Editor’s Note: This interview was conducted in late 2013. The website it was posted on no longer exists.
Kc James: What propelled you to make Quark? How did it all start?
Max Guevara: I found crypto currencies fascinating when I discovered Bitcoin about two years ago, having a background in programming and a keen interest in finance and economics. From an economic viewpoint, the idea of a currency not controlled by a central authority, but rather by agreement between its users, is an interesting concept. Having followed the “alt-coin” forums on bitcointalk I was always interested in coins that implemented new ideas.
A coin called SifCoin, released on the Russian forums, caught my attention because it used six different algorithms for hashing instead of one. All coins up to that stage (that I am aware of) used only one hashing algorithm. The obvious advantage of having multiple hashing algorithms on top of each other makes is to make the hash as a whole more secure. If one of the hashes is ever broken, there are five more to break. I modified this approach to interweave an additional three rounds of hashing for a total of nine rounds of hashing. These three rounds use a random hashing algorithm, making it even more difficult to break.
Sifcoin used an approach where block reward increases over time, making for a very inflationary money supply. I instead attempted an approach where the coin supply would stay relatively stable over time. This is achieved in two ways, firstly by producing the coins in a relatively short period of six months, instead of years as is the case with Bitcoin, and secondly to have a constant yearly coin production of around a million coins per year.
The yearly million coin production has two purposes, the main purpose being to keep the network secure by permanently rewarding miners, and secondly to make up for coins lost through lost wallets, making for a relatively constant money supply. One economic definition of inflation is an increase in money supply. By that definition, other coins still have a high inflation rates, as many new coins are still mined, while Quark is almost at the stage where the one million coins will produce around 0.5% inflation for the first year. Ever since its release Quark had good community support from various fantastic members who ran forums, developed a GPU miner and provided other services.
KJ: Particle physics has been a fascination of mine for awhile now. So, naturally, the first thing that really caught my attention with ‘Quark’ was it’s unique name, and proton-like logo. What was your initial reason for using an elementary particle as the name and logo for a crypto-currency?
MG: Yes, the name was inspired by the sub-atomic particles and the logo was inspired by a representation of the quarks in a proton. There is the similarity in that there are six types of quarks and six hashing algorithms used by Quark.
KJ: Quark went from being just another crypto-currency in a long list of other alt-cryptos, to the #4 spot on CoinMarketCap.com, in a staggeringly short amount of time. How surprised were you by Quark’s sudden rise in popularity? (Editor’s Note: As I post this article Quark sits at #16 on CoinMarketCap).
MG: I was extremely surprised when it approached the top 10 coins on CoinMarketCap. Alt-coins and exchanges have received a lot of media coverage recently. This caused an influx of people registering at exchanges like Cryptsy and caused a general rise in the price of most alt-coins. I guess Quark’s secure hashing made it stand out from other coins.
KJ: One of the most persistent and cliched criticisms coming from Quark-naysayers in the crypto-community, is the accusation that ”Quark has been pre-mined.” Could you elaborate on why this statement is false, and if it’s not false, then could you explain how this is a non-issue?
MG: Generally the term “pre-mine” in the alt-coin community refers to mining a coin before releasing it to the public, or where a coin has a special block in the beginning (usually block 1) that gives a large reward to the developer. Neither of these apply to Quark. Quark was released on bitcointalk, the most active alt-coin community on the web, with only the genesis block mined. During this period on the alt-coin forum, many new coins were released, sometimes multiple coins a day.
The response to Quark’s release was also a big surprise. Within minutes the seed nodes were maxed out with hundreds of connections and additional nodes were provided by other members of the forum. The coin was listed on multiple exchanges relatively soon after its release, so I think this allowed for a relatively wide distribution of coins before the recent dramatic rise in price.
KJ: In layman’s terms, could you explain how Quark is better than Litecoin and/or Bitcoin? What makes Quark different and more worthwhile than those two leading crypto-currencies?
MG: I would not like to say one crypto currency is better than another, since these are relatively early days in the cryptocurrency world. Both Bitcoin and Litecoin have huge communties, which I personally believe is a big reason for their success. Quark offers an alternative, arguably more secure hashing algorithm than Bitcoin and Litecoin, quicker transaction processing and a mining model that aims to have a virtually constant coin supply.
KJ: Quark’s transfer time is said to be the fastest and most secure out of all the other crypto-currencies in existence. Could you explain, in layman’s terms if possible, how/why Quark is faster and more secure than other crypto-currencies like Litecoin and Bitcoin?
MG: The main security improvement in Quark over other crypto currencies is its hashing algorithm. It makes it less likely that transactions blocks could be compromised if one of the hashing algorithms is broken. Given recent revelations on how much influence government agencies had over the design of cryptographic standards, it might not be inconceivable, although highly unlikely, that some algorithms may have been compromised.
Quark’s hashing algorithm also makes it very difficult to build custom machines (ASIC) that could out-hash a large network of PCs. The hashing algorithm is not the only factor in the security of a coin. There are other factors like checkpoints, the size of the hashing network and the age of a transaction. Bitcoin is currently the leader in hashing power. With its high hashing difficulty, it does have security advantages over the other coins currently out there.
KJ: Where would you like to see the Quark community take the currency?
MG: To a strong, secure, widely accepted crypto currency with a wide range of products and services offered in Quark.
KJ: In your opinion, how important is the community that is currently being developed around Quark, to Quark’s overall success?
MG: The community is essential. A currency only works if it is widely used and accepted. Governments have the ability to enforce a currency on its citizens, but crypto currencies need the voluntary acceptance of its users.
KJ: What, in your mind, would make Quark a success? Would you like to see Quark overtake Bitcoin one day? Do you think a feat of that sort would be possible for Quark?
MG: Quark will be successful if a strong community develops around the coin, and this has already started to happen. Some very talented and enthusiastic individuals have started doing great work to improve Quark and its infrastructure. I think there is place for multiple crypto currencies to co-exists. Certain currencies offer advantages over other and may be more suited for certain purposes. Quark offers quick transactions, a relatively constant money supply and a secure hashing algorithm.
Bitcoin is still by far the leading crypto currency, in terms of community, recognition, and security. But the crypto-currency world is still in its infancy, and who knows what the future might hold.
Welcome to Quark Community
Quark is an open source software used mainly as a digital currency that employs multiple cryptographic algorithms, which unlike fiat/national currencies provides the platform for a decentralised monetary system.
Quark was launched in 2013 with the belief that the control of money should not be in the hands of the few, but in the hands of the many. This forum tries to build on that ideology by distributing Quarks in the hands of those that are active in the community. By posting quality articles and contributing to general discussions you will earn Quarks.
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Quark protocol has been changed to a POW/POS hybrid. The hard fork will take effect starting with block 4937000 ~ 25 November 2017. By that time make sure you run at least version 0.10.6.1
To download the wallet for the latest version go here:
Interview With Quark Developer Max Guevara