May 12, 2019 6:37 am

Dash Community Q&A – April 2019

Each month, the ten most popular questions submitted by the Dash community at Dash Nation Discord are collected and sent to Dash Core Group for answers. The intention is to select important and well-thought out questions and filter out unpopular questions, questions that have already been answered and other noise. For January, the questions were combined with the 2019 Q1 Quarterly Call, and those that could not be answered there will be answered in writing in this extra-large question thread! Apologies for any errors in the automatic voice transcription. ;) The submissions for April 2019 are as follows:

  1. Q: After resetting the votes on DIP3 activation, the most recent treasury cycle was the first in a long time not to use all the funds. What does DCG think about this and would things be done differently in hindsight and with future migrations? (masternube)

    A (Fernando): While not using all funds is not necessarily bad when it is the result of masternode owners considering that there are not enough proposals that deserve funding, in this case, it was clearly the result of lack of participation. This is unfortunate, especially because it damaged several proposals that could have used those funds. Each cycle the votes come closer to the deadline, but in this particular cycle, that was not the case. This problem is part of a wider one of lowish participation from masternode owners. We believe there is some voter fatigue, probably because we have more professional MNOs and fewer hobbyists. We plan to do some research to learn more and see if/how we can increase participation.

    As for the future, this was a one-off that could not be avoided. Resetting the voting system is not part of the normal update procedure and there are no new instances of this happening anytime soon. In this case, we published this was going to happen in January and reached out to proposal owners who could be affected and had major proposals before the time came. We also communicated it to many active community members. The reset was done at the beginning of a cycle to minimize the impact. Dash Core Group, and a big part of the community, actively communicated about it. If at some point in the future we have a similar situation we’ll stress communication more, but the network is decentralized and there is no way to reach out to MNOs directly, so there is only so much we can do beyond communication, not only in this case but in general.

  2. Does DCG have any ideas on how to win market-share away from Localbitcoins in Venezuela? With those kind of numbers for Bitcoins being transacted per week in the country, it’s possible that we are getting creamed in the savings/purchasing-power market — that people are choosing Bitcoin en mass! Further, if look at our local Dash sites (Dashous & Dashnearby), they appear to be almost dead for use in VEZ. (T. Heights)

    A (Ryan): We are focused on working with established organizations to expand the selection of easy ways of acquiring Dash in Venezuela. Initially I think our focus is on cooperating with exchanges that are already operating there and working with their teams to reduce friction in their current processes as well as increasing liquidity on those platforms. We’re also working with companies that are expanding into the country so that we can help them to succeed and finding ways for people to buy Dash in an easy and scalable way. So that that that’s been our initial focus.

    Of course, the goal of all of this is to close the loop on the acquiring part of the process to complement our footprint of merchants in order for people to transact. Peer-to-peer matching sites like LocalBitcoins certainly have a place. While we don’t seek to operate a business like that ourselves, we would welcome the opportunity to help a company offering those services to build their business in a similar manner to the support that we provide to others. I think that that there is a place for this and over the medium term we’d love to see more liquidity in more places. I think that while our initial focus is on existing established businesses, we’d be very interested in helping someone to expand within the country.

  3. Q: Has there been any discussion or research on how to improve Dash’s fungibility, both functionally and time-wise? I refer to the following post, “I traced a PrivateSend” (GrandMasterDash)

    Q: What steps if any is DCG taking in order to improve the intractability and anonymity of PS transactions? And I‘d like to add: Is DCG doing, funding, or participating in any kind of (academic) research in breaking and improving PS security? (dashfriend)

    A (Ryan):
    These two questions are obviously interlinked. First of all, let me comment on that post. I believe that one of our core developers commented on that, and it seemed like it was two-round mixing that the person managed to trace. That is something that we’ve long said is a risk – when you use fewer mixing rounds. The default in the wallet is for four mixing rounds. The reason we default to that is that it’s a minimum to get even a basic level of security, and we allow up to 16 rounds. You can always trace the actual transaction through to its origin with CoinJoin, it doesn’t matter which implementation of CoinJoin you’re talking about. But PrivateSend is an improvement over general CoinJoin because of the denominated inputs and outputs that are used. But you can always trace it through – the issue is the more mixing rounds and more participants that you have, the more potential sources you can trace that transaction back to. There are other factors involved as well, such as how many different starting inputs you use in order to create your denominations. So there’s a number of different factors that go into the level of anonymity or privacy that you are getting with with a PrivateSend mixing transaction.

    We’ve done a lot to try to improve the experience. One of the things that we’ve done is we’ve introduced a new denomination – a smaller denomination – and that allows more mixing to take place. When you go to send the Dash to an address, it reduces the the fees that you’re required to pay, because you basically pay all of the change as a fee. So we’ve taken a number of steps to improve it. We’ve made it faster to find mixing partners, and as a result we have seen a surge in the use of PrivateSend, as we went over in the metrics earlier. So as we do that, we’re encouraging more participants, we’re enabling more rounds, and we’re making it cheaper to use. All of that encourages use, and so as the use of it increases, the privacy that it provides increases. There are limitations to CoinJoin though. If you use a lower number of mixing rounds, and you use a lower number of initial inputs into creating your denominations, and there are fewer other people mixing on the network, then the uncertainty that is introduced through that mixing process goes down, and the privacy goes down. We are taking steps to make it better but recognize that there are limitations to the technology as implemented.

  4. Q: Could Core provide a fairly detailed update on the progress of Alt-36? They seem reluctant to interact directly with the Masternode community. In some respects, that is totally understandable. (solarguy)

    Q: I was hoping you could inform me of the status of the Dash exclusivity that was included in the Alt36 proposal to the Dash treasury. Did that timeframe start when payment was received? Or once B2C system is fully launched? Or something else? (Pete from DashCrypto)

    A (Ryan): Our efforts with Alt36 have continued advancing as well. As many of you are aware, they closed on their Series A funding round recently, and while Alt36 added B2B services first, their consumer facing payment solution will be introduced in the immediate future. They will be launching a private beta of the consumer payment service in Arizona at select locations on June 1st, to begin testing and bug fixing in a production environment with their dispensary clients. With the recently announced funding round, they have already doubled the size of their engineering team, and are actively building out their operations team in the areas of sales compliant marketing and support. They’re also using the funds to apply for money transmission licenses in six to nine additional states in the Midwest and East Coast to expand their addressable service area. These applications are anticipated to be submitted to those states in the next thirty to sixty days. We have supported Alt36 through potential client introductions, and we’ve also done it through support for co-branded conferences and events of the Dash/Alt36 solution in the cannabis industry. As an example, I will be speaking on a panel with the CEO of Alt36 Ken Ramirez at Cannabis World Conference and Business Expo in New York on May 31st. That is at the Javits Convention Center in Midtown.

    In terms of exclusivity, let me expand in that area. The exclusivity agreement that we signed with them stipulated that there would be a three-year exclusivity period for Dash on the platform upon commercial availability of the platform. The platform became commercially available in May of 2018, which in theory would be when that exclusivity period would start under the contract. However Alt36 approached us and said our first integration wasn’t fully completed and signed off by Dash Core Group until January of 2019. We didn’t complete our QA and testing of the solution until January, and that’s when it fully got rolled out on CannTrade’s platform. CannTrade was initially deployed over the summer of 2018 but only to a select number of merchants, and remained in beta testing for a period of time. Alt36 approached us unprompted and said “look, we don’t think it’s fair to hold the Dash network accountable to the original contract”. The intent was that we would begin exclusivity when we launched our first product and since that didn’t come until January of this year, they stepped forward and said let’s modify this. The exclusivity period starts January of 2019. So I thought that really spoke a lot about what their intent is. They plan to stick with Dash, they love the partnership that we have, they love the product, they love the fact that we understand payments, and they can’t work with any other project. With all of that in mind, as well as recognizing what is fair, they approached us and I really appreciated them stepping forward and volunteering that. Like I said, I think it speaks volumes about the value that they place in the partnership.

  5. Q: Now that we have only v0.14 to go on the roadmap and it is on testnet, do we have a target date for sending v1.0 to testnet? (wikiwako)

    A (Bob): Great question! That’s everybody’s question, so I appreciate it being asked. We do not yet have a date to share on the release of v1.0 to testnet. I like the way that it was asked though, because that is where we will be providing dates – for the initial testnet releases. We talked about that a couple of quarters ago, so as soon as we do we’ll publish one. Right now what we’re trying to do is just provide dates for the next major release which is 0.14, and that is in Q2. We’re doing this just because we want to manage expectations properly. I think that’s something that benefits all of us in the community, when we can be confident in the things that we share and that we know that we can deliver on them as well. We’re we’re acting a bit conservatively in that. As we develop feature functionality that is quite industry-leading and innovative, I think that’s appropriate as well. Without any unforeseen shifts in priorities v1.0 will be our next release. As soon as 14.0 adoption has completed on mainnet, we will begin setting targets for v1.0, and so I’m excited to share those with you. As we watch the adoption process once we put major releases on mainnet, as we all know, we go through several weeks of adoption to ensure that that adoption is is solid that it’s safe and that it’s secure. We’ll go through similar processes with version 14 as we did with version 13. Obviously they’re not the same because we have a different feature set that’s being implemented. We will continue to act swiftly but conservatively as we have those rollouts. Once we get version 14 behind us with full adoption on mainnet we’ll start looking at targets for v1.0, and we’re excited for that.

  1. Q: Are all devs now working on 0.14, or is there also progress made on v1.0 like usernames on blockchains, GUI etc? (fuzzyduck)

    A (Bob): It’s really a mix. We’re not working in a sequential manner, we’re definitely working in parallel. The core team is primarily wrapped up on 0.14, but the Dash platform team, which includes all the great development work on Dash Drive or the Layer 2 storage and the DAPI API, all of that is is 100% devoted to 1.0 development. Then across the wallet teams, it’s really a split. We have two wallet teams: one is entirely working on 1.0 and the other team has kind of split doing the version 0.14 enhancements, as well as working on 1.0. So it’s a good split right now. I think if the question was being asked to ensure that we were not working sequentially and waiting till we got completed work on 0.14 before we started work on 1.0, you can rest assured that there is quite a bit of work that’s going on. I’ll just re-emphasize that we did open up the repos that had been private prior to that, so it’d be easier for the community to be aware of the team’s work as well. So if you haven’t had a chance to look at those at the level of technical detail that you like, please jump on GitHub and you’ll see the work that’s being done in those repositories.

  2. Q: Does the newly released Crypto Token Guidance from the SEC offer any clarity for the expected status of the no-action letter? (Foxtrot) 

    A (Ryan): The newly released Crypto Token Guidance from the SEC is not substantively different than the information that Dash Core Group already provided to the SEC. The director of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance, William Hinman, gave a speech on June 14th, 2018 which outlined a set of factors the SEC would consider in determining the security status of digital assets. This framework was codified by the Blockchain Association in January, which has come to be known as the Hinman Test. The Hinman Test was well-understood prior to our engagement with the SEC, and we included a legal analysis against the factors from Hinman’s speech within our submissions to the SEC. Those factors address elements beyond the Howey Test, which was prior to the advent of digital assets, the measure of whether something was a security. Therefore, the recent Crypto Token Guidance is nothing more than a repackaging of the Hinman Factors, and there are no additional topics that resulted from its publishing that we feel need to be addressed, and we communicated as such to the SEC. I think that there’s really nothing new there other than the fact that it organizes it perhaps a bit better than it was given in a speech in verbal format.

  3. Q: In June it is expected that the G-20 countries will meet and can dictate a global agreement about cryptocurrencies. What is the current status of the agreement with Coinfirm signed in 2016? about KYC/AML for institutional. (BlockChainTech)

    A (Ryan): Coinfirm remains a close partner, providing compliance services to exchanges, banks, and money services businesses. We continue to introduce them to new exchanges and vice versa. In addition to Coinfirm, we also work with BlockchainIntel, which is another platform offering compliance services to the Dash ecosystem.

    So exchanges have a choice in provider for those services, and we’re in discussions with additional potential service providers that have expressed an interest in supporting Dash. Our ecosystem of KYL/AML providers that exchanges need in order to meet compliance standards is expanding, and I think that gives those exchanges more choice. What we don’t want to have happen is have exchanges not even realizing that we have those options available, then being approached by a regulator about their compliance and making the decision to shut off Dash deposits, or Dash services. We have had that happen, and in that case we reach out ask them why Dash was delisted, and usually within a week, we’re able to get them back up and running. So this is something we’re on the lookout for, and we are proactively beginning to communicate with exchanges about these available options and ask them: “What is your plan for compliance if regulators require you to have this service? Do you know that we have these options available?” Because by providing that information to them, it can avoid Dash services being being removed and the services that are available do allow them to comply. So there’s no reason for an exchange to ever need to shut off services for Dash if regulators express concern about their compliance standards across different coins.

  4. Q: Once we have Dash Drive, will we store the DAO Trust Election Results on Drive? (dashameter)

    A (Bob): The answer is: we can! Because that is the purpose, to extend the blockchain and build distributed apps on top of it. I would consider that to be a great project request. What we built to service the first election was something we didn’t have the capacity or the capability to do in that way at that point in time. I think what we should do is put that on our list of potential development projects which can have an appropriate priority, and we can then talk about different implementation approaches and whether that’s something that we want to pick up and what the benefits are. We have discussed it around the team, and architecturally it’s quite feasible on Layer 2 as it is on Layer 1. There’s some different approaches that you could take with it. It would be a fun project to take on, and we’ll have to see how it fits in with all the other priorities.

  5. Q: There have been agreements with the Arizona’s University that the treasury has financed. It is known that there are problems to find developers or mathematicians in blockchain. Is there a plan to recruit talented students to incorporate them as scholarship or developers within the DCG team? (BlockChainTech)

    A (Ryan): We have had the opportunity to use multiple students from Arizona State University and continue to work closely with their blockchain group. As opportunities arise, we will definitely look to them as a recruiting source. To be clear, we are in a hiring freeze right now, so we don’t plan to fill any roles immediately, but that option is available to us. We worked directly with students last summer on our graphene research project and the team was excellent. The project ended at the end of last summer, and we haven’t had funds for additional projects over the past school year. We are meeting with the University later today to discuss whether there is mutual interest in any additional research topics that we might be able to propose to the network.

    We will keep the abreast of those conversations as they develop, and if we feel that there is a good opportunity to continue collaborating with the University on research topics, we’ll bring that to the network. It really is a great resource for us, the reason being we could never conduct this research for the costs that are involved on our own. Arizona State University already has a large server farm that they can run simulations in. We couldn’t afford to acquire that type of resource on our own, and when we put research dollars in, those research dollars are matched from federal funding and other sources within the university to stretch our dollar. So if there are ways that we can use an investment in a grant in order to access all of those resources at a fraction of the cost, it really does a great benefit to us and it does a great benefit to ASU as well. Because when we contribute towards one of the projects or topics that they’re already interested in, it just makes it more feasible for them to be able to conduct that research. So they rely on multiple funding sources, our funding does allow us to kind of steer the conversation a bit towards things that are mutually of interest to us, so it is a great partnership for both sides in my opinion. I’m sure there are some topics that are worthwhile bringing to the network for a decision, and we’ll work to do that.

Author: strophy
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tungfa is responsible for social media communications, and posts both original stories and links to news coverage of Dash from around the web.