This thread lists questions and answers from the DCG Q3 2019 Summary Call. The first posts contain transcribed answers from the call, and remaining questions will be collected and posted here over the course of the week. Questions are as follows:
- Q: To what extent has block reward reallocation been discussed/considered?
A (Ryan): One of the questions that emerged following the introduction of ChainLocks is does it make sense to continue spending as much as we do of the block reward on hash rate given that ChainLocks essentially adds another layer of security and in many respects a much better layer of security to the network than proof-of-work. I think that it is an excellent question. It’s obvious that that the right answer is not to continue to spend as much as we have in the past on that. I believe that there can be significant improvements made to the cost efficiency of our network without sacrificing security. So we are going to be engaging in a process of evaluating those options and presenting a proposal for discussion to the community. Ultimately a change of this magnitude would require not only a significant discussion, but probably a vote in order to facilitate it. But we are actively working on a proposed change in this regard. It’s really an opportunity for us to do a more comprehensive view of how all of the economics and security of the network works. We know that we can make this more efficient. So I think the answer is an unequivocal yes. It makes sense for us to evaluate it. There’s a lot of technical questions to be resolved surrounding it and and broad input needed from the team to make sure that we’re putting forward a very logical solution to this. So stay tuned – I would anticipate introducing something for discussion before the end of the year.
- Q: Where is the demand for what Dash Platform does?
A (Ryan): Dash Platform basically extends the capabilities of the network and enables completely new use cases. We are seeing demand from businesses in particular that want to do much more than simply facilitate a payment. This is coming in the form of logistics: being able to attach data to the network along with payments, i.e. the ability to send information through the network beyond the payment itself. An example here is making it easier for consumers to check out. A lot of the payments industry best practices that we want to introduce into the network are dependent on this capability. Just last week at the Cipher Trace conference in San Francisco that Glenn mentioned earlier, some developers approached me and had many ideas about how they planned on utilizing Dash Platform, and had wanted my input on on the ways that they might be able to use it. We have no less than half a dozen launch partners that are eagerly awaiting the capabilities of Dash Platform, and those are the ones that we’ve largely filtered down to supporting as launch partners. So we know that there’s demand out there for this. Another example is one of the prominent Bitcoin payment processors had a conversation with them at Money 2020 and they expressed a lot of interest in how they might be able to utilize this. The short answer is there’s a lot of demand for this type of capability and we think that it’s gonna be a game changer for the network. That’s the reason we’re pursuing it.
- Q: Have we tried spending money to advertise our proposal system to expand awareness? Would this sot of advertising get around the crypto ads ban on Facebook, as it’s not really advertising a cryptocurrency, but rather a job opportunity?
A (Fernando): First, it’s worth noting that Facebook has softened the limitations on cryptocurrencies a lot. Right now, as long as you are not trying to sell coins, you are mostly okay. Although some certain things require previous approval, it’s still possible. However, we have not advertised the proposal system ever, and I don’t think anyone has done it. But there has been some discussion in the community about how we could bring in good partners and projects to the proposal system. But I think most of the people agree, and I definitely agree, that broad advertising would probably not be the way. We would need to develop some kind of RFP (request for proposal) system, and then chase the appropriate format partners for each of these RFPs. That would probably be a much better approach than just advertising as a job opportunity. Because we need to first establish what are the needs, not just bring people in to the proposal system to search for money.
A (Ryan): I would add that if others feel differently, there’s nothing stopping the community from putting a proposal up to do exactly this. Or at least having a discussion publicly about whether or not the masternodes would vote for such a proposal. So that’s one of the advantages of our open system – it’s not dependent on whether or not Dash Core Group takes action on it.
- Q: What marketing activity is Core currently pursuing and what marketing activities are planned for the future?
A (Fernando): The marketing function within DCG is working to bring Dash to the market and gain adoption. Obviously we can’t do that just by ourselves, so we do work through different multiplier groups. On one side, we work with community and media to put out the message about Dash. These are the three topics which we mostly pursue:
– product adoption
We create content around that, and we also do some brand work. We put that through the channels which we build and maintain. This is mostly the website that we maintain and update. We also have the user-facing documentation hosted at docs.dash.org, all our social media channels and the conferences we attend. We don’t do as many as we would like these days, but we still get some offers. We sponsor a few, and we attend many for free. But we are very careful which ones we choose. We produce some events, like the open house we are throwing in December. And we also do PR work through the PR firm that the network selected. Sometimes we do direct outreach and try to keep the media informed about what does.
The other big part that marketing is busy with is supporting our partners in getting Dash into the hands of their users. Sometimes this happens through business development, and we support them in the promotions we do with partners when they integrate, like the promotion that was launched yesterday with Binance US. In other cases there is no integration, but for different reasons, the partners which have to also reach out to them to do things. An example of this is Abra with their new wallet and promotional activities we are going to be doing in the next few weeks. Other times this activity with partners comes through other funded organizations in the ecosystem. We work very closely with all the embassies and Dash News, Dash Turkey, Dash Thailand, D-A-CH to also provide support where possible with the communication around all those integrations.
As for the future, resources are limited but we would expect to keep improving on all these areas of work, because there are many things we would like to do that we are we need to prioritize. So we have a big backlog of things we would like to do. Only if all these things were covered to our satisfaction would we tackle new areas like paid media advertising and things like that to a significant degree. If not, we’ll limit our activities so we can do them to a more complete extent.
- Q: Has DCG considered changing the CEO title to avoid confusion in the press? Would Ryan Taylor consider the role of General Manager?
A (Ryan): I know there’s a lot of concern within the community when whenever a journalist shortens a headline or misquotes my position. A lot of the suggestions are can you change it to General Manager, can you change it to President… I think whatever you change it to, this mistake is likely to continue. Changing it to President or some other title would still result in the same root problem which is: “Ryan Taylor, President of Dash”. So I don’t think that’s actually a solution. Probably a more practical solution would be having a very different name for Dash Core Group – in the case of Zcash, they have Electric Coin Company – and that might allow that distinction to be made much more clearly as opposed to a title change. I think that there’s been a lot of noise on this. What we continue to focus on is correcting it whenever we see it, and hopefully continuing to clarify. Whether or not a change of entity name is warranted, that’s not a serious discussion we’ve had, but I’d be interested in what the trust protectors are hearing from the community as a whole and whether or not they feel it needs to be addressed. Personally I don’t think that it holds back a lot, but my point of view may be may be different than the community as a whole. I’m open to suggestions on that front.
- Q: Would DCG take out a “key man” life insurance policy on Ryan Taylor with DCG as beneficiary?
A (Glenn): In the past we hadn’t considered taking out key man life insurance for Ryan. I think it’s actually a pretty interesting idea. So we should bring it to the board of directors for our next meeting to consider it. I think it’s also important to consult with the trust protectors on the subject. But I think this is one of those questions where we’ll go back, take it as homework, and make a decision based on a number of factors.
- Q: What has been done to address the presentation setup for online interviews?
A (Ryan): A lot of this is directed at interviews that I did, particularly over the summer. I think there’s a lot of confusion over the timing of some of the criticism that I got and what I fixed and when I fixed it. I did see the criticisms of the lighting in my office, and unfortunately I’ve done about four or five interviews in a very short period of time. The first one came out, the criticisms resulted from that, and I ordered some lighting and things. Over the course of the next three to six weeks, the remaining interviews continued to come out, and a lot of people continued to criticize those videos. And not only criticize the lighting, but now criticized me for not listening to the community and fixing the lighting issue. So I think there were some timing issues there where it’s like, well, I can’t control when the videos come out. Subsequent to that, I did get some additional feedback that it wasn’t sufficient. I switch to actually taking all of my interviews from the office if video was to be used on any of those, including when videos were being recorded from other time zones – I’ve gone in as early as six o’clock in the morning to the SkySong offices to take those. We don’t have a studio at the office, it’s just a one room office. There’s not a lot that we can do about the arrangement of the furniture which is in the room and attached to the walls.
So we did get some feedback from Tao recently on this issue. He did a video on the poor quality and had some suggestions for us. He sent over a list of equipment, and I’ve been working with him on exactly what the setup of the room is and generating ideas. There are some limitations, but I’m going to take further steps to address this, including ordering of a backdrop that we can set up in the middle of the room so that you’re not looking at a wall behind me. Some additional equipment around lighting as well as microphones in order to get rid of the headset and things of other nature. So I have been listening to the community, the timing of the videos doesn’t always work in my favor, after I fix something and then more videos come out. But I am listening to you, I am trying to fix it within the limitations that we do have. So Tao has been very helpful on that, I thank him for the help, we’re ordering the equipment and hopefully this addresses the community’s concern about the professional presentation issues.
- Q: What progress has been made with Shift PR?
A (Fernando): The six months that were included in their proposal that was approved are ending this month. The proposal was made at a higher Dash price but then it went down and was cashed out at a lower rate. So in the end both effects have canceled out and they’ve been able to provide service for the full six months. They are doing another proposal – I think it’s going live today, so there will be a lot of information in there with all the Dash Watch reports and all that. But as for the key achievements nearing these months, one good thing to talk about is they’ve successfully established a full network collaboration. It’s not them working with Dash Core Group – we are coordinating that work – but they are also working with the other funded organizations that are doing outreach. Dash Next, D-A-CH, Dash News… in some capacity they usually attend the meetings we have so that’s been a good improvement for them to really be the PR firm of the network, not of DCG. Also they’ve managed to finally open CoinDesk to Dash. We’ve had a series of positive articles in the last few months. Also in other crypto media, but CoinDesk was probably the most desired by all of us. They have also managed to put a few pieces in more mainstream media. But in any case, I’ll just ask everyone to examine the proposal they make and see the Dash Watch reports and with that make a decision. I think we would be good keeping some PR support for the upcoming months, but that’s for everyone to decide in the same way in which we decide everything at Dash.
- Q: Dash v1.0 release is approaching, does DCG have any planned advertisement and/or publicity campaign for this long-awaited release?
A (Fernando): As everyone has heard, Dash Platform is gonna hit Evonet later this year. But as Bob said, it’s going to be a complex testing phase because the release is huge and complex. So we don’t have a certain date when it’s going to hit Mainnet yet. What we are going to be doing is a lot of outreach and education to media partners and developers during this testing phase, also with some smaller events. And then do more communication and a big event when we hit Mainnet, hopefully tagging along a big crypto conference to capitalize on their audience and developers being in town. We have some plans for that and budget, but everything will depend on dates and money available. We’ll be doing a proposal to replenish the marketing budget probably in January, and then we’ll have a bit more visibility on what we can do and what we can’t. And also we’ll be closer and have more information on dates by then. At the open house we will explicitly address this topic with more details on the plans for the next few months for that launch. Because as the person who asked the question says, this is a very long awaited release and we need to be doing everything we can for everyone to understand that Dash is now much much more and we have a platform which people can develop on top of for them to do amazing things.
- Q: What is being done to make sure Evolution is delivered on time, on budget and in scope? Can the Evolution backlog be made public? Can you publish your sprint goals and how they relate to Evolution?
A (Bob): Great question! I’ll take the opportunity for some clarification on it as well in my response. First of all, Evolution can’t be delivered on time because Evolution isn’t a product. Evolution is a vision that’s made up of multiple products and so if we keep asking when is Evolution going to be delivered, I could answer that it already has, as the foundational components have been delivered, or that it never will, because a vision will always continue to evolve and be completed or grow. So I think we want to start shifting our questions to when will Dash Platform be available, when will DashPay be available, when will specific release numbers of those be available. That will be really helpful for the community overall to start referencing the individual products that make up and comprise the grand vision of what what Evolution is and was. So that’s just a sidebar.
But to the point of the question, what are we doing to ensure that we can deliver everything on time? I’ll apply this to all products to let you know what we’ve been doing on that. Really it centers around the adoption of agile development processes, which include specific roles on our teams such as product owners, who helped collect requirements and prioritize those, as well as using scrum masters to organize our backlog grooming, our sprint planning and our sprint review sessions. Those are being done religiously on both the the Dash Platform and the DashPay teams, which is what we’re looking at here in the Evo types of releases. We’ve also had, as budget has allowed us, we’ve had a couple of very low-cost in-person meetups. Those have been important, because driving through tough technical discussions requires whiteboards and long days and repeated sessions that just is almost impossible in a distributed environment such as we are. Those meetups have been very helpful. We have adjusted resources – that’s included adding a developer to our Platform team and and so we’ll continue to look at that. We’ve also eliminated unnecessary complexities. So through our planning as well as our meeting efforts we’ve looked at opportunities to eliminate complexity and to pull things back, which really led to the approach of Evonet. Let’s get the basics out, let’s start building on it because if we continue to try to build the overall project or deliver the end goal in the first release, we just won’t get there. So I think that those have all been very helpful.
As far as transparency on publishing sprint goals and how they really relate to releases: absolutely. We’re very comfortable with that. Liz produces the product updates on a weekly basis, and I’ll work with her to look at how we can tweak that and tie those into it to be a little bit more transparent on the products. So great questions, don’t take my criticism as far as using the term Evo as as being anything else but clarifying to help us make sure that we’re all setting realistic and achievable expectations.
- Q: Is DCG actively researching ways to provide Dash price stability in terms of USD (e.g. some sort of Dash-based stable token) or is it still counting on “mass adoption” to solve it?
A (Ryan): Obviously right now our focus is on delivering Platform and the related capabilities such as Dashpay, those types of things. So that that’s where our development resources are focused. What Dash Platform does allow for is the issuance of tokens in a similar way to SLP on Bitcoin Cash, but in a far more elegant and extensible fashion. Bitcoin Cash relies it on larger OP-return field in order to facilitate that. You’ll be able to do much more in a much more customizable way on Dash Platform. So it is absolutely possible to issue tokens. It is possible to issue some type of algorithmic or stable token, custody fund token of some sort upon the Dash blockchain so there will be the ability to do that. I think as far as Dash Core Group goes, I don’t think this will be our immediate focus. We do have a lot of other components that we plan to release that add value. But there’s nothing stopping other teams from pursuing something like this or companies that would want to issue something on on our blockchain. So it’s absolutely possible.
Beyond this though, as part of the work that we’re doing on the economic revamp, there will be some component that delivers additional price stability that is kind of an incidental benefit if the initial ideas that we’re batting around there come to fruition. Hopefully more details on how that would affect volatility will be available to the community before the end of the year. So there are some steps that we can take even without introducing a stable token of some type.
- Q: Looking forward, can illegal material be kept on the Dash blockchain. If so, can it be eradicated?
A (Ryan): The impetus for this question is concerns over things like child pornography and other data that might be unsavory and certainly could be against the morals or ethics of people involved in running masternodes, as well as a reputational risk for the network and so on. The answer is… is it technically feasible to submit data to the network of this nature? The answer is yes. Is it economically feasible? Probably not. The cost of transactions will be tied to the size, and certainly things like images and videos in particular would be extremely expensive to support. Beyond that, we are planning to introduce features that enable the data to be pruned, or in a decentralized manner, for data to be eradicated from the network. These are very complicated features. They aren’t necessary for us to deliver Evolution or deliver Platform (excuse me). So they’ll have to come in a subsequent release. But we are contemplating how this could be done and evaluating alternatives there. I think there there can be some protections in place where the network overwhelmingly objects to hosting certain types of data. It does need to be done in a decentralized fashion though, and that certainly increases the complexity of doing something like that. But we’re at least thinking about it and how it could be done in a future release.
- Q: What changes have happened at DCG that resulted in Dash Evolution being late? How many resources have been retired in favor of more efficient ones?
A (Bob): Well, I gave you my soapbox speech before about Evo being a vision as opposed to a specific product. I think that led to a long timeline from original announcement to when the first set of code and product is actually hitting the market. It was announced in early 2016 without a full design but with, you know, an aspiration to develop it, which was great. And a year later there was somewhat of a design at that point in time. Again, all of this was before even the formation of Dash Core Group as an entity. I think understanding that there wasn’t a realistic plan put in place when some original timelines and dates were communicated is probably fair to recognize.
As projects and priorities have come up, obviously we needed to lay down some foundational elements in Dash Core, and we also started to prioritize other efforts such as the security of our network over just pure delivery towards Platform and Dashpay. ChainLocks and InstantSend improvements are good examples of that. So when I came on board, my observation was we had a great vision, which we still do. We had a potential design: it was a design, but it was only a potential design. There were very little details of implementation, so until you get into those details, obviously then the design has to be able to change as well, which it has. We’ve worked very hard at that over the last year. The team is a great team and is excited about this impending delivery. So again, we’ve delivered those those foundational components and will continue to deliver quarter-over-quarter. I think that’s the commitment that we have as a team. I’m excited to see Dash Platform and watch it really provide as a catalyst for growth of the Dash network overall, just as any platform entree into the market does. Salesforce as a platform, Amazon as a platform… Dash as a platform has great opportunities there. So I’m excited about that.
As far as resources go – the question asks how many resources have been retired in favor of more efficient ones – you know, I would say our personnel decisions that have been made over the last year have led to a significant reduction in resources. All of those have been in favor of greater efficiency and greater productivity out of our resources. My sense is (and this is based on other opinions that are shared with me as well) is that we we’ve never had levels of efficiency in development before that we’re having right now. So I think that’s great. Part of it is again going back to the the previous question about the fact that we have good processes in place. We have a team that really enjoys working together. Trust is continuing to grow and we just have to get the delivery out the door. I won’t go into details, because numbers lead to names, and just out of respect for everybody who’s contributed to the project, let me just say that we have a very efficient yet unfortunately a very lean team today. We’d love to have more resources, but we just can’t afford it at this point.
A (Ryan): We are a significantly smaller team than we were a year ago, but certainly from my vantage point, the output of the team is higher than it’s ever been. So I think that really speaks to a lot of things, including the deployment of lean methodology, Bob’s leadership, the team learning to work together more efficiently and clear direction. We’re just getting better at all the aspects, including planning. I think that you’ve seen that in the most recent couple of quarters where these dates haven’t moved. We have a much better handle on what it takes to get the job done.
- Q: What is the impact on price of the monthly budget payout and subsequent monthly cashout from treasury funding?
A (Ryan): That is very difficult to predict for obvious reasons, including the fact that with a lot of exchanges it’s difficult to ascertain what our true trading volume is, because a lot of exchanges exaggerate their trading volume. There is a correlation between the budget payouts and price that surrounds the budget payout date. Price tends to be depressed in the couple of days before and couple of days after the budget payout. There is some kind of an impact. That impact seems to be temporary, but it’s very difficult to ascertain. You simply can’t determine the exact impact. But I would say that the budget payout pales in comparison to the amount of payout that we experience every day throughout the rest of the month for mining operations which are essentially breakeven operations. Counting the cost of equipment and electricity and operations, the network obtains about as much hash rate as that funding can afford. So those operations have a tendency to need to liquidate their income in order to pay for their operations. That is probably a much larger impact on price than the monthly budget payout. Dash Core Group does spread its selling out over the course of the month. That tends to yield a better price for Dash Core Group, and it also has less of an impact on volatility around that budget payout period. Whatever impact there is, it is small, but it is statistically significant that there is a small drop in price right around the budget payout every month. People can use that information to their advantage: perhaps if you’re planning on buying Dash, that would be a good time as a month to do it, and it would help stabilize price during those periods. At this point as the monetary base grows, I believe that impact will become less and less because it’ll be such a small percentage of the circulating coin.
Original link: https://www.dash.org/forum/threads/community-q-a-q3-2019-summary-call.48912/