South Africa

Dash Projects and Escrow

By | South Africa, Tom | No Comments

This is a slightly technical subject to satisfy readers of a curious bent. Dash Projects refers to the activity of individual members of the Dash community, or defined groups of members, to generally improve the public profile of Dash, ultimately the level of investment in Dash. Such activity always costs time and money which is then reimbursed from the Dash Treasury using the 10% retention of all Dash mined.

Projects are created through the submission of proposals to the MNO’s who vote on the credibility and suitability of the proposals. Those approved are then granted funding in accordance with the proposed budget. The only flaw in the process is that the MNO’s are unable to interrogate the proposal owners as to their credentials or bona fides and, therefore, the process is open to outright fraud.

The danger of fraudsters to Dash projects is the more so in Africa where some regional cultures have virtually industrialised fraud. This means that Africa is unlikely to gain approval for large, expensive projects, for fear of Dash being ripped off again by characters who simply disappear with the funds granted to them. So, in order to provide the genuine project proposers with a decent chance of having good proposals approved by the MNO’s, the “escrow” process has been created..

“Escrow” generally applies to special trust accounts created for legal purposes, usually administered by an attorney, in order to facilitate the transfer of funds between parties who do not trust one another but trust the attorney, even if modern attorneys are of questionable trustworthiness. Large African projects, would be submitted “subject to escrow”, the project funds (if granted) being held by in by a trusted party on behalf of Dash until satisfied that project milestones have been achieved. The funds are then transferred in accordance with proven progress.

Several escrow providers within the Dash community, can be used by Dash as “honest brokers” due to their proven reputation of dealings with Dash, reputation built at personal cost and far too valuable to lose. Of course, any project proposal submitted as subject to escrow would be subject to an administration fee payable to the escrow broker, a small price to pay to ensure that the growth of Dash is not hindered by any lack of credibility in imaginative and industrious proposers.

This might appear to be highly bureaucratic but it does ensure continuity in the project pipeline. It also provides proposal owners with reasonable insurance against summary dismissal of a good proposal and consequent loss of the Proposal Fee. It must be emphasised that the escrow process does not affect small projects (total budgets not exceeding Dash10-20 and submitted to Dash Boost).

Of course, the tendency would be for escrow brokers to be lax in checking real project completion before making over payments, such that they remain popular with proposal owners but the brokers must be aware that their reputation rests with the wider Dash community. It would only be healthy for all concerned if escrow were to be treated with reasonable rigour and could lead to brokers being able to offer forward cover to protect proposals against Dash volatility. And forward cover remains a subject to be addressed at a later date.

Tom Rogers

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The Enigma That Is John Reed

By | John Reed, South Africa, Tom | No Comments

As John Reed has carried out a defamatory campaign against DashingDude in particular, and Dash Africa in general, we are forced to defend ourselves, if only by relating John’s background as best as we can establish it. Then we must leave it to the Dash community to judge the credibility of John’s claims.

Both Roger Toms and Ricado Phillips have known John Reed for 15+ years, largely because John has, for much of his adult life, carried himself off as a community activist, generally for the impoverished Hangberg community. He concentrated on correcting the injustices perpetrated against the artisanal fisher folk, also on promoting the interests of the Khoi-San community of which John regarded himself a member while his credentials for such membership are dubious. Over these years he generally appeared to have no gainful employment, certainly not for any long period, but Roger regarded this as a case of “ask no questions, told no lies”!

Because of his influence within the poorer communities we regarded John as an ideal ambassador to promote Dash in those communities. At roughly the same time the opportunity with Ricardo’s kids’ football club arose, out of which we created the Dash Leopards, a community project with strong potential for national and international Dash publicity. John attached himself to the project using his old friendship with Ricardo and then the wheels slowly came off. Despite having been well-schooled by Roger, John did not create a business plan and budget for the Leopards but helped commit the club to disastrously expensive “fund-raiser” events.

John registered the Dash Leopards as a non-profit organisation and inserted himself as one of 3 directors, also as the manager with signing rights on the club’s finances. He then employed an administrator, albeit with the tacit approval of DashingDude who, although a significant club benefactor, had no real influence in the matter. Thereafter, the club’s precarious finances went into disarray, to what degree is still under investigation. What we know for certain is that much of the publicity equipment, paid for under Dash projects, was not delivered as final payments were not made to the suppliers.

As for John borrowing money in order to finance the club’s commitment to the Amsterdam Easter tournament, we can see absolutely no merit to this claim. Otherwise, why did the club fail to be represented at Amsterdam? That failure was more down to the ruinous losses made by the so-called fund-raising events: irrespective, it was certainly no fault of DashingDude and Dash in general.

John also inveigled our friend, Marcos Rodriguez-Pascal, into extending the Amsterdam trip to include a visit Barcelona: this came at the considerable personal cost of time and money for both Marcos and his friends in Barcelona. The cancellation of the trip was made without warning or apology, a simply appalling failure on the part of John Reed.

The immediate action being taken is to replace John Reed as a club director while establishing the approximate amount of club funds which has gone astray, presumably at John’s hand. At the same time we will use our best efforts to establish a stable club administration, to eliminate losses and facilitate proper planning. That will ensure the future of the Dash Leopards and allow Dash to maximise benefit from the investment already made in the club.

Tom Rogers, for DashingDude and Ricardo Phillips

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The Balloon Went Up, And Then Down

By | South Africa, Tom | No Comments

The expression of “the balloon going up” generally refers to a serious warning of impending danger. The balloon certainly went up in January of this year as far as cryptocurrency is concerned, also in respect of the health of this scribe: a series of afflictions deprived of the mental space within which to write constructive commentary. Now that the dust has settled on January’s precipitous rise, and fall, of most cryptos, and normal health has been re-established, we are able to throw a little light on the event.

All the world’s pundits referred to the roughly 200% rise in crypto values as a classic bubble, referring to the infamous “South Sea Bubble” of centuries ago, with some still insisting that they were right in classifying crypto investment as a Ponzi scheme. The latter does not dignify any comment while the South Sea Bubble is well explained as sheer craziness by Wikipedia, almost as daft as the infamous black tulip affair. Rather we should define the event as “ballooning”, the precise cause of which will probably never be known, maybe investment and withdrawal of massive underworld funds. Who knows with any degree of certainty?

It is worthwhile to question why the rise was so high and very rapid. Generally, investors are very happy to see a “profit” of a few percent per month and more than 50% annually is regarded as a “windfall”, luck never to be repeated. In this case the rise totally defied the overall trend for mature crypto currencies and, now the balloon has deflated, the trends have largely returned to those of late 2017.

One explanation doing the rounds is that the instrument responsible for the balloon phenomenon was a currency known as “Tether”, given this moniker because its value is tethered to the US$. The suspicion is that Tether was used somehow by crypto investors to leverage their funds, but this would infer that many $billions worth of Tether had been made available while the leveraging mechanism is far from obvious. Superficial research on Tether reveals that it is merely another crypto currency which, late in 2017, had a market capitalisation to rank it as No.15: how a “minor” crypto currency can be used as a lever on the multi $billions-worth of all the major cryptos remains to be explained.

There is also no explanation as to why the value of Tether, as a crypto currency itself, should be tied to the US$. What is its function in life? What we do know is that Tether is owned by a US corporation which has been unable to submit audited financials up to the end of last year. The conspiracy theorists would have it that Tether is secretly backed by a major bank, as a means of invading the crypto business which is perceived as an eventual threat to the banking system and/or fiat currencies.

If this leaves us all as still mystified maybe we should take comfort in the fact that the Governor of the South African Reserve Bank recently displayed himself as being woefully ignorant of anything to do with crypto currencies. He might not be the brightest tool in the shed of controllers of fiat currencies but surely he owes it to himself and his country to educate himself on the basics of an international phenomenon which cannot be ignored.

Tom Rogers

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