QuarkChain holds a bi-weekly AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Telegram/Wechat groups on Saturday at 7–8 PM PST. This is the summary for AMA from last week. We welcome any questions, comments, and suggestions.
Part 1: Questions about the Blockchain economy
Q1: Any updates from the team? Did the team join any events?
A1: Although the market is relatively cooled down, we are still developing our technologies. On the marketing side, we just attended Devcon in Osaka by giving technical lectures and organizing a local meetup. Please read our biweekly report to check on our latest progress. Projects that did not do real things have begun to slowly fade out of everyone’s sight; only the real ones with solid application will break out during the next bull market. We will focus on adding features to help the optimization process of the business-side and let the consumers experience better services. For example, all types of smart contract tokens, like ERC20 tokens, are very unfriendly to use. People must hold ETH and ERC20 token to trade. I am a user of an app, but every time I use it, I need to hold ETH. The native tokens we are testing allow small and medium-sized enterprises to issue native tokens for the settlement of transactions. For their consumer users, users can use their own coins to trade. Using blockchain must be as simple as possible; the lower the threshold is, the large-scale popularity will become. Heterogeneous shards, which we have been talking about since the mainnet upgrade at the end of October, are modular customization. Virtual machines, token economics, ledger models and consensus mechanism can also be defined on each shard. Only a simpler customization process for business users will increase the likelihood of the development of large-scale applications.
Q2: Are there any mature applications at this stage?
A2: Applications can actually separate into two stages. One is existing applications and the other one is a large-scale application that uses blockchain technology. The second stage has not arrived yet. There are some reasons related to the lack of user-friendly functionality and regulatory policies. But recent news suggests that we are seeing some progress on this front. If large-scale applications are still 1–3 years away, it doesn’t mean we are doing nothing in the meanwhile and are just waiting. Getting the current applications to optimize their development and help reduce the number of steps for customers to use is already some small steps to get closer to the second stage. This is the first type of application I am referring to. We have been in communication with some small and medium-sized enterprises about our technologies such as native tokens and heterogeneous shards. Hopefully, more progress will be made before the end of the year.
Q3: The blockchain industry is going through the phase of exploration. Does the team have any plans to expand the community and increase activity? Or even increasing exposure?
A3: The term “the phase of exploration” is quite an appropriate term to describe what is going on with the blockchain industry. The phase of exploration does not mean that everyone knows which direction to go; at the same time, it does not mean that there are no hints of direction. As I just said, allowing the business side to customize configurations freely, helping them optimize user usage and reduce the difficulty of development are all routes that are infinitely closer to the goal.
When most public chain projects have nothing to do after launching mainnet, we can continue to move towards these directions: native tokens and customizable shards. In terms of community, I think community can be understood as three blocks: 1) secondary community 2) developer community 3) mining community. At present, the secondary market is relatively depressed due to the industry cycle, thus not the focus at this stage. We are focusing on the developer community and mining community.
Q4: Will QKC list on more new exchanges?
A4: QKC is already listed on some major exchanges except Huobi. We know that in the past listing on exchanges will bring good results in the secondary market. However, it is not going to work at all nowadays. At present, projects need to rely on real applications to have a substantial leap. The era of storytelling is over. We will continue to list on exchanges but it is not the immediate focus.
Q5: For QuarkChain, what is the future plan for mass adoption? Are we there yet? Or close to it?
A5: It is obvious that story-telling period for the industry has passed. Next step will be accomplished only after real adoption happens.
That is currently the main focus for QuarkChain and in the future. No one knows exactly which industry will be the first to realize blockchain adoption, but there are indications. Business users need a platform that can customize their needs and become more user-friendly.
For us, what we can offer business users are 1) native token 2) self-definition of consensus, virtual machine, ledger, and token economics. All of these will help them to make applications and public chains less complex for their users to use. We are working with some of them currently. I would say these applications are not exactly mass adoption yet. But we need to take small steps before mass adoption happens.
In fact, the timeline for mass adoption is determined by two things: maturity of blockchain technology, which we are working on, and a friendly policy for blockchain technology.
The mass adoption problem is not determined by technology only. As I mentioned before, it is determined by both technology and policy. We know what mass adoption is like and we are working in the right direction for the technical aspect. But policy is an industry-wide problem and it takes time. So currently there is no mass adoption meanwhile we are beginning with small adoption.
So to conclude, from my definition, there is no mass adoption for the whole blockchain industry.
Part 2: Technical Questions
Q1: What is the new progress for the mining event?
A1: we want the Qkchash to be more CPU-friendly since there are several potential improvements of the original Qkchash algorithm.
We recently upgraded our shard 6–7 algorithms to QkchashX. We have a dedicated documentation description for this update: https://github.com/QuarkChain/QCEPs/blob/master/QCEPEP/QCep-2.md. We hope that after the upgrade, the shard 6–7 mining will be more CPU-friendly. The upgrade is working very well now. In addition, we have opened the root chain mining. There are a lot of benefits for the root chain and is as twice as much as the sum of all shards. Because of safety concerns, the root chain mining score is a little more cumbersome, which requires setting the signature of the mining agent. In addition, the holder should choose a trusted mining partner to avoid network attacks, resulting in system punishment. Moreover, our multi-native token project will be launched soon where ordinary users can also apply for native tokens and use them to pay transaction fees.
Q2: Vitalik Buterin is working on ETH2.0. After you talked with him closely, when do you think he will achieve ETH2.0? Also, the QKC’S design philosophy is similar to that of ETH. How will you persuade people to use QKC?
A2: ETH2.0 definitely has a lot of advancements. However, from the roadmap, it will need 2–3 years before ETH2.0 can be fully functional. Their team is ironing out a lot fo finer details and it is difficult to tell a precise time for the launch. On the other hand, QuarkChain mainnet has been stably running for about half a year — no major issue is found yet. We even carried out two upgrades which I think is a great achievement! Moreover, we are capable of a lot of things unimaginable for ETH2.0 to carry out, for example, supporting multi-native tokens and letting users pay using their own native tokens. At the same time, while ETH2.0 heavily relies on PoS consensus, we could support different consensus mechanisms, ledger model and token economics. Customization for each shard is very important because with that we can fork BTC and LTC so that existing BTC and LTC holders can also directly carry out smart contracts. Additionally, BTC, LTC, and ETH holders can directly utilize the privacy function provided by the mainnet. Also, all minders, whether it is using ASIC, GPU, or CPU can all contribute hash powers to the same network. All in all, with QuarkChain, we hope to build a strong blockchain ecosystem and benefit everyone in the blockchain community.
Q3: Can you share some impressive things from Devcon such as technology development, important functions that QKC may adopt to enhance its technical capability?
A3: We are happy to participate in Devcon and learn the latest update on ETH2.0, especially the technologies behind sharding.
I think there are a couple of interesting things. First, ETH2.0 plans to start with 64 shards to 1024 shards. When asked a question about how to increase the shards, the ETH2.0 team responded that a social consensus is required. In fact, we support adding shards dynamically. Another thing is about cross-shard transactions, where the original design of ETH2.0 relies on finality, which can be slow. Vitalik is proposing an idea to speed this up, which is very similar to our Boson consensus.
There are numerous developments other than these. Overall, we are happy to see that great minds think alike and we would also like to share our progress with the community as well. Come see my recent posts in the ETH research forum.
Q4: AVA lab also attended Devcon. It is very interesting that AVA Lab released Athereum (a fork of ETH) on AVA. Since it’s similar to Ethereum, people can use ETH directly instead of using Athereum. Is Athereum meaningless?
A4: I think such a fork will be very hard to succeed since Athereum and Ethereum are very close — developers and users can hardly determine to switch to Athereum. Some aspects for example decentralization and security are not well-proven. For us, if we fork ETH1.0 as one of our shard chains, it could quickly enjoy our existing and future features such as privacy, Quantum-resistant, and of course great scalability.
So all users of ETH can enjoy a more diversified ecosystem and we could help apply the same for ETC, LTC, BTC and so on.
Q5: QKC seems to have achieved ETH 2.0’s goal, what is QKC’s next goal?
A5: We have a larger vision than ETH2.0. Besides scalability, one major goal of us is to try to unify all blockchains — instead of dividing up the communities and provide to them their own unique features, we could put them together thanks to our support multi-consensus, ledger system and token economics.
We hope that the BTC and LTC holders can easily call smart contracts without swapping to other tokens like ETH.
We hope that a user can easily create a native-token and use it as gas for dapps.
We hope ETH holders can enjoy the latest privacy technology such as ZK or MimbleWimble.
We hope the ASIC miners, GPU miners, and CPU miners can work together and contribute their hashpower to the same network in a fair way
A lot of things we want to achieve, and we hope that we could make the blockchain industry much better and everyone could benefit from the ecosystem!
Q6: Why is the Ethereum ecosystem leading the industry? How is QKC’s ecosystem so far? What can be learned from Ethereum?
I think the smart contract offered by Ethereum creates a simple way to build semi-customized tokens. Before that, people have to create a new chain, which adds a lot of difficulties.
With smart contracts, it will be much simpler, and it becomes a building block for others such as DeFi (MakerDAO).
Unfortunately, contract-based tokens still have a lot of limitations. For example, we cannot use contract-based tokens to pay gas easily.
That is why still a few Dapp developers out there that want to create their own chain despite a much higher cost.
Supporting multi-native tokens will be our first step to provide a better ecosystem — anyone could now create native tokens to pay the gas fee for their applications!
Besides that, we will provide more tools for Dapp developers to help with their development.
A lot of interesting things are going on:)