What is your background briefly?
Prior to Dash Core Group, I was working as an analyst in a large New York City based hedge fund where I focused on the payments industry. Prior to that I was an Associate Partner with McKinsey – a strategy consultancy – in their financial services and business technology practices. I’ve spend a good portion of my career figuring out how new payments technologies can gain adoption, and I’m doing my best to apply that knowledge and experience toward helping Dash succeed.
Does it seem like a logical background to what you do now?
At DCG, we value contributors with varied backgrounds, because we know that diversity of experiences makes our product and ecosystem better. Too many cryptocurrency projects are dominated by computer science backgrounds, and lack experience in payments or whatever other industry their project aims to disrupt. Whether it is marketing, business development, product management, or operations, a project like ours needs a variety of backgrounds to succeed long-term.
1 min pitch for what you are doing now?
Dash Core Group is currently focused on transitioning the network to our recently introduced version 0.13, which confirms transactions instantly by default for most transactions. It also enables many new transaction types on the network. We’re working closely with all our partners to ensure the libraries and tools they rely on are up to date and able to support all the new features included in 0.13.
Why did you get involved with Dash?
I was attracted to Dash because it was one of the few projects that were actively working on fixing some of the limitations of Bitcoin, and delivering real value to users by improving the user experience. I reached out to the founder, Evan Duffield, to share some thoughts and ideas, and began spending more and more time with the team. My interest in the project was like gravity… the closer I got to the project, the harder it pulled me in.
Why do you think it is such a powerful idea?
Dash is uniquely focused on governance issues and the user experience. These are two areas cryptocurrency must match the quality of centralized systems to succeed. It’s that simple. Everyday people won’t care about the benefits of cryptocurrency if it is too difficult to use or decision-making is broken.
5 years must seem like a lifetime, both for you personally and also in the world of crypto – has it played out as you thought it would?
Cryptocurrency moves at an incredible speed, so indeed five years feels like a lifetime. What’s crazy is that every year, cryptocurrency advocates predict the end of the existing financial system and complete replacement within the next 3-5 years. Obviously, that hasn’t happened. I think many people underestimate the size of the global payments market and the pace of change that even hugely successful products like credit cards have had on the payments space. We have a very long road ahead and it will take tremendous fortitude and effort to see these technologies grow for the long term. Visa has been growing at triple or double digit rates ever since it was introduced in the 1960s, and it is still a small percentage of the overall payments market. New product cycles continue to shrink, but payments behavior is slower to change for a variety of reasons than most technologies, so I’m hopeful it can happen much faster than credit cards.
5 years from now, will we have fewer coins/tokens, but of higher quality/demand/usage? Or do you think people will keep launching new currencies as much as they have done to date?
I don’t know whether in five years we will have less coins and tokens, because there is little barrier to launching one. But we should have far fewer coins that are relevant as the market figures out where the value is. The quality of the top tokens should improve considerably in the same way that the quality of internet companies improved after the dot com bust. Investors will become better at differentiating quality projects over time, which should reduce the number of low-quality market entrants.
Looking back what have been your best innovations + successes?
Dash has introduced a number of innovations that are now common in the industry. The most significant have been masternodes and InstantSend. Masternodes are paid by the network and enable Dash to offer a highly scalable and reliable infrastructure. InstantSend is a technology that locks transactions as fast as a credit card, which enables Dash to uniquely address physical point of sale scenarios. One of the biggest successes of the network so far has been our rapid growth in users and merchants in Venezuela, where Dash is accepted at over 2,600 locations.
Is there anything you would have done differently?
This is all new territory and so there are many experiences we are learning from over these last few years. While we’ve always managed Dash Core Group with a modest staff and never went crazy hiring during the bubbly periods of late 2017 and early 2018. If we had, it would have been extremely disruptive. However, I think we missed an opportunity to build our budget reserves for a bear market. I think about the things the network allocated resources to during those months, and I wish we had some of that available now from which to draw. The next market bull run, we’ll definitely make our case to the network that building such a reserve is healthy for Dash’s growth and sustainability.
How can people find out more about you & your work?
Our website dash.org is a great starting point, with links available to social media, the Dash Forum, and a host of other interesting news and websites with information. For a deep dive into what’s going on with Dash Core Group specifically, I would suggest checking out our most recent quarterly call, which we publish on our YouTube channel. Links for that can also be found on the website.
Anything else you’d like to add / we should have asked?
What’s next for Dash?
Dash Core Group is working on two upcoming network upgrades in parallel. The first will introduce ChainLocks, which will make Dash the first 51% attack proof cryptocurrency. The release after that is our landmark version codenamed Evolution. It will enable anyone to build an application on the Dash network. We’ll introduce the first application – DashPay – at the same time as Evolution. DashPay will make using Dash as easy and familiar as using PayPal or Venmo. It will be username based and enable anyone to easily find friends within the network, maintain a contact list, and send and request payments with those contacts. And that’s just the beginning. Evolution will enable anyone to create their own apps for things like messaging, payments, games… really anything.