Dash’s name describes its ambitions. Short for digital cash, and also referring to the higher speed of payment confirmation, Dash wants to be the cryptocurrency that goes to the street and becomes a way to pay for anything.
Dash started life as “XCoin” on January 18 2014. Very soon after (ten days later, January 28) it was renamed “Darkcoin”, a name that reflected the focus on privacy and anonymity. In March 2015, it took its current form as Dash.
Dash aims to make cryptocurrency a valid and plausible option for ordinary transactions such as retail purchases. To make that possible, Dash has a fast confirmation time (less than a second) , a low per-transaction fee (less than $0.01) and a 2MB block size.
While Dash is still an investment vehicle, its main goal is to make distributed and decentralised currency a reality. So far, this has been based primarily on a technology called InstantSend that allows for transactions that take less than a second, rather than the tens or even hundreds of minutes that Bitcoin currently requires.
Dash is in the process of developing and releasing a new product called Evolution that includes the low transaction fee, the 2MB block size (both out already) and a PayPal-like payment service to make payments easy and convenient.
Dash’s goals and roadmap are currently scheduled until June 2018, with more goals to be determined at a later time. The current main project is Dash Evolution, which Evan Duffield (Dash Labs) and Andy Freer (Dash Core CTO) describe as “the first user-friendly and scalable digital currency platform suitable for mass adoption.”
Dash also is working on partnerships, including one with KuvaCash in Zimbabwe.
Dash’s Recent Successes
Dash has seen an impressive climb in value recently, tripling over the last month which brings its market cap to $6 billion and makes it the fifth largest cryptocurrency by value. In addition, Dash has shown a tendency to go up in value even when other cryptocurrencies go down.
Dash’s infrastructure includes “masternodes” that make their services possible: processing InstantSend and PrivateSend transactions, voting on budget funding, running wallets. Starting in late 2014 with just over 600 nodes, the Dash network now includes 4752 masternodes (as of December 6 2017). This puts Dash in a very healthy state for its network.
As a digital currency focused on customers and transactions, Dash needs to be accepted by merchants. Currently, over 240 merchants are listed on DiscoverDash.com, spread all over the world. These include online services like VPNs, hosting, and an email provider, but you can also buy also t-shirts, hot sauce, locksmith services, wine, and more.
Being able to work in existing infrastructures is very important for Dash. Making digital currency accessible to everyone means bringing it to the systems they already use.
Dash has a major success in this area, having been approved for use in Apple Store apps this year. This was an especially striking success given that Dash was rejected in 2016. CEO Ryan Taylor was understanding though, recognizing that Apple has a responsibility to protect users of the App Store, and noting that Dash’s approval this year reflects their growth and stability.
Public and investor response to Dash has been positive, with optimism that Dash will hold its current value, continue to grow, and succeed in its objective of being the digital currency that moves outside of the enthusiast and investor space and to transactions between customers and retailers.
Omkar Godbole at CoinDesk argues that because of its expanding trading volume and partnerships around the world, Dash will likely remain at or above the $600 level.
John Gabriel of CryptoNews at OracleTimes.com is very positive, calling Dash “the cryptocurrency of the future”. Investing.com quotes Perry Woodin, the CEO of Node40, as saying that as the limitations of Bitcoin as a cash replacement (low speed and high cost of transaction) become more apparent, Dash is emerging as a “viable alternative” due to its specific design.
The main goal of Dash now is the development of Dash Evolution. Evolution will make digital currency available not only to the enthusiasts who can use it for investments, but also to ordinary customers and merchants.
Dash’s goal is to make setting up a blockchain account and sending and receiving payments as easy as possible, bringing digital currency in line with other digital services like email. Evolution will make having a Dash wallet and using it for everyday transactions easy as it will cut out the third party infrastructure between customer and merchant. In addition, it will also allow for rating merchants.
Evolution aims to provide the same level of services to Dash users that you would get from a bank account (e.g., multiple accounts divided by type such as current and savings, joint accounts, dispute resolution help, and automatic repeat payments for subscription services), without the centralized management and infrastructure.
When Evolution goes live, it will bring the first digital currency that offers these services, while still maintaining decentralization. Indeed, part of Evolution is a decentralized API, allowing anyone to set up their own Evolution service.
The most recent update was 12.2, bringing the upgrade to a 2MB block and a reduction in the transaction fee. The alpha release is 12.3, scheduled for December 2017. The v1 release of Evolution is scheduled as part of DashCore 13.0 in June 2018.
After that, more features are planned including multi-user accounts and moving money between private and public accounts but the schedule is still to be determined.
Partnership with KuvaCash
Dash is also working to use its expertise and technology to help people in some of the most economically unstable places in the world.
In November 2017, Dash started a partnership with KuvaCash to bring Dash to Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwean government demonetized in 2009, following years of extreme and infamous inflation, so various overseas fiat currencies are now in use.
Andreiko Kerdemelidis, the Finance and Technology Director of KuvaCash says that “KuvaCash will give locals an ideal alternative to improve their ability to do business and buy everyday goods and services without hassle, overpaying on fees, and using secondary markets”.
Certainly, Dash’s decentralized nature makes it a better fit to replace a currency that has come to an end rather than to import a variety of currencies all managed by their own central banks.
Will Dash achieve its goals? It certainly has the ambition and a clear understanding of the technical requirements of a true digital currency.
Dash also seems to understand that a digital currency won’t only be for the existing market of American and European libertarians, but also for people who have been let down by the unreliability of mismanaged central bank currencies such as the Zimbabwean dollar.
The relative speed of Dash and its ability to handle a larger volume of transactions at a lower cost does put it ahead of other cryptocurrencies. For example, Steam has recently ended support for Bitcoin due to the transaction costs, which currently wouldn’t be an issue for Dash.
Dash is still a relatively small player compared to the larger coins, but it has a lot of potential. If you are interested in the future of digital currency rather than digital assets, Dash is probably the one to watch.