Dash’s Amanda Johnson: ‘We Want the People Who Aren’t Interested in Crypto’

This is an excerpt. To hear the full interview, click the Soundcloud or Youtube links.

Dash has made some large strides toward accessibility and widespread merchant integration since its inception in 2014.

Recently, Finance Magnates caught up with Amanda B. Johnson, the official spokesperson for Dash. We asked Johnson about Dash’s plans for the future and how the network’s infrastructure affects centralization.

‘We’ll be the first cryptocurrency that doesn’t feel like cryptocurrency’

The unique thing about Dash, explained Johnson, is that it is “currently under very active and rigorous development to become the first cryptocurrency that does not look or feel like a cryptocurrency.” Accordingly, “[Dash’s] target audience is the kind of person who is not interested in cryptocurrency.”

More specifically, this is “anyone who feels uncomfortable with the appearance of cryptographic addresses, myself included,” she said. “It’s people who are accustomed to the use of a username and password that should be able to log them into the same account from any device.”

Johnson went on to say that in fact, these two features (the replacement of a cryptographic address with a “human and readable” username and a password that can be used to access “what will effectively be a Dash account”) were recently demonstrated in the Dash testnet; they are expected for public release sometime in the second half of this year.

Dash aims to offer what current banking systems offer

She also said that Dash is planning a future that will in some ways closely resemble existing banking systems. “There’s so much more that the current banking system offers people that the developers in Dash think that we need to offer as well if we’re going to be able to compete in everyday, ‘let’s-buy-a-cup-of-coffee’ payments.”

For example, interest bearing accounts. Johnson said that one of the reasons that banks have become such an important financial pillar of our society is because earning interest incentivizes people to use them. One of the Dash network’s long-term goals is to share funds that the network earns through fees with users in “what will look to them like an interest-bearing savings account.”

In addition to interest-bearing accounts, Johnson said that Dash also plans to enhance privacy features and to provide easier access to the InstantSend feature. She explained that the latter feature is especially important because “it makes point-of-sale possible.”

Johnson explained that Dash also has plans for integration into financial institutions and companies–the network recently hired Bradley Zastrow, “who comes to the Dash Core group from having worked on business integration for American Express.” She said that this was “precisely what the Dash network as a whole wanted.”

“The strategy thus far has been to get Dash integrated into businesses that were formerly quite often Bitcoin-only business, but as Bitcoin-only businesses, they (more than anyone) were feeling the pinch of the increasing fees within Bitcoin.” She said that those increasing fees translated to less customer purchases, citing BitRefill, BitWage, and Payza as examples. All three companies recently integrated Dash payments.

Masternodes and centralization

Masternodes play an important role on the Dash network. Among other things, they are responsible for governance and confirming the majority of the network’s transactions. In order to become a masternode, a node needs to have ‘locked in’ 1000 Dash tokens; they cannot spend or move the tokens without losing their status.

Some voices in the crypto community have expressed concerns about masternodes centralizing the Dash network. We asked Johnson about the ratio of token ownership between masternodes and regular users. “There are around 4700 masternodes at this time, and about eight million Dash tokens in existence at this time,” which means that a little more than half of all Dash tokens are in the possession of masternodes.

Johnson explained that “when you compare the rough estimations [of coin ownership ratios] to the rough estimations of other coins, Dash actually comes out on the higher end of decentralization.”

She said that she believes the reason for this is “that the masternodes are paid. With that incentive there, newcomers are attracted to our network, whereas in a network where nodes are not paid, there’s no incentive for a brand new investor who wants to get involved in a cryptocurrency to run a node, or to keep coins of a network–there’s really only incentive for businesses who are highly reliant on a particular blockchain to run a node.”

“It’s actually the opposite of what most people think–unpaid positions create centralization overtime, whereas paid positions create decentralization overtime,” she said.

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