Professors from seven U.S. colleges, including MIT, Stanford University, and the University of California, Berkeley, have joined hands together to create a digital currency that will process thousands of transactions a second. With the help of funding from Pantera Capital Management LP, the academics from those colleges have formed Distributed Technology Research to develop decentralized technologies. The virtual currency, what is being termed Unit-e, is their first initiative. The academics are also hopeful that their designed virtual coin will be faster than Visa also.
The mainstream public is aware that these networks don’t scale. 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.
– Joey Krug, co-chief investment officer at Pantera Capital in San Francisco
Unite-e’s aim will be to process as many as 10,000 transactions per second, making it way faster than Bitcoin and Visa’s transaction process. According to Pramod Viswanath, one of the researchers on the project from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, DTR needs to deconstruct the blockchain technology that supports most cryptocurrencies in order to achieve the speed that they are aiming at. The researchers are looking at new mechanisms and new ways of sharding to increase the transaction speed.
Bitcoin has shown us that distributed trust is possible but it’s just not scaling at a dimension that could make it a truly global everyday money. It was a breakthrough that has the capacity to change human lives but that won’t happen unless the technology can be scaled up.
– Pramod Viswanath, one of the researchers on the project from the University
The cryptocurrency industry is undertaking a number of initiatives, such as the Lighting Network and Segregated Witness so that they can speed up the transaction process. David Chaum is also working on a similar project to make digital transactions faster. We will have to wait and see how Unit-e pans out in the long run.