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Dash Community Q&A

March 29, 2018

Hello Dash Community,

Lots of questions arose from the Dash community following the Q4 call, and the Core Team wanted to take this opportunity to address these. We pulled as many questions as we could find from the Dash Forum, Discord and SubReddit, and provided answers to each of them below. We hope you find these helpful as we continue towards our mission to deliver the world’s premier peer-to-peer payments network.

I. Community & Communication

Is it that hard to hire/delegate one person from the Core Team just for the purpose of interaction with the community?

It is not hard to hire / delegate one person from the Core Team just for the purpose of interaction with the community, but we do not believe doing so would be effective. The difficulty is not in appointing a person to communicate with the community, but rather to ensure that person remains informed about everything that the community may want to know. To produce Evolution, we have are evolving our protocol, and also our business. We have new teams, and new challenges as we scale. We are learning as we work our way through this. We acknowledge that we need to put out more information to the community, and this Q&A is part of our efforts to do so. Instead of designating one person, we believe communication should be a company wide initiative and are taking steps to empowering team members to converse more frequently with the community.

What is the single best and most reliable avenue or and person for the community to reach out to Core with questions?

We plan to repeat this Q&A process each month. One person in the team will collect a series of unanswered questions from our various discussion outlets and have the team answer them.

If the core team doesn’t want to communicate and provide solid updates after 2 years, to ensure their secrets are safe, then eventually investors will start to exit their positions to reduce their risk profile just in case Evolution never shows its face. Hasn’t anyone noticed how much great news we have had yet we continued to drop to #12? Once we drop out of top 20 it’s going to be extremely hard to claw our way back.

At Dash, our goal is to provide people a better way to pay, not to increase the price of the Dash price in relation to other cryptocurrencies. That means focusing on delivering product. While it is true that Dash has dropped in the market cap list, market capitalization as a metric does not fully measure the value of a cryptocurrency the same way as a traditional share.

Who would spear head and can we get support from core to have a full time communications and support team that would be dedicated to updating our development status as well as customer and merchant support?

As stated in a previous question, we believe communication should be a company wide initiative and are taking steps to facilitate more open discussion between our team members and our community. Regarding a support team, we have been testing a helpdesk for a few months now with the help of a couple people from the community. They have been solving tickets from users and merchants with great effectiveness. It has not been announced before because we needed to keep it small while we learn. We are currently growing the team so we can launch this program at scale.

Is this level of opaque development and announcing new features like collateralized mining only to abandon them without comment going to continue?

Dash Core Group values stability, predictability, and comfort as well as transformation, flexibility, & adaptability. Finding this balance is not easy. Software development is an environment fraught with change. Discomfort with change is common, and that’s why teams who deal with change well, and adapt in an agile manner, are more likely to succeed.

Back when we had a smaller and more close knit community, ideas might have been released somewhat prematurely without allocation of actual people to work on them. The idea behind collateralized mining isn’t completely abandoned. Originally it was thought up to solve certain problems and give more control to the masternode network and away from miners who could potentially attack the network without a stake in Dash. We still plan to try to find a way to address this problem, just at a time when we have the resources and brainpower to commit to it.

II. Core Team

How satisfied is core with the growth rate of the team to date? How much growth do we expect to see in 2018?

Dash the cryptocurrency was released in 2014. Dash Core Group was incorporated in 2017. In those three years Dash went from a small team of volunteers to over 75 employees. Overall we believe that we are taking the right steps to “fold-in” all the new team members as quickly and efficiently as possible.

As far as Github commit access (including Evolution’s private repo), sporks, and other essential access, is there a contingency plan to pass these on in case of a catastrophe befalling the Core team so that Dash continues on without losing years of development work?

As we stated in the previous Quarterly Call, we have implemented several ways to avoid losing any bits of code. This is why there are already 42 people (mostly devs) on the GitHub private organisation. We think that this has lowered this risk to near zero.

As Core rapidly grows, would it make sense to decouple other functions of Core?

There are two definition of Core: The Dash Core Group (all of us), and the Core Team, which mostly works on the core software. Dash Core Group is already decoupled to some degree. We have multiple teams working on different things, syncing with each other as needed. Examples include: the Core Team, Mobile Team, DAPI Team, Drive Team, Frontend/UI/UX Team, Integrations Team, Business Development Team, and the Legal Team. The Core Team, responsible for the development of the core Dash software (dashd, dash-qt, …) is just one of these teams. Most work of this team is currently Open Source and contributions are welcome from everyone. The parts that are not Open Source at the moment will become Open Source in the future. Large parts of this will become Open Source before other parts of Evolution are released. This is to ensure enough review and discussion occurs before deployment, and ensures the deployment itself is effective.

There are also efforts from outside of Dash Core Group to establish independent DAOs. For example, the Dash Embassy D-A-CH DAO concentrates on adoption, integration, marketing and support in the German speaking market. We fully encourage such development, but the community must understand that we can’t put as many resources into these DAOs as we put into our own teams and entities. Long term, these external DAOs must be able to fully function independently, with their own funding and structures.

Once the DAPI is live, are there any long term plans to decouple Evolution from the main Core team? Perhaps this would allow a competitive environment, encouraging alternative wallets / interfaces to be built with the DAPI.

Evolution is a code name that refers to an upgrade of the Dash protocol. This upgrade will update the Core, add Drive, and API into the protocol. In that sense, DAPI would not be decoupled. Alternative wallets, interfaces, and DAPs (Decentralized Application Protocols) are assumed to be part of the future for the Dash Evolution Platform, built with the DAPI & the DAPI SDK.

III. Technology
We received many great questions around technological aspects of Dash – so many, in fact, that we felt many of them merited a separate blog post. The team is working on this blog post outside of this update, so please stay tuned for a more tech-focused update soon.

Why is PrivateSend still such a slow, expensive, and unreliable user experience even after Evan claimed PrivateSend’s problems were all fixed (back when Masternode blinding was supposedly “done” many years ago)?

While we are constantly working on improving various factors that contribute to the Private Send experience, a limiting factor is the number of participants required in order to mix funds. We are currently working on strong consensus based solutions that will allow Private Send to be used in SPV wallets. At that point, accessibility will be strongly improved, which should lead to improved speed and overall user experience.

Unfortunately, privacy always degrades the system in some way. An attempt to implement Masternode blinding was indeed made; however, it was decided not to continue down that path because it was incompatible with the requirements for Evolution for this reason. While there are still ways to satisfy both Masternode Blinding and DAPI we decided to come back to this discussion once Evolution was a mature product.

Should Dash be worried about Quantum computing?

Dash Core Group recognizes that this technology has the potential to disrupt more than just the 11 algorithms used to secure the Dash network, but all algorithms used to secure all networks. We are partnering with the ASU Blockchain Research Lab on scaling, and future options for network capabilities. Together, we are monitoring the situation as best as we can, and if we discover developments that could potentially affect us, we will likely raise a flag, reflect, and take action.

Assuming proof-of-work continues to become less sustainable as the network grows, does Dash Core have a plan to switch to a different consensus mechanism such as proof-of-stake or proof-of-activity?

The assumption that proof-of-work will become less sustainable as the network grows has neither been proven nor is the current view inside the core team. The proof-of-work model is proven and based on an economy of supply and demand for power. Proof of stake has some shortcomings when it comes to economics, as demonstrated by early coins that adopted it.

We however have near term plans for implementing a strong proof of service system as an additional layer for all Masternode related services and rewards. This is not meant as a consensus mechanism, but rather as a security mechanism to ensure a functioning and honest Masternode network.

IV. Product & Roadmap

Is it possible to have a “dynamic roadmap” updated every month with new information, as well as completed milestones “checked off” so that the community does not miss important completed developments?

We are in the process of standardizing product development, as well as hiring a CTO. Our delivery team is working with external consultants on the implementation of agile development methods. One of the very first steps defined in this process is the creation of a “master backlog”, led by our Product Owners and Architects. The Master backlog will contain prioritized high level requirements, epics and user stories that define the Dash products (Evolution). Definition of a master backlog will allow us to optimize the development roadmap and include high level milestones. We plan to continue to publish the monthly progress report to give the community insight into these items as we evolve.

How is Dash going to compete with the nearly zero fees and nearly instant confirmation times of much Bitcoin’s Lightning Network (which doesn’t require paying Masternodes)?

The strength of our governance model and our self-funding treasury system will ensure we will be able to compete against crypto coins offering services with similarly quick and inexpensive transactions. We are an active protocol which is able to invest in our partnerships and proactively grow the ecosystems through ongoing partnership management and marketing/promotion. This sets us apart from more passive protocols who are more reactionary by nature and rely on donations of money and resources in order to grow their networks.

Will Evolution have a merchant app store?

We are still determining the various ways to deploy Evolution components.

What Dash Evolution features promised by 2017 are now released?

None. We failed to estimate accurately. We’re taking steps to prevent such mistakes from happening again by reorganizing our teams and introducing more predictable delivery methodologies, such as the agile practices mentioned above.

Will a multi currency evolution wallet implementation be possible?

This is currently being evaluated and prioritized for version 13 or the following release.

Will Evolution allow for scheduled payments?

This is currently being evaluated and prioritized for version 13 or the following release.

What’s Evolution’s recovery process for lost passwords?

Lost passwords are not expected to be recoverable. The mnemonic phrase that generates a user’s private keys should be backed up immediately upon wallet or blockchain user account creation. At this time, it is expected that using your private key backup, you can “re-import” your account, and reset your password this way automatically.

Will we have an Android and IOS SDK after Evolution comes out?

The first version will be web-based. We expect to be working to port the first functioning version of the web-based SDK into popular platforms and frameworks once the design and implementations are solidified and functioning in production environments. We are also considering offering code-bounties for this work. If you would like to contribute, please reach out to us!

Is Dash Evolution being delayed? And will we see a beta in 2018?

We are not actively or purposefully delaying the delivery of Dash Evolution. We are aiming for a Q3 release.

Has anyone seen what PayPal have put forward? Instant and friendly transactions? Could that be a real threat to evo?

Our goal at Dash is to provide people a better way to pay, which means faster and more affordably. In the crypto and blockchain space, that means providing a more friendly user experience. Paypal is a competitor. Instant and friendly transactions are competitive features. Paypal and others will also be able to create user friendly experiences.

When comparing ourselves against a competitor, we look at the entire value chain and how competitors solve problems. Our problem is that payments take too long and cost too much. In Paypal’s case, they are narrowing the gap for consumers, but not for merchants. If you receive money for goods or services (such as from selling an item on eBay), the fee for each transaction is 2.9% plus $0.30 USD of the amount you receive. With Dash, the fee for each transaction is set at the cost of an InstantSend transaction or standard transaction (a few cents). As a centralized company, Paypal will struggle with being able to compete by reducing profit margins. Because Dash is decentralized and peer-to-peer, Dash will retain an edge with instant transactions and micro-fees.

V. Partners & Exchanges

Does core plan on officially providing technical assistance to atomic swap exchanges much like they support centralized exchanges? Is this a priority now or will it become a priority?

Dash Core Group, Inc. is providing assistance with Dash integration to partners that bring value and scale to the network. If atomic swap exchanges are bringing tangible value to the Dash network, we will be working with their teams the same way as we work with other partners.

When it comes to priorities, Business Development’s focus is less on smaller individual merchants, and more on larger channel partners to enable rapid growth at scale (for example, a single integration with GoCoin provides access to 500 merchants).

Is Dash considering any strategic partnerships/integrations with other crypto’s?

Dash Core Group is likely to consider partnerships with long-standing institutions. We do not expect to fund startups or new project ventures. However, the Masternode Network is free to fund whichever projects it sees fit.

Is there a plan to create a merchant support team? Again currently fragmented and not easily discovered.

Merchants are a key customer segment for Dash to grow. Merchant onboarding is a much needed support service. With Evolution, we will be building out clear documentation and services to enable potential merchants to integrate Dash with ease.

What’s happening with Alt36? Any updates?

Dash Core Group, Inc. is not tracking or reporting on other Dash Masternode funded projects at this time. Please direct specific network-funded project questions to the respective project owners.

What’s the best option for exchanging fiat for Dash?

“Best” is different for every person, and every fiat. The generally available options are:

VI. Proposals & Projects

What is Core’s policy of acting as escrow for proposals? In cases where this is the best avenue, who would the point of contact be for Core-stewarded escrow?

We provide escrow service to any proposal owner that requests it. We only filter for obvious problems like gross incompetence or obvious harm to the network. The filter is intentionally loose because we don’t want to be arbiters; we are only providing escrow as a service to the network to correct for lack of accountability once the proposal has been paid. The ones that should be deciding are the Masternode owners when voting. For that reason, we make it very clear that escrow doesn’t imply endorsement.

In the long run, we would probably prefer to let professional escrow companies to step in and provide this service to the network, while Dash Core Group would stay focused on product development and support.

Regarding the best point of contact for this service, we have been sharing this responsibility between our CEO, CMO, and Head of Business Development. However, our new CFO will likely take on this responsibility once fully onboarded.

Since Core proposals usually pass overwhelmingly and request a respectable amount of funding, is it possible for the community to receive a “heads up” a few weeks in advance that a proposal is planned that cycle so as to leave room in the budget?

Unfortunately, we don’t always know the specifics weeks in advance. We try to communicate as much as possible, as early as possible – and with our new CFO, we expect improvements in this front – but anyone doing a proposal needs to know that he or she may need to compete for the funds.

Dash Core Group has not been requesting much funds in the last few cycles because the rise in price through 2017 made it unnecessary, but that will not always be the case.

What measures are being taken, so that business projects financed by the Dash treasury can give an ROI to the community?

We can only speak to the business projects by Dash Core Group. (There are many others being financed by the treasury that have little to do with us.) It is worth mentioning that ROI implies a monetary return on an investment. Since the network doesn’t receive payment from any project,the concept can’t be applied in a traditional way. We analyze whether the benefits to the network are commensurate with amount spent, and evaluate the opportunity cost of not realizing those benefits.

Does Dash Core Group’s escrow service, lead to centralization?

No, there is no such threat as Dash Core Group is only one of the actors that do escrow in the ecosystem, and it is not compulsory. Therefore everyone is free to do proposals without escrow, or with someone else’s escrow. It is also worth mentioning that Dash Core Group provides the escrow service free of charge, providing our internal resources to maintain the process. In the long run, we would probably prefer to let professional escrow companies to step in and provide this service to the network, so Dash Core Group may stay focused on product development and support.

VII. Legal

How is Dash going to handle the regulatory crackdown coming due to it being marketed as an investment in a common enterprise (triggering the Howey test)?

Dash is not being marketed as an investment and there is no enterprise selling it, so there is no way it can be considered a security using the criteria in the Howey test.

Can we have more information about the patent being filed?

The patent was filed in early March. Now that we are legally protected, we will start releasing information in the Spring. Please refer to our recent press release for more information.

Thank you,
Dash Core Group