What is Qtum (QTUM)?

Qtum (QTUM) for beginners

What you need to know

Qtum is a platform built for business, mixing the strength of bitcoin’s blockchain with Ethereum’s virtual machine.

Focusing on building a platform that helps businesses create smart contracts on the blockchain, Qtum is a toolkit first and foremost. Designed to be both robust and modular, Qtum can create small contracts to be used on most major blockchains.

This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade. Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

What is Qtum?

Qtum (read Quantum) is a Chinese hybrid platform connecting existing blockchains with an Ethereum-like virtual machine. It’s a blockchain application platform, allowing developers to build applications and smart contracts on current blockchain technology.

IconSymbolInitial release dateAlgorithm typeMax. supply
QTUMMarch 2016SHA-256100 million QTUM

Qtum’s goal is to change the way application databases are stored. Instead of the centralised method of keeping a database on a single server, applications running on the Qtum platform will be stored in the database as transactions on the blockchain.

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How is Qtum different from bitcoin?

While bitcoin is content with remaining a standard cryptocurrency, giving users very little functionality beyond sending cryptocoins securely to each other, Qtum is building a platform capable of running decentralised applications and smart contracts.

  • Decentralised Applications (DApps)

When a business develops a new application, a website or software, the application’s database needs to be stored on a server. This is called a centralised system. It doesn’t matter whether that database is stored on one server or multiple servers, a hacking attack can change the data sets and there is no way to check what has been changed.

Qtum allows businesses to develop decentralised apps. Using bitcoin’s blockchain technology to store transactions on every user’s system, all transactions need to be verified, and once verified there is no way to change them without alerting every user on the blockchain.

  • Smart Contracts

Smart contracts are considered to be the contracts of the future. They are similar to the way a bank’s standing order (SO) would work. For example, just as a bank’s SO withdraws $300 on the first day of every month, a smart contract transfers digital assets such as cryptocoins from one user to one or more other users, based on a set of predefined requirements.

Smart contracts exist on the blockchain and are triggered automatically if the requirements coded into the contract are fulfilled. Qtum offers a scripting language that allows users to easily create such contracts.

Where can I use QTUM?

Qtum is still in its early days, as of September 2017, so you won’t find many merchants who accept QTUM tokens as payment. That’s not to say you can’t pay other users who also use Qtum with QTUM tokens, but until wider adoption you will have a hard time using your cryptocoins.

Historical Pricing of Qtum

Because, as of September 2017, Qtum is still an extremely young cryptocurrency we don’t have much data on its price history, but it does seem as though it’s gaining ground. From US$3.88/QTUM in mid-July 2017...

it rose to nearly US$20 per coin by the end of August 2017.

Whether this trend will continue or not remains to be seen.

Sending and receiving QTUM

Qtum uses the bitcoin simple-transaction model to transfer QTUM between users, but first you will need to install a Qtum-specific wallet.

  1. Install a Qtum wallet. Your wallet will need to be able to connect with the Qtum blockchain and, as of September 2017, that requires the official Qtum wallet. You can install it either on your computer or your smartphone.
  2. Get the recipient’s wallet address. The recipient of QTUM should be able to generate a wallet address, either as a series of numbers and letters or, if using a smartphone wallet, as a QR code that can be scanned.
  3. Enter the value of QTUM to send – and send it. After making sure you have the necessary funds in your wallet, simply enter how much QTUM you’d like to send to the recipient and press “Send”. The cryptocoins will arrive almost immediately, but might take a minute or two to be verified and made available for use.

What to watch out for

Qtum is still extremely young at the time of writing this guide (October 2017) and while many are singing the praises of the platform, most traders remain sceptical. Many have been keeping their eye on Qtum but remain out of the race to see whether the cryptocurrency’s success is a result of trust in the platform or simply a byproduct of bitcoin’s success.

What’s next for Qtum?

The development team at Qtum will likely continue pursuing supporters at this stage, while they build a platform ready for widespread use and adoption. At such an early phase, every move could be the downfall of the currency so great care is being taken to avoid that pitfall.

In the meantime, the success of Qtum also depends on traders who are willing to put money into the coin to purchase QTUM and help the currency gain the value it needs to build momentum.

Frequently asked questions

Image sources: Shutterstock, CoinMarketCap

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