A Conversation with Evan Duffield, Founder of Dash
Dash is the number three cryptocurrency in the world – behind bitcoin and litecoin. It currently hovers around $4 per coin and has a $25 million market cap (similar to bitcoin in 2011) vs bitcoin’s market cap of nearly $6 billion. Dash now has a robust international user base, including more nodes than bitcoin itself. The cryptocurrency is also completely decentralized, but is superior to bitcoin in several ways. Dash announced earlier in the month that it celebrated its second anniversary with a vote among its stakeholders to increase its blocksize (far ahead of demand) from 1 MB to 2 MB.
I recently interviewed Dash founder Evan Duffield and asked him questions about his background before Dash, how did he get involved with cryptocurrencies, factors that led him to create a separate digital currency, and more. Without further ado, here is our conversation:
Me: Can you tell us your background before Dash? How did you get involved with cryptocurrencies?
Evan: I’ve been developing software since I was 15, got interested in finance in my 20’s and built many trading systems using mathematical modeling and machine learning. Later on I got my series 65 and became increasingly interested in economics. Cryptocurrency is the perfect mixture of all of my interests and that’s why I’m really excited about working on Dash.
Me: What factors led you to create a separate cryptocurrency? From what’s available on the Dash site, the big difference between Dash and bitcoin is privacy and anonymity. Was there anything else?
Evan: Bitcoin was a grand experiment and when I discovered it. I saw the applications were endless. However, the Bitcoin project focused on very specific use cases, such as being a general high quality ledger and a store of value for larger transactions. I thought, there was a lot of room to explore in this brand new industry and decided to see what kinds of ideas I could come up with for building something brand new, that had no direct competitive effect on the Bitcoin network. This is what led us to build systems for privacy, instant transactions and scalability for a high volume of throughput on our network.
Dash has been known for its privacy features but in reality there a more fundamental differences between Dash and Bitcoin. The main difference is that in Bitcoin all of the block rewards go to mining and thus transactional security. We believe there are other important parts of the network that also need to be supported. So the most important difference is in Dash, we use a different incentive model by distributing the block subsidy between miners, full nodes and small percentage for self governance and self funding.
Me: Where do you see bitcoin moving in the future? Do you agree with the recent declaration that bitcoin is dead?
Evan: No, I believe Bitcoin has a bright future and is quite difficult to “kill”. Competitors and pundits love to say Bitcoin is dead every week, but fail to realize it’s a global effort made up of tens of thousands of people trying to better the world by creating a brand new economy. Much like the internet when it first came out, it’s misunderstood and underappreciated for the incredible achievements it’s made.
Bitcoin is the pioneer and it created the industry, it acts as the reserve currency for the whole ecosystem. All of the traditional companies and decentralized blockchains that are active within the industry bring value to the Bitcoin economy. In the future we see Bitcoin maturing into this role and other projects like ours filling more specific niches and serving uses directly while Bitcoin provides value to the whole ecosystem.
Me: Can you tell us about your presentation at the North American Bitcoin Conference?
Evan: My presentation at the North American Bitcoin Conference was about some of the basic features of Dash, such as instant transactions, privacy, the self-funding and self-governance. I spoke a bit about how these features are useful for an endless amount of applications such as point of sale for instant transactions and how we fund projects within the project with our decentralized blockchain based funding system.
Me: Can you give us more detail about Dash Evolution?
Evan: The goal of Dash Evolution is to take the great features we’ve already fleshed out in the system, then make them user-friendly and acceptable in a way that your average everyday user is used to [dealing] with. Systems such as PayPal, Google Wallet and Apple Pay have the right idea and the general public automatically understands them. By building a truly decentralized system that offers a similar user experience, we will allow the general public to use a cryptographic currency without any of the complexity.
You can see a demonstration of a very early prototype of Dash Evolution here:
Images courtesy of Dash via Transform Public Relations
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