Fortune and Dash Force News both report that Dash is launching a “Blockchain Research Lab” in partnership with Arizona State University. The new lab will be hosted at ASU’s Fulton College of Engineering and will focus on such pertinent questions as scalability, mining centralization, Blockchain security and energy efficient mining.
Earlier this year, Dash established offices at ASU’s Skysong Innovation Center, a type of incubator for technology-related startups.
The Blockchain Research Lab was funded directly by the Dash network to the tune of $50,000. Dash employs an innovative model by which 45% of the block rewards go to miners, 45% go to special nodes called masternodes, and 10% goes to fund the decentralized budget system. At current prices, Dash has a nearly $23 million annual budget.
In his budget proposal, Dash Core CEO Ryan Taylor stated:
“Dash is focused on becoming the first digital currency capable of mass-market adoption. We believe our incentivized infrastructure model offers a viable path to providing the capacity required to operate at massive scale. Validating and improving our approach through rigorous research offers enormous potential benefits to users over the long-term.”
Breaking it down
Cointelegraph had the opportunity to interview Joel Valenzuela, chief editor of Dash Force News. The transcript below has been lightly edited for brevity:
Cointelegraph: What are your thoughts on Dash’s sudden surge in price?
Joel Valenzuela: To be honest, it was due. Dash has consistently proved to be a valuable power-player in the cryptocurrency space, with a superior user experience, solid development team, energetic and positive community, and long-term plan for mass-market growth. When new cryptocurrency users do their research, it's hardly surprising to see investment flowing into Dash. Dash is a perfect candidate for a user seeking a sleek and cheap payment experience.
CT: While you say this has been a long time coming, do you know of any specific reason it happened now, and so violently?
JV: The creation of a blockchain research lab by the Dash network at Arizona State University was certainly a nice announcement, but it's doubtful that it alone was responsible for such a spike in the markets. Since the Dash surge coincided with that of Bitcoin Cash, my guess is that several large Bitcoin holders switched to Bitcoin Cash, only they diversified into Dash as a backup. That's my guess at any rate, the volatile crypto markets of today can be a bit cryptic.
CT: Many are saying that crypto is in a bubble that's due to pop, and others believe that this is actually the beginning of a multi-year bull market. Still others think that this is the very beginning of mass adoption. Where do you stand?
JV: With all three, as unhelpful as that answer may be. Much cryptocurrency valuation is based on projects which have yet to (and may never) deliver a viable product to end users, and that can certainly be called a bubble. As far as investments are concerned, we are very likely in the beginning of a multi-year bull market as investors around the world are waking up to viability of digital assets. As far as mass adoption is concerned, I would say we are not even at the beginning, not even close. Bitcoin's network congestion hit the pause button on adoption, possibly setting it back years. Dash is taking a good stab at mass market adoption with the upcoming Evolution update. When that happens, we very well may see a crypto rally that dwarfs all those that came before.
CT: What does Evolution do? How will it help bring along mass market adoption?
JV: Evolution will seek to bring a smooth, user-friendly, "even your grandmother can figure it out" experience to cryptocurrency, at the protocol level. Right now, cryptocurrency is difficult and intimidating to use for the average users, with long cryptographic keys and easily misplaced funds. Several companies simplify the process for the regular user, but remain centralized entities. Evolution will bring the PayPal-like experience with all the censorship resistance and power over your own funds that cryptocurrency die-hards have come to know and love.
CT: What are Dash's current weaknesses? Nobody's perfect, right?
JV: In a field driven by hype around the latest and greatest tech, Dash's main offering, a simple and cheap decentralized payment system, is kind of "boring" today, especially in a crowded field with heavy hitters like Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin. It will take some effort to try to overcome the network effects of several years of crypto dominance. To put it bluntly, Dash is likely not going to be the darling of tech conferences obsessed over the newest intricate creation. It must compete on the simple yet powerful merit of providing wealth and efficient transactions against newer and flashier competitors, as well as the industry old-guard. It's perfectly doable, but will be an uphill battle.
CT: Joel, if you don't mind dusting off your crystal ball, where do you see Dash in five years?
JV: At the current rate of growth and checking out the competition, I would say as one of the dominant payment systems on the planet, and the first global and wildly successful decentralized autonomous organization. In short, as the first "out of beta" crypto whose primary use is in daily economic life rather than experimentation.
Dash is certainly a contender to keep an eye on, as a $23 million budget makes it a powerful force. Dash’s budget has allowed it to hire dozens of full-time developers and administrative staff, and scores of part timers. The budget has also funded numerous conference sponsorships, most recently at Bitcoin Miami, Consensus, and Blockchain 360.
The network has already approved proposals to fund Dash’s visit and platinum sponsorship of the BTC & Blockchain International Summit in Beijing and sponsorship of the Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference in Stockholm. Dash will also be hosting its own Dash Conference 2017 in London later this year.
Dash’s budget system also funds a number of community initiatives, such as Dash Force News, and until recently, Amanda B. Johnson’s Dash Detailed show and Dash School video series.