Called Unit-e, the new virtual currency is the first project initiative of the just-launched Distributed Technologies Research (DTR), a non-profit foundation formed by the academics with backing from hedge fund Pantera Capital to develop decentralized technologies. DTR is funding a distributed collaboration of researchers from top universities across the US, working on the unsolved technical challenges of blockchain scalability.
"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," says Babak Dastmaltschi, Chairman of the DTR Foundation Council. "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," says Dastmaltschi. "DTR was formed with the goal of enabling and supporting this revolution, and it is in this vein that we unveil Unit-e."
While Bitcoin - the first payment network to allow parties to transact directly without needing to trust each another or to rely on a central authority - has succeeded in building a following among developers and speculators, mainstream adoption has remained elusive. In-built restrictions of the cryptocurrency, says DTR, have constrained its performance and scalability and, as a result, reduced its usefulness as an everyday unit of payment.
Money is the world's most universal system of institutional trust, and payments is the first "killer application" for blockchains, says the organization. Therefore, DTR has focused first on a globally scalable decentralized payments network, or Unit-e.
"A lack of scalability is holding back cryptocurrency adoption, and DTR's groundbreaking research is addressing this," says Joey Krug, who is joining the DTR Foundation Council, and is Co-Chief Investment Officer at Pantera Capital. "The Unit-e developers are turning this research into real scalable performance which will benefit a huge swath of decentralized financial applications."
The Unit-e team represents eight nationalities with an