security do not always go hand in hand when it comes to blockchain technology. The creators of QuarkChain decided to find a way out of this situation that would balance both these needs by separating the two main functions of the chain into separate layers.

The first layer contains all the small blockchains or shards that process the subset of transactions independently of each other. As the number of shards increases, the network bandwidth grows with them.

The second layer of QuarkChain is the root chain. Its primary function is confirmation of all blocks created by shards, but it does not participate in the approval of transactions. The average block creation time is 10 seconds.

To make it easier to work with the cross-shard system, project developers have created a smart wallet. All addresses belonging to the user in any of the shards are accessible through a single private key.

Theoretically, a user can have many addresses associated with scattered shards. To solve this problem, QuarkChain uses both the primary and secondary account in the wallet. The first one contains the user’s default address, while the second manages the rest of the addresses in other shards.

To simplify the process of managing funds, any transaction performed on a secondary account will return the remaining balance to the main account. User balance after that will remain in the main account, which eliminates confusion due to the use of multiple balances on several shards. Another unique feature of QuarkChain is a guarantee of security, which is ensured by the distribution of network hash power. Half of it falls on the root blockchain to prevent double-spending attacks. Besides, several lower-priority, low-resource nodes may form a cluster to create a supernode.

What Problems Can QuarkChain Solve?

What can QuarkChain offer? What problems are not able to solve the current variants of blockchains? The authors of the project claim that their idea will allow overcoming such issues of the blockchain ecosystem as:

Security issues. Despite numerous confirmations of the blockchain’s security advantages over centralized systems, it has many serious problems. In the White Paper, QuarkChain notes that the greatest threat to small block chains is an attack of 51%.

Decentralization. Initially, it was argued that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies based on blockchain technology were completely decentralized, with each node having only one vote. There could be no external control of the nodes. In reality, after the development of the blockchain hype, the formation of mining pools and other collective communities began, which represent a threat to the decentralized essence of the blockchain.

Scalability. The blockchains that are the foundation of coins like Bitcoin are struggling to scale. As transaction throughput increases, the size of the block grows, leading to even greater demands on data storage, throughput, and processing power.

Lightning Network. The QuarkChain whitepaper mentions the Lightning Network explicitly as a problem for many of the current block chains. The authors of the project repeat the most common criticism of the Lightning Network is thta centralized payment processing in a decentralized network threatens the future of Bitcoin as a symbol of a decentralized means of payment.

Main Technical Features

The QuarkChain project provides for the implementation of several key technical features, some of which are unique.

Double Layer Chains

The QuarkChain network consists of two layers of blocks. Elastic shards are used as the first layer. The second layer is the root blockchain, which confirms the blocks created by shards.

Cross Transactions

Cross-transactions are carried out online all the time. The throughput of transactions involving cross-shards increases linearly as the number of shards increases.

Even Distribution

The developed theoretical scheme of the network provides incentives for even distribution of the load among shards. The root chain accounts for at least 50% of the total hash capacity to prevent double consumption.

Ease of Use

For all user shards, there is one shared account. All transactions from different shards are stored in one smart wallet.

Horizontal Scalability

Since a “super-full” node can become extremely expensive with a significant increase in the number of transactions per second, the network allows for the creation of multiple “honest” nodes. They form a cluster functioning as a “super-full” node.

QuarkChain Benefits and Developments

The launch of the first version of the test network began at the end of April 2018 with a throughput of 2,000 transactions per second. According to the roadmap, the developers intend to reach 10,000 transactions per second as the next step and continue scaling the network. Her code previously appeared in the public domain on Github. Such stunning progress can lead to a viable and even daunting solution compared to the original blockchain version of Ethereum.

If QuarkChain reaches the planned throughput, it will be one of the few pioneers, offering viable solutions to this pressing problem.

QuarkChain is also compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). DApps applications that benefit from increased network bandwidth can switch to QuarkChain at any time.

Weaknesses and Risks

The competition in the field of creating high-performance blockchain-based solutions is quite high. Zilliqa is the first cryptocurrency that comes to mind when a similar scaling system is mentioned. There is also Fusion, and, of course, Ethereum.

The developers indicated in the whitepaper several target industries that may benefit from the use of their product. One of these markets is the development of decentralized mobile applications. To speed up progress in this direction, they intend to release a set of developer tools for Android devices.

QKC Token

The token of the QuarkChain system is called QKC and complies with the ERC-20 standard of the Ethereum blockchain. After the launch of the main network, scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2018, all tokens purchased by investors during the ICO will be converted into coins of the main network. Subsequently, the remaining QKC tokens will be introduced into circulation by mining.

QKC will be the only means of ensuring value within the system and will be paid to miners as a reward for participating in maintaining the network and verifying transactions.

QuarkChain will support smart contracts through the Ethereum Virtual Machine to ensure compatibility with existing DApps applications. This will help increase network scalability.

Part of the tokens will be aimed at rewarding developers who will create DApps applications on QuarkChain.

Price and Liquidity

  • Ticker: QKC
  • Liquidity: Binance
  • Price: $0.0472644134 (+0.51%); 0.0004520899 ETH; 0.00001228 BTC
  • Market Cap: $37,889,513
  • Returns Since ICO: 2.41x USD; 14.34x ETH; 4.86x BTC

If one holds USD, it would be a good idea to increase position size for the medium term. However, keep in mind that price is higher than the ICO, so there is a potential for a decline. This means you should follow your risk management rules. I will increase a position here and aim for the price of 12-13 cents USD for the exit.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Author:
Vladislav Semjonov has a legal and financial background. He has been involved in crypto space since early 2017 in both ICO advising positions in several ICO consultancy firms, and as an ICO analyst for VC. He began contributing for Hacked.com in April 2017.