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Full Text: Business Plus | August 2017 | Page 21 Blockchain Explained

Dash has followed in Bitcoin’s trail but with different, more business-friendly features. CEO Ryan Taylor tells Darren McLoughlin about the venture’s potential

Crypto-currency Dash, with a current market cap of around $1 billion, was launched as XCoin in January 2014. It was renamed Darkcoin a month later, before a third rebrand as Dash in March 2015.

Dash works in much the same way as Bitcoin, anonymous transactions, blockchains, currency miners and digital wallets. However, it can process transactions much more quickly and, as CEO Ryan Taylor explains here, Dash is much more than simply a protocol.

What is Dash? Dash is a digital currency similar to Bitcoin, but with a number of improvements that make payments faster and more private. The code facilitates a fully-functional organisation capable of funding it’s business activities. In short, it is the only digital currency that operates similar to a company. The Dash Core Team is paid by the network itself to provide services. This contrasts starkly with other projects in the digital currency market, where most resources for the project are dependent on external donations for everything from programmers to marketing.

What is blockchain technology? A blockchain is essentially an open shared database that is secure precisely because no one entity controls updating it. Changes to the blockchain can only be made when those changes conform to the set of rules that everyone maintaining the blockchain agree upon. These rules are codified as a protocol, in the same way that https messages conform to a protocol or set of rules for transferring webpage data over the Internet.

Blockchains are so secure and immutable that you can only openly expose them to the Internet without any risk of the data being altered or hacked. Digital currencies leverage this blockchain technology to store what is essentially a giant account ledger that tracks and records each transaction.

Why is blockchain coming into the mainstream? It takes time for radical new technologies like blockchain to proliferate. Technologists and business leaders must first learn what blockchain is, why it is important, and how it can be applied to various industries. When you compare blockchain adoption to the Internet, it is actually happening incredibly quickly.

How will blockchain technology evolve? Just like the early Internet, almost all of the projects undertaken today will eventually fail, but out of those failures will emerge some incredible new applications of the technology. Blockchain will have an enormous impact on reducing the costs of data sharing, data security, and transactions that today require trusted intermediaries to conduct. Blockchain can have a sizeable impact on the transaction costs that financial institutions incur.

Innovations are gradually expanding the set of user cases that blockchain can address.. Dash invented a method to confirm transactions instantly, which has opened a whole new set of use cases previously unaddressed in the digital currency industry. Bitcoin also scales quite poorly; Dash is pursing a scaling solution with our Evolution release that will handle thousands of transactions per second.

What are the blockchain limitations? Some of the blockchain’s greatest strengths are also it’s greatest weakness. For example, transactions are immutable and cannot be changed or corrected. This can be an incredibly good or incredibly bad attribute depending on the use case.

What’s the future of digital currencies? I believe the adoption of digital currencies is inevitable, as they can provide solutions no existing payment methods can. For example, imagine your vehicle making tiny road tax payments to each city you drive through on your commute at a rate that varies with congestion.

Bitcoin has serious governance issues that might prevent it from effectively competing with more nimble digital currencies. Because of Bitcoin’s transaction capacity limitations, the network can only grow to a certain size before the

capacity limits restrict further growth. You simply cannot have a significant share of the population using Bitcoin if the network is restricted to three transactions per second. Whether it is Bitcoin or another network that solves the scalability issues, someone will solve them.