Until now, everybody has been talking about Bitcoin, the most popular and widely used digital currency. However, Bitcoin is unable to process thousands of transactions a second. Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), UC-Berkeley, Stanford University, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Southern California, and the University of Washington have decided to fix such a weakness and develop a crypto asset better than Bitcoin.
The researchers are working together as Distributed Technology Research (DTR), a non-profit organization based in Switzerland and backed by hedge fund Pantera Capital. The first initiative of Distributed Technology Research is the Unit-e, a virtual coin that is expected to solve bitcoin’s scalability issues while holding true to a decentralized model and process transactions faster than even Visa or Mastercard.
Babak Dastmaltschi, Chairman of the DTR Foundation Council, said:
“The blockchain and digital currency markets are at an interesting crossroads, reminiscent of the inflection points reached when industries such as telecom and the internet were coming of age. These are transformative times. We are nearing the point where every person in the world is connected together. Advancements in distributed technologies will enable open networks, avoiding the need for centralized authorities. DTR was formed with the goal of enabling and supporting this revolution, and it is in this vein that we unveil Unit-e.”
According to the press release, Unit-e will be able to process 10,000 transactions per second. That’s worlds away from the current average of between 3.3 and 7 transactions per second for Bitcoin and 10 to 30 transactions for Ethereum.
Joey Krug, a member of the DTR Foundation Council and Co-Chief Investment Officer at Pantera Capital, believes that a lack of scalability is holding back cryptocurrency mass adoption. He said:
“We are on the cusp of something where if this doesn’t scale relatively soon, it may be relegated to ideas that were nice but didn’t work in practice: more like 3D printing than the internet.”
The project’s ideology is firmly rooted in transparency, with a belief in open-source, decentralized software developed in the public interest with inclusive decision-making. The core team of the project is based in Berlin.
To solve the scalability problem, DTR has decided to develop the Unit-e with parameters very close to Bitcoin’s design, but many things will be improved.
Gulia Fanti, DTR lead researcher and Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, commented:
“In the 10 years since Bitcoin first emerged, blockchains have developed from a novel idea to a field of academic research. Our approach is to first understand fundamental limits on blockchain performance, then to develop solutions that operate as close to these limits as possible, with results that are provable within a rigorous theoretical framework.”
The launch of the Unit-e is planned for the second half of 2019.
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