Professors from seven universities across the US including the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology along with Stanford University and the University of California are busy creating their own super-fast alternative to Bitcoin.

If successful, the new cryptocurrency named Unit-e will be able to process thousands of transactions a second, something that Bitcoin is unable to do.

The initiative is a project created through Distributed Technology Research (DTR) a non-profit foundation formed by the universities, backed by hedge fund Pantera Capital Management LP to develop decentralized technologies.

DTR claims that mainstream adoption of Bitcoin is still held back due to inbuilt instructions constraining its ability to be used for what it was designed for; an everyday means of payment. Bitcoin’s scalability is a challenge; the frequency within which new blocks, as records of transactions, are known, can be created and their maximum size is capped. Joey Krug, co-chief investment officer at Pantera Capital in San Francisco, illustrates what he sees as the need for a faster payment tool:

“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.”

DTR is aiming at 10,000 transactions a second with the new model, which is warp speed when compared with current averages of between 3.3 and 7 transactions per second for Bitcoin and 10 to 30 transactions for Ethereum. To achieve greater speeds, DTR has deconstructed the blockchain tech which supports cryptocurrencies in attempt to improve every element.

However, success is not assured as there is no guarantee that in the short term Unit-e will take off according to Andrew Miller, head of the Unit-e independent technical steering committee. The assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign maintains that it is the long-term advantage which may gain traction with such technological breakthroughs.

 

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