The Poincare' group generalizes the Galilei group for high-velocity kinematics. The de Sitter group is assumed to go one step further, generalizing Poincare' as the group governing high-energy kinematics. In other words, ordinary special relativity is here replaced by de Sitter relativity. In this theory, the cosmological constant is no longer a free parameter, and can be determined in terms of other quantities. When applied to the whole universe, it is able to predict the value of the cosmological constant and to explain the cosmic coincidence. When applied to the propagation of ultra-high energy photons, it gives a good estimate of the time delay observed in extragalactic gamma-ray flares. It can, for this reason, be considered a new paradigm to approach the quantum gravity problem.