The Truth about CoinDesk’s 2 Dash Merchants

In an August 14th article, CoinDesk alleged that Dash isn’t really that popular in Venezuela, and built its (rather flimsy) case on 2 merchants who reported less than positive experiences with Dash.

Since Dash Latam is the leader in merchant adoption in Venezuela for Dash at this time, we decided to look into this.

Chiringuitos

For example, Fabiana Arreaza, owner of the startup Chiringuitos, told CoinDesk that customers rarely use the crypto payments option. “We’ve been accepting dash for two years. We currently haven’t received any clients using dash to pay for their events. They’d rather use bolivares or dollars,” she said. (source: Coindesk)

Chiringuitos is a mobile business which sells smoothies, cocktails and snacks at private and corporate events. Chiringuitos was present at many of Dash Venezuela’s events from January of 2018 onwards and presumably benefitted from them. Chiringuitos announced its temporary closing on Sep 3 2018, more than a year ago.

For Chiringuitos to say they have never received any payments with Dash would appear to contradict the known facts. Further, given that they stopped operations 1 year ago, one wonders how they could be receiving payments of any kind, much less Dash payments.

Is it really an accurate representation of Dash in Venezuela today to use as one of your two examples a merchant that has been inactive for a year and whose words today contradict evidence that is publicly available?

Peruse Chiringuitos’ Instagram for primary sources.

Evidence of Chiringuitos participating in a Dash Venezuela Ciudad Dash event.

Los Costilla

Los Costilla, a popular, dash-friendly restaurant, is one example. A representative told CoinDesk they haven’t accepted any type of cryptocurrency for over a year. “The photo was taken over a year ago, when we did accept the payments with the cryptocurrency. Since then we haven’t accepted dash. We don’t accept any kind of bitcoin,” said the restaurant. (source: Coindesk)

First off, I am unable to find any search results for site:discoverdash.com Los Costilla. Further, I have a copy of discoverdash.com from March or April of 2019 when the number of Venezuela merchants was represented as around 2,200, and there is no listing for “Los Costilla”. Therefore, I see no evidence that we were claiming that Los Costilla accepted Dash anywhere near the time of publication of the CoinDesk article, which was Aug 14 2019.

A member of the Dash Latam visited Los Costilla after publication of the CoinDesk article and found no indication of Dash acceptance besides an old sticker. When asked if they could pay with Dash, the staff was not receptive. In the Los Costilla Instagram, there are 600 publications, but none of them mention Dash.

There is no evidence that we in Dash have ever represented it as accepting Dash. If they did once accept Dash, there is no evidence they made any attempt to announce this fact to the public. For CoinDesk to represent Los Costilla as “dash-friendly” strains credulity. Where did CoinDesk even find this restaurant? Is it fair in any sense of the word to judge us based on a merchant even we do not claim as accepting Dash? How can anyone expect for a business to get Dash-paying customers if they never tell anyone about it?

Conclusion

CoinDesk picked what may be the two most ridiculous examples of Dash-accepting merchants. The first, Chiringuitos, is documented as accepting Dash but having gone out of business more than a year ago. Los Costilla we have not represented as a Dash-accepting merchant for some time, if ever.

If CoinDesk would like to do a real investigation or just spend some Dash for fun, there are at least 282 recently-verified Dash-accepting merchants in Venezuela and we would be glad to provide the detailed list at any time. Write me at [email protected].

Particular thanks to Richard Jerez, Dash Latam’s Caracas coordinator, for his assistance with the research and writing of this report. This report made possible by the Dash Latam proposal.

Important Changes in Rates Sources in Dash Android Wallet 6.6.2

The Dash Retail team (Ash Francis, Alex Cox and myself, George Donnelly) is pleased to announce that working in alliance with Dash Core Group and building on the previous excellent work of Kodaxx at get-spark.com, Dash Wallet Android version 6.6.2 is currently available for download at the Google Play Store with a more robust rates source that includes 190 currency pairs, more rates sources and is hosted at Amazon Web Services (AWS) for maximum reliability and interconnectedness.

With Dash DAO funding, and building on Kodaxx’s innovative rates server, the Dash Retail team invested many months into creating this new piece of Dash infrastructure, which will enable the Dash ecosystem to support more real growth in the real world in a user-friendly way. Both sender and receiver can see very similar (if not equal) fiat equivalency amounts in their respective wallets, when drawing from Dash Retail’s new Rates2 server.

Point of sale (POS) software providers using the Dash Retail rates server can also synchronize with their consumer and merchant userbase, thus providing an even more seamless experience for consumers and merchants when paying for goods and services at our thousands of Dash merchants worldwide with Dash.

It is essential that all Dash Wallet Android users upgrade to version 6.6.2 at your earliest convenience in order to minimize inconvenience. Partners who wish to take advantage of the new pricing source are invited to email Ash Francis at [email protected]. We would love to explore assisting partners in integrating into the Dash ecosystem so they can accelerate the growth of their Dash-related products and services, fully benefitting from DAO-funded adoption initiatives.

For further information or support requests, contact George Donnelly [email protected] +573218423668.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=hashengineering.darkcoin.wallet

Dash Growth in Latam Measured by Active Android Wallets

One way to measure the growth of Dash is by how many smartphones have active installs of our “official” wallets. In Latin America, we are seeing that 95% or more of users are installing Dash wallets on Android devices. So, it is reasonable to use active installs of the Dash Core Group’s Hash Engineering Dash wallet for Android as an interesting indicator of what is happening in a given part of the world with Dash.

This won’t track Core desktop wallet users or people using multi-coin wallets like Coinomi or Jaxx, but, in any case, Dash-funded organizations (DFOs) are going to be recommending our reference wallets to new users they onboard. At least that is what we, Dash Latam, do across Latin America.

This graph demonstrates the number of active Dash Android wallet installs as of the last day of each month from November 2018 through June 2019. As you can see, Venezuela (the red line) was trending downwards until Dash Latam took it onboard in March when the DAO funded us. I frankly find it hard to believe that our efforts are responsible for what is an 85% growth in active Android wallet installs in just 3 months. There must be something else going on.

But it’s not Dash Merchant Venezuela (DMV) or Dash Venezuela (DV), neither of which effectively exists anymore. It is not Dash Text, which installs its own wallet. It is almost certainly not Dash Help, which was inactive part of this time and which is an office-based support service, not a proactive marketing organization.

That said, Dash Latam is the only organization doing consumer adoption events among adults in Venezuela in 2019 as far as I am aware.

Venezuela is now the first and only national area in which we have more than 10,000 active Dash wallet installs.

We can also see steady growth for Colombia (the blue line) where Dash Latam is transitioning away from a majority merchant adoption focus to a majority consumer adoption focus. Watch our progress via our transaction tracker at https://tracker.pagacondash.com/.

Mexico (the green line) is the control — perhaps what we can take as “organic” growth — and is ultimately a bit of a flat line. Peru (the orange line) now has more active wallets than Mexico, despite having one-fourth the population and one-fifth the GDP of Mexico, thanks to Dash Latam’s low-cost merchant-centric strategy for Dash mass adoption and our very small but hard-working Lima team.

Above is the data from which the above graph was created.

Here is some further analysis. On the left, you can see the cumulative change in active wallet installs per country between Nov 30 2018 and Jun 30 2019. On the right, you can see the change in active wallet installs in each market from the start of Dash Latam’s operations there until Jun 30 2019.

Here is a further analysis comparing the key results from above to the results of other national areas of note.

In this one we can see that the US is flat. In Germany, Russia and Thailand, we are losing ground. Nigeria is seeing interesting, if slow, growth. The next graph removes the top 3, Venezuela, the US and Colombia, in order to give a better look at the rest.

Russia and Germany here are clearly seen as roughly straight lines. Nigeria shows a clear upward trend. Mexico is flat, Thailand slightly declining. And we can see that Peru, which is a Dash Latam project not receiving earmarked funding from the DAO has passed Thailand and could soon eclipse Nigeria as well.

The top 20 national areas by active Dash Android wallet count as of Jun 30 2019 are:

In conclusion, I hope this information (kindly provided by Dash Core Group) and analysis (responsibility for which lies with me) is useful to decision-makers and partners in the Dash ecosystem.

What Dash Latam Has Achieved in Venezuela

Venezuela has recently been a very up and down kind of thing in the DAO. Do we still want to be in Venezuela? A lot of people have turned their backs on the more than USD$1 million we, Dash, invested there in 2017-2018.

But Venezuela remains the greatest testing ground in the world for cryptocurrency adoption in a hyperinflationary environment. Venezuela was once the wealthiest nation in Latin America, one of the top in the world. And it will be again. With more than 4 million Venezuelans working outside of Venezuela, Venezuela is a testing ground for remittances. We can lead the way in philanthropy in Venezuela, when not even the UN dares enter. Venezuela’s crisis is Dash’s opportunity not just to shine, but to position ourselves for decades to come.

We just need the right people working the country. People focused on results. Tough people, willing to go out in the streets and work with anyone. Business people. People with vision and drive. People who get the digital cash vision. Honest people.

That is my team, Dash Latam, and our many capable representatives in Venezuela, among them:

  • Freddy Rauseo, Caracas
  • Richard Jerez, Caracas Los Teques
  • Luigi Quintero, San Cristóbal
  • Edgar Caballero, Valencia
  • Jose Rojas, Barquisimeto
  • Jose Araujo, Caracas
  • Darwin Ramirez, Maracaibo
  • and others in training or just starting to work with us on a probationary basis.

Plus we have Gabriel and Constantin in Madrid, as well as several more people in Medellín who work full- or part-time on our Venezuela projects.

Dash Aid: A Free Market in Philanthropy for Venezuela

DashAid.org

People in Venezuela are in trouble. People outside Venezuela want to help. Charitable organizations can’t operate in Venezuela. People need decentralized electricity generation, water purification, food production, schools and much more. The 4 million Venezuelan expats outside of the country can only remit so much wealth home so fast, and most of that is pointed at bare survival. And it is falling short.

The tide will turn soon in Venezuela, and a new liberty-friendly regime will take its place. Dash is ready to help rebuild Venezuela in a way no one else can, or will.

Enter Dash Aid.

  • Anyone can request help via DashAid.org.
  • Anyone can give help via DashAid.org.
  • The only way to give help on DashAid.org is by sending Dash to people.
  • A request for help consists of a video, a twitter handle and a Dash address.
  • All Dash gifts via DashAid.org are direct and are in no way intermediated whatsoever.

Dash Aid is a free market in philanthropy. I’m not picking recipients. I’m not receiving Dash and then sending it out. Neither senders nor receivers need ask for permission to participate.

People who want to give via Dash Aid have to buy Dash. It is simply the best way to do it, not to mention the easiest! People who receive aid will need to spend their Dash. Or they can sell it to people in Venezuela who want Dash, thus creating more Dash liquidity in the country.

The DashAid.org website was coded by Rion Gull with design help from Ash Francis. Dash Aid exists thanks to the ideas and help of JohnSnow (discord), Solarguy and Edward Stoever of Dash.red. I identified the vision for Dash Aid and funded its creation. JohnSnow was essential in the conception of Dash Aid. I believe Rion Gull came up with the name.

Dash Aid is very close to being in an MVP stage, and this constitutes just a pre-announcement. Right now it only has sample content. We still need to produce the media that teaches donors how to buy Dash and recipients how to spend it. The Dash Latam Venezuela team is very excited to market this and fill it up with requests. We will need your help to bring in the donors and get it on CNN.

No Easier Way to Accept Dash Anywhere

The easiest way to accept Dash right now: the Dash Latam POS (hit the CC button for English subtitles)

The Paga Con Dash point of sale software (POS) is the absolute easiest way for anyone anywhere to accept Dash, and has the lowest barrier to entry. There is nothing to install, no account to create. It is non-custodial. You don’t have to trust us. It is just a webpage.

The Paga Con Dash POS (try it out at https://pos.pagacondash.com) is in use across Latin America by Dash merchants to accept Dash payments rapidly, securely and with confidence, both in stores and on the street, for all kinds of products. It is a reality. Here is a video about that, filmed in Caracas Venezuela.

By the way, the Paga Con Dash POS is hosted for global reliability at Amazon Web Services. It is backed by the new Dash Retail global exchange rate server. This POS was originally coded by Kodaxx as SparkPOS, which was funded by the DAO. It is Dash-exclusive. Ash Francis’s Dash Retail proposal took it to the next level.

You can even pay when there is no electricity by using the CoinTigo SMS wallet (based in Venezuela), as you can see below. This integration work was completed by Ash Francis and Alex Cox of as part of the Dash Retail proposal.

New Dash Merchants in Venezuela

Here is a selection of photos taken by our trained and qualified Dash representatives in Venezuela of new merchants they have affiliated. In some cases, a few may be merchants we recovered who had previously accepted Dash and we managed to bring them back.

Here are some stats on our work in Venezuela so far on the new merchants front. We’ve visited almost 1,200 merchants and affiliated 103, 59 of which are basic necessities merchants, which practically did not exist for Dash spenders in Venezuela before we started.

Verified Dash Merchants in Venezuela

Our standard verification procedure is to visit the merchant for a second time after their affiliation and provide a printed QR code (hablador). This requires that we get the habladors (blue triangle things) into Venezuela, which is never easy and frequently requires putting people at risk, and then finding adhesive paper and printing them out properly. To verify merchants, we visit them. We ensure we have their contact info, we ensure they have backed up their passphrase, and we install the Paga Con Dash POS, among other things. Here are some photos from this activity.

Here are some stats on our work in Venezuela so far on the verifying DiscoverDash-listed Venezuela merchants front. We’ve visited almost 200 DiscoverDash-listed merchants and verified 70. We were unable to find 90. Only 4 no longer wish to accept Dash and we had to do some work here to keep this number that low. We’ve also filled 105 in-person support requests at Dash merchants, support that no one else can or will offer to our Dash merchants in Venezuela.

Here is a bonus video of Freddy doing some early verifications before we were even funded for this.

Combo Remittances

Finding remittance beneficiaries in Venezuela places they can reliably spend Dash has been quite challenging. Also, even people who have money in hand can not always find where to spend it on what they need in Venezuela today.

So we invented combo remittances.

With combo remittances, people in Medellín, Madrid and other parts of the world can buy Dash and immediately use it to buy the products their family members need, and cause those products to be delivered directly to their family members.

We have been building alliances with new basic necessities merchants in Venezuela for months, directly connecting our on-the-ground merchant adoption work with our combo remittance sales network. Here are our current 38 combo remittance options. All of these are for sale right now, payable in Dash, and available to be delivered within certain regions of Venezuela.

Bonus video of Freddy Rauseo of Dash Latam accompanying the delivery of a combo to a beneficiary.

I Bought this with Dash in Venezuela

Dash Latam is the project that created the first and only videos of people buying basic necessities items with Dash in Venezuela. Here are those videos, which we worked very hard to create before we even had a Venezuela proposal and with our own funds. Here is a playlist with 18 videos proving to dubious remittance senders that you can actually buy basic necessities with Dash in Venezuela.

Cross Border Food Shopping with Dash

Cúcuta, Colombia is right across the border from San Cristóbal, Venezuela. Dash Latam has teams in both cities. As many as 50,000 people, yes, that number is right, cross the bridge from Venezuela into Cúcuta every day to migrate and to shop. We are teaching these shoppers how to get Dash in Venezuela, bring it across the border (without getting robbed by the border guards) and spend it for food and other basic necessities at our more than 80 Dash merchants in Cúcuta. Here are some videos about that:

Straight Talk

Let’s be frank. No one has ever done this much evidenced work in Venezuela for Dash before for. Only in Colombia have we done more. No other cryptocurrency adoption project anywhere for any coin that I am aware of has done anything even near all of this. Do correct me if I am wrong.

Dash Latam is the pioneer globally in crypto mass adoption and we are moving towards big things and concrete results in Venezuela, among other places. We need regular funding to do this. Our team members are Venezuelans, and as such are subject to all the same vicissitudes of hyper-inflationary life as any other Venezuelan. Costs rise, critical products become unavailable. Children need to eat. Children get sick.

We can not expect to retain effective people if we do not take effective care of them by paying them on time and providing them the tools they need to do the job at hand.

Please support our work. Here is our proposal. Vote for it. Ask others to vote for it. Follow our work and give us feedback. We are Dash’s humble servants but we can not serve Dash without resources.

Dash Latam June 2019 Status Update

Over here at Dash Latam, we are pushing hard every day. No one here is resting on their laurels, tho sometimes we pass out for a few minutes or take a weekend off to decompress.

Here is where we are at in our different markets.

Colombia is growing. We are shifting gears to focus more on consumer adoption. This will mean the tracker at http://tracker.pagacondash.com/ should move more but we may see merchant numbers grow more slowly.

Merchants require a dedicated educational effort so we are now hiring someone to lead that because we have not been doing an adequate job here. We are forming a couple different new teams of people who will be constantly in the street as well as hiring a few new people for coordination posts in consumer adoption in Medellín as we continue to experiment to discover what actually works to achieve consumer adoption, which is more challenging than merchant adoption.

That said, over the last 28 days, we have a documented average of 34 tx per day, perhaps 80% of which are incentivized through basic educational “Dash Invites” events. We have developed an improved format for Dash Invites events and are able to ensure a complete introduction to Dash of 80 people in 80 minutes.

In Colombia, we are active in the Medellín metro area, in Cúcuta and Bucaramanga. We have previously been active in Pereira and Bogotá but have struggled to keep good people in those cities.

In Lima, Peru, we now have 16 merchants. Our leader there, Miguel, is progressing. We will have the first consumer adoption event in Peru later this week. We are training a second person for Lima right now that we hope can start within a few weeks and solidify our progress there.

In Sao Paulo, Brazil, we lost our representatives and progress stalled with the 5 merchants we have there but we are now interviewing candidates to start up again.

In Guatemala City, we have our first 2 merchants but are hitting a sticking point and are working with our representative on the ground to get through it.

In Madrid, Spain, the team is holding regular events to sell Dash as a remittance and has had a number of successful sales but is having trouble getting people to the events, and we are working on new strategies to remedy this.

In Venezuela, we have verified hundreds of merchants and added a good number of new basic necessities merchants mostly in Caracas, some of whom have added combos to our selection of combo remittances. We are adding new representatives in multiple Venezuelan cities in order to salvage as many merchant relationships as possible. We have also added new merchants and have run 2 consumer adoption events. We will be running additional consumer adoption events soon and are interviewing candidates to coordinate consumer adoption across Venezuela. Operating in Venezuela is challenging but we have a good team there and things are progressing.

We are active in the following Venezuelan cities: Caracas, Valencia, San Cristóbal, Maracaibo. We are training new representatives for multiple additional cities.

Overall, we need to systematize all of our activities more. We need more leaders.
We lack technical talent. There are a lot of opportunities we could exploit but we are focused on the basics: merchants, consumers, transactions.

We remain excited about what we are going to do over the next few months.