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Solving Dash’s Existential Crisis With PoW

During the recent open house, Ryan Taylor presented what he considered to be an existential crisis to the Dash network, namely how miners during a market downturn increase the supply of Dash when people are wanting to sell, and during a market upturn, decrease the supply when people are wanting to buy. While this affects all PoW coins to some extent, the fact that Dash has such a large percentage of our existing coins tied up in masternodes, the effect is compounded and makes Dash even more volatile than our competitors. During a bull run, this effect isn’t so bad as most everyone benefits from a surging price, but during a market downturn, this effect can be devastating as it leads to not just prices falling faster than the rest of the market, but also causes a loss of confidence in the project, creating an ugly downward spiral. 

Ryan presented several options to mitigate this effect including reducing rewards and even eliminating mining altogether and moving to another block production system such as Proof of Stake. I’ve always been in the camp of “if it’s not PoW, it’s not real money” and I have a number of concerns about PoS which is why I want to bring this idea to the DAO. What I am proposing  is a way for Dash to remain PoW while not only reducing our mining reward and the accompanying volatility but actually improving our security as well. 

Simply put, the Dash DAO needs to control the security protecting our network. There are four stages to this process. 

Stage 1: Create the Framework

The DAO creates a new DFO called Dash Mining (DM). DM incorporates and issue all shares to a newly created trust similar to the Dash DAO Irrevocable Trust. Also similar to the DDIT, the network will elect a board of Trust Protectors to oversee the Dash Mining organization. 

Stage 2: Publicly Announce the Decrease of the Miner Reward

There are two purposes for publicly announcing the reward decrease (beyond the initial reasoning presented by Ryan): to make mining Dash unprofitable and to cause the price of X11 miners to drop and their development to slow. The amount the price drops and development rate slows will depend upon how low the miner reward is dropped. I haven’t run any numbers (not that I would know how if I tried), but I would go so far as to drop the mining reward all the way down to 1% to have maximum effect.

Stage 3: Dash Mining Buys the Discounted X11 Mining Equipment

Once the price of X11 miners have dropped significantly, the Dash Mining corporation will buy up just as many miners as necessary to keep Dash the top X11 coin. Any remaining miners not purchased by DM will simply sit idle and won’t be a threat to be used against us because an attacker would still have to circumnavigate Chainlocks. The financial cost of trying to 51% attack Dash with Chainlocks with the remaining unpurchased miners simply wouldn’t be worth it. Also, the unpurchased miners could serve as future supply as the DM miners naturally break down over time. 

The funds for purchasing the depreciated miners can either come directly from the treasury or from the now undistributed mining reward. If the total mining reward remains at 45% but only 1% is actually given to miners, the rest can be diverted to Dash Mining to be used to purchase the mining equipment. Then once Dash Mining has acquired the necessary hardware to secure the network, the total 45% can be reduced and redistributed to another network entity or even simply eliminated. 

Stage 4: Dash Mining opens X11 mining facilities

Now that Dash Mining has acquired an adequate amount of mining equipment to secure the network, they will open mining facilities in multiple locations around the world. By placing these mining facilities around the world, the risk of government co-option is greatly reduced. The facilities ideally would be located in countries like Venezuela where the electricity is extremely cheap and the labor is affordable. As a side benefit, the mining facilities will provide a source of capital to the region as there will be a need to hire people to manage the facilities. 

What Dash Ends Up With

Unprofitable mining. By making Dash mining unprofitable, we end up being in control of our own security. No more relying on mining pools who’s interests aren’t necessarily aligned with Dash, no waiting on unresponsive mining farms to update their software, and no more threat of government takeover. The fact that a significant portion of Dash’s current hashrate is controlled by two pools in China is unsettling as it puts all that much pressure on Chainlocks to function without fail. 

Less money leaving the Dash network. While the initial costs would be high, once the development of X11 miners slows or outright ceases, the equipment DM buys will last much longer. There will no longer be fierce competition for scarce mining rewards driving the need to upgrade hardware all the time. 

A shift in motive from profit to security. Currently, in PoW systems, security is a byproduct of earning profit. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with earning a profit (and it’s possible that DM could be profitable by offering other services such as MN hosting), by greatly reducing the ability to profit, the motive of the miners shifts to be more inline with the rest of the network. 

Less wasteful distribution of new coins. As the overall mining reward is reduced, we can either reduce our inflation rate or redistribute those funds to other areas of the network where they would be better served. Our current structure is grossly overpaying for a level of security we no longer need since the advent of Chainlocks. The newly created coins could be used in a manner that’s much more beneficial to the DAO. 

A reliable and proven method of producing blocks. Despite all the models of PoS and other methods of producing blocks, PoW is still the most reliable and proven. Nothing has a better track record of reliably producing blocks than PoW. I don’t think we should subject the network to the known and undiscovered risks of less proven model. 

Increased price stability. In line with Ryan’s thoughts, we will be eliminating the yo-yo effects that high-reward mining causes as there will be no pressure to sell rewards in a down market and to hold rewards in an up market.  

Less alienation of the Dash community. While this idea is certainly controversial, it is less controversial than moving to PoS. Everybody in Dash is already comfortable with PoW; PoS not so much, myself included. Also, making a drastic change to our foundational layer is not a good signal to outside investors. 

Decreasing environmental harm. While I’ve never been one to worry about the energy consumption of PoW mining, there are many who do. By running the same hardware longer, we will not be increasing our energy consumption beyond what it is now. 

Criticisms

When I put out some feelers on this idea, I came across two primary criticisms. The first is that this solution would be expensive. This statement is true in the short term as it would cost a significant amount of money to buy an adequate number of miners, even at highly discounted prices, but in the long run it would save us money as the frequency of having to upgrade the hardware would fall drastically. Also, mining is still an essential layer of our security as Chainlocks are still new and not thoroughly tested. We need to have something reliable to fall back on in the case Chainlocks fails. What is the price of security?  

The other major criticism I heard was that this is a highly centralized solution. I think that’s very debatable. While this would be a singular entity overseeing Dash’s base layer of security, it is a Dash DAO owned entity. Is that centralized? I argue no, that it’s just another organization under the fully decentralized umbrella of the Dash DAO with direct oversight by the MNO’s. Also, our mining is currently very centralized and at much more risk of being compromised than what I’m proposing.

Conclusion

While I didn’t agree with all aspects of Ryan’s presentation, I greatly appreciated his thoughts and insights and felt like an obfuscating veil was lifted. I finally feel like I have the missing element I needed to understand why Dash has been performing so poorly. While it was a sobering presentation, it was also empowering. He identified some major problems; now it’s up to us as a community to solve those problems. I believe my idea achieves this. It fixes the broken economics of our current system yet manages to actually improve our security, all without radically altering the core of our network. 

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What the Dash DAO Can Learn From Black Metal

The other night I was watching the youtube channel “The Punk Rock MBA” with Finn McKenty. McKenty’s channel is a really interesting hardcore music channel presented from a marketing perspective. In his video “Why Do People Like Black Metal?”, he made some points I found surprisingly relevant for the Dash DAO. While I’m not going to insult anyone’s intellect by trying to claim that Dash and black metal are analogous, there are reasons why black metal is popular and I think we can learn from them. 

Tribalism Is A Marketing Tactic

McKenty’s first main point in his video is about how black metal capitalized on the tribal nature of people to build a movement. If you aren’t aware, black metal is an extreme form of metal music where the practitioners wear spikes and leather, paint their faces in corpse-paint, and use overtly satanic and occult imagery, and their music consists of screaming vocals, tremolo guitar picking, and very high tempo drumming. Their sound and image is very identifiable, and like it or not, people are drawn to the extreme and that which stands out. Black metal is not really my cup of tea but a lot of people like it and identify with it. They have built a very recognizable tribe. 

Tribalism is generally denounced in the greater crypto community, which is understandable. Tribalism can lead to intolerance, toxicity, and outright hatred. It can lead to intellectual and emotional inbreeding. People can envelop themselves with the tribe so thoroughly that they put the tribe ahead of everything, even basic morality. However, tribalism has many benefits too; there’s a reason that people have been forming tribes since the beginning of time. Tribes provide safety and protection to members, they hold members accountable for their actions, and they create a necessary barrier of entry by vetting members before acceptance. We form tribes in all aspects of our life. They are inevitable and we need to embrace them, not denounce them. 

Since tribalism is so integral to humankind, it can harnessed as a marketing tactic. It creates an “us against them” sort of bond within the community, and if there’s an ideological reason for the existence of the tribe, it’s also something to rally behind. In the case of black metal, the movement’s genesis was a response to the stagnating death metal scene where increasingly more derivative and uninspired music and bands were being robotically churned out. Where death metal was becoming overly technical and over-produced, black metal did the opposite by putting out lo-fi music and giving general musical ambiance precedence over technicality. They also eschewed the common street clothes worn by death metallers and instead wore the extreme clothes I mentioned above. Basically, they rejected what was popular and did the complete opposite. Black metal positioned itself as the saviors of the greater extreme metal genre, and since people are naturally drawn to champions of cause, a tribal community emerged and became a point of focus for marketing their movement. 

Like black metal, Dash can position itself as a savior. Where projects like Bitcoin are abandoning their original intent of p2p currency and bleating out economic nonsense like “store of value IS its utility”, Dash has stayed true to Satoshi’s vision. We’ve never lost sight of the end goal, namely upending the global system of centralized economic control and providing an alternative built around the individual’s ability to own and control their finances, and thus their life. That’s a very powerful message that we can grow our tribe around. 

Storytelling and Characters

The absurdity of black metal and its community naturally creates and attracts very strong characters. While most of these characters aren’t exactly the type you want to introduce to your family, they nonetheless are compelling. They are so extreme in their presentation and behavior that they’re impossible to ignore. This is what other crypto’s have and what Dash lacks: “extreme” personalities leading their respective communities (though certainly not to the same degree of extreme as the black metallers). There is no extreme personality in Dash that people can gravitate to. 

As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, since Dash is a DAO, we’re naturally resistant to strong central figures of seeming authority. Even Ryan Taylor, the CEO of DCG and closest thing we have to a central leader, shows great deference to the network. However, while an extreme personality surviving the DAO is unlikely, we as individual members of the DAO can be the extreme personalities in our regular world and achieve the same results but in a more decentralized manner. In whatever world you live in, be an extreme personality. Be impossible to ignore and then use that to draw attention to Dash. Find whatever systematic parts of your world that are broken, be outspoken about them, and use the conversational opportunities you’ve created to introduce Dash as a solution. 

Be Genuinely Different

The last of Mckenty’s points that I want to discuss is about differentiating oneself. Not to state the obvious, but you can’t be a leader if you’re like everyone else. In this the great battle for crypto supremacy, we’re all trying to present ourselves as being the best. We brag about decentralization, we talk about about who has the fastest transactions, about who can scale, who has the best privacy, etc. The problem with this approach though is that nobody outside of crypto cares. And why does nobody care? The hard truth is that nobody cares because nobody uses crypto. Actual, real world retail usage of crypto accounts for 0% of the global economy. It doesn’t matter if your project has the best product if nobody is using any project’s products. 

If nobody is using crypto and doesn’t care that we’re the best product, we are wasting our resources marketing ourselves as such. I think we need to scale back that approach and do the opposite; we need to instead personify the DAO and show how we’re saving the world. For example, it’s not the Dash cryptocurrency system that enables a decentralized charity in Venezuela, it’s the Dash DAO feeding hungry school kids. It’s not the Dash cryptocurrency system that facilitates payment rails in the unbanked cannabis industry, it’s the Dash DAO fighting back against an immoral and tyrannical drug war. It’s not the Dash cryptocurrency system that enables instant transactions on and off exchanges because of InstantSend technology, it’s the Dash DAO empowering you to make more money faster. We need to harness the uniqueness of the DAO and present it as a savior. This will allow us to stand out in a crowded field of clones and bad projects. 

Conclusion

To date, Dash’s marketing efforts have been fruitless. We’ve been at this for nearly six years and our reputation within the crypto community still doesn’t match reality and we’re essentially unknown in the so called “real” world. We need to stop the “me too” mentality of promoting ourselves as being the best and instead say “Hey, look at us, we’re saving the world. Join us or die” We need to make the Dash DAO impossible to ignore. 

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Adding Structure to the Dash DAO

What I want to start a discussion on is adding structure to the DAO in order to improve efficiencies and our chance of success. First, to be abundantly clear, the structure I’m proposing would be entirely voluntary. There would be no change to the protocol or anything of the sort. The MN’s would still be voting to disperse treasury money as they do now. Anyone in the world would still be free to submit their own proposal directly to the network. Also, I’m primarily talking about adoption and outreach programs; there are many potential DFO’s that wouldn’t be well served by this structure. 

What I’m proposing specifically is organizing the various outreach and adoption programs into hierarchical teams in a Division -> Region -> Area -> Locale format such as LatAm ->South America -> Venezuela -> Caracas where each team is answerable to the team superior to them. Instead of each individual team putting in their own proposals, the Division team would put in a single proposal and would then distribute those funds to all the sub-teams as required. In order to keep this system accountable, the director or team of directors of the Division would be elected by the masternode network.

The biggest benefit of organizing in such a manner would be better focus and coordination. To date, Dash’s outreach and adoption efforts have been helter skelter, bordering on chaos, and the results so far have been moderately successful at best. Instead of throwing everything at the wall and hoping something sticks like what’s being done now, a structured organization will be able to develop a comprehensive plan with tangible goals and then execute that plan. Since it will be easier to share resources and knowledge between not only local teams, but also teams on different continents as there will be a better structured flow of information, it will be far easier to execute the plan on a global level.  

By structuring in a regional manner, we’ll be able to quickly respond to rapidly changing market conditions all the way down to the local level. If one of our initiatives gets a nibble, resources can easily be shifted to it so the initiative can be developed more aggressively. Conversely, if a market suddenly dries up due to government regulations, change in sentiment, or another solution taking hold, we can more quickly reallocate those funds to a region where they’ll have a greater impact. 

An area that I think that Dash struggles with currently is brand cohesion and awareness. With our current organization, or lack thereof, it’s very hard to develop a consistent and recognizable brand. By adding some structure to the DAO, we can more easily create a congruent brand image that we can disseminate down to teams and adjust according to their regional needs. Not only will this improve our image, it will relieve some of the burden of smaller teams having to create their own marketing campaigns allowing them to focus on other needs. 

Every team in the Dash DAO submitting their own proposal isn’t scalable. If the price stays low enough where the the proposal fee isn’t an insurmountable burden, the MN network may become overwhelmed with proposals. And if the price rises significantly, only large projects will be able to afford the proposal fee and small projects will fall by the wayside. By distributing the funds in a hierarchical manner, it will be easier for smaller teams to acquire the funding needed for their project.

I think an underappreciated aspect of our lack of structure is how it leads to a lot of time and effort wasted by PO’s (proposal owners) fighting other PO’s for the scarce Dash the treasury doles out, which leads to bitterness and burnout and creates tribalism in the community. This sense of frustration is made doubly worse by the fact that PO’s have to go through the proposal process every month or three with no guarantee of funding even if they perform well. I’m sure most PO’s would rather spend their time working on Dash adoption rather than fighting for funding.  

Another benefit of creating a structure such as this is that it will ease the burden on the voting MNO’s. Reviewing all the proposals every month in order to make an informed vote isn’t easy and takes a fair amount of effort which leads to voting fatigue. If an MNO wants to make an informed vote, there is a lot of minutia they have to wade through. I think MNO’s could better serve the DAO by focusing on the big picture; let area managers worry about the details. 

Lastly, an advantage of this structured setup would be that bad actors can be removed without causing too much disruption. For example, recently George Donnelly of Dash LatAm let his ego get the better of him and he ragequit. Now his remaining team is scrambling to pick up the pieces and having to submit their own proposal if they want to continue. If we were structured as I’m proposing, George quitting wouldn’t have interrupted the work currently being done any more than a regional manager quitting in a normal business would (I’m not going to discuss the results of Dash LatAm’s efforts in this article, I’m merely using this as a means of illustrating my point). A voluntary hierarchical structure will bring much needed stability to the Dash DAO. 

Adding structure to the DAO clearly has some merit, but there’s a lot of questions that need to be answered. Is this centralization? If so, is centralization within a greater decentralized system a detriment? What is the risk of this structure becoming entrenched and entities in the structure losing their sense of accountability? How would we even implement structure if we wanted to? Is structure going to naturally arrive regardless of our efforts? I believe this topic needs to be discussed in more detail; I look forward to your questions and responses. 

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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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Targeting Guns

The originating idea behind the creation of cryptocurrency was to create a system that allowed people to take back control of their financial lives from centralized authoritarian institutions such as governments and banks. While the target audience is literally the entire world, there are certain marginalized segments of society that need this freedom sooner rather than later. “Normal” people living in North America, Europe, Japan, etc, don’t have a strong need for cryptocurrency yet as the current economic system generally works pretty well for them, but not everyone is “normal”. There are many people and groups who have beliefs or engage in behavior that the so called powers-that-be have deemed to be unsavory, and the number of people and groups who are being deemed as unsavory is increasing. These fringe people and groups are who we should be targeting for adoption. 

Among those being discriminated against is the gun community. There is increasing pressure by politicians and media against transaction processors such as Visa and MasterCard to stop processing gun sales. Google is demonetizing YouTube channels that feature guns and shooting. The mainstream news is hyper-focusing on violence where guns were used while completely ignoring the times when guns were used to stop violence. The gun community is under attack and this creates an opportunity for Dash. 

Guns sales are a huge business in the United States. According to the FBI, there were over 26 million background checks performed last year, which is a decent approximation of how many new guns were sold in retail establishments. While guns range in price from under $200 to well over $3000, I’m going to guess that the average gun sells for $800. That’s over $20 billion in sales per year. As I said, guns are a huge business in the US and Dash needs to capitalize on this by providing a way for them to escape this increasing discrimination. 

There are two primary groups within the gun community that I think we should target – YouTube personalities (guntubers) and retail stores. 

YouTube Gun Channels 

I think the easiest nut to crack will be the YouTube personalities as they are losing money right now thanks to Google taking away their ability to earn revenue from ads, forcing them to other platforms such as Patreon for their income. Most of these guys have to pay for their ammo and whatnot out of their own pocket, and when you’re a regular shooter, that gets expensive real quick. 

There are two avenues that I think we should explore when approaching guntubers. The first is simply getting them to accept Dash donations. The amount of work they would have to do upfront is minimal – they simply create a wallet and start including a QR code in their video descriptions and then make mention of Dash during their normal “please donate to my channel” spiel that most of them include in their videos. Then any donations they receive can easily be cashed out with Uphold or Coinbase, or spent with gift cards from eGifter, Bitrefill, etc. It’s very little work on their part to start bringing in a bit of extra income. It’s important to explain to them though that at this point in time, very few of their viewers will know anything about cryptocurrency, and even less about Dash, so it’s imperative that the guntuber knows to promote Uphold and Coinbase alongside their promotion of Dash in their request-for-donations spiel so that their viewers learn how easy it is to acquire and give Dash. People of the gun are ideologically driven and will make effort to support anything that is pro-gun. If they think donating Dash to their favorite channels will help, they’ll go out of their way to do so. 

The second avenue to promoting Dash to guntubers are sponsorships of their channels – give them Dash in exchange for promotion. I haven’t talked to any of the guntubers yet about this, but I don’t imagine that it would cost a lot of Dash to buy promotion time on their channels. I think it would be worth exploring the idea of putting in a proposal to the treasury for funds to sponsor some of the more popular gun channels. However, with the current price of Dash being so depressed, and with how tight the treasury currently is, I would wait until greener times before going down this path.

Gun Retailers

Getting gun retailers onboard is going to be tougher than getting guntubers onboard because right now, gun retailers are only under threat of losing their ability to transact, they haven’t actually lost that ability yet. So in this case, the approach would have to be more preparatory in nature, laying the foundation for when those restrictions do happen. I believe a strong relationship with the owners of the shop will have to be developed in order to get them interested as I don’t think some random guy walking into their shop pushing some crazy internet money will get much traction. 

I spoke with one of my local shop owners who is a “dot the i’s and cross the t’s” type of person and strictly adheres to the law, and to the best of his knowledge, there is no restriction on accepting alternative currencies, so I don’t think the legality of crypto is going to be a big roadblock. I think the biggest roadblock is getting them to integrate Dash payments into their current workflow. Unless we can get their current payment processor to accept Dash, which is highly unlikely at this point, the shop is going to have to run a second payment processing system concurrently to their primary system, and for how insignificant their Dash sales will be, I don’t see most shops wanting to put in the effort and deal with the headache of accepting Dash. The only shops who will put out that effort are the ones who are truly forward thinking but unfortunately the vast majority of gun shop owners are staunchly conservative. 

I think with gun retailers, we first need to establish a relationship and simply get them thinking about the looming threat and ways around it. Don’t expect them to sign up right away, it’s going to take time and effort on our part. With gun retailers, it’s about first laying a foundation.  As I said, most gun shop owners are very conservative, but many, if not most, have libertarian leanings. So with that in mind, appeal to their desire to defend and take back their freedom. While few of them are anarchist, they all pretty much agree that the federal government is too large and too controlling and has deviated significantly from the original intent of the founding of America. Explain to them how there can be no freedom without financial freedom, and financial freedom is not possible when the government controls the money and dictates what people can or cannot buy. Paint a picture of how Dash is a path to regaining the glory of early America, of getting back to our roots. The idea is to get them to want to accept Dash, not just accept it because they feel threatened. If they want Dash, they’ll promote it that much harder. 

If you’re a shooter, start talking to your favorite guntubers and retailers. Get them thinking about how Dash would be beneficial for not just them, but the entire industry. If you don’t know a lot about Dash, that’s OK, just start the discussion; you can always summon me or someone else from the Dash community to assist. In order to further this agenda, I’m going to create some documentation and templates on how best to promote Dash in the gun community; if you have any ideas and want to participate, hit me up, I’d love to hear from you. 

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The Problem With Dash’s Perception And How To Fix It – Part 1

Dash has a perception problem. We’ve been attacked relentlessly by trolls and FUDsters since the very beginning. I don’t think any other crypto project has had to endure the lies and twisted truths to the degree that we have. We’re accused of being a scam, of being trash, of being an insignificant clone, of being a shitcoin. It’s goddamn exhausting and it’s time to fix it. 

First, we need to identify why we are perceived so poorly; we can’t solve a problem if we don’t know the cause. While this is a complex issue with many facets that contribute to the problem, there are a few ideas in particular that I think need to be discussed. 

Cult of Personality 

Take a look at all of the (real) crypto’s ahead of us in market rankings – what do they have in common? Very strong and outspoken leaders, many of whom have turned into outright cult of personalities. Other than Bitcoin, all of these coins have one person you can identify as the de facto leader, the visionary. Ethereum has Vitalik Buterin, Bitcoin Cash has Roger Ver, Litecoin has Charlie Lee, EOS with Dan Larimer, Craig Wright with Bitcoin SV, Ricardo Spagni of Monero, etc. Bitcoin is a little different because its visionary and founder(s), Satoshi Nakamoto, isn’t known and disappeared many years ago. While I believe that Ryan Taylor, the CEO of DCG, is a terrific leader and has built a really solid foundation to grow from, he simply isn’t the leader of Dash, he’s the leader of DCG. That’s a fundamental difference from our competitors. The only person in Dash who could rightfully fulfill this role is Evan Duffield, the founder of Dash, but he isn’t interested, which is perfectly fitting because we’re a DAO. We’re aren’t just giving lip service to decentralization, we actually walk the talk.     

The immediate and direct effect of not having a centralized project leader is that our ability to control our narrative and get appropriate media coverage is diminished, which in turn hurts our valuation in a market based on hype, not fundamentals. Loud and brash garners more attention than quiet and dedicated. Our competitors can say whatever they want about us and we don’t have that strong personality to counter them and whom we can rally behind. There are a number of us who fight the FUD to the best of our abilities, but we’re not the leader of Dash; our messages don’t carry the weight and authority that a project leader does. 

Am I saying that we need a cult of personality to rally behind to be successful? No, absolutely not. Based on our ethos, a centralized leader really can’t exist, and if one ever comes to the forefront, be wary as that person is likely trying to rebuild Dash into their image for their personal gain. Instead of looking for a cheerleader, we have to do the opposite. We need to focus on utility instead of hype, deliverables instead of promises. The path to redeeming our perception is to deliver an amazing product and get it into the hands of so many people that we can’t be ignored and the FUD won’t matter. 

Unfortunately, this downside to this approach is that it’s slow and requires patience and dedication – we have to be the tortoise, not the hare. We need to play the long game. Dash is an unstoppable force, don’t ever forget that. One thing we can do right now though to make up for a lack of a distinct leader is to compensate with quantity. We need to mobilize as many people as we can to get the word out. We need more people willing to get into the trenches and fight the FUD and lies. Anytime someone spreads a lie about Dash, a dozen of us need to pop up and counter with facts and logic. It should be our goal that no lie or FUD of Dash is ever left uncontested. If you’re a Dash supporter and you aren’t active on social media – why not? We need you! 

To aid in the media battle, I will be creating a resource section on this site where I’ll develop and share articles and arguments you can use or direct people toward. 

Stay tuned for Part 2

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