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What Is Dash Cryptocurrency? The Ultimate Guide

block

2mon ago

Contents

If you delve into the panoply of easy to use, privacy protecting and payment focused cryptocurrencies, you realize that only a handful can meet the minimum requirements to be considered as a reliable digital payment product, with the potential of gaining mass adoption in the future.

Despite ZCash (ZEC) and Monero (XMR) being interesting projects for the same set of purposes that Dash was originally designed for, Dash, a combined name for “Digital Cash”, clearly beats all of its competitors in terms of merchants, customers, and users adoption, and in terms of ease of use and implementation.

Besides, the decentralized governance, the voting model, the treasury fund, along with a broad range of coin-related and network-enabled functionalities make Dash one of the most promising blockchain-powered digital currencies in the ever-expanding cryptosphere.

To put it in a nutshell, Dash is an open source project that aims to create a user-friendly, scalable and straightforward solution for the payment industry. Since its launch in 2014 from a hard fork of the Bitcoin protocol, the project went through several evolutions and rebranding processes, going from “Xcoin”, to “Darkcoin” before being rebranding to “Dash” in a reference to “Digital Cash”.

Dash’s secure and peer-to-peer network is built in a unique and self-funding model, and is governed and maintained in a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) form, run by the “masternodes.” Dash permits fast transactions through the unique “InstantSend” functionality and untraceable ones through “PrivateSend”.

The Dash ecosystem hinges on three pillars: the network users, the miners, and the masternodes.

Dash is credited with introducing some interesting features to its ecosystem, with the aim of making improvements over the design of Bitcoin. This eventually resulted in an added layer of privacy protection, and better overall network throughput, faster settlements, and quicker message propagation across the network. In fact, Dash reaped the benefits of its incentivized two-tier network design, a model adopted by the project, rather than the common single-tier found in most cryptocurrency projects.

This network design alternative made it possible to add a broad range of extra services, such as the decentralized mixing function, known as PrivateSend, and the instant transaction settlements known as InstantSend. Dash has proved to be fit for the payments industry, where long waiting times for network confirmations at Point of Sale terminals would be unacceptable.

Furthermore, Dash’s governance system makes it one of the most decentralized cryptocurrency projects to date, and allows members that are invested among its community, to vote in a democratic fashion on the strategic decisions of the organization, and on which projects – deemed beneficial to its ecosystem – would get funding from the Dash treasury.

InstantSend is a unique feature offered by Dash that was made possible thanks to its two-tiered network setting. In fact, with most digital currencies, if a transaction is broadcasted to the network, the sender and receiver should wait for a certain number of confirmations to avoid double-spending and ensure the transaction is irreversible.

However, the process of waiting for blocks to accumulate in order to ensure that a submitted transaction is valid is time-consuming and usually takes anything from several minutes to over an hour. This makes most cryptocurrencies unfit for the payment industry and hinders merchants from adopting digital currencies as a means of payment for products and services, since having a customer wait for minutes to confirm a purchase is hardly conducive to business interests.

Thanks to its network of masternodes, a smaller quorum of special nodes can provide an irreversible confirmation on a given transaction in about 1.3 seconds. An InstantSend transaction is handled by having masternodes lock the inputs for it before broadcasting the information to the network, including it to the subsequent mined blocks, and preventing the spending of the locked inputs during the confirmation period.

PrivateSend is a Dash Network feature that is used upon request and for a small fee in order to obscure the source of funds and make a transaction untraceable. Just like InstantSend, this functionality is masternode-enabled. PrivateSend is made possible thanks to the fungibility of all Dash coins in the network and works by mixing a user’s funds up with others’, hence breaking their traceable history on the blockchain.

PrivateSend Process is performed by first breaking a transaction input into standard denominations of 0.01, 0.1, 1 and 10 Dash. Masternodes are then informed that a user is interested in mixing a certain denomination and eventually starts looking for two other users wishing to swap those same denominations.

Once found, a mixing session begins. Inputs are mixed up and users are instructed to pay the transformed inputs back to themselves. This process is repeated a certain number of time, called “rounds” with each denomination, making it increasingly more difficult to establish the origin of the funds.

Once a Dash transaction is broadcasted to the network, miners attempt to be the first to process and verify it by solving a mathematical problem with their specialized computers. Once a miner succeeds in doing so, all other network miners must come to consensus around the fact that the problem was correctly solved, so that the block would be added to the blockchain, and the miner would get a subsequent reward.

With Dash, 45% of the block reward goes to the miner, while 45% goes to the masternodes, and 10% goes to the Dash treasury.

As with any other digital cash system, Dash has a blockchain and a process of adding new blocks to it. This process ensures that all entries on the distributed ledger, which all come from transactions taking place across the blockchain, are verified, authentic, and irreversible. Dash has a network of miners that attempt to solve difficult cryptographic problems, through a Proof of Work (PoW) consensus mechanism, and when they do, they would receive the right to add a new block to the blockchain and get rewarded for their efforts.

In addition to the network of miners, Dash has a second tier network made of masternodes. The latter provides a number of functionalities to the network, such as making transactions faster and more private along with handling the decision-making process in the decentralized autonomous governance system. In essence, miners power the first tier for basic value exchange operations and the prevention of double spending, while masternodes power the second tier providing more features, safety, and security to the blockchain.

The decision-making process in the Dash Network is assigned to a particular subset of participants called masternodes. Masternodes should put up at least 1000 Dash (DASH) coins in collateral to be proven incentivized enough, to make the best network-wide decisions, ones that would positively impact the whole Dash ecosystem.

Masternodes should also have a static IP address, and meet some preset requirements of CPU capabilities, RAM size, disk space, and network bandwidth. Dash masternodes cast votes on strategic decisions, improvement proposals, and decide which projects to be funded from the treasury fund. They perform standard node functions like relaying messages, hosting an updated copy of the Blockchain at all times and validate transactions on the network.

Before the release of Dash 0.13 and the introduction of the Long Living Masternode Quorums (LLMQ), masternodes used to provide the network with InstantSend for a small fee (confirmed within 1.3 seconds) and PrivateSend (Untraceable transactions that obscure the source of funds) functionalities that set the Dash network apart from its competitors. In exchange for the above functions, masternodes receive 45% of the total block reward.

The current version of the Dash codebase deployed on January 2019, enabled InstantSend by default for the majority of transactions. PrivateSend functionality, however, does not come by default and costs extra fees.

Proof-of-service, PoSe in Dash is a scoring system implemented to check the work of masternodes and the quality of the extra services they are providing to the Network. By utilizing this network functionality Dash is able to ensure that each masternode is online and at the correct block height at all times.

The Dash whitepaper details how it is impossible to game the system and how bad actors, even if they run masternodes, wouldn’t be able to provide any of the quality services that are required by the rest of the network.

If a given masternode fails to provide an assigned service, a PoSe ban could be enacted at some point and the masternode must be repaired to ensure it provides reliable service. In fact, two quorums of masternodes are randomly selected every block. Quorum 1 (formed by the closest nodes to the current bock hash) is required to check the services of Quorum 2 (formed by the furthest nodes from that hash).

By doing so, Dash makes sure that all work performed to check nodes’ activity is done by the masternode network itself, and that the entire network would be checked about 6 times daily. Dash requires a minimum of six violations prior to deactivating a node.

The current scoring rules in Dash 0.14 version are:

While governance in centralized companies is performed by a management team or executive board, the governance of Dash is established in a decentralized fashion, commonly referred to as a DAO, which is short for Decentralized Autonomous Organization. The decentralized governance and budgeting system for Dash is carried out by the Masternodes, who are bestowed with the authority of making corporate decisions, and voting on which projects would get a financial backup from the company’s treasury.

If a proposal is to be made on the network for a specific project that would benefit the Dash ecosystem, the proposers should go around and lobby the network, by reaching to the community and seeking their support.

In due course, they should reach out to the masternodes network and submit the proposal. Masternodes can either support or reject a proposal and cast their votes for a limited period of time. The proposals with more support would eventually make it to the funding phase. As described by Evan Duffield, the founder of Dash, Masternodes act kind of like senators in the Dash system. They represent the community and represent the network.

As it is the case with most cryptocurrencies, Dash is based on a decentralized ledger, or a blockchain, that records all the transactions in a growing list, or blocks, which are all linked using cryptography. Dash’s blockchain is secured through a Proof of Work (PoW) consensus mechanism, where a network of miners would compete to solve cryptographic puzzles using their computers in order to add new blocks to the blockchain.

Once all the users adhering to the protocol and running the “mining” software agree that the cryptographic problem was correctly solved by a miner, a consensus is achieved, the block is added, and the miner is rewarded. The second tier network of masternodes oversee the mining process and have the power to reject improperly added blocks.

On January 18, 2014, Dash was originally launched by Evan Duffield as a fork of Litecoin -which is in return a fork of the Bitcoin protocol – under the name of Xcoin, before rebranding 10 days later to Darkcoin due to a name conflict, and also to bring an emphasis to the project’s focus on privacy.

The main feature at launch was the X11 hashing algorithm, which came in replacement to Bitcoin’s SHA256 and which aimed at ensuring fairer participation in mining and delaying ASIC mining to the later days of the coin. In January 2015, the 0.11 version release of Darkcoin rebased the project from Litecoin to Bitcoin.

X11 is the hashing algorithm created by Evan Duffield, Dash founder, and used as the hash function to mine Dash coins. It takes a different approach to other Proof of work (PoW) algorithms, known as algorithm chaining. X11 utilizes eleven consecutive rounds of hashing, consisting of eleven SHA-3 (A Secure Hash Algorithm standard released by the NIST in 2015) different hashes. Those are blake, bmw, cubehash, eco, groestl, jh, keccak, luffa, shavite, simd, and skein.

The increased level of sophistication and complexity of X11 is believed to make it one of the safest hashing algorithms in use and gives the network an extra layer of security as compared to other PoW algorithms that are single-hash based. In the event of a computing breakthrough to break the hash, a digital currency that is implementing X11 PoW, won’t see its network put in jeopardy unless all 11 hashes were broken simultaneously.

Furthermore, Dash implemented algorithm chaining in order to delay the use of specialized ASIC mining hardware thus limiting the mining centralization threat. Currently, CPU/GPU mining is no longer cost-effective for mining Dash, and the official website lists five ASIC miners available on the market with different hash rate capabilities, Power, Weight, and Dimensions.

Dash features bigger sized blocks than Bitcoin with 2 MB blocks, 2.6 minutes block generation time and a settlement capability of around 56 transactions per second.

As explained in a medium post by Dash creator Evan Duffield, while most cryptocurrency projects have no concrete plans to scale up their projects and get past the massive barrier to mainstream adoption, Dash will be able to rival the likes of PayPal and Visa by using its existing infrastructure rather than just relying on eventual technological advances in hardware and networking that might never come.

The answer to the scaling question resides in Dash’s second-tier incentivized, high-quality network of masternodes, which are using high-quality VPS hardware to host their nodes, allowing for on-chain scaling.

While Bitcoin’s inception in 2009 as the first peer-to-peer form of electronic cash that allowed payments to be sent from one party to another without going through a centralized financial authority has attracted a substantial number of users, some design issues arose as soon as the network faced a high level of usage, and proved to be the main stumbling blocks in the way of mainstream adoption.

In fact, the main issue with Bitcoin, is its unsuitability in Point of Sale situations, since the time required to wait for the network to confirm the validity of a transaction could take anything from minutes to hours and even days in certain situations.

Dash, however, was founded with the idea of making improvements on top of the Bitcoin protocol, bringing built-in privacy functions, a more decentralized network with its DAO governance model, and extremely secure, fast, and tamper-proof transactions thanks to its second-tier incentivized masternodes network. Another key difference between the two cryptocurrencies is transaction fees, which are often much lower in the case of Dash than in that of Bitcoin.

Besides, while the mining rewards are exclusively given to miners in the case of Bitcoin, they are split among miners, masternodes, and the treasury with Dash, which is essential for its self-funding and self-reliant model.

In the following, we will take a closer look at Monero and ZCash, two projects that are getting much attention as the most prominent privacy coins, and are the main competitors of Dash in this regard. In fact, Monero was launched with the idea of introducing a private cryptocurrency that aims to be a digital medium of exchange featuring intractable payments, unlinkable transactions, and blockchain-analysis resistance.

Monero relies on an open source PoW algorithm named cryptoNight, and uses ring signatures and stealth addresses, making it impossible to identify its users. The project core team describes Monero as offering the highest degree of privacy among all cryptocurrencies.

In terms of scalability, it features a dynamic block size, which could be increased in response to network usage. The latter makes it possible to Monero to process around 1000 transactions per second.

ZCash, on the other hand, grew out of the Zerocoin project in 2016 and was designed with the main purpose of providing a high level of privacy and absolute security. It was built using Bitcoin’s codebase like Dash, and works by eliminating all traces of transaction data on its blockchain. ZCash features 2 MB blocks with 2.5 minutes block interval bringing its transaction per second ability to 56 tps. Other Dash competitors include NEM, PIVX, ZEN, and XVC to name a few.

Since the rebranding from Darkcoin to Dash in 2015, the Dash core team and its community drove the project’s main focus from privacy to cash-like electronic currency. As an electronic payment network, Dash was intended for the general public to use and is focused on fast transaction settlements and micro fee structures.

In Latin America, especially in Venezuela as a concrete example, Dash outperformed most cryptocurrencies during the last couple of years in terms of merchant adoption, despite a downtrend that has been going on since early 2018, and that saw price depreciation of 80%+ for most digital currencies.

In fact, by late 2018, hyperinflation was hitting with full force, shaking Venezuela’s economy to its core. Besides, most of the initiatives and economic reforms adopted by the Venezuelan government seemed to have failed in stabilizing the economy. The over 95% devaluation of its national currency – the Bolivar – plunged millions of citizens into poverty and despair and induced an unprecedented wave of refugees to neighboring countries.

This has created a fertile ground for alternatives to its national currency to thrive, and locals seem to be turning to cryptocurrencies, especially Dash, as a more stable and reliable means to transact and store value.

Dash debit cards work by topping up the accounts linked to the cards with Dash (DASH). The funds can be spent online or anywhere the Debit/Credit card is supported and can also be used for ATM withdrawals. The Dash (DASH) balance is either exchanged prior to the purchase or at the time of it.

With that being said, it is worth point out that a regulatory barrier delayed the appearance of such cards and saw many initiatives such as the much discussed and advertised TenX Dash Debit card canceled over fears of a regulatory crackdown, on the basis of non-compliance with the applicable KYC/AML procedures.

Currently, a handful of Dash supporting debit/credit cards exist and are being shipped over to customers wanting to transact using DASH. However, their availability cannot be guaranteed in all jurisdictions and could be halted without prior notice.

Among the most used Dash debit cards, we can name PolisPay, a MasterCard and ATM compatible debit card that turns Dash into fiat currency, FuzeX, which is known to offer real-time exchange rates of many cryptocurrencies including DASH, Paycent wallet and its MasterCard/UnionPay cards, along with the upcoming SpectroCoin and Bitwala cards.

The economic turmoil that has been turning Venezuela’s economy upside down since late 2014, was a brutal blow to society. By the end of 2018, inflation reached 1.5 million percent. Eventually, locals started to look for a more stable means to store value and to exchange it among each other since the Bolivar became virtually useless. In the midst of this, cryptocurrencies seemed more than any time before, a suitable option.

Dash started leading the way and managed to gain the support of over 2500 merchants in the country according to DiscoverDash, with a constant increase in the number of new wallet downloads and merchant sign-ups on a weekly basis.

Many brand names and big fast-food chains signed up to accept Dash payments in Venezuela including Subway, Church’s Chicken, and Calvin Klein.

In fact, Dash proved to be a viable option as the closet form of digital cash, thanks to its low fee structure, and its seconds-long confirmation periods. Besides, the Dash treasury helped finance local initiatives and projects aimed at diversifying the Dash ecosystem in Venezuela, and at inducing a social impact that would positively impact the local communities.

The current version of the Dash Blockchain features 2MB block size with new blocks created every 2.6 minutes and a settlement capability of around 56 transactions per second. The block reward for mining new coins decreases by a constant rate of 7.14% annually. Dark Gravity Wave is the open source difficulty-adjusting algorithm created and implemented by Dash which has the particularity of adjusting the mining difficulty every block, based on statistical data from the last blocks found.

Dash has also a two-tiered network with the second tier of masternodes allowing for unique features such as instant transaction settlements, enhanced financial privacy, decentralized governance, and voting on the use of funds in the Dash Treasury for initiatives that benefit the network.

The transaction fees in the Dash Network are evaluated on the basis of the size of a transaction, not its value. In fact, there is no evident correlation between the value of transactions and the number of bytes required to process them. What affects the size of a given transaction is rather the number of input and output addresses involved in it, since more data is written into the block to store all the information related to it.

Since miners are not obliged to include any transaction in the block they generate, a voluntary transaction fee can be included as an incentive for miners to process the transaction. The recommended fee schedule as of December 2018, is 0.00001 DASH per kB of transaction data for standard transactions, 0.0001 for InstantSend, and 0.001 for PrivateSend.

As of April 2019 and with the implementation of “Dash Evolution”, InstantSend functionality has been a by default feature for most transactions. Consequently, the average transaction speed for one Dash coin went down to around 1 second, according to Dash’s official website. As of the 4th Quarter of 2018, the Dash network has over 42,500 active addresses and is processing a median of 9,300 transactions per day.

Dash’s total coin supply is not fixed but hinges on a geometric series that applies a 7% reduction to the rate of new coins created per year as an inflation-restricting measure. The total coin emission is unsure but could be estimated. This comes from the fact that it couldn’t be known with certainty how much of the 10% block reward that currently goes into the treasury would remain in the future since such decisions would depend on future voting.

However, this number can be anything between 17.7 million and around 18.9 million. Moreover, in around 192 years from now, a full year of mining will start to create less than one new Dash. The last Dash to mine will take 231 years and the emission of new coins is set to end in around the year 2477.

Dash was designed with a special emphasis on the speed of settlements, the security of transactions, coin fungibility and enhanced privacy. DASH can be used to buy goods or services or to send value abroad with ease, as long as the destination the coins are being sent to is the right one. The official documentation published by Dash has placed a special focus on the safety guidelines that are not inherent to the Dash ecosystem but rather to cryptocurrency usage and utilization in general.

Some of those guidelines include not trusting an online merchant or service provider based solely on the fact that they look reputable or sound reasonable. Moreover, Dash encourages users to use a hardware wallet, an official Dash core wallet or the Dash Electrum wallet for the storage of Dash coins.

It is also highly recommended by all cryptocurrency best practice guides to avoid leaving large amounts of funds on exchanges or mobile wallets for long periods of time and to never giving away one’s wallet private key to anyone under any kind of circumstance.

Cryptocurrency mining is the process of solving complex computer calculations by dedicating a certain amount of computing power to the task, in order to create a new bundle of combined transactions or blocks, into a growing chain of blocks, or a blockchain starting all the way from the genesis block.

Mining in Dash is performed by miners, that would compete to verify the legitimacy of a transaction broadcasted to the network by solving a mathematical puzzle (X11 PoW algorithm) before other miners do. This creates new digital currency units. A portion of each new digital currency unit goes to miners as a reward for their efforts (45%); another portion goes to the Masternodes (45%), and a third one (10%) goes to the treasury fund.

Mining Dash could be carried out by either CPUs, GPUs, or specialized ASIC miners. In fact, CPUs that come with every computer are the simplest piece of hardware capable for mining Dash but offer less efficiency than GPUs. GPUs on the other hand, are designed to perform millions of vector calculations in parallel, offering a significant advantage in performing predictably repetitive calculations, specific to mining cryptocurrencies.

Besides CPUs and GPUs, less flexible specialized computers that are designed to process distinct functions and known as ASICs, are available in the market to solve Dash’s PoW X11 algorithm, which are substantially more efficient than the first two forms of hardware.

The advent of ASIC miners for Dash, made CPU/GPU mining no longer economically viable due to the increased network difficulty stemming from the rapidly increasing total hash rate available in the network. The process of mining Dash is simple and starts with downloading the appropriate mining software for either CPU or GPU mining, then configuring the software by selecting a mining pool, generating a Dash address, creating a notepad file with basic lines of command and saving it in the mining software folder.

Once those steps are properly carried out, a .exe file starts the mining process with a simple double click.

In Dash’s two-tier network system, miners power the first tier while masternodes power the second one. In fact, as detailed above, miners carry out the function of verifying transactions across the network by competing to be the first to inverse a hash on them, hence solving the X11 proof of work algorithm. If other miners agree that the cryptographic problem was correctly solved, a consensus is reached and the miner is rewarded for adding a new block.

Masternodes come into play to provide additional functionalities to the network, namely the InstantSend and PivateSend features which enable instant transactions and enhanced financial privacy. They also form the DAO setting allowing for decentralized governance on the Dash Network and take the decision on budget allocation from the treasury fund. Masternodes are also awarded each time new blocks are added to the Dash blockchain.

Masternodes do not perform mining operations, and mining computers cannot serve as masternodes; they only oversee the network and have the power to reject improperly added blocks.

As with any Proof of Work mining operation, miners tend to organize into mining pools, adding up their individual hashing power to a collective hash rate, hence increasing their chances of mining new blocks and sharing the reward. Several Dash mining pools are available for miners to join from P2Pool, Coinfoundry, Nicehash, Coinotron, Antpool, and Genesis Mining to name a few.

They all are characterized by different ping times, mining efficiencies, total hashrate, and the fees they charge for miners that want to join.

Dash can be bought and sold in a wide variety of ways, which all come with a different set of advantages, disadvantages and complexity levels. The easiest and most straightforward way to buy DASH is through direct purchase through FIAT currencies (like USD, Euros,…) from instant exchanges. This means of acquiring Dash has some limitations related to the less favorable exchange rate offered by these service providers, as compared to some of the best cryptocurrency exchanges.

A few examples of instant exchanges are Changelly, Shapeshift, Simpleswap and Airtm. They all offer the possibility for users to buy Dash by simply entering a wallet address, and using a credit/debit card for payment, without having to log in. The most popular way of buying Dash is through crypto exchanges, which offer real-time exchange rates and charge some fees for the service. Dash official website has a list of all the cryptocurrency exchanges that offer support for Dash.

Other means of buying Dash include specialized ATMs, and over-the-counter exchanges which facilitate the direct purchase of Dash coins from either a company or peer-to-peer at an agreed upon price.

Cryptocurrency exchanges often subject users to a KYC procedure in order to deposit or withdraw funds. They offer their users a multipurpose wallet (that shouldn’t be used for savings) and access to a certain number of listed digital assets. Users wanting to buy Dash coins from an exchange should first register with the exchange platform, and then verify their identities before being able to access an address book of bids and offers.

They can then place a bid to buy the desired amount of DASH at the desired price and wait for the order to be fulfilled. Dash is listed at over 100 exchanges under the ticker DASH, including Binance (Check out our Binance Review), Poloniex, Bittrex, Bitfinex, Kraken, Bithumb, Huobi, and CEX.IO (Here’s our CEX.IO Review).

As of mid-May 2019, Dash has a circulating supply of 8.8 million coins and is being traded around $145 per coin. Dash coin reached an all-time high of $1642.22 (US Dollars) in December 2017 but was severely affected by the long bear market that hit cryptocurrencies starting January 2018.

A Dash wallet is a software that runs on a device, such as a computer, smartphone or tablet, and enables users to store, manage, send, and receive Dash coins. Storing Dash coins on one’s own device is the best practice against theft, since leaving personal balances on exchanges or online wallets is not recommended for safety purposes.

The cryptographic private keys to access the balance stored on a wallet is the object of value in this system and could be compared to an email’s password. This section will be dedicated to reviewing the most known wallets that have support for Dash.

Dash has an official wallet that supports all Dash features as soon as they are released, and it’s called the Dash Core Wallet. It supports IntantSend and PrivateSend; and has governance features and RPC console. The Dash Core wallet also referred to as QT wallet, downloads the full blockchain and is able to operate as either a masternode or a full node on the network. Dash Core wallet is Desktop based and is available for Windows, macOS, Linux, and Raspberry Pi.

Dash Electrum Wallet is the second most preferred option among Dash users and is a light desktop wallet that has the particularity of verifying transactions on the Dash blockchain by using the Secure Payment Verification (SPV) technique which only requires the block header in contrast with the full block. The wallet startup is almost instant but doesn’t yet support advanced InstantSend and PrivateSend as of April 2019.

In addition to the QT wallet and the Dash Electrum wallet, Dash gained support from many of the prominent cryptocurrency wallet developers. The recognition of the project started ever since its inception in 2014 and accelerated in recent years. Among the most known external wallets that already offer support for Dash coins, we can name Jaxx, BitKan, Edge, Exodus, and MyDashWallet.

Dash has dedicated a portion of the treasury fund to develop a standalone mobile wallet, The Dash Android wallet. It supports advanced Dash features and gives users the ability to scan and display QR codes for quick transfers. It also offers the possibility of backups and restores, keeping an address book, sweep paper wallets, NC payments and more.

An iOS version is also available and known as the Dash iOS Wallet and could be downloaded from Apple’s App Store.

In contrast with online and software wallets, a hardware wallet is an independent device that stores private keys for a blockchain in secure hardware, rather than a database file. This translates into a major security boost over software wallets. To this day, there is no evidence of hardware wallets being infected by viruses or compromised by any type of ransomware.

Hardware wallets are also immune to Keylogger attacks capable in some cases of stealing passwords and unlocking private keys used with software wallets. The most common hardware wallets supporting Dash are Introduction, Trezor, KeepKey, and Ledger.

Under the section “Where to spend” on the Dash official website it touts a constantly growing list of merchants, retailers, online shopping portals, coffee shops and fast food chains, all accepting Dash as a viable method of payment for the products and services they are offering to customers.

The website invites visitors to browse the global list of Dash accepting merchants on a map, using DiscoverDash.com. Moreover, Dash.org maintains a merchant directory on its website where any merchants that want to start accepting Dash, can list themselves. Another option is to browse the list on WeloveDash.com.

The above-mentioned list of Dash accepting merchants counts a little less than 5000 as of April 2019. Around 50% of those merchants are located in Venezuela. The top 10 merchant categories include food & drinks, Dash ATMs, business services, electronic & IT products, and arts & entertainment services.

Dash is currently considered to be one of the most convenient and scalable digital currencies, which is suited for online payments and which has access to traditional financial markets. Furthermore, the project has established a clear development plan with the prospect of increasing the block size to up to 400 MB at some point in the future, in order to reach the network capabilities level of the biggest payment processors like PayPal and Visa.

This roadmap-listed priority gives the project a considerable advantage from an investor perspective and confirms Dash’s potential as a tool for long-term investment.

Dash was created by Evan Duffield, on January 2014 and has evolved ever since and risen among the top-tier of cryptocurrencies today. Duffield is a well-respected figure among the crypto community and remains a key player in the industry. He often appears in interviews, seminars, conferences, and webinars, and hosts social media discussions where he goes over the Dash Core protocols or explains his vision for the project.

The second key person behind Dash is Ryan Taylor, the current CEO of Dash Core and its former Director of Finance. He has been a key contributor to Dash since mid-2014. Taylor was appointed to his role as a CEO ever since Duffield stepped back to an advisory role in 2017 and started focusing on other annexed projects that would expand the Dash ecosystem and profit the whole cryptocurrency space.

Taylor’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to, leading the organizational growth, maintaining the vision, and overseeing communication with Dash partners.

Other key figures in Dash include Fernando Gutierrez, CMO of Dash Core, Bradley Zastrow, the Chief of Business Development at Dash Core, Bob Carroll, CTO of Dash Core, and Robert Wiecko, COO of Dash Core to name a few. Dash developers are publicly known by name for the most part and are in close contact with the community.

Three pillars or business entities operate under the Dash decentralized autonomous organization: Dash Core, Dash Force, and Dash Labs. Dash Core being the largest of these groups, it is assigned with creating, updating, maintaining and disseminating the main Dash code. Dash Force, however, deals with the community level engagement including social media and global outreach.

On the other hand, Dash Labs the newest of the three, currently working on the future technology of Dash, is to make sure the project remains competitive beyond the current market. According to a blog post by Evan Huffield, Dash Labs is working on the implementation of a “GPU based hardware accelerator to improve the block-throughput of the network”.

This would translate into the ability to process one block at a time and “hundreds of transactions allowing the blocks to be processed in a fraction of the time by the masternode network” according to the same post.

Dash has successfully entered into numerous partnerships with business entities and academic research partners in order to deliver on its promise to offer the most efficient and user-friendly payments-focused cryptocurrency. Dash partnered with numerous payment processors for online and point of sale platforms, among them are Alt Thirty Six, Anypay, BTCPay server, CoinGate, CoinPayments, CopPay, EletroPay, ePaymints, GoCoin and Sprak.

The latter being a proposal for creating an open source Point of Sale compatible software for accepting Dash payments, successfully voted for by the masternodes and funded by the treasury fund.

Dash has also partnered with Custody solutions and API Providers to enable direct access to the blockchain and eliminate the requirement of running your own server to support blockchain interactions. From the academic end, Dash has partnered since 2017 with the Arizona State University’s engineering school to create a “Blockchain Research Lab”, in order to work on blockchain technology, scalability, network architecture, mining, latency, and network throughput.

The Lab is regarded as the first official research entity devoted to actively researching applications for blockchain technology in the US.

Funding ventures and initiatives for Dash are carried out by cyclically holding a masternode vote on the proposals advertised by proposers to the community. Using DashNexus, (a decentralized governance platform designed to support projects built around the Dash ecosystem) and Dash Ninja portals, visitors can monitor progress and budgeting statuses, and get detailed statistics on all the projects being voted on or funded by Dash.

Among the notable initiatives, business ventures, and organizations that successfully received financial backup from the Dash treasury, we can name Dash Text a Venezuela-based company providing SMS transactions for Dash.

The startup was successfully launched and made access to Dash much easier in Venezuela, contributing to accelerating the adoption of Dash by both merchants and users. In addition to Dash Text, Dash Nigeria, an educational non-profit and promotional organization whose goal is to promote the idea, understanding, and usability of Dash in Nigeria, has been gaining ground by the day and is actively promoting Dash’s vision.

Dash has just celebrated its 5th birthday last January a period during which the coin underwent a series of rebrandings, protocol updates/releases, and technical upgrades. Dash was first launched on the 18th of January 2014, as Xcoin, a fork of Litecoin. Xcoin had a distinctive feature, which is its unique hashing algorithm (X11). Shortly after, the coin rebranded to Darkcoin highlighting a driving focus on privacy.

Two months later the release of Darkcoin 0.9.X focused on coin mixing and the development of masternodes. First launched on May 2014, masternodes, provided a set of powerful and incentivized nodes, forming a network backbone and ensuring coin mixing and instant transactions while sharing half of the block reward with miners. The first version of Dash android wallet went live during the following month.

The release of Darkcoin 0.11.X on January 2015 rebased the project from Litecoin to the Bitcoin protocol following an allegedly stagnant Litecoin development. The following releases implemented instant transaction confirmation and improved the internal handling of masternodes data. On March 2015, Darkcoin rebranded to Dash, or “Digital Cash” marking a change in focus from privacy to a cash-like currency for the general public.

Later in 2015 Dash separated its development from the influence of corporations, giving network participants full control over how funding is allocated. What was referred to as the first superblock included a recurrent payment to the development team of up to 10% of the block reward. On January 2016, the Dash masternodes voted to increase the block size from 1 to 2 MB.

The release of Dash 0.12.X in 2017 saw key Dash features related to speedy and untraceable transactions rebranding to InstantSend and PrivateSend, and a lower fee structure. During the following months, a set of Dash improvement proposals were periodically published, voted on and/or implemented, all resulting in lower fees and better overall user experience.

The latest release on January 2019 of Dash 0.13, enabled InstantSend by default for no extra fees for the majority of transactions paving the way for “Dash Evolution”, the future vision of Dash.

The Dash roadmap details the milestones for future releases of main code updates and features’ development and includes specific details on the way the development teams intend to realize the mentioned challenges.

The next milestone on the roadmap indicates the release of Dash Core 0.14, and the implementation of the Long Living Masternode Quorums LLMQ, aimed at increasing network scalability and improving consensus by reducing the number of messages required to validate transactions, thus avoiding to have each individual node storing consensus data in-memory until subsequent mining occurs.

Moreover, the release will implement ChainLocks with the goal of drastically lowering the risk of 51% attacks. The next milestones on the roadmap are axed around implementing Dash Evolution, which would in the near future allow users to transact through username based payments, unlock their Dash wallets using fingerprints access and access their Dash wallet from any device. At that point, transacting with Dash would basically be made as easy as with PayPal, yet in a fully decentralized way.

Dash has a directory of online resources oriented towards helping users to understand the basic concepts and features driving the Dash ecosystem. The online “learning resources” available on the Dash official website include an educational video series and external links that could be very helpful to beginners, advanced users, merchants, and developers.

The Dash website has distinct sections for individual users, business developers, as well as “courses and learning material” in the community section. The whitepaper, on the other hand, describes in depth the unique value proposition behind the project, and the key features and innovative approaches the founder Evan Duffield undertook when researching, conceptualizing and launching the project.

The document is periodically updated and is maintained as a GitHub wiki, where it is constantly receiving community translations each time new features are implemented. The original Xcoin paper is also made available for download by Dash.

Dash is present on the most popular and visited social media platforms, and has the backup of an engaged audience and a large global community. Dash portals on various platform could be found below:

Dashnews.org, formerly known as Dash Force News, is a Dash specialized website owned by Dash Force and whose work is dedicated to providing support to the ecosystem surrounding Dash and building a large community. The website reports critical news and covers meetups, seminars, and events where Dash is present.

The project was funded by the Dash DAO and has ever since been dedicated to covering all the code releases, exclusive interviews with key figures working on the project, and insights from within the community.

Dash could be objectively described as being among the most achieving, well-structured and promising projects in the blockchain space.

In a little over five years, what originally started off as a Bitcoin fork has evolved and matured to the point of being acclaimed as one of the only few projects that came out of the blockchain boom, with a real-life tangible use case, rather than just promises on marketing-oriented essays that never came to life.

Its network features, particularly the instant and untraceable transactions, along with its sophisticated hashing algorithm, self-governing and self-funding model through the incentivized second-tier network, has inspired tens of projects and proved to be beneficial to both Dash, and the whole ecosystem built around it and transacting over it.

Furthermore, its future vision codenamed “Dash Evolution” which is targeting the mainstream market and aimed at enabling a frictionless, resilient, powerful and decentralized network to conduct P2P transactions in absolute security could lead to the eminence of the whole blockchain world. Meanwhile, Dash has yet a few challenges ahead in order to scale up and facilitate its adoption for the average person since the promise of ease of use, is yet to be achieved.

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