Since early in 2013, Darkcoin has been a permanent fixture in the daily digital currency news. From Darkcoin's initial meteoric rise, quickly reaching a USD value of $15, to the level of security and innovation it provides for privacy seekers, to the failures and triumphs of the "Masternode Network", Darkoin has been almost as interesting and intriguing as Bitcoin itself. And 2015 is shaping up to be a year of rebirth for Darkcoin, which is now Dash. We discuss the state of Dash, and the digital currency industry, with core developer Evan Duffield here on CCN.
Interview with core developer Evan Duffield
You recently made some sweeping brand changes, going from Darkcoin to Dash. Can you tell us about your strategy behind that? Is Dashcoin the correct term, or just Dash?
The goal of this project has always been to try and create a technology as similar to digital cash as possible. We decided to change the name to Dash because we believe it better represents our new vision, to create a medium of exchange that is both private and instant for the masses. Dashcoin is a separate project though; we’d prefer to be known simply as Dash.
For readers who might be somewhat new to digital currency, what separates Dash from Bitcoin, if you can briefly go over two or three key differences.
Dash is built on the same technology that made Bitcoin successful. In addition, it employs a secondary network known as the Masternode Network. Master Nodes are a new concept in digital currency, where users are incentivized to run full nodes and provide extra services to the network such as Darksend and InstantX. Put simply, they allow us to add features to Dash that are impossible in Bitcoin.
Over the last year, there has been quite a serious issue with exchange risk in the digital currency industry. Either exchanges are getting hacked and losing currency or closing altogether with user's funds inside. What would you do to stop this scourge from turning people off to digital currency, considering the potential investment unsafe? What do you suggest for the digital currency industry as a whole when it comes to managing exchange risk? Insurance? Oversight? Regulation?
It's a shame that many new users get burned this way, but I don’t believe that regulation or insurance is the answer. There're a few different routes to fixing this issue; first we have plans to add 2-factor authentication to the reference client. With this implemented, even exchanges could use the 2-factor authentication on their cold/hot wallets, limiting their exposure to theft.
Having heard you speak on Bitcoin before, you seem very sure you have a better currency than Bitcoin itself and seem dedicated to competing more directly with Bitcoin. Is that your goal? To knock Bitcoin off of the mountain top, per se?
Eventually, I believe Dash will position itself as a direct competitor to Bitcoin. In the meantime, Bitcoin enjoys a monopoly more or less on the space, which is unhealthy. For example, if the only crypto-currency in use is Bitcoin and it has an issue, the entire crypto-economy would be affected, burning the vast majority of it’s users. However, if there are 5 or 10 crypto-currencies in common use, it will reduce the systemic risk on the sector as a whole and make it safer for everyone.
What metrics do you use to judge the success of your work? What do you monitor daily or weekly to monitor your progress in the market? Is US Dollar value important to you and your currency?
I try to avoid looking at the price too often, I think it's mostly noise unless you're looking at longer term charts that look very healthy. The statistics that I find the most informative are website traffic statistics, including which countries are interested in Dash (China and Russia are the biggest sources currently). Also the amount of core team members that are active on a day-to-day basis.
What is one feature that Dash maintains that would surprise people? Some trick that Dash can do that even seasoned digital investors may not know about?
There's a really interesting way to pay people using the Masternode system and donation feature. Say you want to settle a 20DASH debt, youcan configure your node, which receives payments periodically for the services it does for the network, to tell the network to pay that personinstead of yourself. The money is effectively being created by the blockchain and sent directly to them, instead of you.
Any new features you're looking to add in 2015 that you can reveal to our audience. What can we look forward to in the short-term from Dash?
Can we do another article about this? I have something, it’s giant and could be a standalone article if you're interested. It could solve the lack offunds for development in a completely decentralized way, while involving the main stakeholders in the decisions.
Teaser received. Any advice for new digital currency investors, besides investing in Dash? What do you tell people about getting into digital currency when you first meet someone new to the concept? What do you tell your friends and family when they ask about getting started?
Crypto-currency is still new and dangerous. It is still "The Wild West" right now, and you've got to be very careful about who you trust. Don't invest more than you can afford to lose. And do lots of research. Also, don't store coins in exchanges.
Final question: Five years from now, where will Dash be in 2020?
By 2020, we should have a completely working Masternode system and 100% decentralization. Also mobile wallets for sending and receiving money instantly, in a secure way, without having to wait for block chain confirmation. With all of this technology implemented, the goal is to get many small businesses to take Dash directly through mobile devices. This allows customers to buy something in person and walk out 10 seconds later after InstantX confirms the transaction is valid and locks it.
One thing he said really resonated with me is that Bitcoin does need some competition within the marketplace. Monopolies are always bad for the consumer, and Dash has many innovations that can only make digital currency better going forward. Bitcoin can improve, and that's what competition does. It makes you step up your game and improve. If all of digital currency's eggs are in Bitcoin's basket, that is not a great long-term strategy.
We at CCN cannot give investment advice, so do your own due diligence, but I haven't seen a better altcoin on the market than Dash. If you want increased privacy and innovative technology that really provides value in an altcoin, Dash is where I'd start looking. I believe Litecoin's days as the silver to Bitcoin's Gold are numbered. From what I've seen, Dash is just a better currency. And isn't that what we really wanted all along?
To me, it is simply the best altcoin on the market. In a world where privacy and freedom are becoming four-letter words, this is the right currency at the right time. I believe there will come a day when everybody needs a little Dash.
Images provided by Dash and Medium.com
What is your favorite altcoin on the market today? Is Dash a good competitor for Bitcoin? Does Bitcoin need competition? Share above and comment below.