Dash price and volume have surged to all-time highs, bringing what is likely to be the largest development budget in the cryptocurrency field.

This year has seen a meteoric rise in Dash’s market cap. So far, it has increased from about $80 mln in January to over $560 mln at the time of writing amounting to a sevenfold increase. This month alone it has more than doubled in value.

According to community member Tao of Satoshi, who runs the Dash Nation Slack channel and hosts the YouTube show Cash Alternative TV, Dash’s recent growth spurt is hardly surprising:

“This price rise is not shocking at all to anyone who has followed the project from the start. Evan Duffield and his team have been systematically solving all of the problems facing Bitcoin, privacy, transaction speed and governance. Now, thanks to an energized community (or Dash Nation, as I like to call it), the word is spreading. People who may have been interested in Dash from afar are now considering it seriously as Bitcoin's situation continues to degrade. You are seeing Dash become a legitimate competitor to Bitcoin and fiat money, so in my opinion, this is only the beginning of sustained Dash growth.”

Dash’s built-in treasury allows for an ever-growing development budget

In contrast with Bitcoin’s model, where miners receive the entire block reward of newly created coins, with Dash 45 percent goes to miners, 45 percent to master node stakeholders and 10 percent is set aside as a treasury for development and other community projects, as voted on by the master nodes.

According to Amanda B. Johnson, host of YouTube show Dash detailed, as well as one an employee of Dash’s DAO paid by the treasury, the treasury system allows for the coin to capitalize on price increases to ensure its value grows even further:

“When Evan Duffield divided up the block reward for Dash -- making a sort of "treasury" available for development costs -- he was guaranteeing that the people working on Dash would be directly affected by the coin's value. Our feedback loop has begun, where the better our developers do, the more their monthly Dash payments are worth. We can also better afford to hire as many of them as we need to scale.”

Dash’s available monthly budget for February, including core team budget and various community projects approved by the DAO, amounted to approximately 7,450 Dash.

At the present value of about $77 per coin, that budget amounts to about $574,000 per month. If Dash increases in value, this monthly budget could grow even higher.

At these rates, Johnson sees Dash’s ecosystem growing at an increasingly rapid rate:

“We can afford more and better of what we already have -- that is, Evolution and dashd developers; grassroots-level marketers; conference attendance and sponsorship; people testing on testnet; legal research; and an unlimited number of other tasks I personally can't think of -- and surely someone else will.”

2017’s reshuffle of the cryptocurrency rankings

This year has seen a reordering of the top cryptocurrencies as other coins vie for a shot at besting Bitcoin. Dash and Monero have pushed ahead of Ethereum classic, Litecoin and Ripple, joining Ethereum as the top three coins making significant inroads towards Bitcoin.

Those three combined are approaching 20 percent of Bitcoin’s total value, with Ethereum the clear leader with over 13 percent. Bitcoin remains the vast majority of cryptocurrency’s value at present, however, that total percentage has now dropped below 80 percent.

By the end of the year, the cryptocurrency landscape could look radically different. Robert Genito, project lead for Wall of Coins, believes that Dash will end up at the head of the cryptocurrency pack:

“Technology moves quickly, obviously and so do cryptocurrencies, perhaps even faster. However, a market of people and their decisions can move even faster, and I truly believe that by the end of this year Dash will overcome Bitcoin entirely.”