The case for DigiByte to be used in Venezuela

David Hay has started an ambitious project, to help get cryptocurrency into the hands of 300,000 people and to give them two weeks worth of wages. I’m going to go over some reasons why I think DigiByte is the only logical, and even viable choice.

I’m also going to mention some other cryptocurrencies / blockchains, and their shortcomings. This isn’t personal, and I’ll stick to the cold hard facts, so please don’t take this as an attack on your favorite blockchain.

A bit of background

Venezuela has had it pretty tough lately.

The extreme hyperinflation of their government currency is on ridiculous levels that even Zimbabwe would be proud of. The Venezuelan bolivar is worth less and less by the day.

The Govt increases the minimum wage around 3–4x a year to keep up with this hyperinflation. People are fleeing the country en-masse, the situation is getting worse and worse.

Imagine saving up $200 for an iPhone, lets say it takes you 6 months. At the end of 6 months you find your currency is worth so little, that you’re only half-way there. As a result of this, you’ve got to use those savings to buy food for the week because last weeks wages are now only worth about 2 days worth.

Enter: David Hay

David has had a rather lofty, yet noble goal: Bringing cryptocurrency to Venezuela. 300,000 people all receiving 2 weeks worth of wages.

He has family over there and has seen / heard first-hand of how difficult things are, and so he’s using his knowledge of cryptocurrency and business to make a change in this world for the better!

On top of this, due to the decentralized nature of the blockchain, all you need is an idea, vision, and the willpower to “step up” and make it happen, and things will happen! We are super impressed by this project of Davids, and we, the DigiByte community want to help.

You can see more about the project here and here.

What’s needed?

So much is needed for this project, and not just from the blockchain. Everything needs to be considered, from the community, supporting applications, donations, time and manpower, development and more.

We think it’s all doable though, so lets take a bit of a look at some of the key aspects that are going to be needed for this, and why DigiByte fits the bill perfectly.

Fees: SUPER low

The minimum wage in Venezuela is 136,544 bolivars a month, which is around 3 USD per-month

Just to clarify, that’s not a typo, they live on just USD$3 a month (Plus other benefits etc

With this in mind, any cryptocurrency that’s used there must have either insanely low fees, or, must have none at all.

Transactions on DigiByte average USD$0.000005 per-transaction at the time of writing. This means you could do between 1–2,000 transactions and it would cost you USD$0.01, which is roughly an hour’s wages.

Currencies such as DASH with an average transaction fee (at the time of writing) of approx USD$0.30 would require the user to pay around 3–4 days worth of wages, just to send a single transaction. Bitcoin fees would be a two whole months wages.

Even with Lightning Network, we can’t have people paying weeks and weeks worth of wages to put their BTC into the Lightning Network, just to open a payment channel, let alone close it again. Imagine if Bitcoin fees got back up to USD$40+ per-transaction, that’s a whole years worth of wages!

Even if we allow for future value increases of DigiByte, fees are not an issue. Because the blocks are never full, so transaction fees could realistically go lower still.

The choice is clear: DigiByte’s super low fees are an obvious choice.

Wallets: All mobile

If cryptocurrency is to be used in the daily lives of people in Venezuela, they won’t be lugging around laptops to pay for their groceries. The wallets on mobile will be of utmost importance. This means wallets MUST be mobile.

Not having a good Android wallet, as is the case for NANO, is completely un-workable. Where people live off $3 a month, and where they can’t save money due to hyperinflation, they can’t afford to save $200 for an iPhone.

With the advent of Android One and Android Go devices, having a mobile phone is within reach of many people in developing nations. This is how people will transact and interact with each other daily, sending and receiving funds.

The DigiByte mobile wallet in Dutch

The DigiByte mobile wallets for Android and iOS are in the final stages of their beta release and are expected any day now. These “Lite” (SPV) wallets don’t download the entire blockchain, but rather connect to 3rd parties over the internet to verify balances and to send funds.

This saves on local storage, as well as bandwidth, both of which are likely to be quite limited.

We can’t be doing things like having the phone validate and verify transactions as well in the background, as data will likely be at a premium compared to more developed nations, not to mention the drain on battery that it can cause is also not something we believe should be acceptable.

Again, DigiByte ticks all the boxes here.

Language: Spanish!

Often overlooked is the language. DigiByte mobile wallets are not just in English, but in over 30 languages, and growing almost daily!

Spanish is the spoken language of Venezuela, so having an english-only wallet would be unacceptable.

The DigiByte mobile wallet for both Android and iOS is available in Spanish.

This is all very well and good, but let’s get real specific now:

It absolutely MUST work for retail

This will be the #1 use-case, everyday buying / selling of goods and services.

Ideally users will eventually be paid in the chosen cryptocurrency, receiving their wages, and buying / selling in it as their primary currency.

Having something such as Bitcoin or Litecoin with 10 and 2.5 minute block timings respectively, simply won’t work. Even PIVX at 60 seconds is probably too long.

If you’re buying your food for the week, you don’t want to sit around for 2.5 minutes for the first confirmation. It’s a total joke.

“Wait sir, please don’t leave the store for another 2 minutes, we’ve got notification you’ve sent your funds but we have no confirmation. We need to make sure you don’t re-spend your funds elsewhere, or send them to yourself once you leave”.

DigiByte has a 15 second block timing, with notification on the recipient wallet occurring in 1–2 seconds. This means if I’m paying for my groceries with DigiByte, and I send you DigiByte, you’ll be notified faster than an EFTPOS / Credit Card transaction. You’ll have your first confirmation in 15 seconds (Just long enough for you to put your phone in your pocket and thank the person as you leave the store) and the vendor can then turn around and immediately re-spend those DigiByte after just 6 confirmations (90 seconds).

Built on proven technology

We’re about to bring this technology to 300,000 people. We can’t go having an entire city stuck in limbo because of some half-baked Delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerance consensus mechanism doesn’t work.

Or things like IOTA with the Tangle, causing issues requiring things like manual re-attaching, re-broadcasting, node changes. We can’t expect somebody to know how to do this after 10 minutes worth of training on how to use the cryptocurrency, nor should they have to.

Even things such as DPOS still rely in trusting a central entity.

DigiByte is based on the same UTXO blockchain as Bitcoin. It is the longest UTXO blockchain in the world, currently sitting at 6 million blocks. Bitcoin will catch up to our blockchain length in around the year 2150.

Not going to get congested

We’ve seen Cryptokitties come along recently, and bring Ethereum to its knees. Bitcoin had over 250,000 unconfirmed transactions in December and the network was either impossibly slow or insanely expensive.

Neither of these are acceptable in my opinion.

Unconfirmed Bitcoin transactions just a little over 30 days ago, over 250000 waiting!

If you’re relying on this for a developing nation, you can’t have transactions sitting pending for a significant period of time, nor can you then expect users to pay a higher fee.

DigiByte can currently handle 560 transactions per-second. It’s enough to handle the current transactions of the Top 50 cryptocurrencies combined, and it will still have room to breathe!

With growth of up to 280,000 transactions per-second by the year 2035, the DigiByte network is certainly future-proofed.

It must be 100% secure

Security is at the heart of the DigiByte blockchain. With mining occurring across 5 different algorithms, we have both the hashing security from ASIC and the distribution of GPU mining.

This also prevents any form of centralization as we see with Bitcoin, and ensures that there’s no ‘kill switch’ equivalent which could cause issues.

It needs to be based on a known and trusted method for validating transactions. The use of a UTXO blockchain, that has been tried, tested and battle-hardened since 2009 is the best proof.

Distributed

DigiByte is arguably the most distributed blockchain in the world, with over 200,000 node downloads since April ’17, this far exceeds that of Bitcoin, Litecoin or Ethereum.

Bitcoin vs DigiByte

This distribution ensures a robustness of the Blockchain

Total coin volume

As crazy as it sounds, nobody likes paying 0.000002 BTC for a meal. It’s much better to pay 1 DGB instead, not to mention it allows for greater flexibility with mining fees.

We have a 1000:1 ratio of DigiByte vs Bitcoin, literally making the currency more “manageable”, something that is going to be incredibly important for a country with a hyperinflated government currency.

Not a 100% pre-mine

Many of the Top 50 cryptocurrencies in Coinmarketcap.com are effectively a “100% premine” token distribution. They’re centrally created from a single entity that uses them to get rich for themselves.

While there’s nothing directly wrong with that, this also means that there’s a central entity that you must trust in, and a centralization of funds. Look at XRP and how there’s still 60%+ kept in ‘escrow’, that’s again a risk you’ve got to be aware of. We’re trying to avoid a central entity having control here (Such as the Venezuelan Govt.), so replacing it with another seems foolish.

There are also cases where the developers have sold their premined coins without a single line of code being written.

DigiByte has proven over 4 years of continuous development that it’s in it for the long-haul.

No developer fee

DigiByte doesn’t include any sort of ‘developer’ fee in each mined block, unlike other coins such as ZCash or DASH. While some may see that as detrimental, limiting development options, we believe that no central entity should be being consistently rewarded similar to our stance on centralized token distribution.

In summary

There are a myriad of reasons why DigiByte is leagues ahead of all other options for a cryptocurrency to be distributed to Venezuela. I got involved in DigiByte because I saw these reasons, and the myriad of future uses for DigiByte that other cryptocurrencies couldn’t fill.

DigiByte has everything going for it, as a high-speed, low-fees, built on a fair, secure, distributed Blockchain that’s been battle-hardened over the last 4 years and is now ready to lead Venezuela into a new age of cryptocurrencies.