Ivy League academics are creating a 'globally scalable' cryptocurrency, launching this year

Blockchain investment-fund Pantera Capital is backing seven US professors quietly collaborating on a new digital currency that can process 'thousands of transactions a second', Bloomberg reported Wednesday.

The academics, drawn from the likes of MIT and Stanford, have announced the Unit-e coin, which hopes to rival bitcoin by addressing its transaction-speed and scalability issues. They form part of Distributed Technology Research (DTR), a non-profit foundation, which is working on decentralized technologies and alternative payment networks. The team, based in Berlin, say they have scrutinised the inbuilt payment-processing issues behind bitcoin, which can only handle 7 transactions per second (TPS). Meanwhile, Visa which can process an average of 1,700. DTR told reporters the new blockchain technology behind the Unit-e coin will be faster than both, aiming to process up to 10,000 TPS.

“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,” one researcher on the project, Pramod Viswanath, told Bloomberg.

Transaction speeds are a key research focus elsewhere too, preoccupying initiatives like the Lightning Network and Raiden.

DTR hopes to launch Unit-e in the second half of 2019. The foundation hopes the coin will make crypto 'mainstream.'