PEOPLE OF DASH: Tante Stefana, Masternode Owner
Stella: How did you find out about Dash?
TS: Well, back in early December of 2013, Bitcoin was making a lot of headlines, and my husband was reading an article to me about it. We’d heard of Bitcoin but this article made us curious and we started wondering how it worked, so we both got out of bed and started researching. And we went down the rabbit hole. While I learned how to mine on my computer, my hubby read about the happenings in Bitcoin. Together, with our desks facing each other, we sort of learned double time. I the technical, he the political.
By this point, my husband realized people were making lots of money on the new coins that came out, by mining them early. We were also hearing all the news about Bitcoin not being private, etc… and so this one post on BitcoinTalk.org caught his attention. Someone was going to start a new coin that will be a privacy coin. Oh, good one! Of course, we lost the forum page, and in a panic, had to dig through the forum to find that post again, but we found it about a day and a half before launch. When it launched, I had trouble getting my computer to run the mining program, and because I was so shy, I didn’t ask for help until about 2 days in. So I kind of missed out on the easy early coins, but still got in early enough to mine one and a half masternodes before mining became too hard to continue. When the plan for Masternodes came out later that spring, I scrambled to buy 400 more coins to get the second node.
S: What’s your main contribution to Dash? Are you still a masternode owner?
TS: Yes, we still have our two masternodes. I found the project to be so interesting and full of possibilities, I became quite passionate about it. I really liked Evan from the start. I liked his flexibility, his willingness to throw a bunch of work out the window to start afresh if he saw a better way. I liked the way he solved problems and when solutions came to him, how joyful he was when he shared his solutions on the forums. So whenever there was anything I could do, like help with documentation, or just bounce ideas off of, I was so glad to be a part of it. At this point, though, Dash is a well-oiled machine with brilliant people in Core working on it. All I do now is run my masternodes, and join in with testing when the Core team begin public testing. Like all masternode owners, I join in on discussions for proposals. I’m also learning about trading , though I don’t trade. There are a few community members in Slack who give analysis and I’ve been learning from them. I don’t have the heart to actually trade though. Lately, I’ve mostly been biding my time until all the research Evan has been doing is released for review. I’m very much looking forward to all his new ideas for the future of Dash beyond Evolution.
S: What is different about Dash when compared with other coins?
TS: Evan stated many times that he wants Dash to act like a completely centralized trusted service while being fully trustless and decentralized. That is what Evolution is all about. It will give users the feeling that they’re accessing a single point, such as a Bank’s website, and managing their money at that website like they always have, but there is no website, it’s an independent wallet program running on their device — pulling only the information it has the keys for from many Masternodes who store this information in a highly redundant, decentralized and encrypted way. There is no central database that a hacker can access and crack, revealing your personal information. The security of your account will be up to you, the user. Everything about how users will use Dash will be familiar. There will be different types of accounts. Savings with interest (via shared masternodes in a trustless way) “Spending/Checking” accounts, joint accounts, and many services such as auto-pay for your bills.
Dash Evolution feels like a trusted, centralized institution, but is thoroughly decentralized and trustless. Although, there is a balance between ease of use and security, and Evolution is no exception. The old cryptocurrency wallet we all know and love will also always be available to the hard core, or as a tool for storing large sums of Dash. Of course, these are more subject to total loss. Forgotten passwords that are not retrievable. Paper wallets or usb wallets can burn, or be lost other ways. Evolution will have management options, such as locking funds for period of time, which can also protect funds long term, but of course, a bad predictable password is still an invitation to theft. Usability/Security will forever be a balancing act. Yet Evolution gives you choices.
S: How is Dash Nation unique in the crypto-space?
TS: Dash Nation started out as a Slack channel which was created after a nasty falling out with former Dash Community members. These community members were in control of the channel since they started it. When Tao started the new Slack with a new group of community members, they made some basic rules, and enforced them. Basically, you must respect each other. I believe there is a no cursing rule, but even I break that one, LOL. As a result, everyone can express their opinion, but they must do it respectfully. And it’s not draconian, people are given a lot of leeway. Especially if in a bad mood or something. The community is super supportive. People who act like obvious trolls are simply booted. It really keeps things running smoothly and the atmosphere is so awesome on the Dash Nation Slack.
S: Do you have any predictions about how Dash Evolution will change the game?
TS: I keep hearing people say that this coin or that coin already have web wallets that do what Evolution does, and that Dash is late to the game. The thing is, these are all centralized websites where you have to trust that the site is secure, safe and trustworthy. It’s easy to make a website like that. It’s also destroying the whole purpose of a decentralized, cryptographically secured, incorruptible coin. Evolution is taking time because Dash is doing things the right way. With the network of Masternodes each keeping a piece of the encrypted puzzle, with automatic redundancy, and all the other layers and interfaces involved, including the DAPI (Distributed Applications Programming Interface), the connections will be private, secure and accurate every time you “plug into” it and retrieve data. This is massive, but complex and the average person using Dash doesn’t need to understand this. But for example, businesses transacting large sums of money across the world, it is essential that they know their funds are “clearing” safely and reliably. Banks do this through a long process that takes up to a week, and can get stuck, causing all kinds of havoc for the businesses. Crypto-currencies can do this in as little as minutes, Dash in seconds. This is Crypto-currency’s strength. Combine that with Dash’s instantly secured payments, privacy functions and ease of use with no compromise, and you have a monetary system. A real monetary system better than cash. When Dash Evolution is released, it most certainly will be a game changer.
S: What are the pros and cons of Dash?
TS: I can think of many pros. From being able to keep your accounts private for individual’s rights, and open for public organizations, such as charities, governments or other organizations with obligations to be open and transparent to being able to do this while keeping the blockchain open and clearly auditable. Being instant and irreversible is still a quality yet to be duplicated by any other project. A merchant who receives Dash funds for goods in his store can be assured those funds can’t be snatched back once the customer walks out the door with the goods. All this, Dash already has.
Evolution will keep these qualities while making Dash more user friendly, putting all the messy complexity under the hood and giving an interface that people understand and services, such as automatic payments, that they expect.
Evolution will also be capable of complex contracts such as multi-stage purchase agreements and escrows.
Cons? Are there any cons? I guess I wish it were already here, but good things take time. One thing we need to do, in my opinion, is educate. Not to get more investors, but to educate and differentiate our project from others. Most people don’t understand why Evolution is so important. Many of them are Dash supporters. If Dash supporters don’t understand, you can bet 99% of the crypto community don’t understand. And that doesn’t even take into account the general public who don’t know Dash exists. This brand recognition takes time. Dash has been holding back so as not to create a bubble, but can a bubble really be prevented? I don’t know. But I do know Dash needs to educate the world one way or another, and time is of the essence.