THELast year, Bitcoin turned 10. A decade after its release, OG's cryptocurrency is well known, of course, but it hardly enjoys the ubiquity its cheerleaders initially hoped for. And as is inevitable in our incessant technological landscape, the danger of decentralization eventually turns out to be a passing fad – or, to use the classic mom-ismo, "A beautiful thought" – looms.
Fortunately, some scholars of MIT, Stanford and five other universities are on the case, and on Thursday they announced a collaboration to build, in essence, a better Bitcoin. Dubbed Unit-e, the cryptocurrency is intended to be the first product of the newly founded non-profit research foundation Distributed Technology Research (DTR). Headquartered in Switzerland, DTR's main objective is to support the "distributed trust revolution", working towards a future in which human beings are individually connected and the centralized authority figures belong to the past. Their mode of transport? Decentralized E-cash.
DTR aims to increase the processing speed of cryptocurrency transactions, which they consider the main barrier to widespread adoption. Currently, Bitcoin is able to process between 3.3 and 7 transactions per second. Especially during last year's Bitcoin bubble, when anyone with access to the Internet was dipping a toe in crypto, the processing speed was noticeably irritatingly low. The system is not in scale. Visa, which DTR hopes to overcome, has an average of 1,700 per second. The ideal speed of Unit-e? 10,000 transactions per second. Hatchi-matchi, it's fast.
The DTR plan to solve Crypto
The current problems of scalability of cryptography are intrinsic to its design, the team claims. The speed with which you can create "blocks" – transaction records – is limited, as well as their maximum size. The DTR academics, many of whom have published extensive research on cryptocurrency, claim to have completely deconstructed the existing blockchain technology to better understand its limits. Unit-e, set up for activation during the second half of 2019, will present new payment channel networks and new "sharding" methods, a process used to make databases more efficient by having nodes only a part of the blockchain .
But crypto critics argue that by simply bullying transaction speed, many of Bitcoin's biggest problems pass, one point Bloomberg& # 39; S Joe Weisenthal made on Twitter.
What could Weisenthal refer to? Well, there are indeed other potential failures in the heart of a "distributed trust revolution". How realistically does a decentralized body make decisions? Historically … not well. And then there is the environmental impact of the electricity required for the crypto mining; this year, Bitcoin's CO2 emissions are on track to meet the entire country of Singapore.
But more pressing for the creators of Unit-e, more immediate than an imminent environmental disaster or hypothetical decentralization, is the need to make people be willing to use crytpo in the first place.