What is Dash?
Reading time: 10 minutes
This article explains what Dash is, if Dash is an alternative to Bitcoin, how new Dash coins are created, what Masternodes are, what Dash price movement is like, an explanation of what Privatesend and Instantsend are, as well as the key ideas, features, advantages, and challenges facing Dash in the competitive cryptocurrency world.
Dash shares many features with Bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies: the main one being the ability to send a digital form of cash via the Internet. There are, however, some key differences between Dash and Bitcoin, including speed, cost and governance – with Dash coming out 'on-top' in all of those instances.
What is Dash?
Dash (DASH) is an open-source cryptocurrency that was launched in 2014. Dash offers user-friendly and scalable solutions ("open-source" means that technology and software is built, tested, and improved with user collaboration.) Both Dash and Bitcoin allow for online purchases, and work with blockchains that take care of each transaction (blockchain is the underlying logic behind cryptocurrencies, and provides a public ledger for all the transactions within the network.)
Similar to Bitcoin, Dash offers anonymity, as you are not required to disclose personal information (e.g. name and address). However, transactions are not public, which is a major difference with Bitcoin. Dash provides strong encryption features in order to make privacy possible on its blockchain, specifically, its 'PrivateSend' option (which we will cover later in this article).
The main difference with Monero, in turn, is that this is an extra option, rather than a built-in feature. Dash has worked on improving the field of cryptocurrencies in numerous ways. Simply put, Dash has worked intensively to improve upon Bitcoin's flaws.
Is Dash an Alternative to Bitcoin?
The simple answer is yes, and there are several alternatives to Bitcoin (also known as altcoins). Dash has managed to improve upon Bitcoin's original idea in multiple ways, including speed, cost, and governance. Let's review them one by one:
Speed: The transaction speed with Dash is incomparable to Bitcoin. Bitcoin transactions can take up to 10 minutes or more to confirm, while Dash manages to complete a similar transaction in only 4 seconds.
Costs: When it comes to costs, Dash manages to outperform Bitcoin by a large margin. Bitcoin transaction fees were around $6 in 2018. Dash managed to lower those fees drastically to less than half a US Dollar, although these fees can be expected to increase as more transactions take place.
Governance: Dash enables changes to be incorporated into the development of the coin, without the need for " hard forks". Bitcoin has encountered multiple hard forks (which is when two different solutions are implemented). Bitcoin Cash is an example of a different coin splitting itself off from the main Bitcoin offering. Dash manages this process via a voting system, which allows it to implement changes relatively quickly.
How are New Dash Coins Created?
The creation of new Dash coins is completed via the "mining" process, which is the usual method for cryptocurrencies to reward participants for recording blockchain transactions. The time required for Dash to mine one block is less than two and a half minutes. Newly created Dash coins are divided into three groups: miners, masternodes, and the development team:
- Miners: about 45% of the new coins are rewarded to miners as an incentive to ensure that enough computers are participating in the blockchain process.
- Masternodes: receive about 45% of the coins
- Development Team: The remaining 10% goes to the fund, to support the marketing of it, for customer support, and to the development team itself.
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What Are Masternodes?
Masternodes are known as the 'Proof-of-Stake' (PoS) algorithm, which is a concept wherein a person is able to mine or validate block transactions according to how many coins they hold. Bitcoin, for instance, is based on the Proof-of-Work (PoW) concept, which means that Bitcoin's blockchain needs to be validated by all nodes within a network. Masternodes differ from standard nodes because they reduce the number of nodes needed to approach a transaction. This makes the total number manageable, and solves scalability problems for transactions.
Masternodes receive a clear economic incentive for their work: they receive 45% of the coins, and they also impact the future direction, and course, of the coin via the governance module mentioned above. Unlike minors, Masternodes don't rely on the PoW to secure the network, accounting for second tier duties, such as PrivateSend, InstantSend, and the governance functions mentioned above.
What is PrivateSend and InstantSend?
PrivateSend and InstantSend are two of the extra Dash features which rely on the management from masternodes. The two features have specific advantages which are explained below:
InstantSend: It is easy to explain the concept of InstantSend as it allows transfers to be sent pretty much instantly: a transfer is sent in less than a second. The user pays a premium of 3 cent for this service.
PrivateSend: The name of the feature also explains itself. The exact details of the transfer are hidden, such as the information about the sender and the receiver. How is that possible? PrivateSend mixes all of the transactions with each other, which makes it much more difficult to trace the exact payment trail.
What Is Dash Price Movement Like?
Dash (DASH) has experienced significant amounts of volatility in recent years, just like many other cryptocurrencies. While 2014 to 2016 was a slow period for Dash, price action took off throughout 2017. In fact, in the last six months of 2017 Dash against the US dollar (DSHUSD) rose from $252.50 to an all time high of $1,550.
However, after reaching an all time high in late 2017, the cryptocurrency crashed and spent much of 2018 moving all the way back down from $1,550 to a 2018 low of just $56. Much of the damage was done at the beginning of the year as the cryptocurrency was trading at a low of $280 by the beginning of April 2019.
This volatility is evident in the price chart of Dash against the US dollar (DSHUSD), as shown below:
Source: Admiral Markets MT5 Supreme Edition, DSHUSD CFD, Weekly - Data range: from July 30, 2017, to April 9, 2019, accessed on April 9, 2019, at 3:32 pm BST. - Please note: Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.
What's Next for Dash in 2019?
Due to its emphasis on speed, costs, privacy, and governance, Dash appears to have found a solid niche in the world of cryptocurrencies. Evidence of the cryptocurrency's standing can be found in the substantial number of businesses around the world that have adopted it: over 500 such merchants are listed by the official Dash website for the US alone, and more than 4700 are listed worldwide. There are, of course, threats to its niche position that need to be considered.
One such threat is posed by the relatively recent launch of digital wallets — serving more popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin — which seek to emulate some of Dash's key strengths, such as its anonymity service. For example, the Wasabi Wallet, a privacy-focussed Bitcoin wallet for a variety of operating systems, launched in late summer of 2018. Whether these new developments will serve to expand or hinder Dash's take-up, however, remains to be seen. Speaking of the price, analysing the charts is just one way how traders can forecast future price movements.
Source: Admiral Markets MT5 Supreme Edition, DSHUSD, Daily - Data range: from October 4, 2018, to April 9, 2019, accessed on April 9, 2019, at 3:38 pm BST. Please note: Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.
The beginning of 2019 has started off favourably for Dash investors. After experiencing some quiet ranges in the early part of the year, the cryptocurrency surged higher at the beginning of February and has continued its upward momentum, breaking through the important psychological barrier of $100.
Traders will be now eyeing a move toward the $200 level and will be watching recent news announcements closely such as the Latin American cryptocurrency exchange Daexs making it easier to buy Dash in the Colombian peso, and the new Android app developed specifically to find stores that take cryptocurrencies such as Dash.
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