2018 wasn’t the best year for crypto. The mass adoption sprint has turned into a triathlon where participants begin to sink into the water. One of the (multiple) problems is scaling blockchains for wider use. However, if we want more users, we can’t expect payments to take longer than it does now. The technology has to be better. When consumers have to idle through a store waiting for a transaction confirmation, we take a step backwards. By default, Dash InstantSend transactions might only contain the response.
What is different from Dash InstantSend?
Dash is upgrading its existing InstantSend to make all transactions instant, permanent and secure. This marks a first for Dash and cryptocurrency as a whole – and could be an important step towards making cryptocurrency usable for regular merchant transactions. Neither the user nor the merchant have to wait for transactions to be trusted and deleted.
At the moment, Dash InstantSend is only available as an optional function with which the master node network blocks the entries of a transaction until 10 confirmations can be received in the blockchain.
This feature has to be activated manually with supporting interfaces – mainly the official Dash wallets – and there is an additional fee of 10x per regular transaction (still not bad at around 1 cent USD).
With the upcoming 0.13 update from Dash, however, all simple transactions will be automatically blocked with InstantSend at no additional charge and without any special measures or support from the user interface. This means that wallets and services that don’t support InstantSend can continue to support it – an important step forward.
According to Dash, with the new upgrade, an estimated 90 percent of all Dash transactions will be InstantSend, while the few “more complicated” transactions can still use it manually and pay the additional fee.
Dash lead developer Udjinm6 speaks openly about InstantSend, which you can find the Github specs for here.
“The automatic blocking works … well, automatically for all transactions that have 4 or fewer entries (all with more than 6 confirmations) and pay at least the minimum (ie normal) transaction fee. No user interaction or wallet assistance is required, everything is done at the master node level. You can continue to use “pure” InstantSend transactions by paying the per-entry fee as you do today. “
Onboard more users by replicating the user experience
With Dash’s evolution upgrades, the controversial cryptocurrency aims to become the most user-friendly blockchain-based payment method in the world. And it’s about enabling instant payments by replicating the user experience now.
When I interviewed Dash’s Director of Public Outreach, Joël Valenzuela, earlier this year, he told me about his problems with Bitcoin in 2016.
He said, “Sometimes I would try to make a purchase and it would take an hour to confirm. I went through the store. Another time I tried to buy something under a dollar and pay 50 cent fees … the whole thing [using Bitcoin as a payment method] just collapsed. “Then he turned to Dash.
With InstantSend, paying with Dash is now as easy as swiping or tapping a credit card, replicating the user’s current payment experience. Bradley Zastrow, director of business development at Dash, says:
“In my opinion, this is particularly important at the physical point of sale, as people are already doing transactions in this way today. User experience is already about making payments almost instantly. I expect it will be difficult to achieve widespread acceptance for payments when someone at the counter takes five minutes to pay for their coffee. “
In earnest. At a time when most of us click out of a webpage when it takes more than two seconds to load and the concentration span is shorter than that of a goldfish, blockchain is unlikely to be revolutionary when users have to step backwards. Zastrow explains:
“Merchants can solve this problem by accepting payments with fewer confirmations. However, as the risk of double spending increases, only one problem is exchanged for another. This is one of the reasons our value proposition performs so well. With InstantSend, we can already replicate the user experience that users and businesses have long become accustomed to. “
Dash had a rocky road
Dash has had a somewhat turbulent journey to its current ranking as the 14th largest crypto by market capitalization. What originally started as DarkCoin for use on the dark web had dark connotations. However, since renaming to Dash, it has grown phenomenally (aside from a few bumps in the road, including a “mine bug” which ended up being around 1.4 percent of the total on offer from its founder, Evan Duffield).
While Dash’s founder was planned in the media and by his critics at the time, with some claiming that Duffield pre-mined the cryptocurrency and kept up to 10 percent of the supply, in reality the mining was open to the public from the start and pre- Mining was impossible.
Dash was originally forked from Litecoin, and a bug in the Litecoin codebase prevented the mining difficulty from being adjusted as intended. Duffield got to his feet to fix the bug when it was discovered that the coins were being produced at an unexpected rate.
Internet Ape, the co-founder of the project (who long since abandoned and sold all of his coins), mined around 160,000 in the first week, so it can be assumed that Duffield managed to acquire roughly the same number, despite the fact that he did later bought more through his personal finances.
He claimed to own 256,000 Dash (although that number is likely much lower today as he self-funded a Dash research initiative with several full-time employees).
Despite this unfortunate incident, Dash flew high and was dubbed Crypto’s hottest currency in 2017. It finished 7th in the CoinMarketCap rankings and was trading well over $ 1,000 at the turn of the year.
Then it went on lose around 92 percent from its all-time high. Some of these problems were due to mismanagement, irresponsible growth, a bear market … Still … ouch.
Yet Dash may be down, but it’s not out. The decentralized autonomous organization has worked hard on user adoption and has achieved significant results in countries like Venezuela, where paying with fiat currency has become next to impossible.
In a recent interview, ShapeShift founder and crypto pioneer Erik Voorhees said something that resonated with me:
“You can’t change the world in a smooth, predictable curve.”
And that certainly seems to be the case with Dash and the “evolution” that is being introduced gradually.
Release 0.13 isn’t the only innovation Dash has in the pipeline. 0.14 will completely wipe out the possibility of 51% attacks on the Dash blockchain.
51% attacks on Dash are no longer possible
The InstantSend update will be complemented by a second innovation that will be released in the coming months (0.14). That includes ChainLocks, a feature that runs 51% of the mining attacks that have hit coins like Bitcoin Gold and Zencash / Horizen – and that threatens Bitcoin Cash and makes the price drop on Dash – obsolete.
Since a 51% mining attack occurs when a single entity or miner has more hash power than the total number of miners combined, Dash is currently just as vulnerable as any other blockchain due to its Proof of Work system.
With the latest upgrade from ChainLocks, Dash will introduce Long Living Masternode Quorums (LLMQs) to implement a new protection mechanism against 51% attacks and to eliminate the need for secured mining.
LLMQ-based ChainLocks carry out a verifiable network-wide vote on the “first-seen” rule. For this reason, an LLMQ consisting of several hundred master nodes is selected for each individual block. Each participating member signs the first block they see, and this extends the active chain.
As soon as enough members (more than 60 percent) report the same block as the first time, they create a P2P message that is passed on to all network nodes. This message (known as CLSIG) can only be created if enough quorum members agree.
So if 60 percent of LLMQ members say they saw the block first, that means 60 percent of the network should have seen it first. Once this message has been received, any blocks that do not match the block specifications in the CLSIG message are rejected. For more information on Dash’s proposal to protect the network from 51% attacks, please click here.
In essence, Valenzuela says:
“With automatic InstantSend and ChainLocks together, a Dash transaction in 1.3 seconds is more secure than a Bitcoin transaction after hours (if not days) of confirmations on the blockchain.”
Featured image from Shutterstock.
Last change: March 4, 2021, 3:13 p.m.