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In a Facebook announcement last week the IOTA team said that it was “working hard on #Q”, that it was “not something simple” but that it “has enormous potential”.

“Q” is one of the big mysteries in cryptocurrency. IOTA founder David Sønstebø has long teased the IOTA community with its existence and apparently profound importance. But no one quite knows what it is.

A few new details have come out this week, courtesy of new IOTA Foundation team member Eric Hop. Hop has been fielding questions about Q and it’s obvious that he’s impressed.

Two days ago he confirmed that “Q” stood for “Qubic”, something which has long been suspected. Although in some ways this substitutes one mystery for another, there are a few pointers as to what Qubic might be. Currently the most widely-suspected candidate is a “Quorum-Based Coin”, outlined in this post from 2012: a currency characterised by zero transaction fees and private transactions.

Apparently Hop wants to put out “a synopsis of what Qubic really is”, believing that “hype without a realistic time line is not a Good Thing”. He appeared to be trying to dampen enthusiasm for Q by noting that “IF [IOTA Foundation] devs got side tracked a lot and that “we’re going to need more man power”. He added that he hoped “to be able to get permission to let things slip a bit more here and there”.

In a Facebook conversation Hop was asked if the Q project could live up to the considerable hype. Rejecting the opportunity to calm the community he said, “the hype doesn’t do the reality of the project justice”, adding that “Qubic is going to be a game changer”. When asked if a person without a computer science background would be able to grasp its importance he replied, “probably not”, but that neither would they have “grasped the implications of the early internet”. However, anyone with a technical background “should be able to see the implications easily”.

The IOTA community appeared to be energised by his comments, though perhaps mindful of Verge’s “biggest announcement in cryptocurrency”, many advised caution.

Comment from discussion Eric Hop on Q hype.

Hop joined IOTA this week as Senior Product Owner. In a welcoming blogpost founder David Sønstebø revealed that Hop “will be working primarily on Q”. Hop was also described as “a rare gem of ceaseless enthusiasm for computer science”. So far, at least, he’s certainly making friends in the IOTA community.

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