History of the DASH cryptocurrency

June 19, 2018
Chris Wheal

DASH cryptocurrency advocates itself as a peer-to-peer decentralised electronic cash network that provides services such as instant transactions, privacy and governance while eliminating the threat of low-cost network attacks.

Dash coin in a storm

DASH cryptocurrency is a peer-to-peer decentralised electronic cash network: Shutterstock

One of a new breed of cryptocurrencies that are called anonymous cryptocurrencies, it is based on bitcoin software but provides something that bitcoin can’t. And that is private and anonymous transactions. In its white paper, co-authored by Evan Duffield and Daniel Diaz, it is described as “the first privacy-centric cryptographic currency.”

At the time of writing it is ranked 13th and has a market cap of $2.2bn. It has a total supply of 18.9 million coins with more than eight million of its virtual coins distributed.

A brief history of DASH

Dash (DASH) was developed by Evan Duffield in January 2014 as Xcoin and then later rebranded to Darkcoin. As Darkcoin was marketed on privacy and anonymity with its transactions being untraceable, the new name created an unwanted dark web reputation for the project. Wired UK even referred to Darkcoin as “Bitcoin’s nefarious cousin.”

The final rebranding was to Dash, a combination of Digital and cash.

Duffield says he heard about cryptocurrency in early 2010 but ignored it until he read Satoshi Nakamoto’s whitepaper that introduced bitcoin and the blockchain to the world. He began his own research and investment in the area.

A particular area of interest was the relationship of money in the system and fungibility – the interchangeability with other individual goods or assets of the same type. He also wanted to examine how to make a stable environment for the individual coins. Duffield was watching and waiting for the Bitcoin team to do something about the fungibility issue but it never happened so he decided to develop his own altcoin.

Bitcoin and Dash coin

Duffield waited for the Bitcoin team to do something about the fungibility issue: Shutterstock

Growth and development

Dash Force and Dash Labs followed the launch of cryptocurrency. Dash Force is responsible for all the community management activities of the Dash Decentralized Autonomous Organization. Dash Labs aims to promote the creation of open-source projects so as to prevent the centralisation of blockchain technology development.

Duffield aimed to facilitate a cashless world where people transact using digital cash and the project has had some notable successes in achieving this goal. For example, Paycent, a global company that offers a hybrid wallet, announced last month that Dash is now available across all its platforms.

This new partnership means Dash can now be accessed on Apple Store and on Android’s Google Play Store and is available to more than 36 million merchants worldwide. Apple alone has a market of more than 558 million users.

Global world telecommunication network with nodes connected around earth

Nodes do the mining that creates new coins on the Dash network: Shutterstock

Nodes and masternodes

Dash uses nodes and masternodes. Nodes do the mining that creates new coins on the Dash network, and masternodes provide users with features that can support faster and cheap transactions.

For many, the greatest strength of Dash is its Masternode network and the built-in governance structure. This two-tier network allows Dash to include innovations that other cryptos, such as Bitcoin, can’t currently adopt, including InstantSend, PrivateSend, and the Dash Budget System.

The masternode algorithm is crucial to the self-funding nature of Dash. Miners are rewarded for securing the blockchain and masternodes are rewarded for validating, storing and serving the blockchain to users.

Currently, 10% of each block portion in Dash is allocated back to Dash developers, who receive payments for their contributions, unlike bitcoin where contributions are voluntary. Masternodes cost money and effort to host, so they are paid a share of the block reward to incentivise them and operators get 45% of the reward for every dash block that is mined.

Decentralised senate

Duffield says that the masternode network is something like a decentralised senate. He says: “There is a limitation on how many can actually exist so we can query these masternodes and their operators on how they feel about given situations in the network. They can actually decide on that within the currency which means the core team doesn’t decide anything. We query the network itself and the network tells us what the preferred course of action is.

“For example, if we are talking about raising the block limit and half of the community wanted it and the other half didn’t. What would happen is we would have public debates between community members, core members, and we would try to educate the public. Then after that period of time has elapsed, we would query the masternode network to decide which direction to go. It solves things efficiently, quickly, and is completely tamper-proof.”

To become part of the Dash masternode network an investor must always have 1,000 Dash in their wallet and once the balance drops, they lose their voting rights.

Key players

Evan Duffield, founder of Dash

Evan Duffield, founder of Dash

Evan Duffield – Creator of Dash. He has worked for a number of tech firms such as Warped AI, iAcquire, Wells Fargo, and Verizon Wireless. In all of these firms, he worked mainly as a Software Developer. On January 18, 2014, Evan launched XCoin with the currency designation “XCO.”

In a matter of days after the launch, just under two million coins had been mined. In 2017, Evan elected to step down as CEO of the Dash Core Project. He was succeeded by Ryan Taylor who was formerly the Director of Finance. Evan now functions in an advisory capacity at the Dash Core Project giving him more time to focus on Dash Labs.

Ryan Taylor – CEO of the Dash Core Project. Taylor has been a key contributor to Dash since mid-2014. Before joining Dash, he was a hedge fund analyst and previously served as an Associate Partner at McKinsey. Taylor’s responsibilities include leading organisational growth, maintaining the project vision, and overseeing communications with Dash partners and investors.

What are people saying?

Ryan Taylor, CEO of the Dash Core Project, says: “Evan is one of the most gifted minds in blockchain and fintech. He created something that will have a permanent and lasting impact on many people across the world in a rapidly evolving economy. Dash is fast becoming a popular payment option for many thousands of people around the world.”

Eric Sammons, Author of “Bitcoin Basics: 101 Questions and Answers, says: “It’s the built-in governance structure that excites me the most about Dash. Every cryptocurrency has its unique strengths, and they all have their own challenges, but bitcoin’s problems have proven that a decentralized governance structure is vital for a currency to stay strong. Other cryptocurrency projects claim to have the best technological solution to today’s problems, but Dash offers a built-in means for resolving tomorrow’s problems.”

Nitin Gupta, COO of Paycent, says: “One of the reservations the average day person has with utilizing cryptocurrencies is transaction settlement times. No other digital asset can compete with Dash’s InstantSend transaction speed. Dash allows merchants the ability to receive payments instantly from customer, making Dash one of the first entries into real-life consumer payments making it no different as if you were to swipe a credit or debit card.”


  • January 2014 – released by Evan Duffield
  • February 2014, the cryptocurrency name changed to Darkcoin
  • March 2015, Darkcoin was again renamed as Dash
  • April 2017 – Dash’s Director of Finance, Ryan Taylor takes over as CEO of the Dash Core Project
  • July 2017 – Apple approves Dash as digital currency
  • November 2017 – Taylor announces a development that reduces transaction costs to 0.0001
  • May 2018 – Dash partners with Paycent
  • June 2018 – Market cap at £2.2bn
Post written by Chris Wheal
Chris Wheal is editor of OpenLedger's news and features service. An award-wining business journalists himself, he runs a team of freelance journalists from across the UK and north America.

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