Is Dash good enough for THORChain?
In the previous post, we were discussing unique features of ThorChain.
But what does Dash bring to the table in this potential new partnership between Dash and ThorChain?
Bitcoin was created in 2009 by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto. It is generally accepted that he did it in response to the financial/banking crisis and subsequent bailouts. It struck him as grotesquely unfair that rank and file taxpayers were going to be forced to give the uber wealthy and uber powerful banksters trainloads of money to save them from the consequences of their own greed and misbehavior. We are leaving out all the complexity and nuance about who was really at fault or was it entirely greed, etc because we don’t have time and it’s not relevant for this discussion. But the numbers are sobering. Various thoughtful estimates put the number between 500 Billion dollars and something north of a Trillion dollars.
Without that context, it is hard to convey what the Bitcoin community was like the first few years. It was a movement. It had the fervor of a religious cult. It was an uprising or rebellion against the central banking system. I submit that Satoshi Nakamoto was like the tank man in Tiananmen Square, but against the wealthiest and most powerful and most corrupt people and governments in the entire world.
For the first time in the history of the world, the common people had a tool that might actually level the playing field without a shooting war. By giving the world honest money that could not be censored and did not depend on any government or central bank, the ordinary citizens of the world might accomplish the biggest improvement in human rights ever…..full stop.
Viewed from a certain perspective, the story turns dark and depressing now. Bitcoin abandoned the mission of providing honest money to the world. Some would disagree, but most would not. It turned out to be an extremely difficult task to invent better and honest money for the world. Among other things, it’s a tremendous scaling problem. I still love Bitcoin, long may she live. But Bitcoin is not cheap, fast, secure and efficient money that cannot be censored and likely never will be.
But Dash is. Of course, we’re not 100% there yet, but we have a long string of successful innovations, and an even bigger list of things to do in the future. Dash today has InstantSend as the default mode of performing a financial transaction. The transaction locks AND is respendable in 2-3 seconds. While being completely immune to the doublespend attack.
By comparison, Bitcoin “solved” the doublespend attack by recommending that six blocks be added to the blockchain before a user can be certain a doublespend can no longer occur. But that can take an hour or more. The Lightning network solves the doublespend problem using a different method, but there is still debate about potential doublespend attack vulnerabilities.
Dash has a viable scaling plan by using two layers, embracing bigger blocks, 4x shorter block times compared to BTC and upgrading the server network to keep up with growing transaction volume. Dash can afford that because the second layer Masternodes get paid to provide these advanced services to the network.
Because Bitcoin did not have an effective governance mechanism, the community fought bitterly for years about how to scale to levels that could provide honest money to the world. This produced an internal war over increasing the block size. The end result was that the Bitcoin community split and produced Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin SV among other things. It was awful.
While all that was going on, the Dash community solved the “big block” problem in less than a week. We agreed to double the block size and get on with providing honest money for the world. The reason Dash could do that is because we had invented the first DAO, or Decentralized Autonomous Organization. Welcome to effective blockchain governance. Many crypto projects are still struggling with DAOs and governance today. Dash’s Second layer solution (Masternodes) happened in 2014, which also gave us real privacy (PrivateSend).
Improved Governance, InstantSend and a self funded Treasury followed in 2015. InstantSend transactions are locked in a few seconds, with no possible Double Spend exploits. Lots of projects in the crypto space are still struggling today to achieve those three things. Talk about battle tested, that’s 7+ years exposure of these features to the real world. Since Dash is an open source blockchain, at least 20 other projects have copied the second layer/Masternode approach.
Resistance to 51% attacks. Since Dash is (and always has been) the biggest blockchain that uses the X-11 hashing protocol, Dash has always been resistant to 51% attacks. But with the addition of the ChainLocks feature, it is now practically impossible to attack Dash in that fashion.
Dash has received some criticism regarding PrivateSend as ineffective, or not “real” privacy. As an improved, on-chain version of CoinJoin, I would disagree. There are theoretical examples or edge cases where a user runs a risk of being de-anonymized if they do a poor job of using the PrivateSend feature. In real life, there is a surprising shortage of PS transactions (done well or done poorly) that have been broken. If a user uses the PS mixing function as recommended, I would challenge anyone to produce even a single example of a PS transaction that has been broken by anybody in the real world.
That’s a brief back-of-the-napkin sketch of how Dash works and features it has right now! Here is a link to the Dash Roadmap if you want more details.
But what’s in the pipeline? Our next major release will be Dash Platform. Let’s just say that Dash Platform will give you all the security and benefits of a simple blockchain like BitCoin (but cheaper, faster and more secure) along with all the benefits of decentralized applications/smart contracts, including the efficient and inexpensive storage of data, Web-3 identity features and more.