It took a while, but we finally have a launch date for Dash 12.1. As the developers have said a few times, this update is much bigger than initially expected and thus the extensive testing done.
It will happen on February 5th after the blockchain pays the approved proposals. All budgets will need to be resubmitted and masternodes who don’t update will stop getting payments pretty soon.
As for what we’ll get, 12.1 will introduce a completely rewritten governance software and will lay the foundations for Evolution. Probably it is better to just quote Evan Duffield’s announcement:
The first area of progress is Dash Core. In addition to running the network at present, Dash Core also serves as the backbone of the Evolution engine. We have done a great deal of work on Sentinel, our large-scale decentralized programmable database solution, which is going to allow us to move radically faster than any other organization in cryptocurrency. Among other things, Sentinel will allow us to push updates to Dash Core much more quickly and easily.
Sentinel can also be re-geared and deployed to operate digital companies that have a built-in workforce, infrastructure to deploy again, and as an engine for storage and retrieval of information. This is the concept we’re working on, which will allow companies to run on the Dash Network and compete with centralized companies that refuse to work with Dash. It’s a simple divide and conquest model.
We have recently moved a good deal of our funding into paying some new hires, who have now integrated into our team and have pushed through many new versions of the software. Among other things, they have fixed various issues with the stability of the daemon, the syncing of governance objects, and the workability of the new Sentinel system. Sentinel uses a complex set of rules and conditions for validation of objects and maintaining the consensus of the network.
+Dash 12.1 prepares the path for Evolution. If you want a glimpse of what will come, check this Dash Detailed episode.
AND A NEW WEBSITE TOO
It has been live for a while at www-test.dash.org. Maybe you already know it. If you don’t, you will on February 5th because it will replace the old www.dash.org. There is still some work being done. Don’t hesitate to check the test site and report in the forum anything weird that you find. Fist one to do it gets to create the thread.
The site is moving away from a CMS and will be fully static. This will improve speed and security by orders of magnitude. The looks are also much nicer.
Dashous has softly, and quietly, beta (alpha?) launched. There has not even been an announcement because it is still being polished, but it needs testers and I’m bad with secrets that are not even secrets. There is also a subreddit.
For those who don’t know, Dashous is the localbitcoins-like-site that the blockchain financed a couple cycles ago.
THE HARDWARE WALLET AND THE MASTERNODE
Yes, you read it well. The long awaited feature, brought to you by the acclaimed Chaeplin. This beautiful piece of software will let you start your masternode from a Keepkey with a Dash Core wallet once we are on 12.1. It also works with a Trezor. As always, this is experimental, test in testnet first. That is why it is called testnet.
+Ryan Taylor published the official response to the report by IOHK in which they made an extensive analysis of the governance system and suggested some improvements.
+Eric Sammons published his own review of the Dash Governance System in Medium. He knows the system and his writing is always great. Read it.
+New section in the forum for updates on the funded projects that the team is working on. This should help solve the lack of communication and the dispersion of information about certain projects. Replying is not allowed there because it is intended to serve as a very fast status update for those who don’t want to dig. We can all discuss in the rest of the forum.
PD: Happy Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year and soon-to-be Chinese New Year!
Yesterday I had the chance to visit the world’s first (mostly) solar powered Altcoin mining farm, which is based near San José, Costa Rica. It is run by Avalon Life, the new sponsor of our educative series Captain Drakins’ Bitcoin Show.
With Andreas Meyer (Avalon Life) in one of their Altcoin mining farms in Costa Rica.
I was on my way to the Bitcoin Conference in Miami anyway, so I used the opportunity to visit beautiful Costa Rica and to talk some things through with Thomas Graf and Andreas Meyer, two of the main guys of Avalon. They are both Germans who have emigrated to Costa Rica, Thomas four years ago, Andreas last year.
Energy is an important cost factor in mining, and Costa Rica offers both lots of sun hours and geothermic energy, taken from its many active volcanos. Energy taken from the grid is still needed to fill gap hours when the sun doesn’t shine and geothermic energy is not enough, but electricity can be very cheap in Costa Rica, especially in off-peak hours at night. So Costa Rica was an obvious choice for mining farms mainly powered by renewable energy.
Costa Rica (Image: WikiCommons)
Thomas and Andreas drove me and some other visitors from abroad to one of their five mining farms in Costa Rica and showed us around. Well, mining farms are actually not that exciting to watch. They consist of racks of computers which produce a lot of noise and heat.
Compared to Bitcoin mining, this farm has a relatively low hash rate and energy consumption. It is a medium sized room in a factory building, about half filled with working racks, and lots of miners stored in the back, which are still in their original packaging. Thomas told me they will be installed in the future, but only after new solar panels have been added to the factory building’s roof to provide them with enough cheap electricity.
This is something unthinkable in the Bitcoin world: if you have a miner in your hands, you would not leave it in the package, but you want it to produce coins every second of its short life span. The Bitcoin difficulty goes up so fast that today’s fastest miner will be obsolete in just a few months. This seems to be different in the world of Altcoin mining, which I never cared about so far.
Avalon Life started their mining operations only last (Northern Hemisphere) summer. Their strategy is to not join the expensive arms race of Bitcoin mining, but rather mine other coins and trade them for Bitcoins.
If you invest in a mining package with them – and they only accept Bitcoin as payment – you will be paid out in Bitcoin on a daily basis. So although Bitcoin mining is just a very small part of their activity (they have some test Bitcoin miners in their mining farm in China), Bitcoin is still the most important point of reference.
Screenshot Dash Block Explorer from January 9th, 2017.
In this short time, Avalon Life have become one of the market leaders for Dash mining, which you can see on the Dash Block Explorer. The mining farm I visited has about 200 GigaHash, about half of which is dedicated to Dash mining, the rest of it to a variety of other coins, such as Litecoin, Ether, Monero and some other coins I have never even heard of.
They are not mining Steem yet, but I think they should consider to do so. By the way, the next episode of Captain Drakins will be about mining, too.
Exchange demises, e-wallet hacks, the influence of mavericks and anarchists. We cover them all as Dash’s technology is revealed in a candid and incisive interview with Ryan Taylor
Virtual currency Dash experienced a massive surge last week, with its total market capitalization soaring from $80 million USD, to $110 million USD.
Whilst Dash had been steadily rising in December, its spike overnight on January 4 could have been attributed to the impending release of a significant software upgrade, called 12.1, which will set the project up for its revolutionary decentralized payments system, Dash Evolution. Dash is now experiencing trading volumes upwards of 4 million USD per day; a 700% increase from October, and is about to overtake Ethereum Classic as the 6th most valuable cryptocurrency in the world.
There is much noise about virtual currency, especially Bitcoin and its vast venture capital investments in order to develop automated distributed ledger technology from its blockchain database functionality, however, what is the cause of the popularity of other such virtual currencies?
Today, FinanceFeeds spoke to Ryan Taylor, Director of Finance at Dash, in order to provide an insight into the ethos of the digital currency.
I believe Bitcoin would have gone a long time ago due to the litany of exchange demises and wallet hacks, as well as money laundering scandals including US government seizures of illicit trade sites like Silk Road, and the maverick/anarchistic nature of its ethos in its original form, but because of the blockchain database that is intrinsically linked to it, huge VC investments in technology development startups have ensued as well as large institutions like Goldman Sachs and Price Waterhouse Coopers have been investing in its development which has made by default bitcoin into a subject for commercial investment due to the distributed ledger automation capabilities of Blockchain.
How does Dash counteract the ‘maverick’ aspect of Bitcoin yet still offer longevity to large institutions and the existing market infrastructure in terms of its own technological prowess? What attracts anyone to use it to the level that it rose in value so much and what is its most common application (Bitcoin’s is the distributed ledger tech for example).
Bitcoin has seen its share of well-deserved success for delivering a novel solution to the market. But as we’ve seen, Bitcoin struggles with governance issues that inhibit nimble development or a cohesive strategy. For example, Bitcoin has struggled immensely to make even the most basic changes to its protocol which would increase transaction capacity.
More capacity is greatly desired by users, but the network is ultimately controlled by miners – operators of large computing operations that secure transactions. Miners seem to prefer keeping transaction capacity low, which generates more fees from users competing for that capacity. Meanwhile, the Bitcoin Foundation is dependent on donations from outside influencers to fund its development. In my opinion, that model is flawed, and the inherent conflicts of interests are detrimental to its continued growth and innovation.
Dash is fundamentally different. It has an explicit governance structure through which decisions are made. We operate much more like a company, with a clear strategy for our product. We have the equivalent of “shareholders” in our model, and a management team fully incentivized to grow the network. In addition, the network is completely self-funding, which means no donations are needed from other entities. All of this comes together to create a much more effective model for delivering a cohesive strategy aimed as serving the needs of the market.
End-users are attracted to Dash because it consistently delivers innovative features not available with other digital currencies. Our most popular feature is InstantSend, which enables instant transaction confirmations. Bitcoin transactions can sometimes take hours to confirm, which makes them infeasible for many situations that Dash can address, such as paying for a meal, paying at a register, or topping up a pre-paid debit card right before using it. Dash also offers an optional feature that helps keep sensitive information like balances and transactions private.
Lastly, Dash is laser focused on providing a user-friendly experience, and our Evolution software release later this year will deliver a completely new digital currency experience. The user experience will be very familiar to consumers, who will be able to use a login and password to access their account from any device, and paying for products and services will be as simple as pressing on their phone’s fingerprint reader.
The decentralized payment system offered by Dash is interesting. Will this be a replacement for Liberty Reserve, and if so, how does it avoid any citations for money laundering due to the ability to transfer funds without a central processing entity, and how does it differ from PayPal?
Dash – like Bitcoin – isn’t a centralized entity. It is a decentralized open-source software that anyone on the planet is free to operate. However, many categories of centralized businesses that interface with the Dash network, such as currency exchanges and money transmitters, are subject to Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations.
Dash has partnered with Coinfirm – a KYC / AML compliance services provider – to ensure these services are available to companies that require them to operate on our network. In contrast, Liberty Reserve was a centralized money transmitting business that attempted to operate without a license and without meeting regulatory requirements, which is why it was seized by law enforcement in 2013.
We think that PayPal provides a great user experience for online purchases in particular, but it is notoriously unfriendly to merchants due to high transaction fees and liberal (sometimes fraudulent) merchant chargebacks. Dash aims to deliver the ease-of-use and speed consumers have come to expect from a centralized company like PayPal, except without the high transaction fees.
Will, for example, people in unbanked regions of the world that are growth areas for the FX and retail electronic trading industry like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand be able to use this to fund retail FX accounts with Western brokerages?
Our initial aim is to deliver a much more user-friendly form of digital currency than first-generation currencies like Bitcoin. However, we are diligently building out integrations with digital currency exchanges and other services that reduce the friction associated with moving money between countries quickly. Once that infrastructure is built, we will continue expanding services.
Enabling instant user deposits to Western brokerages from literally anywhere would add a lot of value to consumers and FX exchanges alike, and we would be interested in identifying retail FX brokerages willing to partner with us on such a solution.
Volumes of 4 million per day are cited. Even FX brokerages that offer trading services in sovereign currencies cannot verify their volumes, which is why we do not publish them. How can it be substantiated that the volumes are $4 million per day representing a 700% increase from October, and how is this measured?
Digital currency exchanges publish trading volumes, prices, and order book information through their platforms. Cryptocurrency aggregation sites like coinmarketcap.com link to this information real-time and publish the information publicly.
What will allow Dash exchanges to be more secure in terms of e-wallet hack-proofing and demises usually associated with unbacked peer to peer currencies – as in MtGox?
At Dash, we feel that more needs to be done to help exchanges store funds securely, and too little attention has been focused on solutions for the digital currency industry. While the industry has matured its security measures substantially, hacks do still occur, so we feel that changes at the protocol level would help.
Our Evolution release later this year will include “vault accounts” – special accounts that will lock away specified balances more securely. Moving currency from these special accounts will initiate a waiting period.
Should a perpetrator ever attempt to steal funds from these accounts, the real owner will receive an email warning of the unauthorized transfer and may cancel the transaction during the waiting period, making theft exponentially more difficult. Such a solution would limit the severity of losses and greatly reduce the incentives for hackers to attempt a robbery in the first place.
We are constantly evaluating proposed solutions that will make using the Dash network more secure. For example, we recently integrated Dash with several leading hardware wallets, devices that help keep digital currency secure.How does the infrastructure and network connectivity work that underpins the Dash marketplace? Is it similar to an exchange with a hosted / colocated server (Equinix LD4 for example) or does it use standard internet? how can this compete with market infrastructure used in the institutional sector which has points of presence and direct connectivity between venues, brokerages and Tier 1 banks for liquidity and immediate pricing with no latency?
The Dash network is not an exchange and is not meant to compete with one. Instead, Dash aims to facilitate transactions between consumers and merchants, so transaction times are similar to a credit card authorization.
Unlike a credit card, though, funds are settled within minutes rather than several business days. Dash transactions can propagate our network quickly because it is the first digital currency network that explicitly incentivizes the operators of servers that run Dash’s network.
This means operators are compensated to provide high-quality infrastructure. Consequently, most of the network’s servers are hosted in professionally managed datacenters around the globe with high bandwidth connectivity. Anyone with 1,000 Dash collateral may operate a network server, so the network remains completely decentralized, but is capable of delivering a great user experience to consumers and merchants accustomed to the speed and reliability of credit card networks.When it comes to trading, every exchange’s technology setup is different, but digital currency generally must be deposited and controlled by an exchange before traders are allowed to begin trading. With Bitcoin and most other digital currencies, transferring funds to an exchange takes about 30 minutes.
However, exchanges that accept Dash InstantSend deposits can safely allow trading within a few seconds. In contrast, the traditional financial industry relies on brokerages, counterparties, banks, clearing houses, and many other intermediaries to guarantee and settle transactions, which works great until it doesn’t. They even rely on colocation of infrastructure and dedicated network connectivity to squeeze fractions of a millisecond off trading times. But all of that infrastructure costs a lot of money.
Digital currency is designed to work without all of those intermediaries in a purely peer-to-peer fashion, which is why transactions can be performed at incredibly low expense. There’s actually nothing stopping traditional financial institutions from trading digital currencies through existing trust-dependent low latency platforms, and the trade settlement process would be much faster than with other asset classes.