A Beginners Guide to Dash
Dash, its name a portmanteau of “digital cash”, is one of the web’s most popular and well established cryptocurrencies. Dash is a permanent fixture in the world’s top 10 cryptocurrencies, with a market cap that averages around $6 billion and typical 24-hour trading volume of $200 million.
Dash is a big deal, in other words, and there’s much more to the decentralized currency than its value as a speculative asset. Here at Dash Nigeria, we’re on a mission to spread awareness about Dash, including its many uses and the way in which Nigerians can use the currency to better their lives and claim their financial freedom. This beginners guide details what Dash is and how it works, starting with a quick overview of how the currency started…
In the beginning, there was darkness. Dash was created in January 2014, then under the name of Darkcoin, overseen by lead developer Evan Duffield. It rebranded to Dash a year later. The cryptocurrency has a number of innovative features which differentiate it from other crypto coins, including a decentralized governance model and privacy features that enable individuals to anonymously send funds to one another. The project’s ongoing development is handled by the Dash Core Team. It currently has 30 full-time employees and another 20 part-time staff, plus a large community of volunteers. They all share the same goal: spreading the word about Dash and making it available to as many people as possible. The Core Team receive funding from network fees in the form of 10% of all the mining rewards for solving a block. Some of this money is allocated to a marketing budget for Dash, helping to further boost adoption.
A novel Governance Model
The notion of decentralized governance has become trendy over the last year or so, but Dash was one of the first organizations to successfully trial this model. What this means in practise is that no individual or managerial group exerts control over the project. Instead, decisions regarding network upgrades and other improvements to the way Dash is run are voted on by the community. Each masternode operator has one vote, giving them the power to approve or veto proposals submitted by community members.
Masternodes and Mining
With cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, the network is secured by mining – i.e confirming new transactions and adding them to new blocks, which are added to the blockchain, or public ledger of all transactions to date. In return, miners earn a reward – essentially a finder’s fee – for each new block they “discover”, plus a portion of the fees attached to each transaction. Dash uses a hybrid system in which “masternodes” are used in conjunction with mining. Masternode operators perform certain functions, including governance, and help to further secure the network.
Cryptocurrencies (primarily Bitcoin) were originally envisaged as a more anonymous means of sending money than conventional banking systems. Due to improvements in blockchain mapping tools, however, it has become very easy to monitor cryptocurrency transactions and often to assign these to real-world identities. Dash was one of the first coins to trial privacy features. The technology that enables users to discreetly transfer Dash is called PrivateSend. It is a coin-mixing service which combines the transactions of multiple users and then distributes them untraceable across the network.
How to Obtain and use Dash
Fascinating as the history and technical workings of Dash are, it is much more than just a cryptocurrency for tech geeks to play around with and traders to amuse themselves with. The digital currency has real world use cases and a wide range of applications. As the foundation’s website, Dash.org, explains: “Dash is digital cash you can spend anywhere.” It can be used “to make instant, private payments online or in-store”.
To spend Dash, first you’ll need to obtain some, of course. There are a number of ways to do so. The most obvious is by purchasing it, usually in exchange for Bitcoin, on a cryptocurrency exchange. Some exchanges and brokers will allow you to purchase Dash directly with fiat currency. Other means of obtaining Dash are by mining it or operating a Masternode, although significant hardware and a reasonable degree of technical knowledge is required. It is also possible to earn Dash for performing tasks online.
How to store Dash
Like any cryptocurrency, Dash can be stored in a virtual wallet online. There are numerous mobile wallets designed for the decentralized currency including Dash Wallet and Dash Core, available for Android and iOS. In addition, multi-currency wallets such as Jaxx and Coinomi allow Dash to be stored safely. Alternatively, hardware wallets – essentially a USB device – such as Trezor accept Dash. The cryptocurrency can also be stored in an online exchange account, although this is less secure because the private keys to the wallet are not held by the user.
Ways to spend Dash
Like many cryptocurrencies, Dash has a multitude of uses. These include:
- As a means of making online purchases without needing to submit all of your financial details. Unlike credit card, Dash doesn’t oblige you to trust a third party with intimate account details that could be used to commit identity fraud or make unauthorized purchases.
- Enabling merchants to save money on fees. It is cheaper to receive Dash than it is to accept credit card and many other legacy payment methods.
- Remittance. Nigerian citizens, many of whom have friends and family abroad, can transfer funds overseas and vice-versa quickly, cheaply and discreetly.
- As a form of bank account. For people who are unbanked, Dash can be used as a store of wealth. Less KYC (know your customer policy) hurdles and identification accounts are required to set up a cryptocurrency wallet than to open a bank account.
- As a hedge against inflation. Citizens who don’t trust their national currency, such as the Naira, not to lose its value, may decide it is more prudent to store wealth in Dash, which is a deflationary currency. In other words, its purchasing power can be expected to increase over time.
- Other uses for Dash include as a means of raising funds without requiring approval from financial institutions, as a safeguard against bank accounts being frozen by governments, and as a means of gambling online using a provably fair framework. Micro-payments; tipping; the uses for Dash truly are endless.
If you’re interested in using Dash, the best way to get started is by downloading an approved desktop or mobile wallet as listed on Dash.org and then purchasing a small amount of the currency from gidicoin.com, wallofcoin.com or you can buy BTC from luno.com and then log into Shapeshift.io and convert your BTC to dash. Once you start using it, and get a feel for how the Dash ecosystem works, you’ll begin to appreciate the power and value of the peer-to-peer currency. At Dash Nigeria, we’re committed to spreading the word about the value of Dash and helping our fellow countrymen and women claim their financial independence.
As with any financial investment, it pays to do your own research, and this is especially true with cryptocurrencies. If you have any questions about Dash, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help. We strongly believe that Dash is the best digital currency on the market today, and are on a mission to increase adoption in Nigeria, to make the local Dash community better for everyone.