The RChain cooperative has been building their new type of blockchain since January, 2017. Their mainnet recently went live after some delays! Here's my video explaining their project:
Their founder, Greg Meredith, is also the president of their cooperative. He was a developer at Microsoft, as the principal architect of BizTalk and Highwire. The "president" title seems strange to me since I thought cooperatives were supposed to be run by democratic councils. I guess I need to research that a bit more!
Anyway, Meredith has created an entirely new programming language for smart contracts, called Rholang. It allows for computing processes to be run at the same time on the chain. This is different from say, the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) which verifies and adds files one after the other. Right now, their stack is on top of a Java Virtual Machine and Scala.
Rholang is based off another Meredith invention called the Rho Calculus. There is actually another math paradigm called Rho Calculus, so if you decide to study further, be aware of that.
These new designs were built for a blockchain that is scalable, more energy friendly, and faster than existing networks. Rholang also seems more simple than having to deal with Solidity and the Web3 JS library for Ethereum smart contracts.
After long delays in launch and a ton of money expended, I am impressed that RChain has pushed through. Their cooperative model was also fascinating to study. I hope that more people look into this project and help them realize their goals of improving the world through technology.