What today I call “Dash Latam” started just a little over a year as “Dash Medellín” with just a faint notion of advancing cryptocurrency mass adoption through Dash, the lone coin that both honors the original digital cash vision and has innovated in consistently useful ways.
Along the way, I learned what worked and what does not. I faced unfriendly streets, hard faces, tough obstacles. I made new connections, new friends, new allies. At one point, I was left alone in the project. At another, we faced a funding shortage that nearly ended it.
Through it all, we held firm in pursuit of the vision of making Dash as useful as possible to developing world merchants and consumers in order to achieve the fabled mass adoption and realize a world of universal liberty and prosperity.
Some of the lessons learned include the following.
- The meetup/conference strategy for crypto adoption and growth really does not work. High expense, low return, low interest.
- The ground game for getting and keeping merchants requires a constant commitment of keeping capable people in the street at all times.
- Liquidity is an ever-present challenge far from being solved, and will not be solved with existing exchanges alone. We need to think a lot bigger.
- We’re not going to get where we need to go with our current reference wallets.
- Most people who are already in crypto are not useful for the next stage of mass adoption via utility / for realizing the digital cash vision. My best people are new to crypto.
- The scarcest asset is quality people.
We have developed a strategy here, I call it the low-cost merchant-centric strategy for mass adoption. We continue evolving it: adding pieces, refining pieces. But I have yet to find anyone doing anything more effective anywhere else in service of the digital cash vision.
By the end of May, our goal was to have 2500 active Android wallets in Colombia, 25 documented transactions per day at tracker.pagacondash.com and 650 active merchants. Unfortunately, we fell short in active wallets (around 2350) and active merchants (628). We exceeded the transactions per day goal with an average of 31 documented Dash transactions per day in May via our in-store habladors (printed QR codes) and Dash Retail/Spark pre-alpha POS.
Why did we fall short?
I’m not an excuse maker so I want to make it clear that we fell short — I fell short — and I accept full responsibility for the outcome. That said, here is my analysis:
- We spent March and April replacing the original SparkPOS and AnyPay with the new Dash Retail enhanced (yet pre-alpha) POS because both Spark and AnyPay had serious show-stopping problems, a situation that presented a severe threat to our operations and demanded immediate resolution. Touching merchants, especially when it comes to connecting with owners, is extremely time-consuming and must be done in accordance with strict security protocols to ensure habladors and POS are properly configured.
- We had a merchant verification backlog that it took us longer than expected to discharge for the same reasons as above and also because finding and keeping effective street-level representatives is challenging.
- Consumer adoption is a nut in need of cracking in a class all its own. It is more challenging than merchant adoption so far. It requires touching more people. The value of the adoption to the consumer is less in aggregate than it is to the merchant. Our consumer adoption game remains globally innovative yet underdeveloped. To develop it, we need to invest a lot of time into producing marketing materials, websites, social media campaigns and new event styles and types. I consider us to be behind schedule on this because I have been slow to conceptualize and the consumer adoption team has been slow and unfocused.
- In order to keep costs down during the bear market, we worked virtually from home, which meant we were missing opportunities that come from working in the same physical space.
We are remedying these shortfalls going forward through our alliance with Dash Retail, a project borne directly from our work here as well as the excellent past work of Ash Francis and Alex Cox on eWallet. The Dash Retail team is professional, sophisticated and effective. We are training up new street-level representatives and upgrading our CRM processes. I am investing the time necessary to conceptualize the consumer adoption strategy and coordinate its execution over the next months. We now have an office in the Camel Hub coworking space in Medellín where as many as 10 of us work together now multiple days per week, realizing productivity and creativity gains.
The Dash Latam team remains committed and enthusiastic. We push hard every day, excited to be innovating, excited to be working towards liberty and prosperity for all, thrilled to represent Dash. We are now in 6 countries: Colombia, Venezuela, Spain, Peru, Ecuador, Guatemala. We are taking concrete steps to (re)open 3 new Colombian cities (Bucaramanga, Barranquilla and Bogota) as well as 2 more Venezuelan cities (Maracaibo and Barquisimeto).
Still Number 1
Dash Latam remains, as far as I can tell, not only the #1 Dash mass adoption project but #1 by far globally in the mass adoption of any cryptocurrency. The only other similar project I have seen in other coins is North Queensland Australia where Bitcoin Cash claims around 100 active merchants.
Where we go from here is only up, adding another feathery first to Dash’s already very crowded cap of innovations, which include Masternodes, ChainLocks, InstantSend and so much more.