A Better Bitcoin: Stanford, MIT, U.C Berkeley Partner On Ambitious Venture

We are all aware that Bitcoin has its fair share of fundamental challenges, and a group of scientists are out to solve them. At the top of the challenge list is Bitcoin’s inability to scale. This denies the currency traction to chip away at the mainstream financial market which is dominated by the faster networks such as Visa. However, if the group has a breakthrough, Visa’s vast upper hand may not last long.

Known as the Distributed Technologies Research, the group’s first product is Unit-e. The group, based in Switzerland, touts Unit-e as a vast improvement on Bitcoin. For starters, the currency will process 10,000 transactions per second. This will be a way ahead of Bitcoin which process seven transactions per second. And this is just the beginning, the group revealed, with its sights set on creating the next-generation decentralized ecosystem.

A Better Bitcoin

There are currently over 2,000 cryptocurrencies. Most of these were developed to improve on Bitcoin’s shortcomings. What they all have in common is that they aim to displace Bitcoin as the king of cryptos. And soon, a new crypto will join the long list.

To make Unit-e scalable, DTR scientists broke down the blockchain technology to its most basic form. They then sought to improve every element, Pramod Viswanath revealed to Bloomberg. Viswanath is an electrical and computer engineering professor at the University of Illinois and a key member of the DTR team.

Unit-e’s blockchain will rely on a new and improved consensus method, Viswanath revealed. The current proof-of-work used by Bitcoin is tedious and consumes a lot of energy. This has led many other projects to turn to the improved proof-of-stake consensus algorithm. This too has its own challenges including reduced security.

According to Viswanath, Bitcoin pioneered a great revolution, but it’s time for better cryptos. He stated:

Bitcoin has shown us that distributed trust is possible but its 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.

Just Another Pipe Dream?

Unit-e is not the first project that seeks to improve on Bitcoin. And while some of Bitcoin’s competitors have had better features, the currency still reigns supreme. Bitcoin has first-mover advantage and therefore, it’s the currency that most people identify with.

Andrew Miller, the head of the Unit-e independent technical steering committee understands this. Miller, who is a professor of computer engineering at the University of Illinois, believes that in the long term, Unit-e’s technology will win. However, in the short term will face an uphill battle to gain traction.

However, Unit-e has a lot working for it. For one, the project has brought together some of the brightest minds in the world. Based in the crypto valley of Zug in Switzerland, DTR has leading crypto and computer programming academicians from top universities. They include Stanford University, MIT, U.C Berkeley, University of Washington and the University of Washington.

The DTR project is also funded and supported by Pantera Capital, one of the industry’s biggest VC firms. Pantera’s backing could help the currency get to some major exchanges and get the support of some key industry entities.

This phenomenon was evident when fintech firm Circle launched its stablecoin, the USD Coin. USDC, as its popularly known, has steadily grown in traction, and Circle’s vast financial war-chest and industry connections have had a lot to do with it. Circle owns Poloniex exchange which has helped push USDC. Circle has also been instrumental in some partnerships such as with Coinbase which aims to push for the adoption of USDC.


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