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BUIDLing

What Happened with Dash?

I’ve gotten this question a few times and it is probably best I address it in public once and for all. Comments will be open for a short time so that those who do not share my narrative may leave theirs.

I created and operated a very successful proposal in the Dash treasury system for 16 months in 2018-2019.

I built the largest team for Dash which was also the largest marketing team. We delivered a large number of globally outstanding results for Dash during this time, including the folllowing:

The Results

  • 1,160 active Dash-accepting merchants across 8 countries (1,304 total).
  • 500 active merchants in the city of MedellĂ­n, Colombia.
  • 159 Dash events, mostly at the places of business of merchants, as many as 8 simultaneous ones in different cities.
  • #1 largest Dash meetup in the world.
  • 5,000+ individuals directly trained in the basic use of Dash.
  • 150 leaders trained to advance Dash adoption.
  • introduction of pricing parity to Dash (where wallets, POS, etc. share the same pricing source and thus fiat prices are in sync across the ecosystem). (I did not code it, but I came up with the idea, pushed it, assembled the team and raised the funds to make it happen.)
  • introduction of combo remittances, where we enabled remittance senders outside of Venezuela to buy basic necessities directly from Venezuelan merchants, paying with Dash across borders, and have the products (usually food and medical items) delivered directly to the remittance recipient.
  • hundreds of OTC buys and sells of Dash, thousands of small airdrops.
  • 25,000+ video views on 345 Youtube videos about our work.
  • intensive feedback and testing for Dash wallets that resulted in many code changes.

The Dash Merchant Venezuela Fraud

There was a group of Venezuelans in Dash who it turned out were defrauding the network in at least 2 identifiable ways. They coopted a large number of other key people in the Dash ecosystem because their public relations, while notably false (“2,500 Dash merchants in Venezuela!”), was great fodder for the Dash hype machine.

A third party who has never worked for me (but became my friend, but had his own proposal, but was working for Dash since before me) spent $600 to do a study that proved their claims of 2,500 Dash-accepting merchants in Venezuela were blatantly fraudulent. This gave way to a community brouhaha that is documented in a Dash Watch report.

Later, the Dash Force News group effectively confirmed this was true because, through some process of their own, they reduced the claimed Dash-accepting merchant count in Venezuela to under 900. Neither they nor Dash Core Group, inc. nor key masternode operators who had enabled the fraud ever formally recognized it (tho I got 4 hours of Signal audio messages from their top MNO backer wherein this person literally yells at me for 4 hours straight).

Today, they’re hyping another fraudulent metric.

These Venezuelans lost their funding. I was asked to step in and take over Venezuela for Dash (where more than USD$1m had been invested in 2018, none of which had been entrusted to me). I did so, in the process employing several honest individuals who used to work for the defunded teams. Several went on to earn key positions of responsibility in my organization.

Those who were defunded were not happy and they performed a social attack against me and my team, ceaselessly circulating lies about us. They blamed me for the report that exposed their fraud. Due to the groupthink collective nature of the Dash community, such attacks are surprisingly effective.

Insider Hostility

Simultaneously, I never was able to jell with other Dash players. Dash Core Group, inc. banned me from working on liquidity integrations (simply because they did not want competition) and at best was absent, frequently quite hostile. In fact, I have reason to believe at least one of their employees was an active part of the social attack.

Dash Force News was openly hostile to me as well. I tend to be aggressive and direct while the dominant Dash vibe is laid back and corporate.

The tendency of Dash Force News to be unconstructive and unwelcoming has since been recognized by the community and after a great amount of debate, the organization was defunded and is now being permanently disbanded.

There is an insider cabal in Dash and they exclude others, particularly if you don’t participate in their efforts to hype Dash (hype is fraud, I only do marketing). Particularly if you speak your mind, as is my habit and conviction. Maybe even more if you’re right.

For example, I was once asked by Dash Force News to do an interview for Market Watch. I was to represent to Market Watch that Dash had achieved something in Latam that quite frankly I knew to be unproven at best. I declined. This was probably a turning point.

Another example is that we produced a ton of video. We literally recorded everything we did. I wanted everyone to understand what we were doing, how passionate and committed we were, and I wanted them to be able to give us sensible feedback. I took our terabytes of video to Dash Force News and to DCG’s PR agency. Neither was interested in doing anything with it. DFN threatened to block me if I contacted them again. đŸ€ŠđŸ˜“

MNO Impatience

One more branch of this drama is that MNOs were impatient to see big results in Venezuela. This is because (a) many Venezuelan teams were funded in 2018 to the tune of >$1 million (b) the Venezuelan teams were obviously not systematically pursuing identifiable/meaningful metrics and (c) the Dash Force News & Dash Core Group teams were hyping the results out of all proportion to reality.

I was able to earn about 6 months of time to work on Venezuela but a heck of a lot less (irregular) funding, and some MNOs never managed to understand, it seems, that the opportunity was real but the initial efforts suffered from lack of metrics, lack of clear goals and lack of effective leadership.

The Tracker

One complaint against my work that comes up is that our Dash-first live transaction tracker at tracker.pagacondash.com showed a strong drop-off in activity during the month of October 2019.

Some people pushed a narrative that this drop-off meant that we had been spending our Dash at merchants to generate fake transactions and/or that our work simply had not resulted in sufficient virality or stickiness of use.

Here are some salient facts.

  • Only transactions made in the merchants via the web-based point of sale software at pos.pagacondash.com were being tracked on the tracker.
  • It is impossible for us to track wallet to wallet transactions. Only Dash Core Group, inc. can see those.
  • We visited 7 merchants randomly in street clothes on 19 Sep 2019 and confirmed what we already knew was the case in Venezuela. Merchants were not using the POS. They were accepting the great majority of their payments wallet to wallet because it felt more comfortable to them.
  • Our Dash Invites events generated a large part of our evidenced transactions on the tracker, and we were up front from the beginning about this being part of the strategy. These were all new people we onboarded.
  • At no point did we ever fake transactions. As my team knows, I drew a very thick black line around doing things right, and people who crossed the line did not remain with the team.
  • We were not funded to work for October 2019 when the drop-off occurred. If there is no promotion, then use is going to drop off. It was simply too early to expect viral intra-nation use to continue without ongoing marketing, education, events, support, etc.
  • Transactions evidenced via the tracker were trending upward until we were defunded:
  • In-merchant transactions was just one of our many deliverables.

The End

This, combined with the Dash voters who never wanted to do mass adoption and favored a corporate, VC-like approach, was enough to suddenly end our funding one month into an approved three month proposal.

To add insult to injury, only 1 person stepped up in public to defend us. We asked (backup) for feedback. We got nothing. We asked for donations. We got almost nothing. We asked for guidance. We got nothing.

This process of social attack and of being constantly treated as worthless took its toll on all of us. For me, it was extremely difficult both mentally and financially.

I had assumed multiple obligations for Dash and was left hanging in the breeze. I took a personal loss to make them good.

Bottom line, Dash is moving towards being an Ethereum clone with a Cayman Islands venture capital fund. They are exiting Latam, exiting the digital cash vision, exiting utility and exiting the DAO vision.

91.3% of my team stuck with me through this, including all of the most valuable members. A few attempted to continue working for Dash. They organized their own proposal. One of them swore to me up and down that all of this was because of my ego.

But Dash said no to them, too, and three months in a row.

Dash has also defunded for multiple months now the Dash Help support desk team located in Caracas who scrupulously avoid all controversy. đŸ€·

We stopped most work for Dash 13 Sep 2019 and announced our permanent closure 28 Oct 2019.

Reactions

Dash community members reacted mostly unfavorably (tho here are some supportive reactions [backup]) and subsequently described me in a number of ways, including the following:

  • cockroach
  • fake
  • selfish
  • opportunistic
  • lacking emotional awareness
  • arrogant
  • self-entitled
  • demagogue
  • “enlarged ego” – Dash Force
  • “doesn’t work well with others” – Dash Force
  • “fired from Dash for very poor performance and trying to sabotage other teams” – Dash Force
  • “Dash defunded him for being toxic and doing a terrible job” – Dash Force
  • produced nothing of any value
  • a traitor

My Dash haters really laid into me in this YouTube video comments section, not that I am saying you should waste your time on it, but I share it in the interests of giving both sides.

Something interesting happened after I left Dash. The masternode count declined radically and uncharacteristically. More than 6.7% of the network dropped off. Correlation is not causation so it is possible, even likely, that it was not related to me.

But it was surprising to see that happen in the runup to the much-anticipated Evolution pre-testnet release. The number was quite stable in the 5 months prior to this.

Hey, I Have Flaws

I am not going to get into a debate about my personality or my results. Frankly, I believe I just project confidence (and am not arrogant) because internally I am probably just as insecure and filled with doubt as anyone.

But I also spend a lot of time doing research, experimenting and reasoning. So when I reach a conclusion, I want to see solid arguments and evidence against it before changing my mind. Opinions based on preconceived notions alone don’t convince me.

The bottom line is that I and my team produced globally outstanding results for Dash, results I will place next to anyone else’s in any other cryptocurrency. We got thousands of people excited about Dash across the globe, building new win-win relationships and onboarding fresh faces, learning incredible new lessons in the process.

We produced hard, verifiable metrics and went to great lengths to be transparent with the community about what we were doing and what we needed to fix. We even created the only live transaction tracker for Dash spenders in our markets. We tweeted photos and videos of our work daily. We evidenced 99% of our spending in a Dash Watch audit. No one else did that. No one was more transparent than us. DCG and DFN in particular refused to submit reports to Dash Watch.

I did indeed become quite upset when I was forced to close Dash Latam. People in Dash constantly lie, hype, pimp my ideas as if they were their own and pretended as if I didn’t exist or was worthless.

One MNO wanted to go into business with me and attempted to induce me to bribe Colombian government officials on 4 separate occasions. Another prominent community member offered me a C-level job in his startup but started lying about me in public once it was clear I had exited the collective.

These things hurt and I am only human. I cared deeply about the work I did for Dash. We were on track to do big things. But small-minded people shut it down and, worst of all, started spreading “Big Lies” about me (such as that we never onboarded any new users, which these 75+ videos of our events would seem to contradict).

Conclusion

Whatever anyone wants to say about me, I consistently and professionally created value for Dash without ever engaging in force or fraud.

Everyone has their breaking point at which they say, I have sacrificed enough and the ethical and practical divides are too great to continue.

I’ll close with some testimonials from people close to this.

Here’s another one from a Dash community member who came to MedellĂ­n, went to some of our events, regularly spent Dash at our merchants, etc.

And Now?

By no means does this journey end with Dash. One thing became very clear after about 6 months of working for Dash: merchant adoption alone is not good enough to build viral critical mass.

We need inflows. People earning in local fiat are not going to trade it for volatile crypto just to spend locally. The value is not there. Not even in Venezuela have I seen that happen regularly.

Which is what led me to remittances and why I was working steadily on remittances for the last 10 months with Dash.

And now am with Bitcoin Cash.

Background Material

One of literally hundreds of tweets showing off the reality of our work. See for example the hashtag #DashAlwaysBuilding.

Interviews

Every proposal I filed with Dash

  1. 05/2018: Dash MedellĂ­n / Dash Colombia: 12 meetups, 250 new wallets, merchants, remittances & first conference planning (backup)
  2. 08/2018: DASH MEDELLÍN Colombia Merchant Network: 450 New Dash Merchants, 12 Dash Merchant Fairs, Self-Sustaining Dash Sales, Dash Remittances, Permanent Dash Marketing and Support (renewal) (backup) [DashNexus]
  3. 08/2018: Dash Latam Mass Adoption Marathon & Expansion into Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, Haiti, Buenos Aires: Low-Cost Merchant-Centric Strategy (backup)
  4. 12/2018: Dash MedellĂ­n Colombia Stopgap Funding (backup) [DashNexus]
  5. 01/2019: Dash Retail: Make Every Dash Merchant a Dash Point of Sale, BitPay-Like Merchant Hedging & Colombia Pilot (backup) [DashNexus]
  6. 02/2019: Dash Colombia: 25 Verified Transactions per Day, 2,500 Active Wallet Installs, 9 “Save With Dash” Fairs, 150 New Dash Merchants, Integrated Dash Marketing and Support (backup) [DashNexus]
  7. 02/2019: Dash Venezuela Remittances: Closing the loop by enabling Venezuelan migrants to send money home using Dash. Teams in Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Spain on the send side. Recipients in Venezuela receive support to spend their Dash at verified merchants (backup) [DashNexus]
  8. 05/2019: Latam: Dash Colombia, Bizdev, 50 Transactions per Day, 750 Active Merchants, Ambassadorship + (backup) [DashNexus]
  9. 05/2019: Latam: Venezuela Remittances, 100 New Venezuela Merchants, 12 Remittance & Consumer Adoption Events, Local Liquidity + (backup) [DashNexus]
  10. 08/2019: Dash Latam: 60 Tx/Day, 45 Events, 50 Dash Aid NGOs, 2,000 Active Merchants, Remittances + (backup) [DashNexus]

Selected articles written about my work for Dash

Selected videos

There are a lot more on our YouTube channel.

A documentary made about our work in Colombia where we were the only team.
A 3-part series that aimed to communicate our work in a highly accessible and entertaining format. See the full series here.
Team members in the next 2 videos show how we verify and support merchants.
A long interview for Dash Watch, an Dash organization that produces reports on Dash teams.
An interview.