Dash, the friendly cryptocurrency

David Gilbertson
Jul 23, 2018 · 6 min read

Welcome to week 17 of my adventures in cryptocurrency.

This week I splashed out on a Dash stash, and went outside.

But first, are y’all ready for this?

The profit check-in

So much fun for only $6!

I listened to a Q&A this week with Andreas Antonopoulos (a super star). In this Q&A, he suggested (to my surprise) that a software wallet on a phone was more secure than a software wallet on a Windows/macOS machine. Simply because on desktop operating systems, malware has much more reach than it does on a phone.

It’s an interesting security concept: your phone’s only vulnerable to the few dozen people you are near each day, but your big old Windows machine is laying on its back with its feet in the air to millions of potential hackers all around the world. Yet it somehow seems more secure.

(I have taken extra security measures with my phone, such as not going within hearing distance of strangers, and instead of using a fingerprint to unlock the phone, I use my big toe.)

On to the main event, which is …


Dash (AKA Amanda B Johnson coin) is a strong contender for my favourite cryptocurrency.

It’s been around since way back in 2014 and is, dare I say, a little bit boring. It has none of the the flash and fancy of Tron or NEO or EOS. It’s not a different beast altogether like IOTA or Stellar or Ripple, and it doesn’t have the pipe and tweed jackets of Cardano.

It’s just a cryptocurrency that wants to be very good at being a cryptocurrency. And in this guy’s opinion (my thumbs are pointed at my face), they’re doing a pretty good job.

Also, they win points for having their whitepaper as a GitHub Wiki (as well as the PDF). They obviously listened to my advice a few weeks ago, then travelled back in time to April 2015 to make the necessary adjustments.

Some highlights: they use proof-of-work for the consensus mechanism, get 50ish transactions per second, and the median transaction price is waaaay under a cent.

Private and fast, at a price

At the lowest level, Dash is just like Bitcoin. A good old fashioned PoW blockchain. But there is a level above this, made up of things called masternodes, which have some special duties — such as voting, and facilitating ‘private’ and ‘instant’ transactions.

I think of the masternode layer as kinda like the Lighting Network. This is probably wrong, but I’m okay with that.

There are about 4,500 of these masternodes, and if you want to be a masternode, the entry fee is 1,000 Dash — which right now is about a quarter of a million dollars.

If you, the cryptocurrency user, want a normal transaction, you’ll be waiting for a few minutes while the blockchain does it’s thing and you count out a sensible number of confirmations. But if you’re flush and in a rush, you can pay about 2c for an InstantSend transaction which the masternodes will look after for you.

Unfortunately this means that the small transactions, like coffee, that you want to be fast, will be the ones where you have to pay a few cents, which means the fee might actually be a whole percent, e.g. 2c on a $2 coffee. (The sum also works for things that are $2 but are not coffee.)

Now, if you’ve got a big shipment of meth coming in and want to remain anonymous, then you can fork over something like 25c for a PrivateSend transaction which has a design based on the Wikipedia page for ‘Money Laundering’.

Ryan Taylor, CEO of Dash Core Group (and one of the most cuddly looking CEOs out there right now) says that about 1% of transactions opt in to using PrivateSend, and that it’s a great feature for businesses who want to do transactions but not have their competitors see where the money flows.

And also it’s great for buying and selling meth.

A week really isn’t long enough to get to know a coin, but in everything I’ve seen about Dash they’ve had a simple, consistent message and drive — to be a user friendly cryptocurrency.

This plays out in their site and docs and the slick “Copay” app. Copay is like a wallet, but you can actually have ‘contacts’ that you can tap and send money to. It’s all very pretty and nice (and still in beta).

I’ll try it out when it’s released for good and when I have some friends.

Despite all the sunshine though, there’s still the big fat volatility elephant in the room. The Dashers are doing everything they can to increase user friendliness, but if the value of my Dash Stash is swinging wildly up and down, no amount of classy UI is going to make that feel nice.

How is anyone supposed to actually use this stuff if they can’t afford to lose 20% of their money in a week?

My assumption is that as Dash volatility slips below the volatility of a particular country’s fiat currency, then it will become a viable alternative, and Dash will be there waiting with all their user-friendly ducks lined up. I know they’ve got quite a lot of activity in Venezuela, and with Kuvacash in Zimbabwe.

I’d love to hear the Dash team’s thoughts on the matter of volatility.

A decentralised autonomous organisation

An interesting thing about Dash is that they’ve actually been operating as a DAO for quite some time, and things are ticking away nicely.

It’s interesting to me that a DAO is like a super-efficient version of a government department. 10% of the coins that come from mining go to the treasury, just like taxes flow into a department. And the DAO then has a pool of money that it must decide how to spend, based on proposals and voting of the peoples.

So, Dash has a few million dollars (USD) rolling in each month to spend on salaries and marketing and cakes and whatnot. You can browse through all the proposals and bask in the glory of an open organisation.

A good example of the whole process is the Dash 101 video series. You can see the proposal here — some dude said “I’ll make some videos with pretty girls explaining Dash in a few languages for about $35K, mkay?”. The Dash Masternodes conferred, then responded “mkay”.

The verdict

There’s only one concern I have with Dash, as an investment: it used to be #7 in rank and now it’s #14.

I suspect this is because it’s a little bit boring compared to the other kids in the top 20. It’s the sleeper cryptocurrency that’s just plugging away creating something great while the crypto-enthusiasts are all staring at Tron and EOS having a break dancing battle in a tea cup in a spherical cage with motorbikes zooming around them.

So, this week I will try and move $500 worth of Bitcoin into my Jaxx wallet then shape-shift it right into Dash without even opening a browser window.

That’s it!

Since I actually went outside this week and shared a social encounter, I had very little time to write this up, and no time to check for typos.

Oh wait, that’s another thing I meant to write about. Dash has so few typos in their docs! It’s great. For memory there was one in their glossary under ‘transactions’.

Next week, I’m going to look at something in the top 20. Maybe NEM. Is that still a thing?

Hey, thanks for reading folks, I hope each and every one of you is having a nice time with your life.

You can just carry on reading with next week’s instalment, if you like.


how hackers start their afternoons.

David Gilbertson

Written by

I like web stuff.


how hackers start their afternoons.

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