May 24, 2018 12:00 am

A “Dash” into the Future of Crypto Commerce

Dash, is one of longest existing, yet least understood cryptocurrencies in the world. Driven by a very loyal, supportive community and sound development team — all key factors in its overall stability– it is consistently in the top fifteen of all cryptos in terms of market cap.

It was first introduced in 2014 as a shadowy crypto known as DarkCoin, with the goal of tackling some of the persistent barriers facing Bitcoin, including transaction speed, user experience, privacy, self-governance and self-funding.

The name Dash is derived from two words, “Digital” and “Cash.” For many, this symbolizes the company’s aim to become the leading e-commerce ecosystem in the world.

One country where Dash has seen massive popularity and practical use is Venezuela. This is in large part due to the fact that the Venezuelan Bolivar, the country’s fiat currency, is viewed as nearly worthless due to hyperinflation in the country. Here many citizens prefer Dash over their native currency to pay for everyday goods and services.

Dash CEO Ryan Taylor

During an April 23rd conversation by phone, Dash CEO Ryan Taylor offered his thoughts on the future of crypto’s use for everyday commerce. He also shared some behind the scenes perspectives of Dash’s ambitious quest to become the first user-friendly, scalable digital currency platform suitable for mass adoption, peer-to-peer, and consumer to business commerce.

On Dash’s Much Anticipated Evolution Release

**Taylor: **“Dash Evolution of course is our landmark release where we’ll be making the first major departure from the bitcoin codebase and introducing features we think are really important for the mass adoption of digital currency. We are targeting this release for Q4 of 2018”

On How It Will Benefit Everyday Users

Taylor: “It will allow us to obscure away complexities like cryptographic addresses that are currently used for digital currency transactions. Those who have ever used a peer-to-peer payment system like a PayPal or a Venmo will appreciate this. In the end, our goal is to create a network that’s much more user-friendly and accessible to the average person who doesn’t have a technical background.”

On the Value of Simplicity

Taylor: “Most of the initial value of Evolution is predicated on just having a very simple functionality. This is how most peer-to-peer platforms elsewhere in the FinTech arena got their start and advanced. The goal is to make peer-to-peer payments very simple by making it easy to settle payments between individuals.”

On Boosting Commerce Through Merchant Adoption

Taylor: “The Evolution platform will allow many different use cases and many different workflows that are up to the merchant to define. We’ll make it easy for the merchant to do this by providing access to our network through a decentralized API. This will allow them to interface with the network securely without having to host their own infrastructure like they’d currently have to do with if they were accepting crypto.”

On How The Success of **Stripe **Has Informed Dash’s Strategic Direction

Taylor: “Basically through our API’s and software development kits, we’re modeling off of what’s been successful with other payment types — specifically Stripe — and what they did for credit cards. They made integrating credit card services into an application, very, very simple. We think there is an even greater need for this in the world of cryptocurrency where current efforts at integration have proven to be an incredibly painful experience.”

On What It Will Ultimately Take to Engage Merchants

Taylor: “Our strategy is really to work with the payment gateways and software developers that are already being used by merchants rather than to develop something completely separate. Let’s take a coffeehouse for example. We would approach their point of sale provider or payment gateway merchant acquirer, whatever it is they are using and we would offer an integration with their preferred platform.”

On The Use of iPads at Point-Of-Sale

Taylor: “iPads are becoming increasingly popular because they are relatively inexpensive when compared to the traditional point of sale systems. Any number of point of sale software providers can be loaded onto it making it a very popular option.”

On Overcoming Barriers to Merchant Acceptance of Cryptocurrency

Taylor: “The key here is gaining access to the payment gateways these merchants already using. Because the problem most merchants will face in terms of cryptocurrency is that their payment gateway doesn’t accept it. Therefore the reconciliation of crypto payments becomes a manual process.”

“Merchants simply are not going to do this for a very small percentage of their customers who are paying in crypto. So the key is this integration into their existing payment gateways. That’s why we here at Dash are working with payment gateways like Alt36, GoCoin, and others that do these sorts of payments for a broad set of merchants.”

On Facilitating Online Payments

Taylor: “Online payments have certainly proven to be an interesting use case. What we know is that if a consumer attempts to makes a cryptocurrency payment at a physical brick and mortar store and it’s unsuccessful, they’ll likely just simply switch to another payment method like a debit or credit card. That’s not the case with online payments, where there are huge shopping cart abandonment rates. That’s one of the reasons you don’t see bitcoin and other digital currencies being integrated into online merchants very often. Because for every new payment type added, conversion rates actually drop.”

On Solving The Conversion Rate Issue

**Taylor: **“I suspect that the few online merchants that do accept bitcoin or cryptocurrencies like Dell and Overstock are actually losing sales over it. And so, the question remains as to how do we solve this issue? One of the keys I believe is to make the crypto payment process much simpler. In other words, when you eliminate the friction involved in making payments, conversion rates will go up.”

On Dash’s Specific Solution

Taylor: “In the case of Dash, we’re going to have a simple “Pay with Dash” button for merchants. They’ll be able to integrate that button very easily by copying and pasting a snippet of code into their checkout page, very similar to what Stripe enables. The user will click on it and it will ask them for their Dash username. They’ll type in (their name), hit enter and their phone will buzz. A screen will pop up with all of their payment information, prompting them to make a payment for the designated amount. They then hit confirm and the transaction will be processed.”

On The Future of Electronic Gift Cards and Dash

Taylor: “That’s a great question. We’re currently working on establishing partnerships with a number of gift card service providers. The beauty of these cards is that they require no integration because they can work with the merchant’s existing system. They can also eliminate the need to train staff who are already used to accepting electronic gift cards.”

On Dash’s Progress In Integrating These Gift Cards

**Taylor: **“There are three (Gift Card) companies that we are at various stages of the pipeline in terms of our discussions. All of them are multi-merchant and have cards that work with physical stores as well as online. The merchants that have signed up as a part of their networks include popular coffee houses, restaurants, and retailers, including some of the largest in the world.”

On When Mass Adoption of Crypto Based Commerce Will Begin To Take Off

Taylor: “To be honest I think it’s going to be a gradual adoption curve. In my experience payment behavior changes relatively slowly. The pace of change has definitely picked up. But it is still not something that’s going to happen overnight. This is going to be a year-long transition.”

On What Markets Will Adapt The Quickest

Taylor: “I do think that certain markets and industries are more likely to transition to the crypto payment realm than others. Here in the U.S. we actually have a pretty good set of payment options, effective payment system, and a pretty stable currency. So for merchants, I think there is far less incentive to switch unless they are offering the consumer a discount.”

On Dash Potential Inroads With The Cannabis Industry

**Taylor: **“Cannabis, as many people know, is a cash-heavy industry that at present can’t access electronic payments. And cash handling in that industry is anywhere from fifteen to twenty-five percent. So at Dash, we look at it this way: If you offer the customer a 10% discount on what is on average about a $200.00 purchase, then it becomes worthwhile for them to switch to a digital based system like Dash. And so our integration plans with Alt36 is meant to address exactly this issue by converting a lot of that spending into digital cash.”

On Where Dash is Currently Seeing The Greatest Market Adoption

Taylor: “In terms of rapid interest and adoption of Dash, the place where we are seeing this play out most strongly is Venezuela. This is due to the hyperinflation that’s hit that market. That has given their citizens an extremely strong incentive to switch away from fiat currency and cash.”

On How Dash is Being Used In Venezuela

**Taylor: **“We are seeing a little bit of both use cases, buying and purchasing in parallel. People are certainly buying Dash there as a store of value because their own currency is devaluing by about 50% a month. Although Dash is certainly volatile, it is certainly much more acceptable than the certain loss from their fiat currency.”

Vendor in Venezuela Accepts Dash

**On Venezuela’s Use of Dash for Everyday Commerce **

Taylor: “What’s exciting is that we’re actually seeing people adopt it for payments, especially when it comes to payments to small merchants on the streets of Caracas. Moreover, there has been a series of conferences held in Venezuela about the Dash network that have been heavily attended. Often a couple thousand people show up to each one. And at each conference, there is actually an entire floor devoted to merchants that are there and accepting Dash in the form of payment. I’m not going to pretend that every merchant in Venezuela accepts Dash but it is certainly becoming an accepted form of payment that people recognize.”

On The Importance of Dash’s Education Events in Venezuela

**Taylor: **“We’re holding a lot of different education events there in order to further educate the public on how Dash can be used as well as the benefits of our “Insta Send” feature which allows it to be used point-of-sale. The great news about Dash is that merchant nor consumer need to wait around for block confirmation like you do with other digital currencies.”

On The Key To Dash’s Success To This Point

Taylor: “I think that Dash has a cohesive vision and strategy and we’re very clear about what that is. That attracts people that share a similar mindset and desire to see this succeed. I also think we tend to attract a more mature crowd to Dash. I don’t know this for a fact but it seems like we tend to attract people that have a more mature view of the market and what it will take to succeed. I think they appreciate much more the importance of our governance and funding models and having a cohesive strategy and vision that the community can rally behind.”

Michael Scott is the Executive Editor** of Blockchain Business News Network**

Author: BBN / MS
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