Dash digital cash is a top-20 cryptocurrency with more than 5 years of development and many technological innovations and important integrations under its belt. Its many Dash-funded organizations (DFOs) are staffed with qualified and committed people. But Dash lacks a strategic vision. Dash lacks a strong brand, it lacks a story, a cause, a narrative. Dash lacks an inspiring answer to the question, “Why do you exist?”
Without a strong brand, our growth is ultimately limited and people are left asking why they should care about Dash.
Dash needs a strategic vision; that is (1) a goal it wants to achieve, (2) a killer use case, (3) a hungry market with a strong fit and (4) a story that ties it all together, inspiring people to use, evangelize and work for Dash — especially when to do so is difficult.
This is a strategic vision for Dash that consists of reaching 100,000 active and happy media-producing users in Latin America who are saving time and money by using Dash for remittances with a brand that partners with the 2 billion people trapped in the informal economy to build prosperity in the developing world.
Dash as Permissionless Money that Actually Works
In order to discover the killer use case of Dash, we need to identify what distinguishes it from other styles of money, particularly fiat, which is our main competitor.
Here are some of Dash’s key favorable characteristics.
- Dash settles instantly and is instantly respendable, providing all of the convenience and fluidity of cash without the hassles or limits implicit in physical notes or bank balances.
- Dash crosses borders as if they didn’t exist, saving money and time.
- Dash requires no permission to use it, there are no artificial limits and there are fairly convenient fiat on-/off-ramps everywhere. Further, it is possible to effectively hide the fact that you are using Dash.
On the downside:
- Dash is volatile. You might get 50% more purchasing power, or you might lose 50% of your purchasing power.
- Dash is not human-identity-based money, but key-based money. This paradigm shift frustrates and confuses people. When you lose access to your wallet, you can’t call someone and present your state-granted ID document to regain access.
Our killer use can involve crossing borders where people value their privacy and their ability to dispose of their ledger balances while bypassing rent-seeking intermediaries who place artificial limits on them and charge unreasonable fees.
The Informal Economy
The informal economy, informal sector of the economy, or grey economy is the part of an economy that is neither taxed nor monitored by any form of government. Although the informal sector makes up a significant portion of the economies in developing countries, it is often stigmatized as troublesome and unmanageable. — Wikipedia
People talk about the unbanked but this is not entirely useful. Crypto is not banking 2.0. A Dash wallet is not a bank account. We need to talk about the informal economy.
The informal economy is billions of small businesspeople worldwide, mostly in the developing world, mostly characterized as “poor” who have been excluded from the globalizing world economy by rent-seeking middlemen such as banks and nation-states.
Crypto is little more than a unified, frictionless ledger. Assets in the informal economy are actually many times greater than those in the formal economy. They are simply represented on fragmented and disconnected informal ledgers. This precludes them from being leveraged to finance development. The informal economy is the largest, yet most fragmented, marketplace in the world.
The poor inhabitants of these nations — five-sixths of humanity — do have things, but they lack the process to represent their property and create capital. They have houses but not titles; crops but not deeds; businesses but not statutes of incorporation. It is the unavailability of these essential representations that explains why people who have adapted every other Western invention, from the paper clip to the nuclear reactor, have not been able to produce sufficient capital to make their domestic capitalism work. — Hernando de Soto, Economist and author of “The Mystery of Capital”
The informal economy is a place where people have mobile connectivity, where people are hungry for growth — and where they laugh at FATF regulations and other acronyms. They just want value now.
Dash is value now, literally.
Remittances are a large and growing business. Remittances to the developing world grew nearly 10% in 2018, to a record USD$529 billion. The flow into Latin America and the Caribbean was USD$88 billion in 2018, led by Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador and Guatemala among others.
But consumer costs remain high. The World Bank reports that the average fee for remitting USD$200 is 7%.
The world is more mobile. In 1990, 153 million people lived outside their country of birth. Today that number is 270 million, representing an increase of 76.5%.
Meanwhile, foreign direct investment fell in 2018, meaning remittances flows are more important than ever to sustain economic development in low- and middle-income nations.
Remittances were once viewed by many economists as a secondary issue for developing economies behind FDI and equity investments. Yet because of their sheer volume and consistent and resilient nature, these flows are now “the most important game in town when it comes to financing development”, says Dilip Ratha, head of the World Bank’s global knowledge partnership on migration and development. (The Economist, 28 Aug 2019)
Remittances represent a killer use case for Dash because they take advantage of our ability to cross borders as if they didn’t exist with micro-fees in an instant. Remittances is a huge and growing industry, with growing demand that plays well for public relations, as lives are saved, improved and developed.
Remittances for Dash are a business development opportunity. Remittances feed into merchants, creating a win-win-win where remittance beneficiaries can spend their Dash without liquidating it for fiat, where merchants preferentially get new sales from Dash users and where Dash gets more use, more layers of use and more reasons for users to hold Dash.
Where We Are
Open any maps application, and you will see that in order for the app to give you directions to your desired destination, it needs to know where you are now. The same is true for Dash. We need to frankly and without undue emotion recognize our current status.
What is the best route forward for Dash?
(a) Integrations or smaller merchants?
(b) Technology development or business development?
(c) Heads down and quiet or heads up and noisy?
We spend a lot of time debating these questions. But we need to recognize that these are questions of tactics. They reflect short-term “fix it now, fix it fast!” stopgap thinking.
Before we can make decisions on which tactics to choose, we need a clear and compelling strategy. We need our narrative, our why, our cause. We need a reason for existing that actually bears a relationship with serving people, with adding real value to the lives of real people in the real world.
Tactics flow from strategy. The reverse is simply chaos.
First, let’s face facts:
- Dash’s reputation in the crypto space is compromised. There is a lot we can and must do to improve it. Frankly, the reputation of the entire space is a mess.
- The crypto space is radically reduced since 2017 and ultimately incestuous; dominated by personal interests dictated by past choices. It is incentivized to ignore and belittle Dash because we are a threat to their dominance.
- Despite the impressive innovations of BLS, LLMQ, ChainLocks, automatic InstantSend, masternodes and our pioneering DAO governance structure, not everyone yet sees our tech as being substantively unique when compared to the other 99 coins in the top 100 on CoinMarketCap.com.
- We have yet to identify and focus our efforts on a killer use case.
- The Dash brand is generic. We have no why, we have no cause, we have no story. We barely have any marketing.
Conclusions I draw from these facts:
- We will achieve the growth we need only with an 80% focus outside of the crypto space. The crypto space is irrelevant — if we want it to be.
- We must destroy the centralization and instamine stories, which is only possible through overwhelming action which contradicts the false narratives, never through more of the same words.
- If we want to win the competition for investors, we must play a different game from the other cryptos. We need to tell them a meaningful story and then prove it. More integrations and claims of being #1 are not going to separate us from the herd.
- We need a strategy, one that includes a brand statement with a why, a cause, a purpose connected with people. Our story should arise organically from our target market and our killer use case.
Where We Want to Be
Dash digital cash can be the cash of choice for billions of people across the globe. Dash can help them save money and time with remittance flows. It can enable them to bypass onerous middleman controls, everything from Western Union to banks to crushing and corrupt nation-state regulations. Dash can be the currency of the global economy, facilitating cross-border trade, imports, exports, manufacturing, retail purchases and much more.
Dash can and should be the #1 cryptocurrency in every sense, volume, market cap, active addresses, transaction count, etc. Dash can and should be the topic of social media posts around the world as users show off the wealth they were able to create with our coins and the wealth they were able to liberate with our dapps.
This obviously implies a high and growing valuation for Dash.
To create a strategy, we need (1) a goal we want to achieve, (2) a killer use case, (3) a hungry market with a strong fit and (4) a story that ties it all together, inspiring people to use, evangelize and work for Dash.
Element 1 is the vision of where we want to be, or something similar. Elements 2 and 3 are remittances and the informal economy / developing world, respectively. Element 4 is the cause of prosperity in the developing world, a fair chance at free economic development. Element 4 is liberty.
I am not talking about charity. Charity can play a role in our marketing and even in use. (See, for example, DashAid.) But the Dash story is about a hand that offers peer to peer value for value; not one that offers charity from on high.
We will use existing fiat on-/off-ramps (Coinbase, General Bytes, CoinCola, etc.) together with shrewd, targeted marketing to get selected populations to start using Dash for remittances, taking advantage of the inherent benefits of Dash — benefits fiat can’t beat — to build a win for Dash and a win for our target market.
We will spread the use of Dash throughout informal world economies, unifying fragmented ledgers using dapps, liberating assets for economic growth, all thanks to Dash.
Setting up liquidity providers is an important first step, as people need to easily enter and exit Dash in order to feel secure. In the first world, we have many acceptable options to buy Dash, partners such as Uphold, Coinbase, General Bytes, Kraken, ATMs, Changelly, etc.
In the developing world, we have fewer, among them CryptoBuyer, 3XBit, Cubobit and SouthXchange. But the solution is not necessarily to replicate the first-world strategy of large, government-sanctioned exchanges. In the developing world, we can use P2P exchanges, like AirTM, Paxful, CoinCola and LocalCoinSwap. Dash Latam is currently developing tutorials around these P2P exchanges that operate in Latin America. With a large ecosystem full of small liquidity providers (buyers and sellers of Dash), we can gain a resiliency that central-point-of-failure exchanges can not enjoy.
The three main regions of the developing world are Asia, Africa and Latin America. Latam gives us the strongest market fit because:
- 53% of the employed population is in the informal economy;
- 1/3rd of regional GDP is in the informal economy;
- it has high quality electrical and internet infrastructure as well as favorable smartphone penetration;
- With 26 nations unified by 2 similar languages, Latam is politically fragmented, thus giving us ample maneuverability should one or a handful of nations take active measures against us; and
- the population of 620 million people is a noteworthy marketplace large enough for us to grow for years.
While Asia has wonderful infrastructure, nation-states are too strong there. While Africa also has a large informal economy, electrical and internet infrastructure is not reliable enough to sustain Dash growth.
Dash already has a lot of relationships in Latin America, with merchant and consumer adoption results in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Guatemala, leaders in growth of remittance inflows in recent years.
“For anything to be money it must act as a unit of account, a medium of exchange, and a store of value. So far, cryptocurrencies fail on the latter two conditions: They neither act as a widespread medium of exchange nor do they act as a store of value” (Forbes)
By combining remittances with merchants, we make the use of Dash as a medium of exchange attractive with a built-in method of getting it into people’s hands and making it immediately useful.
We need marketing to get people to stop thinking of us as DarkCoin. See for example the recent Okex Korea delisting, as well as a delisting in Japan and a potential delisting in France. Not to mention all of the crypto news site article mills that describe Dash as being first and foremost a privacy coin.
More important than that is we need to position ourselves as a benevolent force to our target market of families and small entrepreneurs in Latin America. Dash cares about people’s wellbeing. Dash is your partner for prosperity. With Dash, you get your money instantly, and you have lots of places to spend it. Start your own business doing Dash consulting for merchants, or buying and selling Dash.
When hostile crypto media wants to tear down our work, we need a rapid response team armed with real media that proves our utility and adoption, ready to not just shut down the attackers but also to find new investors and allies on the battlefield.
We need to refresh the identity of Dash. And we need to do it big.
Dash is digital cash, the realization of the original promise. Could Pepsi say it is Coke? We must and can build our own identity. Our identity can be 10 times greater than Bitcoin’s. At Dash Latam, 90% of our users are people who have never heard of Bitcoin. Instead of trying to conquer the tiny little pie that is the world of cryptocurrency today, we need to open a new bakery outside of it.
We need to change the rules of the game, and play a new game, deploying blue ocean thinking.
Once we have a working remittance system, we can create marketing campaigns that put the rest of the crypto space to shame, contrasting our results with their hype. Dash Latam already has a lot of media that can be put to use in this way.
Our cause, our why, is to help the developing world move their money with lower fees to spark a global revolution for prosperity.
BLS, LLMQ, ChainLocks, automatic InstantSend, masternodes and our pioneering DAO — we need to actively educate people about all of this, both at the non-techie level and high-techie level.
Business needs software and here are three ways software can contribute to the Dash remittances to the developing world for prosperity strategy.
The current Dash wallets from Dash Core Group are excellent. They would be even better with the following features.
- The ability to freeze balances using any convenient stablecoin so users can protect themselves from volatility without cashing out to fiat. When users cash out now, their incentive to keep the Dash app installed on their phones is reduced. Out of sight, out of mind. We need to keep Dash on their phones.
- Usability options such as buying cell phone minutes, Amazon gift cards and nearby merchants. So users always have an immediate answer to what they can use Dash for.
- Gamified adoption. Turn adoption into a game and incentivize our users to be our gig-economy-like workforce. Now they can earn small amounts of Dash for adding value to the network, another reason to open their Dash app every day.
Fractional Masternodes On-Chain
On-chain fractional masternodes gives everyone a reason to buy Dash. They turns masternodes into a mass-market product, destroy the instamine/centralization narratives and increase network resiliency.
On-chain fractional masternodes are a no-brainer and support our story of the coin of prosperity for every person, not just for the elite.
On-chain fractional masternodes, by the way, are the ability for individuals to trustlessly combine their Dash balances into the 1,000 dash collateral required for a masternode, and proportionally share in the rewards.
We need a LastPass-similar custody service that enables people to recover their private keys in a catastrophic situation. Maybe a partner like Vaultoro or BitGo can help with this.
How to Measure Results
How will we know if this Dash remittances to the developing world for prosperity strategy strategy is succeeding?
Here are some hard markers:
- active wallets as reported by the Google Play Store;
- other metrics reported by the wallet such as hedging actions, use of the in-wallet usability options, etc.;
- network transaction count;
- network active addresses count;
- volume at partner exchanges;
- volume on partner P2P exchanges;
- photos and videos of people using Dash;
- merchant sales volume via in-store point of sale software, such as via the Dash Latam tracker; and
- the price of Dash, which can reflect the increased demand.
We need a strategy, and not just tactics or use cases. Strategies bring focus to action, enable the effective selection of tactics and motivate team members to overcome friction and produce extraordinary results.
So what are our other strategy options? A future dapp that is going to become super popular on its own? Double the number of integrations? A new wallet design with usernames? Gimmicks and big claims?
A realistic strategy requires a killer use case for a hungry market and a story.
Banking on a dapp to be invented by a third party is passive. It passes the responsibility for your investment on to a third party.
Integrations are very helpful but represent potential use, not real use. This is a strategy based on hope, hope that someone else will build your market for you, or that the market will magically see your value on their own.
The Evolution wallet is very interesting but at the end of the day blockchain usernames is not going to be a game-changer. Sure, it should be easy enough for Grandma to use it, but what will she use it for? We need a strong answer to that question.
At the end of the day, world-class innovative software is a prerequisite for producing world-class results. But software only gives us features. Business development gives us benefits. People buy benefits. We need benefits and we need to tell a compelling story about them.
But the Informal Economy Sounds Shady
The informal economy includes billions of hard-working people and their families who have been excluded from the formal economy of banks, business licenses and tax returns that dominates in the first world.
The informal does include some unsavory elements but overall 61% of the global workforce, 2 billion people, earn their living from it. The informal economy is humanity in the developing world. The informal economy exists due to improper concentrations of power in corrupt nation-states in the developing world.
UN and other governmental bodies as well as international NGOs are keen to formalize the informal economy. We can pitch them as allies in our strategic vision, playing up the benefits of our transparent and fully accountable blockchain. Dash can be allies to both sides, presenting a third way that can concretely work both for the informal economy and for those who wish to see it formalize.
This vision is ultimately about empowering individuals across the globe to realize their full potential as free human beings.
But We Need Investors
But, George, we need investors because they support the price which enables the treasury to buy more. So, step aside and let us get investors. The game now is attracting speculators, money managers and hodlers to our cause.
What cause? The cause to raise the price of Dash? This is not a cause. It excites no one but large Dash holders, and not even always then.
If we aren’t able to present new, meaningful and substantive results that no one else has, then what precisely do we have to offer to speculators, money managers and hodlers? Because, remember, not everyone understands that our tech is substantively different from that of the other 99 coins in the Top 100 on CMC. It’s still just a digital ledger, admittedly with some essential innovations tacked on that few understand and ever fewer want to understand.
Investors understand business. Business is what I am proposing. Business with a cause that produces lots of media and moves measurable metrics.
This is what a standout investment is made of. This is how we change the story people are telling about Dash. This is how we get Dash into the top 10 on CMC again.
At the end of the day, Dash needs to be noticed. Our best chance to do so is not to convince the existing crypto world with more media coverage, but to bring in new people who appreciate Dash and actually use it, so much so that we make the existing crypto ecosystem so jealous that they are either forced to recognize our value or simply become irrelevant because we have grown so big.
We must outbuild them in the real world. Not with gimmicks or big boastful claims or (solely) new integrations but with real results no one else is even close to, results that show use, results that produce smiling faces of real people. With results that disrupt the global remittances market.
We’ll do it with a strategy to sell Dash remittances to the developing world in order to generate greater prosperity and liberty for the billions of people limited by the very rent-seeking middlemen crypto was invented to make obsolete.
We won’t do it in one fell swoop with one integration or dapp but by giving people many reasons to use Dash regularly and making it cool and advantageous to do so.
Dash Latam is mid-stream in building the first steps towards this vision.
An investment in developing Dash for remittances is an investment in the economic development of billions of people that can pay dividends for decades.
If you like my vision, if you think it can help the value of your Dash investment appreciate, send me your voting keys so your investment can be consistently used to support it.
Let’s talk about your ideas for the future of Dash in the Dash Ignite discord’s #brainstorm channel. This vision is just a beginning. Together, we can evolve it into an action plan.
We need to talk more often and on a more serious level about the future of Dash. Got a blog post of at least 500 words you want to share with the community? Let’s publish it here at dash.ist. Email [email protected].
Want to chat? Email me at [email protected], phone or WhatsApp me at +573218423668 or find me on discord as George Donnelly#6938.
Thanks to Ash Francis for his helpful feedback on an earlier draft.