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The Problem With Dash’s Perception And How To Fix It – Part 2

Developing Our Narrative

As discussed in Part 1, Dash doesn’t have an outspoken leader in the way that most of the other top coins have, and the direct result of this is that we aren’t defining our narrative as well as they do. While those other projects have that one person that the media, investors, speculators, etc can focus on, due to our decentralized nature, we instead have a lot of smaller voices having equal weight all telling a slightly different story. This leads to a lack of clarity in our brand. 

First, when I say “defining our narrative”, I’m not talking about our capabilities or our definition; I don’t mean “Dash is digital cash” or the “so easy your grandmother can use it” mantra. Rather, I’m talking about defining the image we want people to have when they hear “Dash” and something we as a community can rally around.  Right now, our story is defined in a large part by trolls and fudsters, which is doubly unfortunate. Not only are we not perceived in the image we wish, but we waste an inordinate amount of time fighting those who push these false narratives. What we need is a cohesive idea about who we are and the role we play. For example, a community member recently commented about how the BTC narrative is falling apart which is leading many to abandon ship and how we can use this opportunity to present Dash as the savior of crypto. The idea of being the savior of crypto creates a powerful image and interfaces directly with people’s emotions. This emotive image is what we’re missing. 

In order to improve our brand clarity, we first need to define our story. There are a few ways we can develop this: we can pay an outside PR firm, we as a community can actively develop it, we can let DCG, Dash Force, or some other DFO come up with it, or we can do nothing proactive and simply allow the Dash narrative arrive naturally. All methods have their own strengths and weaknesses. 

Paying a PR/marketing firm to develop our story would probably be the easiest way as all we have to do is throw some money at them and sit back and let them do the work. The obvious problem with this method is that it’s unlikely that they’ll come up with an appropriate story simply because they can’t understand Dash without being a part of the community. It also goes against the community driven ethos of Dash. 

The second option is to let the community decide. If we go the community route, we again have a few options. We could create a channel on one of our various platforms and let anyone contribute and see what happens, we could create an invite-only group of some of the more cerebral members of the Dash community, or we could create a dedicated team where the members or leaders of the team are voted in by the network. While the community route is the most decentralized of the bunch, it’s also probably going to be the least efficient and productive. There’s the very real threat of ending up with “beige”. Design-by-committee is usually terrible because it lacks a singular vision and tries to please everyone so whatever they put out ends up being bland and boring. 

The third option would be to let DCG, Dash Force, or some other existing DFO come up with the story. This option is a hybrid as a singular entity does the work but this entity is still held accountable to the network. This will invariably lead to cries of centralization, but I think that’s a fairly superficial criticism. Remember, decentralization isn’t the goal, it’s the means to achieve a goal, namely eliminating points of failure and corruption. Since DCG, Dash Force, and other DFO’s are still accountable to the network, this slight centralization within the greater decentralized DAO may be an acceptable trade-off if it’s the most efficient way to come up with a quality brand image. 

The final way to define our story is to simply do nothing and let the narrative develop naturally. The problem with this is that the story will inevitably lack cohesion. Not only that, this is pretty much what we’re doing now and it clearly isn’t working. Our poorly defined image was the impetus for this article series after all. If we do nothing, I believe Dash will still be fine in the long run, but doing nothing proactive to improve our image will likely cause us to continue to languish in market cap, and while a high market cap isn’t our purpose, a low market cap does slow our ability to realize our potential.   

As far as my preference of the above options goes, I probably lean toward letting DCG or Dash Force come up with the narrative with a dedicated community team being my second choice. However, this article isn’t about my preference, it’s about getting a discussion started so we as a community can decide how to best improve our image. 

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Distributing the Dash Proposal Fees

During the Dash Investment Foundation Q&A at the recent Dash convention, a question was brought forward: should the 5 Dash proposal fee be used to fund the DIF instead of being burned as it is currently? This is an idea I support and similarly have called for the proposal fee to be used to fund Dash Boost (currently in hibernation due to lack of funding).

When Dash’s proposal system was first implemented, it was more logical to burn the fees than redistribute them. There was no DIF, Dash Boost, or other suitable Dash Funded Organizations (DFO’s) to give the funds to where the funds wouldn’t be concentrated unfairly. The difference between the DIF and Dash Boost versus other DFO’s is that the DIF and Dash Boost redistribute funds based on the wishes of the network. Giving the proposal fee to a standard DFO would act as a subsidy and since subsidies lower quality, increase complacency, and interfere with free market competition, it would have a detrimental effect on the DAO. 

Also, burning the proposal fees makes economic sense. The economic principle behind burning the proposal fees states that, all else being constant, a reduction in supply relative to demand will increase the value of said good or service, and therefore burning Dash should in theory increase the price of Dash. This principle is in fact one of the primary reasons for the creation of cryptocurrency in the first place. Fiat currencies tend to have a perpetually increasing supply of units in circulation (inflation) which is why they lose value year after year and is why most cryptocurrencies are developed having a decreasing rate of inflation – they want the value of the currency to increase over time. The downsides to burning the proposal fees is that the value gained is linear, hard limited, and takes a very long time before the gained value can be recognizably realized. Taking a hundred or so Dash per month out of circulation from a total of eighteen-ish million total Dash is going to have a very limited effect and is going to potentially take years before the price reflects this minimal deflation, especially since new Dash is still being mined into circulation.  

While burning Dash isn’t throwing value away, it is throwing potentially exponential value away. What I mean by this is that these burned Dash could instead be distributed, via an organization like the DIF or Dash Boost, to projects that are growing the Dash network and generating potentially significant value, and as the value of Dash increases, there is more opportunity for other projects to also grow the network, and so on, creating a cycle of positive reinforcement and thus exponential growth. Even if 9 out of 10 funded projects fail, funding just one project that goes viral will increase the value of Dash for everyone and will easily make up for the missed gains of giving the proposal fees to failed projects or burning it. We lose nothing but an imperceptible deflationary gain by redistributing the proposal fees. The risk versus reward ratio is clearly on the side of reward. 

Another benefit of sending the proposal fees to the DIF or Dash Boost is that it would ease the demand on the treasury. Currently, the DIF is requesting 9% of the budget (though they’re splitting that up into two distinct 4.5% proposals per cycle for future requests as this will allow MNO’s the option to choose to vote for just one 4.5% proposal if that’s all they’re comfortable with or choose to vote for both proposals if they believe the 9% is a suitable request). During this extended down market, 9% of the budget is quite significant and has and will result in other projects not getting funding. As an example, the Dash LatAm team lost their funding this last cycle, not because their proposal didn’t pass, but because the DIF got more votes and the funding was all used up before Dash LatAm’s place in the payout queue was reached. 

To further expound upon my point, Dash Boost has been in hibernation for many months now because of a lack of funding. This is rather unfortunate as there are lots of smaller projects that are in turn not able to get funding. Also, since Dash Boost gives non-MNO’s the ability to have a say in how funds are distributed, it creates a sense of inclusion for those who aren’t able to own a masternode. Being a non-MNO myself, I miss reviewing and voting on the smaller proposals. I believe the hibernation of Dash Boost has had a bigger negative effect on the DAO than most realize. 

One of the arguments against redistributing proposal fees is that it would be playing favorites and some proposal owners may not want their fee going to an organization they don’t support. If we were talking about ‘normal’ DFO’s, I would agree with this argument, but I don’t think it applies to the DIF and Dash Boost. The DIF is an organization that’s legally owned by the network. They have a legal mandate to use the funds in a manner that is good for the DAO and if they misbehave, the MN’s could always vote to hold the funds and suspend operations until their behavior or personnel is changed. And with Dash Boost, the funds are redistributed to smaller projects per community vote. Dash Boost is just a redistribution mechanism, it doesn’t use the money itself (other than some minor administrative costs) and has no say in who the funds are given to. 

Another argument is that this would be a protocol change and would require a software update. While this is true, it’s a relatively insignificant protocol change as nothing in regards to consensus or the blockreward is changed. The only change would be that instead of sending the fees to OP_Return to be burned, they would instead be sent to an address that the intended recipient organization would control in full or in part via multisig. However, I’m not a developer so it may be more complicated than I imagine. Also, there’s no rush to get this implemented; it could simply be included in a future update. 

Normally, I’m very conservative when it comes to changing protocol but in this instance, I think it makes sense. The risk is negligible, the reward is potentially exponential, it’s a relatively minor technical change, and it wouldn’t take anything away from anyone. Refusing change due to dogma leads to obsolescence; there has to be a compelling reason to not change, and in this case, I don’t think the arguments against using the Dash fees to grow the network are particularly compelling. Don’t forget, Dash was born out of Bitcoin refusing to change its protocol!

I know this is rather contentious topic and needs to be discussed further. If you want to contribute to the conversation, please comment below or hit me up on twitter.  

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Maintaining Perspective

After losing yet another place in market rankings, I think it’s a good time to look at why the market is the way it is, look at the quality of project that Dash is, and revisit why we got into crypto. If I may first offer some advice – don’t dwell on the price. We’re still at the earliest stage of this societal revolution. If cryptos were human, we wouldn’t even be toddlers yet. Even if the crypto market valued fundamentals, which it obviously doesn’t, what the market says today doesn’t dictate tomorrow. While price is important, there isn’t really much we can do about it at the moment so fretting over it serves no purpose. 

While it’s no secret that the crypto market isn’t exactly rational, I think there’s a lot of people who don’t understand why. The market isn’t irrational because of marketing, or whales, or scams, or immaturity, or pump and dumps; the market is irrational because there is no substance behind it. Not a single crypto project has a fully working product. Not a single project has all the infrastructure and support needed to provide a complete solution that will make this crypto revolution possible. Not a single project has achieved anything close to even regional mass adoption let alone national or global mass adoption. The market is irrational because it’s based on promises, it’s 100% percent speculation. And most speculators are stupid. Really, really stupid. They don’t understand the tech, they don’t know how to research, they follow trends and chase others, they sell in a panic, and worst of all, they let others do their thinking for them. The market is dominated by people who simply want to get rich quick, and since there’s no substance to the market, there’s no way to determine actual practical value which in turn means that price is instead determined by idiots. 

Once you understand this, it becomes a little easier to cope with Dash’s poor market performance. Dash is the true market leader when it comes to adoption, utility, integrations, and support infrastructure. Not only do we have the most developed infrastructure, but we also have the most developed protocol. We’re so close to providing a truly revolutionary system, it makes me tingle. We can scale. Our transactions already work like cash. Our network is incentivized to grow. We have all the essentials in place, it’s just a matter of flushing them out. Don’t lose sight of how much further ahead we are than other projects when it comes to development and adoption; this will be reflected in the market in due time. And don’t forget about the DIF! Once it gets up to speed, it’s going to bring so much value back to the network it will be insane. 

Before I get to my last point, let me clarify that I do recognize that, for a number of reasons, the price of Dash is very important. First, the price of Dash directly correlates to how much capital we can use to fund the various teams building Dash. The more value we can put into our teams, the faster and further we can expand as a project. Second, the lower the price, especially relative to the rest of the market, the less exposure and interest we get. The less exposure we get, the harder it will be to attract new partners.  And third, a low price disincentivizes spending which in turn hurts adoption. If people aren’t spending crypto, there’s no reason for retailers to accept crypto. So yes, we clearly need the price of Dash to improve. 

My final point – why did you get into crypto? While there’s nothing wrong with taking a risk with your money in order to improve your worth, if you don’t have a more ideological reason behind your motives, you’re going to be all the more stressed out when the price tanks. But if you got into crypto in order to improve the world, to free people from economic tyranny, and to empower the individual, then it becomes easier to ride out these market depressions so long as development and adoption continues to progress. The price of Dash may be down significantly and we may have fallen in market rankings, but our development and adoption is moving ahead at breakneck speed. Nothing is being developed and growing like Dash. And if this is happening in a crypto winter, imagine what will happen when we have another bull run. We’re simply going to roll over anything and everything that gets in our way. We are going to absolutely dominate. 

So to sum up: we are still in the earliest of stages of the crypto revolution and Dash is especially well built to survive this war of attrition. Don’t worry, we’ll be fine! To quote the wonderful Mark Mason – stay positive, stay humble, and most importantly, stay Dashy!

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