Death spiral is a bit dramatic, not all altcoins from 2017 made new highs in the bull run of 2021. It will be hard to pinpoint the relatively poor price performance on a single thing, but from Ethereum we can see how the importance of creating an intrinsic demand for your shit token is, eg in staking, LP, gas for smart contracts etc. IMO this is what largely fuelled its rise. While from the low sat coins, we can see how important the unit bias is 'cheap coins' in attracting value 'miser' investors.
DASH is not a cheap coin, nor does the DASH have as many uses, staking it in mnodes is certainly one use and probably largely the reason the value is still so high. DASH has a a set of issues of its own making too, the early fast distribution of coins and subsequent lowering of the final emission, means DASH has a large number of coin holders that are sitting in massive profits. It sure is tempting to take those profits in a bullish market and that is certainly what we saw in the recent bull run.
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In the 2021 bull run DASH was no longer alone in the class of staking with several other staking coins and DeFi protocols offering higher rewards, albeit at far greater risk. Fortunately the recent crash has crushed those yields and if we enter a deeper bear market they are likely to drop off further, however, thanks to the reallocation hardfork and the node selling during the bull market, the yield on DASH has actually increased!
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As already mentioned, DASH passed the reallocation hardfork
which has started to improve the tokenomics by paying more to the masternodes (coin holders) and less to the miners (coin sellers). There is also a proposal in at the moment to reduce the proposal fee
and reduce waste in the DAO and allow new entrents to approach the DAO and work for it. Also, DASH Platform (Evolution) is slated to be released at the end of the year, apart from dramatically improving the user experience around crypto payments, it also creates a new demand for DASH to pay for data contracts, similar to, but simper than Ethereum smart contracts.
There is still more work to do. DASH can tackle the lousy unit bias, we can also look at reduce the collateral requirements for owning an mnode, currently 1000 DASH, 250 could be possible which would put ownership into reach of many more people and increase demand on the coin as these people scoop up a quarter century of DASH. We could also revisit funding the DAO entirely from the mnode earnings, rather than minting fresh coins to improve voter engagement and decisions made in the DAO. We could look at time locking MN collaterals and paying a bonus to those that opt-in, this would act as a circuit breaker to selling during fast markets and give newer enternts confidence they won't get dumped on since the coins are locked up. There are probably a bunch more ideas. Post them below.