Quant Networks “Overledger”: Solving Blockchains Isolation & Interoperability problem
Most of what you read below was readily available on https://quant.network in the business & whitepapers, therefore some information and diagrams were directly extracted, some may have been copy and pasted, but quotations have been used where appropriate.
All references are available at the end of the write up.
If there are technical errors please contact me directly firstname.lastname@example.org
The following is not financial advice, and we do not accept responsibility for price changes of the QNT token.
The Author and the Servamps Organisation hold a position in the QNT utility token, but were not paid to produce this write up.
Quant Network have a variety of technologies but today we will focus on Overledger, the world’s first blockchain operating system (OS) that connects past, present and future blockchains together, as well as existing financial services through “adaptors”.
It can be seen as an interfacing solution that connects applications (multi-chain applications) all the way down through multiple ledgers (as seen appropriate by developers) to the internet.
mApps can be created on Cloud, OS or WebApps. It really depends where the developers want them to be hosted.
The Initial Business Goals of Quant Network:
1. Develop an interface to connect the world’s networks to blockchain.
2. Bridge existing networks, like financial services to new blockchains (and future blockchains)
3. Develop a new blockchain operating system with a protocol and a platform to allow developers to create next-gen multi-chain apps. (mApps)
Overledger: a patented Blockchain Operating System that allows creation of multi-chain applications.
Overledger is a blockchain Operating System (OS) that allows and empowers applications to function across multiple blockchains. These will be known as mApps. This allows seamless transition of data across applications, blockchains and traditional networks.
It’s important to note, before we begin, that Overledger does not superimpose a new blockchain to connect other blockchains or legacy systems, like AION for example. A patent has been filed for the Overledger Technology, which sits atop of ledgers. It is not a blockchain, it is an overledger!
Why mApps over dApps?
dApps are single-ledger dependent. Even though the ledger they are built on may be transparent and superior for settlements over centralized solutions, it creates restraint on the developers and even companies who built it, they are “locked in” once they choose a blockchain solution.
mApps are not limited to a single vendor or technology, and they allow for exchange of data across multiple blockchains; which is extremely important. It allows you to track things like change of ownership of assets, and obligations and rights that arise from smart contracts cross chain. It draws in the current blockchains & protocols: fragmented, futuristic systems, and helps us use them in harmony.
One of the difficulties of creating mApps is that of course different chains have different sets of rules and reach consensus for block creation different ways.
Overledger aim to overcome this by decoupling the transaction and messaging layers, using a cross-DLT ordering solution which we will explore more in the architecture section.
The benefits of Overledger:
- Flexibility — The option and ability to move to different ledgers if the underlying DLT becomes obsolete or transaction fees are too high, ensuring availability and saving you money
- Backwards Compatibility — The ability to connect your legacy data sources or external APIs to DLT technologies, taking advantage of key aspects of the technology
- Simplicity — Easy to use development interfaces to produce both cross ledger and standard applications, reducing time to market and democratizing development.
mApping out the future of Overledger
As part of an adoption plan and to demonstrate the use cases of mApps and Overledger technology, the Quant Network team have begun aggressively building mApps of their own.
Last week they built a marketplace similar to Amazon, that runs across Ethereum, Bitcoin and Ripple simultaneously.
“It’s a powerful example of what is possible with Overledger, making use of the different blockchains, the technology and features of the different chains and simultaneously connecting them to combine siloed data, value and technical features.
We’ve taken payment from any of the 3 chains, connected ownership data, uploaded as an image, stored on Bitcoin, with Registration data on Ripple and Insurance data which is on Ethereum.”
So far Overledger have connected Hyperledger, Ripple, Ethereum, Bitcoin, IOTA and JPMorgan Quorum to Overledger. They have also connected https://zapier.com/ which is huge — and allows information to flow from a mApp, to a blockchain, to another app, and back again freely.
This is monumental for the blockchain and DLT space, and a huge step toward adoption of applications supported by these technologies.
We’re looking forward to seeing more mApps come out of the Quant team, as well as the public.
The above example shows how the architecture fits above existing chains.
I will mostly focus on the messaging layer here. This is the layer in which relevant information is retrieved from the ledgers. Information can be transactional data, smart contract, or even metadata (if the ledgers are capable of adding arbitrary strings, like in the case of Ethereum, so in this case the message would contain the appropriate Ethereum metadata).
Essentially, this layer contains little pockets of information from the appropriate ledger below it, that is required to be sent to the filtering and ordering and then application layer.
This layer in other blockchain solutions is typically coupled with the transaction layer, but it contains business and control logic. Overledger are decoupling the control and business logic from the transaction layer.
There are a few reasons for this, such as blockchain protocols requiring a fork to accept changes, and also that early blockchain projects were created to simply support cryptocurrencies and simple value transfers. Smart contracts are currently limited because they can’t work between chains, and dApps are not as powerful as today’s normal application demands.
Interoperability: A Comparison
The purpose of Overledger is to “Build a messaging layer for multi-ledger applications” — which sets it aside from other interoperability plays like Polkadot Network, Cosmos and AION. These projects are advanced in the sense that they allow multiple chains to communicate simultaneously, but they all require a “connector” — a separate network of ledgers that information of an asset or transaction enters before going to its destination, for example in the case of AION, the AION1 connector chain.
Overledger does not require a connector at all as it moves information in the layers above the ledger, as well as allowing data to flow in and out of multiple chains at once. By being general purpose and allowing people to create applications above multiple ledgers at the same time, without requiring a connector, users are able to run applications, smart contracts, treaties or move data across different blockchain (and non blockchain!) technologies. This is without a doubt the most interoperable blockchain technology, and has clearly identified a highly intelligent solution to the greatest problem in the space: interoperability and the blockchain isolation problem.
Quant App Store: An Open Source App Store model set to release in Q1 2019, running from the $QNT token.
Quant Network intend to launch an open source application store in Q1 2019, to encourage innovation and bring developers to the platform. Following traditional app store models, they will allow developers the following revenue models:
- Freemium Model: users don’t pay to download or use the MApp. But they can pay to get access to additional sets of features.
- Paid Model: users pay once to download the MApp and use all of its functionality. No additional charges will apply.
- Subscription Model: users pay for a (daily/monthly/annual) subscription to use the MApp.
- In-App Model: users are able to download the MApp for free (or at a cost) but are charged when they use in-app functionality.
Developers can set their own prices, and can even add additional payment systems in like PayPal — but this doesn’t make the token less useful, as it can also tied to identity and even network access.
Scaling as a Business
Overledger is not Quant Networks only technology, and they’ve made it clear in their business paper that they intend to produce other SaaS (software as a service) and Middleware solutions.
SaaS Products live and in production:
AI driven, fraud detection and pattern recognition (TrustTag). We’ve been working on developing a fingerprint verification technology. We’ve conceptualised, developed and patented a fingerprinting and verification technology, TrustTagTM, allowing developers to assign digital fingerprints to real world IPs, documents, physical goods, etc. in a way that is secure and cannot be reputed. This technology fully meets our stringent requirements to create fingerprints to be used on underlying DLTs, as set out in our white paper. This technology will revolutionise the use of blockchain across sectors. It can assign a true identity to a physical item such as contracts, pharmaceutical products, designer goods or data assets that will lead to the wholesale adoption of DLT technologies, setting it on a path to realise its full potential. To that end, and to show our commitment to the community, we’ll be releasing this technology first, along with the underlying framework, free to the community.
They also hinted at other SaaS products in the pipeline, such as “Quant Risk Score” and Transaction Monitoring. These allure to financial service and even government products that monitor internal & external transactions across multiple chains and networks.
Fiat Currency Gateways, and Identity Broker (to authorise users to access certain blockchains) tools are also in development, but more exciting:
“Treaty Contracts: Smart Contracts executed across multiple blockchains, that empower blockchains with an algorithmic constitution which supports legal frameworks in contractual agreements.”
This is of course set to be breakthrough in itself, as smart contracts continue to change the way agreements are created and executed globally.
Quant Network have expressed focus on the following markets:
- Financial Services — We’re exploring areas in capital markets, retail, stock exchanges, asset management and regulatory technology (RegTech) to help simplify complex processes and realise benefits.
- Healthcare — Exploring opportunities in healthcare interoperability, clinical trials and counterfeit drugs.
- Supply chain — Looking at providing interoperability between different suppliers across a complex supply chain, provenance and tracking.
- Government — Exploring the opportunities for Governments to realise benefits, identify savings and efficiencies, reduce errors and provide transparency.
I believe it is worth noting that the above does not mean they intend to disrupt all these markets, but to allow through the use of Overledger, people to create more responsive, interoperable solutions that help move these industries forward. Similarly to how many blockchain projects have already set out to do, but a more fluid and robust solution that is not “locked in” to a certain blockchain. It’s also worth noting, they intend to build some of these solutions in house.
Given Gilbert’s experience in Government, we expect him to be focused on this area first, as it’s somewhat a strong point.
While this is not from the official Quant Network Twitter, it was raised in the Official AMA. The Quant Overledger Unofficial Community Twitter did a great job of covering the recent news from the QNT team.
With Overledger live and kicking, there is room to build all kinds of mApps that previously would’ve felt clunky or struggled to communicate cross-protocol or cross-chain. This technology paves the way for decentralized messaging apps, marketplaces and more.
I expect a lot of developers to move their focus to Overledger once the word gets out.
Gilbert Verdian, CEO & Founder of Quant Network.
There are few leaders, if any, in the technology world that have quite the resumé.
Gilbert has over 20 years of industry experience and has worked across Government in Downing St, HM Treasury, Cabinet Office, Ministry of Justice and NSW Health and private sector at CSC, EY, HSBC and BP.
He’s the founder of the Blockchain ISO Standard TC307 and is the Chair of the UK’s national committee on Blockchain and Distributed Ledger technologies (DLT/1), and although he worked for the Federal Reserve System (which isn’t very cypherpunk at all) he is clearly extremely well versed in the subject of improving payment systems using technology.
More recently, Gilbert joined the EU Blockchain Observatory Forum as a member. The idea of the forum is to identify and research existing blockchain initiatives within the EU and beyond, monitor and discuss developments and challenges, and look at the legal and regulatory conditions in order to offer more legal certainty, and define policy, legal and regulatory conditions that are absolutely essential for larger-scale blockchain applications to be successful.
This means Gilbert sits on the front line as well as in the control room for blockchain (and DLT) adoption globally.
The Total Supply of QNT is currently 14,612,493. Approximately 10 million of those are in circulation and in public supply, and approximately 4.5 million are held by the company. Over 9.5 million QNT were recently burned, reducing the supply drastically.
The token price at TGE was $1.60 — meaning it currently sits below ICO price.
Token utility is clearly for the marketplace, which is not yet live, but if the correct steps are taken these mApps will be much faster than their competitor dApps — and therefore hopefully will scale much faster, and the token will become quite useful.
One of the token drawbacks is that, by implementing payment solutions like PayPal into the Quant Network App store, the token may lose some of its pressure on the transaction layer of the system. Developers may opt to be paid in other methods, rather than QNT tokens.
Areas for Improvement
We’d like to see a little more github activity, and perhaps some more community driven marketing efforts from the team. The more people developing on Overledger, the better, and it will certainly take some intelligent developers to get this off the ground in a big way.
I do not see the lack of exchange listings as a drawback, ultimately it shows Quant Network are focused on utility value and technology rather than price. I’d like to see some more exchange listings, but I would rather see some of these mApps first.
I personally would like to see Quant Network run an STO (Security Token Offering) at a later point, where we can bet bigger on the business, team and technology as a whole, rather than just the app store, which feels a little lacklustre in the grand scheme of Quant Networks capabilities.
A Revenue Share token for the Quant Network business as a whole would be fantastic, particularly with the release of further SaaS and Middleware technology products, as I expect the business to help implement and design Blockchain solutions for both Government and Enterprise.
It is apparent that Overledger is breakthrough technology, and that this project marks a new level of blockchain interoperability not before seen, what we have yet to see much of is the toolkit Overledger have presented to developers and how quickly they can acquire a global developer network, populate the mApp store and beyond.
The QNT token supply is limited, which is good for token holders. It will have a good use case for developers and users alike following the launch of the marketplace, and it’s sitting below its TGE price on only two or three exchanges. It is also still relatively under the radar of many influencers in the space, something Servamps have set out to try and change.
While we wait patiently for the release of the app store in Q1 2019, I will sit with fingers crossed that it was designed with user experience and efficiency in mind, and that the first mApps I use do really feel more responsive and fluid than the first dApps I have used. My main concern is that Overledger will not reach a critical mass of adoption and people will not realise its true potential, so we aim to bring as much awareness to the marketplace and the Overledger technology as possible.
About the Author
Charles Read is a Blockchain project researcher, advisor and the founder of Servamps, a project accelerator & consultancy focused on user acquisiton. We help to build narratives around smart, future-thinking businesses to bring attention in from a global audience.
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