As a larger community begins to learn about the blockchain and its potential, it makes sense to look at an innovative cryptocurrency whose core functions are useful on their own while also providing a logical foundation for why leaders in industries ranging from finance to media to healthcare are so excited about blockchain’s potential.
That cryptocurrency is Dash, an open-source project similar to digital cash. Currently valued at roughly $80, Dash is the world’s third most valuable cryptocurrency with a market cap approaching $600 million.
Dash vice president of business development Daniel Diaz said Dash has two unique components. The first is the product payment network that helps users send and manage money while the second is its organization and the people behind it.
“We are changing the way we organize business and are using the blockchain to do that,” Mr. Diaz said.
Dash runs on an open, decentralized system where masternode stakeholders with at least 1,000 Dash help run the server and infrastructure, Mr. Diaz explained.
Those stakeholders have two jobs. The first is to provide the server infrastructure for the network where the Dash ledger can be kept. As a distributed ledger, thousands of users have a copy, which prevents one user from modifying it without majority approval.
Those users also get voting privileges based on how much Dash they own. For each thousand Dash they get one vote.
“They’re keeping skin in the game,” Mr. Diaz said. “They have incentive to do what’s best for the network and guide it in the right direction.
“From a game theory perspective it works very well.”
When a Dash stakeholder (not limited to those with a minimum of 1,000 votes) wants to propose an initiative such as a marketing plan, business conference, or staffing expenditure, they submit a proposal to the Dash community (at a five Dash fee), where those with a minimum of 1,000 Dash get to vote. The proposal can be discussed in a chat room format and changed if required.
“When you start to see the power of the network where users are feeding value into it, you can see how this is better than a traditional system,” Mr.Diaz said.
I suggested that as blockchain technology becomes more widely known, skeptics will question the efficiency of a decentralized structure in terms of stakeholder communication, like some have with equity crowdfunding. That is a red herring, Mr.Diaz said, because with crowdfunding, identification and communication needs to be handled via traditional methods whereas with the blockchain information is communicated via a verified cryptographic address which represents them and holds their stake.
During our interview Mr. Diaz directed me to the Dash website where 23 active proposals were up for discussion, covering monthly salaries to marketing plans to conference trips. Current vote tallies were visible, as was a voting deadline. There has to be one outcome each month so topics do not linger and remain unsolved.
Dash also has an executive team tasked with executing the overall direction, Mr.Diaz said. When it comes time to make a decision, the recommendation is explained and the community casts its vote. The community has a clear desire to see Dash succeed so they trust the executive team to implement important initiatives. Besides, if that team falters they can be replaced by the community.
“This really differentiates Dash from other blockchain projects, making it similar to where other stakeholders have power,” Mr. Diaz said. Token holders on other systems often have to fight to get their voices heard, he added.
Should a serious dispute arisen remain unresolved, stakeholders should hopefully work to a conclusion Mr. Diaz said. The splitting into two factions, each with their own blockchain, is a nuclear option which Mr. Diaz hopes will never be used.
While Mr. Diaz conceded Dash is not a true democracy, as one gets more votes based on how much Dash they own, he said there are natural safeguards in place to protect the ecosystem from monopolization. While in traditional markets there can be advantages to owning a majority of the stock that is not the case with blockchain-backed assets, Mr. Diaz said.
In a natural market not everyone will be selling at the same time, Mr. Diaz added. That is definitely the case in the case of Dash, where a growing community has a clear emotional investment in its ongoing success.
“Blockchain is different because the value is in the distribution. If there is no network and it is not being used in the economy there is no value.”
As is necessary for any properly functioning asset, Dash has proper liquidity, as owners can sell at any time, Mr. Diaz said. Dash can be traded on exchanges including Whaleclub, Bitfinex, and Kraken. It can also be spent on Amazon via a partnership with BitCart.