By Michael Scott
In the rapidly evolving cryptocurrency world, where bitcoin is the undisputed leader, a number of other digital assets are seeing their reputations soar. One in particular that is garnering attention of late is Dash.
Dash is an open-source project that provides safe, decentralized financial solutions. Similar to digital cash, it can be spent easily and instantly online and at merchants and service providers worldwide.
Fueled by a series of recent strategic developments, Dash’s token valuation soared approximately 800 percent recently. Its built-in governance and funding system allows projects to be proposed and voted on by the community and, if approved, paid for directly from the blockchain. As a result, Dash is rapidly emerging as a popular alternative to bitcoin, with a market cap of almost $6 billion.
In April 2017, Dash’s director of finance, Ryan Taylor, was appointed as CEO of the Dash Core Project shortly after Dash founder Evan Duffield indicated his intent to transition to an advisory role, officially departing from his extensive day-to-day duties. This appointment was unanimously agreed upon by Duffield and the Dash Core team, the democratically elected body responsible for the development, marketing and expansion of the Dash ecosystem.
Taylor has been a key contributor to Dash since mid-2014. He left a traditional Wall Street career in March 2016 to join Dash Core full-time and has been instrumental in helping to accelerate Dash’s progress in becoming a blockchain industry leader and global payments network. Before joining Dash, Taylor was a hedge fund analyst covering a global stable of payments industry investments for the private equity and public market funds of a $20 billion investment firm based in New York. He also previously served as an associate partner in the McKinsey & Company’s Business Technology Office in New York.
During an interview with Taylor, he spoke about the past, present and future evolution of Dash.
What do you attribute to Dash’s rise in value?
Dash’s rapid growth … coincided with the introduction of our governance model, which uniquely features the first self-funding treasury in digital currency. The Dash network is able to directly fund a multitude of projects and entities that are helping to grow our network’s utility. As Dash’s market capitalization continues to grow, this treasury continues to increase in value, creating a powerful feedback loop. At our current scale, we already have the largest development team in all of digital currency and we’re funding integrations into dozens of end-user services. Over time, this is allowing Dash to rapidly differentiate its product and ecosystem.
What do you say to those who assert that Dash is now in a competitive arms race with Bitcoin and will eventually overtake it?
We don’t plan Dash’s resources on the basis of what Bitcoin’s benefactors are contributing. Dash is pursuing its own vision for what a digital currency should be and the user experience it should provide. In order to deliver an experience that will make digital currency easy to use, it just so happens that a lot of work needs to go into re-architecting the way Bitcoin’s original code base functions. An arms race also implies that the number of resources is all that’s important. However, we think that having all efforts directed toward a unified strategy and ensuring those efforts are directed toward functionality that end users care about is far more important than the sheer number of developers. This is something that Dash does exceedingly well thanks to its clear vision and effective governance model.
Where geographically is Dash seeing its highest levels of adoption?
As with most digital currencies, it is impossible to say where each of our users are located, but most indications are that North America and Europe are our largest markets. Other geographies are less developed, with more modest representation in key markets for digital currencies such as China and Brazil. We’ve been working very hard to expand into new geographies over the past year, and are beginning to see inroads, which is becoming easier as our track record of success continues extending.
Like all digital currencies today, our demographics remain heavily weighted toward those you would find with Bitcoin, which include many male, libertarian and tech-oriented people.
What would you say is the biggest misconception about Dash?
Many people still believe that Dash is a one-trick pony, whose only differentiating feature is enhanced privacy. In reality, Dash is the first to focus on fixing the many shortcomings of first-generation digital currencies … things like governance, funding, transaction speed and privacy. With all of those fundamental issues solved, Dash is now focused on improving the overall user experience. Privacy is important, but it’s not the only thing users care about. They want ease of use, an ecosystem of useful services relevant to their lives, and support resources to help them navigate this new technology. Dash is uniquely positioned to provide those things.
What sort of emerging trends will inform the strategic direction of Dash moving forward?
A strategy is not something that should change often, and we feel that our current strategy for reaching a mass audience of users is as relevant as ever. That said, we are constantly evaluating the landscape of other projects for great ideas that can help support our strategy or create improvements to our planned features. We tend to pay attention to advancements that can affect the user experience.
Finally, what is Dash’s long-term vision?
Becoming a world-class digital currency platform and payment network is only the first step in our long-term vision. When you start looking out several years into the future, Dash is uniquely positioned to extend our services into numerous adjacencies to provide our users and merchants a growing array of valuable services including merchant loyalty programs, purchase protection programs or even end-user financial services. The possibilities are extensive. Over time, you’ll see Dash expanding to provide both merchants and consumers with complementary services that deliver more than the sum of their parts. Exciting times are ahead.