What is Dash?

For many, the word dash brings up visions of people running for trains or rushing out of buildings. For a growing number of people, however, Dash refers to a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency that appears to be on the up.

Formerly known as Darkcoin and Xcoin, Dash offers similar features to Bitcoin, but with more advanced capabilities. Amongst these is an option to send instant transactions (Bitcoin can take up to 10 minutes) and private transactions.

The origins of Dash

Dash began life as XCoin (XCO) in January 2014. A month later, it was renamed Darkcoin and, in March 2015, it was rebranded again, this time coming into its current moniker – Dash – which is a blend of the words ‘digital’ and ‘cash’.

Within just two days of launch, a quarter of Dash’s current supply of coins had already been mined, approximately 1.9 million. This was thanks to a code error. It was known as the ‘instamine’. It was quickly corrected and lead developer Evan Duffield thought about relaunching the coin without the instamine. This was quickly shot down by the Dash community along with another solution known as an ‘airdrop’. The initial distribution was therefore left alone and the project continued to develop.

Since its slightly troubled beginnings, Dash has grown to a daily trade volume of approximately $100 million daily with a market capitalization of over $1.4billion.

How Dash works

Dash operates on a two-tier architecture that consists of miners who write transactions to the blockchain and also secure the network, as well as masternodes, which allow for the advanced features of Dash.

Masternodes are essentially private servers that perform PrivateSend, InstantSend and governance functions.

Dash has a feature known as PrivateSend, which gives users the ability to mix their coins. The more PrivateSend cycles a user choose to put their coins through, the higher the security (but it also takes longer to complete the process). PrivateSend also makes Dash fungible by mixing coins of the same denomination with other wallets to ensure all coins have the same value.

InstantSend is another unique Dash feature that allows for close to real-time transactions. Inputs can be connected to specific transactions and verified by the masternode network. Any conflicting transactions and blocks are rejected and if a consensus can’t be reached then the transaction validation goes through the standard block confirmation. This helps ensure that no double-spend occurs on transactions – an issue that has previously dogged cryptocurrencies.

Dash in use

Perhaps the most tangible and quirky use of Dash was found in the form of the Dash n’ Drink vending machine. It was created to highlight the cryptocurrency’s instant transactions and showcases the potential for Dash to be used by point-of-sale retailers.

BitCart, an Irish discount gift card platform offers a 20% discount for Dash users on Amazon, and eventually hotels.com, purchases.

Dash has a partnership with Coinapult, which allows it to be bought in over 20 different fiat currencies including US and Canadian dollars, British pounds and the Euro. International forex and CFD broker AvaTrade has also stated that it’s adding Dash to its trading platform. Crypto-Woo, a payments plugin, has integrated Dash so it can be used on associated e-commerce sites.

Lastly, a Venezulan crypto-exchange known as CryptoBuyer has begun selling Dash; allowing the cryptocurrency to become an alternative to the national Bolivar currency that has significantly slumped in value.