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Watch out, blockchain: there's a new kid in town called Hashgraph.

Blockchain, which is the technology and electronic ledger behind the leading cryptocurrency Bitcoin, and Hashgraph wants to jockey for a position in that role in the cryptocurrency scene.

There is certainly a lot of hype surrounding this latest technology, but does Hashgraph really have the potential to overtake the stalwart blockchain?

Mance Harmon, the CEO of Swirlds, the company that created the Hashgraph-distributed consensus platform, told TheStreet that Hashgraph is a next-generation distributed consensus technology.

"It is not a blockchain, but instead is a simple, elegant algorithm, mathematically proven to achieve consensus, and implemented in software," he said. "It is the only 'bank-grade' consensus technology available in the market today."

Angel Versetti, co-founder and CEO of Ambrosus, a company using blockchain to assure the quality and safety of products such as medicine and commodities, warned that everyone should be cautious of anything that is billed as "blockchain-killer."

"Blockchains have not yet had the chance to blossom -- despite what the hype might suggest -- so anything that claims to replace it without valid practical applications is just speculation and theory," Versetti said. "This is my view of a few recent so-called 'blockchain-killers' or 'ethereum-killers,'" said Versetti. 

But even if Hashgraph isn't going to replace blockchain, Luis Cuende, co-founder and project lead of Aragon, a management tool developed specifically for decentralized companies, thinks Hashgraph may at least be able to compete with Ripple for banking applications.

Another commentator agreed that yes, Hashgraph might be able to compete with something like Ripple for banking applications, "I don't see it having any competitive edge over purely public blockchains like Ethereum and Bitcoin." he said.  

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Understanding Hashgraph

Harmon explains the Hashgraph technology is different from blockcahin in three key ways: number one is in speed or efficiency. (Although he stresses that the group has not yet published any speed test results, but those will be coming soon.)

"Hashgraph is orders of magnitude faster than other distributed consensus technologies," he said. "We are currently in third-party, external testing and will have the results of these performance tests soon."

Number two is fairness. 

"The Swirlds team has delivered mathematical proofs of fairness of ordering, access, and timestamps," he said. "This means that no individual can manipulate the order of the transactions, delay orders by placing them in future blocks, or stop them from entering the system. Consensus time stamping with Hashgraph prevents an individual from affecting the consensus order of transactions. Fairness is critical for applications where the sequence of transactions matters - such as auctions or stock exchanges." 

Number three is security. 

"Hashgraph is mathematically proven to be Asynchronous Byzantine Fault Tolerant," he said. "This means that even if some members are malicious, then you will still be able to reach a definite consensus, and know you've reached it. In comparison, in the blockchain world, consensus is only a probability that increases over time, not guaranteed. Sometimes, no consensus is ever reached, resulting in conflicts, or 'forks.' The asynchronous refers to the ability of hashgraph to achieve consensus even when messages can be delayed for long periods of time - as might happen if a malicious firewall were interfering."

Another thing to note is that there is currently no public ledger or currency attached to Hashgraph.

However, Harmon explains that there are many ways to build a public ledger on top of Hashgraph. Performance, security and scalability are key considerations for a public ledger, and Hashgraph delivers well on all three of these criteria. "In addition, it eliminates the need for massive computation power and energy consumption. We're considering it, but don't have anything to share now," adds Harmen. 

Hashgraph at this stage looks unlikely to unseat blockchain.

"Until Hashgraph releases the core code as open source, and they are able to gain a real user base it poses zero threat to blockchain," said David Moskowitz, co-founder and CEO of Indorse, a decentralized professional network company based in Singapore. 

"There are dozens if not hundreds of new blockchains claiming to be superior to Bitcoin, but until they gain significant community support and are truly battle tested I do not see them as more than long shots," he said.

Of course, that doesn't mean Hashgraph can't develop into a force within the crypto world.

"That being said, having some exposure to such projects may be a good idea as black swans do occur and there is the potential for outsized gains with such projects." added Moskowitz.

Hashgraph is hitting a scene already dominated by bizarre cryptocurrencies: