There is no dull day at the Universa offices. After some intense weeks following the conclusion of their USD$28.5 million initial coin offering, the team has just made a major announcement.
According to the team’s CEO, Alexander Borodich, Universa closed its first deal last week with the acquisition of 50%, for an undisclosed amount, of Russian media platform криптовалюта.рф, which is Cyrillic for “cryptocurrency”. The website is a popular news source on topics related to blockchain and cryptocurrencies in the Russian Federation. The acquisition will give Universa a platform of its own to publish articles, blogs and engage with a much larger community of interested readers. Arthur Lipatov, a member of the Universa team, will stand as Community Director and lead the project’s new tool.
This deal happens just days before the project finally concluded the development and auditing of the smart contract overseeing the distribution of their UTNP tokens. As you may remember from last update, Universa is developing its own blockchain, where its UTN token will run, but, for the time being, that infrastructure is not up and running yet.
In order to allow for token exchanges, the team created a mirror ERC20 token on the Ethereum blockchain, to act as a placeholder until the investors chose to convert them to UTN. They called these placeholders UTNP and 800 million of them just started being progressively sent to the ICO investors’ Ethereum wallets on the 25th of January. If you are a Universa investor, you should see your tokens wallet soon, given you passed the Know Your Customer procedures.
On the 8th of February, UTNP will be listed at the Cobinhood exchange.
In the meantime, it seems the Universa community is stretching longer and longer it’s arms. The team, which is based out of Moscow, is just opening a new office now in Belarus’ High Tech Park, known in the region as the country’s Special Economic Zone equivalent of California’s Silicon Valley.
In December, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko signed off a Decree “On Digital Economy Development” effectively becoming the first country in the world to legalize and regulate ICOs, cryptocurrencies, smart contracts and any other aspects of the blockchain spectrum. The Universa team had been advising the Belarusian government on the subject.
On the other side of the Atlantic, the project’s team has also been present at the North American Crypto Conference in Miami last week while starting to prepare for the opening of an USA-based office. To be sure, in early January, Universa had already signed a partnership with Beijing Kuyshu Quantum Technologies Co to create a Universa office in the Chinese capital city. The team already has a working group based in Shanghai and, under a partnership with the Shanghai Institute of Commercial Development, they have opened enrolment for the first class of their blockchain education program.
In Malaysia, Universa is also establishing a division following negotiations with the Deputy Minister of Communications and Innovation. Until April, a blockchain academy will be organized by Universa in the city of Malaka. The team had previously signed a cooperation agreement with a fintech company to help develop the Universa exchange. The team will be evaluating the launch of a pilot version of Universa in Malaysia, which would constitute the first in the region.
The project is quickly reaching all corners of the globe.
In continuing with the attempts to solidify and grow the Universa community, the team is now preparing a large hackathon that will cover as many as 10 cities in Russia, from Saint Petersburg and Moscow in the West to Vladivostok in the Far East, as well as the Belarusian capital city, Minsk, and Almaty in Kazakhstan. The UniversaHack2018 will run from March 12th to March 18th and should contribute to greatly strengthen the Universa community in its region of origin.
In the wait for the hackathon, however, the Universa team is continuing with its multilateral negotiations with government officials and partners. This week, Mr. Borodich is rubbing shoulders with economic and political leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, accompanying the entourage of the Minister of Communications for the Russian Federation. He is speaking of blockchain technology implementation within the “real” economy and has just announced that the project has struck a partnership with global consultancy firm EY for cooperation in the implementation of blockchain products for industries and services.
While the expansion of the community and the establishment of partnerships with political leaders and private players represents fundamental groundwork (Universa already counts with over 700 thousand users), what everybody is truly waiting for is the actual deployment of their network.
That might take a while. In contrast to most blockchain projects which simply run a tokenized ecosystem on top of a pre-existing blockchain, like Bitcoin or Ethereum, Universa is building its own blockchain architecture, with much larger financial and time costs. According to the team’s latest report, they have just finished the architecture design and prepared the interfaces that will allow for the platform to work with different currencies, including BTC and ETH, the Universa smart contracts and the Ethereum-compliant ERC20 smart contracts.
Universa’s system will support an original approach to smart contracts which the team has dubbed “thin contracts”. These contrast with the usual Ethereum Smart Contracts, which encapsulate extremely large and fairly inflexible documents that try to fulfill all the necessary conditions requested by the contract issuer at once. Universa breaks down this approach by proposing simpler more flexible contracts that can interact with each other, making them more accessible and reproducible.
This contract lightness interacts with the project’s lighter ledger entry proposal. Instead of confirming and inscribing in the ledger all the information of any transaction that ever took place within an account or a contract, the nodes in the network only confirm and inscribe in the distributed ledger the current state of the contracts. The remainder of the information is stored in a secondary ledger structure named Notary Cloud.
This permits much faster transactions at a fraction of the cost and could truly make blockchain applications a reality for many businesses that still struggle to see their needs answered by this technology. At twenty thousand transactions per second and at a cost of USD$0.1 cent per transaction, Universa’s may well be the fastest and cheapest blockchain yet, and one with the potential and ambition to achieve mass adoption through governmental and private sector partnership.
Stay tuned for the next update soon. We will be following their development closely.