Quarkchain is an upcoming ICO with its crowdsale scheduled for Q2 of 2018. The project has generated immense hype, and has captured the fancy of both private investors (read – whales) and the general crowd. Here we take a look at what Quarkchain promises to do, and help you decide whether you should invest in this project.
- 1 Quarkchain ICO: Important Links
- 2 The Problem of Scalability
- 3 What is Sharding?
- 4 Quarkchain’s Solution
- 5 Quarkchain System Features
- 6 Quarkchain Team
- 7 Quarkchain Token Metrics
Quarkchain ICO: Important Links
Quarkchain Whitepaper: Download
Quarkchain Github: Click here
The Problem of Scalability
One of the major issues afflicting blockchain technology is scalability. In traditional blockchains, the network gets clogged as more people try to use it at the same time. Ethereum is notorious for slowing down during crowdsales of ICOs. Even a pack of innocent kitties brought the Ethereum network to a stand-still a few months ago. And if you’ve ever had a Bitcoin transaction verified in less than 10 minutes, you can consider yourself to be extremely lucky. In fact, going by present capacity, Ethereum can process only about 30 TPS (or transactions per second), while Visa claims to process more than 50,000 TPS. This is a major hurdle in the widespread adoption of blockchain technology.
TPS Comparison - Blockchains vs Visa
To solve the issue of scalability, a number of new blockchains have sprung up over the last few months. These include projects like EOS and Cardano, and are referred to as Gen 3 blockchains. Even the Gen 1 and Gen 2 blockchains have been trying to solve this problem in their own way – Bitcoin through Lightning Network and SegWit, and Ethereum through sharding and off-chain transactions. Quarkchain is an up-coming Gen 3 blockchain, which aims to deliver more than a million TPS by using the method of sharding.
What is Sharding?
In sharding, a dataset is horizontally fragmented to create smaller datasets, called ‘shards’. This method has been widely used in centralized data systems. Ethereum is also trying to implement the technique of sharding to reduce transaction times and keep their network congestion free during peak traffic. However, as per Quarkchain’s whitepaper, a mature blockchain like Ethereum will require 3-5 years before properly implementing sharding. On the other hand, Quarkchain has been designed to make effective use of sharding, and is much more efficient in this regard.
Sharding in decentralized networks comes with its own share of problems. Verification of cross-shard transactions is one of the major challenges associated with sharding in blockchains. Moreover, it requires much less hash power (or processing power) to take over one shard compared to taking over the whole blockchain. Even one shard compromised can lead to a security failure in the blockchain.
Quarkchain is trying to achieve the perfect balance between the 3 pillars of blockchain technology – scalability, decentralization, and security.
In any blockchain, 2 basic functionalities are performed in all the blocks - Ledger, which notes down the details of transactions in the block, and Confirmation, which confirms the results of these transactions and mines the block. Traditional blockchains combine both these functionalities in the same block. In other words, a set of transactions are written down in a block first. Once a block is full, it is mined (or confirmed) to ensure that it cannot be tampered in the future. Confirmation involves solving a complex cryptic puzzle, and is a time-intensive task. The more transactions that happen, the more blocks have to be confirmed. This slows down the network.
Quarkchain splits these functionalities into 2 distinct layers. It has an elastic sharding blockchain layer, which contains a list of mini-blockchains or shards, and a root blockchain, called the rootchain. Each shard processes a sub-set of all transactions independently and creates a block, while the rootchain verifies all the blocks generated by the shard blockchains. These 2 processes (Ledger and Confirmation) can occur simultaneously, which reduces the average block confirmation time. Moreover, as the number of shards in the network increases, the speed of the blockchain increases, leading to a higher throughput.
In case of traditional blockchains, each miner has to mine the full block to earn the block reward. Since the mining difficulty of a complete block is extremely high, it’s extremely unlikely that a lone miner without substantial mining power would ever earn any block reward on his own. This compels miners to join mining pools, which tends to make the mining approach centralized.
Quarkchain has several shards (or mini-blockchains), each with their own mining difficulty and associated mining power required. A miner could choose a block depending on his mining or hash power. Of course, an easier block would offer less rewards, but the miner is more likely to earn the reward. This also reduces the tendency to form mining pools, thus preserving the decentralized nature of the blockchain.
The nodes in the Quarkchain ecosystem which validate blocks are called 'super-full nodes'. For a high-throughput system like Quarkchain, running a super-full node would require a massive hash power, which would again encourage the involvement of mining pools. To prevent this inclination, Quarkchain allows a cluster of multiple ‘honest’ nodes in the rootchain to form a super-full node. Each node in this cluster validates blocks from a subset of shards. It is ensured that there is sufficient overlap between the regions covered by the nodes, so that even if one node crashes, 2 other nodes can take up its duties. This ensures robustness of the sharding solution.
The rootchain has more than 50% of the hashing power of the entire network. A double-spend attack on the rootchain would require the attacker to have more than 25% of the network’s hash power. This is smaller than the 51% required for Bitcoin, but since Quarkchain is more decentralized, it would be difficult for any miner to collect more than 25% of the entire network’s hash power.
Moreover, this 50% allocation of the hash power to the rootchain can be changed if required. If it is made 100%, then Quarkchain turns into a traditional blockchain – slow but more secure. If it is reduced to 0%, then Quarkchain becomes a set of independent blockchains – faster, but much more insecure, since a miner can now take over an entire shard in the absence of the rootchain to verify the blocks. By adjusting this hash power, the processing speed of the network can be improved at the cost of security. This provides Quarkchain with a measure of flexibility that is absent in other blockchains.
Quarkchain System Features
Quarkchain will integrate the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). Most of the existing dApps built on the EVM can be directly deployed on Quarkchain’s platform. The dApps would also be able to use Quarkchain’s high calability features.
Transactions on Quarckchain’s network would require a nominal transaction fee, which would be paid using the native token QKC. QKC would also be used as reward for community members who make contribution to the system. The tokens would be ERC20 tokens during the ICO phase, and would be swapped when the main-net is launched in Q4, 2018.
A user can have transaction data over multiple shards in the Quarkchain ecosystem. Each user will have a primary account address in a default shard, and a secondary account managing multiple addresses in the other shards. The Smart Wallet will simplify account management when using multiple addresses, such that the user does not need to know about the underlying cross-shard transactions. The first version of the Smart Wallet is scheduled to be launched in Q4, 2018, alongwith their main-net.
Quarkchain has 9 core members in their team, as displayed on their website. Qi Zhou is the founder of project Quarkchain. A PhD scholar in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology, he has more than 15 years of development experience. Zhaoguang Wang, a software engineer with expertise in large scale distributed systems, has 6 years of work experience in Google and Facebook, alongwith a MS in Computer Science from University of Michigan.
Team Quarkchain also boasts of research scientists with a strong connection to academia. Xiaoli Ma is a Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology, with a PhD in Electrical Engineering from University of Minnesota. Yaodong Yang, PhD from Virginia Polytechnic, has authorized over 50 papers in peer reviewed journals. He is working on blockchain development and research in his role as Professor at Xi’an Jiaotong University. Wencen Wu, PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Georgia Tech, is currently Assistant Professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The team members handling the development part of the project have impeccable credentials, and a specially strong connection to Georgia Tech.
Quarkchain Token Metrics
The hardcap for the Quarkchain ICO is $20m, with $16m for private sale and $4m for crowdsale. Total supply of tokens is 1 billion. Private sale participants have been offered a bonus of 25%, but all tokens will be released in phases – 10% each month for first 4 months, and 20% each month after that. Crowdsale has no bonus, and no lock-up.
The whitelist is scheduled to begin next Monday (7th May, 2018). The individual hardcaps haven’t been decided yet. Quarkchain claimed in a Medium post that the hardcap would depend on ‘whitelist/KYC speed’ (whatever that meant!) and that they would be using a ‘bottom-up tier style’ to keep the process as fair as possible. Note that the timestamp at which you joined their Telegram group would also be taken into account during the KYC process.
Quarkchain Token Sale Details
So, have you already joined their Telegram group? Do you think that this will be one of the winners of 2018? Note that they have demonstrated more than 2000 TPS in their testnet trial run, with a limited number of shards. Moreover, Ziliqa, which is working along similar lines, has a market cap of around $850m. That is more than 40x of Quarkchain’s hardcap. Just some food for your thought.
Quarkchain Scam: Is Quarkchain ICO a scam?
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Should you invest in Quarkchain ICO?
We feel Quarkchain is going to be one of the best ICOs of 2018. They are trying to solve one of the persistent problems hindering the growth and adoption of blockchain technology, and have some of the brightest minds in the industry to achieve their vision.
We would like to rate them 9/10.
Join their telegram today - https://t.me/Quarkchainio
Disclaimer: Investments are subjected to market risk. We will not be responsible for any of your investment decision. Please DYOR before investing.