Fast, not furious.
Money might make the world go around but transferring funds to someone across the globe is still an arduous task. Using the traditional financial system, international transactions can even take days to go through.
Countless projects have sprung up over the last few years, aiming to make cheap global money transfer a problem of the past. Dash is at the forefront of this movement, but it isn’t just another way to transfer money quickly – it also lets you make transactions anonymously. Kind of.
It can run, but it can hide too.
Dash was created by Even Duffield and launched in 2014. Initially dubbed ‘Xcoin,’ the project was a fork of the Bitcoin protocol and initially attracted much speculation regarding its validity as a genuine cryptocurrency project.
After surviving another rebranding, Dash finally emerged in 2015, the name being a combination of the words ‘Digital’ and ‘Cash’. Though Dash is primarily known for its use as a payment network, it is also a ‘Decentralized Autonomous Organization’ run by decentralized participants across the world.
Governance, fund allocation, and development roadmaps are all created and maintained by the Dash DAO, creating a financial ecosystem that caters to its users. Dash is also considered a ‘privacy coin’ due to features that make transactions ‘untraceable.’
However, in October 2020, Fernando Gutierrez, CMO for the Dash Core Group, said that Dash is a payments cryptocurrency and should not be considered a privacy coin. This is in contrast to the original Dash whitepaper, which labeled the currency as ‘privacy-centric.’
A Dash of performance.
The DASH token was reported to be at an all-time high value of nearly $1500 in late-2017. However, DASH has been shuttling between $40 and $200 for the last two years.
The token saw a fantastic start to 2020, rising by almost 200% in just over two weeks. This sudden massive appreciation was short-lived, and after a reprise to $130 in mid-February, fell to between $60 and $85 for most of the year.
Same, but different.
The Dash network uses a modified Proof-of-Stake algorithm called X11.
X11 was created to be ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) resistant, and users can also opt-in to use a coinjoin mixer ‘PrivateSend’ to scramble transaction information. Its chained hashing algorithm uses a series of eleven hashing functions to validate transactions, allowing for fair processing and coin distribution.
Instead of needing every node on the network to validate transactions like Bitcoin, X11 uses a system of Masternodes to simplify the verification process and make transactions faster.
A Sentient Network
As mentioned above, Dash is also a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO). The DAO consists of a network of Masternode Operators heavily invested in the currency’s future, who vote on which projects to fund, which initiatives to propose, and the allocation of development resources. The DAO can also allocate budgets, appoint officials, and even contract development work.
This creates a genuinely decentralized system that is developed and maintained solely by its participants. It’s less a community of onlookers and more a versatile decentralized company.
While the DASH token price has been shaky at best, the team is continually developing and funding more ventures.
This could be interesting to keep an eye on, but until we see how efficiently the decentralized network can operate and manage its funds, there is a lot of uncertainty. With the rise of decentralized exchanges, people seem to want a more anonymous payments system, and Dash’s opt-in feature allows it to comply with regulations while maintaining its privacy features.
This could give the token the upper hand in the long-term, as this unique combination of a little privacy and regulatory approval gains popularity.
Bug or Feature?
While Dash sprints forward towards its goals, the blockchain industry has shifted from being a race to a marathon. In June 2020, blockchain security firm Chainalysis announced support for Zcash and Dash, effectively making both privacy-enabled coins traceable.
Dash Core Group CEO, Ryan Taylor, said he was pleased with Chainalysis’ implementation of Dash onto their platform, claiming the need to balance privacy needs with compliance needs.
Privacy is an ongoing debate in the cryptosphere. Several exchanges around the world have delisted privacy coins citing regulatory compliance requirements. The rise of decentralized exchanges has mitigated this slightly, but the community is still quite divisive on the issue.
As mentioned above, in October, Dash asked users not to consider the coin under the same category as Monero and Zcash and was more payments-focused than privacy-focused. A version of Bitcoin with additional privacy measures becomes little more than a Bitcoin clone once you take that away.
Or does it? Dash is more than just a Bitcoin clone. It’s a decentralized autonomous organization with real, decentralized participants making decisions as a collective. It calls itself the world’s first ownerless and memberless investment fund, electing supervisors to oversee the foundation and make critical operational decisions.
Where Monero, Zcash has taken privacy to its core, Dash merely makes it an option, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Dash to the Future
Regardless of its stance on the privacy debate, Dash has been actively developing its network, producing upgrades to Dash Core and integrating itself with various platforms and services.
Dash isn’t a privacy token in that it is absolutely untraceable, but it does offer the privacy required by most people. Dash promotes itself as a payments network, and when it comes to transaction times, the system truly lives up to its name.
The future of Dash is in the hands of its participants. As the DAO continues to fund projects, advance its technology, and provide more value to its community, it’ll be interesting to see how things play out.