Over here at Dash Latam, we are pushing hard every day. No one here is resting on their laurels, tho sometimes we pass out for a few minutes or take a weekend off to decompress.
Here is where we are at in our different markets.
Colombia is growing. We are shifting gears to focus more on consumer adoption. This will mean the tracker at http://tracker.pagacondash.com/ should move more but we may see merchant numbers grow more slowly.
Merchants require a dedicated educational effort so we are now hiring someone to lead that because we have not been doing an adequate job here. We are forming a couple different new teams of people who will be constantly in the street as well as hiring a few new people for coordination posts in consumer adoption in Medellín as we continue to experiment to discover what actually works to achieve consumer adoption, which is more challenging than merchant adoption.
That said, over the last 28 days, we have a documented average of 34 tx per day, perhaps 80% of which are incentivized through basic educational “Dash Invites” events. We have developed an improved format for Dash Invites events and are able to ensure a complete introduction to Dash of 80 people in 80 minutes.
In Colombia, we are active in the Medellín metro area, in Cúcuta and Bucaramanga. We have previously been active in Pereira and Bogotá but have struggled to keep good people in those cities.
In Lima, Peru, we now have 16 merchants. Our leader there, Miguel, is progressing. We will have the first consumer adoption event in Peru later this week. We are training a second person for Lima right now that we hope can start within a few weeks and solidify our progress there.
In Sao Paulo, Brazil, we lost our representatives and progress stalled with the 5 merchants we have there but we are now interviewing candidates to start up again.
In Guatemala City, we have our first 2 merchants but are hitting a sticking point and are working with our representative on the ground to get through it.
In Madrid, Spain, the team is holding regular events to sell Dash as a remittance and has had a number of successful sales but is having trouble getting people to the events, and we are working on new strategies to remedy this.
In Venezuela, we have verified hundreds of merchants and added a good number of new basic necessities merchants mostly in Caracas, some of whom have added combos to our selection of combo remittances. We are adding new representatives in multiple Venezuelan cities in order to salvage as many merchant relationships as possible. We have also added new merchants and have run 2 consumer adoption events. We will be running additional consumer adoption events soon and are interviewing candidates to coordinate consumer adoption across Venezuela. Operating in Venezuela is challenging but we have a good team there and things are progressing.
We are active in the following Venezuelan cities: Caracas, Valencia, San Cristóbal, Maracaibo. We are training new representatives for multiple additional cities.
Overall, we need to systematize all of our activities more. We need more leaders. We lack technical talent. There are a lot of opportunities we could exploit but we are focused on the basics: merchants, consumers, transactions.
We remain excited about what we are going to do over the next few months.
What today I call “Dash Latam” started just a little over a year as “Dash Medellín” with just a faint notion of advancing cryptocurrency mass adoption through Dash, the lone coin that both honors the original digital cash vision and has innovated in consistently useful ways.
Along the way, I learned what worked and what does not. I faced unfriendly streets, hard faces, tough obstacles. I made new connections, new friends, new allies. At one point, I was left alone in the project. At another, we faced a funding shortage that nearly ended it.
Through it all, we held firm in pursuit of the vision of making Dash as useful as possible to developing world merchants and consumers in order to achieve the fabled mass adoption and realize a world of universal liberty and prosperity.
Some of the lessons learned include the following.
The meetup/conference strategy for crypto adoption and growth really does not work. High expense, low return, low interest.
The ground game for getting and keeping merchants requires a constant commitment of keeping capable people in the street at all times.
Liquidity is an ever-present challenge far from being solved, and will not be solved with existing exchanges alone. We need to think a lot bigger.
We’re not going to get where we need to go with our current reference wallets.
Most people who are already in crypto are not useful for the next stage of mass adoption via utility / for realizing the digital cash vision. My best people are new to crypto.
The scarcest asset is quality people.
We have developed a strategy here, I call it the low-cost merchant-centric strategy for mass adoption. We continue evolving it: adding pieces, refining pieces. But I have yet to find anyone doing anything more effective anywhere else in service of the digital cash vision.
By the end of May, our goal was to have 2500 active Android wallets in Colombia, 25 documented transactions per day at tracker.pagacondash.com and 650 active merchants. Unfortunately, we fell short in active wallets (around 2350) and active merchants (628). We exceeded the transactions per day goal with an average of 31 documented Dash transactions per day in May via our in-store habladors (printed QR codes) and Dash Retail/Spark pre-alpha POS.
Why did we fall short?
I’m not an excuse maker so I want to make it clear that we fell short — I fell short — and I accept full responsibility for the outcome. That said, here is my analysis:
We spent March and April replacing the original SparkPOS and AnyPay with the new Dash Retail enhanced (yet pre-alpha) POS because both Spark and AnyPay had serious show-stopping problems, a situation that presented a severe threat to our operations and demanded immediate resolution. Touching merchants, especially when it comes to connecting with owners, is extremely time-consuming and must be done in accordance with strict security protocols to ensure habladors and POS are properly configured.
We had a merchant verification backlog that it took us longer than expected to discharge for the same reasons as above and also because finding and keeping effective street-level representatives is challenging.
Consumer adoption is a nut in need of cracking in a class all its own. It is more challenging than merchant adoption so far. It requires touching more people. The value of the adoption to the consumer is less in aggregate than it is to the merchant. Our consumer adoption game remains globally innovative yet underdeveloped. To develop it, we need to invest a lot of time into producing marketing materials, websites, social media campaigns and new event styles and types. I consider us to be behind schedule on this because I have been slow to conceptualize and the consumer adoption team has been slow and unfocused.
In order to keep costs down during the bear market, we worked virtually from home, which meant we were missing opportunities that come from working in the same physical space.
We are remedying these shortfalls going forward through our alliance with Dash Retail, a project borne directly from our work here as well as the excellent past work of Ash Francis and Alex Cox on eWallet. The Dash Retail team is professional, sophisticated and effective. We are training up new street-level representatives and upgrading our CRM processes. I am investing the time necessary to conceptualize the consumer adoption strategy and coordinate its execution over the next months. We now have an office in the Camel Hub coworking space in Medellín where as many as 10 of us work together now multiple days per week, realizing productivity and creativity gains.
The Dash Latam team remains committed and enthusiastic. We push hard every day, excited to be innovating, excited to be working towards liberty and prosperity for all, thrilled to represent Dash. We are now in 6 countries: Colombia, Venezuela, Spain, Peru, Ecuador, Guatemala. We are taking concrete steps to (re)open 3 new Colombian cities (Bucaramanga, Barranquilla and Bogota) as well as 2 more Venezuelan cities (Maracaibo and Barquisimeto).
Still Number 1
Dash Latam remains, as far as I can tell, not only the #1 Dash mass adoption project but #1 by far globally in the mass adoption of any cryptocurrency. The only other similar project I have seen in other coins is North Queensland Australia where Bitcoin Cash claims around 100 active merchants.
Where we go from here is only up, adding another feathery first to Dash’s already very crowded cap of innovations, which include Masternodes, ChainLocks, InstantSend and so much more.
As promised, now that I have received multiple voting keys post-DIP3, I am sharing my voting decisions for the April 2019 DAO voting cycle. If you want to follow my voting choices and/or use them as a template, but not delegate your voting keys to me, you can download a text file of my recommendations here.
My goal is not to savagely cut the fat but to influence these NO and ABSTAIN voted proposals towards what I consider more productive directions, in most cases. I am available to talk and even advise.
#BuildWithDash – Dash Integrations with Online Payment Apps: YES. This PO has delivered for Dash before and is communicative and interested in teamwork, now a Dash Ignite member. The Dash ecosystem is desperately thin on developer talent and the only other developer outreach I am aware of was run by QuantumExplorer and had to be canceled due to fall in the price of Dash in 2018.
DASH-PR-PROPOSAL-1-OF-2—SHIFT-COMMUNIC. NO. The proposal is uninspired, there is no video and I have no sense this organization is prepared to use our precious DAO funds effectively and judiciously.
gobject vote-many 73f2e97d7e797127dbd726d720324e9d0a7ecdd4f3129ad4a3dcddd670455075 funding no
DASH-PR-PROPOSAL-2-OF-2—WACHSMAN-PR: ABSTAIN. Wachsman actually produced an impressive video. Why can’t they produce more video for us instead of getting all these hype articles posted in low-quality crypto blogs? Maybe they just need better direction?
DASH EMBASSY TURKEY Q2 2019: ABSTAIN. This is a new project in an inflationary economy and therefore I’d like to see what they can do. At the same time, this has all the warnings signs of another embassy that thinks it is above street-level mass adoption work and therefore rarely produces anything of value beyond boxed hot air.
Dash Force May – August:NO. This project adds value to Dash via dashnews.org but it is also a hype machine that causes people in the Dash community to confuse dream with reality, and thus make realistic goals and realistic results look sub-standard. As such, it is also a threat to the growth of Dash towards a real product to be used by real people. Further, this organization is responsible for the disaster that is DiscoverDash. I am afraid to vote against Dash Force, but I refuse to give in to fear so here goes.
gobject vote-many 0de034344b217693c75fc4f9dc17c028a3eca76ca697197e1af45eab6f027a80 funding no
DACH Embassy: NO. Cycle after cycle I see DACH producing presentations but little or no real live video of their work. I am not seeing any work beyond high-level bizdev and ideas like we integrate with payment processor X and somehow that means we automatically get 10,000 new merchants. This is fantastical thinking. We need users, not just to integrate with apps that maybe also don’t have a lot of users or where the demand for Dash is low to nil. Worse, now I see this embassy concept spreading. High-cost, low-result office-based Dash representation is not going to move the needle.
gobject vote-many ae0c74360647da44869af83ee324794de8f908df8bf67e6e0b7614ea90eb3303 funding no
Dash Retail: YES. I am involved in this project but draw no comp. Basic retail adoption and wallet pricing parity infrastructure. Borne from my ground-level adoption efforts.
Evolución Dash: NO. This PO used to work for me. This proposal is a mess, clearly not ready for execution.
gobject vote-many f0ba5b7034f76ceaa66bd0bf1375786178b0969d92b2db83ed2f53686932a1ff funding no
Core Team Compensation: YES. Core team keeps the protocol work going BUT their aggressive schedule of updates has caused multiple problems with mobile wallet payments not to mention the current voting cycle. Further, DCG does not report to Dash Watch. DCG is a black box that it seems feels like it does not need to take into account its peers in the ecosystem. I want to see more transparency in how comp is spent by department, or at least developers vs non-developers. I want more communication, teamwork and Dash Watch reporting, otherwise I am going to move to ABSTAIN votes.
gobject vote-many 82ad8ae7fb987fa0152e95d96c410f6a6a86c4bb027e0c6e61d4f29df5dc76d2 funding no
Dash Nigeria: NO. I see photo ops that look like they were paid for. I see events that might be the same group of friends changing shirts and having pizza for different coins. I see merchants listed on DiscoverDash.com that are just points of sale for vouchers or something? I see the primary deliverable touted as integrations and these integrations do not seem to be of much identifiable value. I attempted on two occasions to engage with the PO and was treated unacceptably both times.
gobject vote-many 2d86a500b61c2675f0c295c97fda5626c4ada9e89324f9fe253d0f02044ded1f funding no
Dash Texas Farms: YES. Friendly PO, no clear value proposition, but so cheap, let’s give it a try. PO desperately needs to create a clear value proposition if he wants this to go anywhere.
Dash Text: NO. Custodial solution for old devices that replicates functionality already provided by outside allies at no cost in more countries. Might just be CoinText over Google Voice. PO was involved in sending forged documents to Dash Watch. PO personally attempted to rip me off.
gobject vote-many a4441702ddfb50ffc37ae9da5fd0a0e176d48f23c0fcc985ca5157c4d5b1c363 funding no
Dash Electrum: ABSTAIN. Who uses this wallet? I am not clear on the value proposition.
Dash Merchant Usage in Venezuela: NO. This is Dash Merchant Venezuela, the group that sold us 2,500 merchants in Venezuela, which turned out to be radically untrue. There was an act of document forgery committed by this team with Dash Watch. New PO reacted unprofessionally to revelation of their previously substandard work, including by launching unsubstantiated accusations against me.
gobject vote-many 8e478c03bc9559b75de74f63c6cffbe3e4dfe390ecacae754a4e6cf941a9883f funding no
Dash Thailand: YES. Former “embassy” that wisely dropped that word, unfortunately a mixed bag with few merchants spread across multiple cities, no real concentration strategy that I can perceive, too much focus on the 10,000 new merchants via 1 payment processor kind of high-level bizdev fantastical thinking. Overpriced. One of the senior guys has a great attitude, always actively seeking collaboration. Overpriced. We need a presence in Asia.
Dash Colombia: YES. This is my proposal and I draw comp from it. We are creating ground level Dash mass adoption. No one else is doing this hard work. We are at the coalface in terms of business development, merchant adoption, consumer adoption, remittances, UX feedback, etc.
DashCrypto #1:YES. This team offers great promise and despite the fact they are delivering so little, including just 5 total videos, and a twitter stream of almost completely RTs, there is a promise here and I am ready to give them one more chance to impress.
Dash Venezuela Remittances: YES. This is my proposal but I currently draw no comp from it. We are actually putting merchants and consumers to use for Dash remittances across Latin America. This is our strongest use case and moves our merchants. This is a no-brainer and the only viable proposal to continue adoption efforts in Venezuela.
Dash Venezuela. NO. This PO is not a team player, stopped talking to Dash Watch for 5 months and has no strategy beyond expensive conferences that are limited to the in group. Further, this PO recorded a video in Caracas next to a Dash logo demanding that everyone obey the law in Venezuela. This PO used her position in Dash to state that the current socialist dictator in control of the country must be obeyed. This is unacceptable and I hope it does not come back to bite us later on.
gobject vote-many f7d299d5743b29558c40e91345e33f41a37ad1019904cdfc78c6498e258429f7 funding no
Dash.red.YES. Dash.red is the most popular Dash website in the world, even more visited and stickier than dash.org. The PO introduces new people to Dash in a fun yet rigorously educational way. This is not sexy but it is a no-brainer and is probably responsible for the 6,000 active Android Dash wallets in Venezuela.
DASH MERCHANT VENEZUELA: NO. Old proposal clearly associated with the act of sending a forged document to Dash Watch and responsible for the inflated merchant count that is still bandied about today. This proposal is not done doing damage to us.
gobject vote-many db9f57a6a3cf11d5ffdb354d2d412c5b758bf89f06ed895ce0b0d516ebf91a01 funding no
DashCrypto #2: NO. This team is producing little that is remarkable at this point and gave in on the question of selling the masternode opportunity. I want to see more first.
gobject vote-many 6086dc8955840de98d79a8210518c2a9c4917b5be55d289ccabd76e301d3d783 funding no
Dash Latam is the organization that I have been fortunate enough to grow over the last 11 months in order to serve DAO priorities in Latin America, the region where crypto mass adoption is likely to happen first due to existing telecom infrastructure, language, the size of the informal economy and the number of weak governments, among other reasons.
Dash Latam is the Dash Colombia team, the Dash Venezuela Remittances team, as well as new organizations we are cultivating in Peru, Brazil, Mexico and other parts of the world. Dash Latam has active operations across 4 nations in 9 cities: Medellín, Cúcuta, Caracas, Valencia, Los Teques, San Cristóbal, Maturín, Lima and Madrid (Spain). We are 23 full-time people and 9 part-timers or contractors. Dash Latam was founded and is led by me, George Donnelly.
Interconnected and indispensable but ultimately independent of Dash Latam is Dash Retail, a software development project led by Ash Francis and Alex Cox borne from the needs Dash Latam discovered on the ground, working with hundreds of merchants and thousands of consumers. Dash Retail provides bulletproof point of sale (POS) software and other retail acceptance and wallet infrastructure for the Dash ecosystem.
Dash Latam is about building real Dash use right now. We build from the ground up, creating new Dash enthusiasts using innovative and persistent marketing strategies that produce active wallet installs, active Dash-accepting merchants, Dash remittances, and, ultimately, real Dash transactions. Check out our new transaction tracker, powered by Dash Retail.
We are on a mission to make the Dash transaction count go up, every day, with real usage — or die trying. With our new transaction tracker, you can easily monitor our progress towards that goal. We are giving Dash remittances the same treatment.
If you want something to be considered currency, digital cash if you will, then businesses have to accept it. You can call yourself digital cash, and you can have exchange listings and mountains of integrations, but if you don’t have regular everyday merchants who actually accept your digital cash, then it is not really digital cash. It is something that might someday be digital cash.
Dash Core Group (DCG) does not do this kind of work. DCG has a corporate vision for Dash and is focused on the protocol and reference implementations of the wallets. DCG does some high-level business development (bizdev). High-level bizdev is about forming relationships in corporate style at high levels with organizations, such as exchanges, that can lead to integrations, such as Dash being a payment option on Bitrefill or CheapAir.com.
Other organizations in the DAO, usually called “embassies”, also focus on high-level bizdev. They work on getting integrations. The speak at conferences. They advertise Dash, which is to say they go out and say how awesome it is. But, with the exception of Dash Thailand, which is a bit of a hybrid, they do not go out and get merchants, like Dash Latam does.
Our value is that we generate real use. We go out into the street and do the hard work that others will not. We are scrappy, we are committed and we work smart. We do not just talk at conferences. We do not just negotiate integrations. We actually go out and get new users. You can have all the software and all the integrations and all the possibilities you want, but until you realize them by bringing in new people, you have only boxed hot air.
#DashLatam is doing something no one else is doing anywhere with crypto.
We are building real #Dash usage, going out into the streets and restaurants, supermarkets and parks to find, cultivate and educate new #DashPay (crypto) enthusiasts.
In this process, we also generate ideas for new software. We find bugs in current software. We generate innovative ideas that are on no one else’s radar. We produce media that no one else anywhere else is producing.
If Dash is to be digital cash, the DAO needs Dash Latam. We are the laboratory, we are the template. We are discovering how to achieve crypto mass adoption. Mass adoption is no longer a question of sitting back and waiting for it to happen. We are learning how to make it happen. And we are doing it strategically, inexpensively, with lots of media and transparently.
Although there are 3 DAO proposals being discussed here, Dash Colombia [DC, Nexus], Dash Venezuela Remittances [DC, Nexus] and Dash Retail [DC, Nexus], they are in reality 1 big, inter-related project. We broke them out in order to give MNOs the option to pick and choose if need be.
Dash Retail, as I mentioned, is software that permits us to give our merchants Dash-exclusive POS software that is always up and is dead simple to use. Dash Retail also provides the exchange rate information that permits both sender and receiver to see the same, or almost same, fiat amount in their respective wallets when sending and receiving payments. This is called pricing parity and is an idea I came up with and campaigned for. DCG and Kodaxx first implemented it.
So Dash Retail makes everything we do better. It makes every payment that much more frictionless. And in the future it will do so much more. So if we don’t have Dash Retail, we are growing more slowly. Likewise, without Dash Latam’s on the ground adoption efforts, Dash Retail has no client base, nowhere to trial it, and of course nowhere to learn from or be created in the first place.
The Colombia integrated adoption project is what gave genesis to all of this, and despite that they said we could not get merchants and transactions in a stable economy, we did it anyway and continue to thrive. With more than 500 active merchants in fact, we could soon have the #1 merchant adoption project in Dash. But one thing we quickly realized was that there are 2 million Venezuelans in Colombia remitting money home, perhaps the strongest use case for Dash yet.
I invited the Venezuela teams to work with me on remittances. I begged them repeatedly and offered them money to produce videos of Venezuelans buying basic necessities with Dash. There was a uniform refusal across the board and essentially a “Yankee, go home” attitude to boot.
Hence was born Dash Venezuela Remittances (DVR). DVR leverages the coordination, marketing team and collected knowledge base of Colombia to sell Dash as remittances from multiple nations with noteworthy Venezuelan migrant populations. We are already integrating innovative new techniques such as Combo Remittances as well as good old fashioned consumer adoption for the first time, to finally get Dash usage going in Venezuela.
Colombia is the foundation. Retail is the software. Venezuela is the next level up, where we create cross-border trade with Dash. Three fingers of the same hand.
The Future of the DAO
We’re not just thinking about Latin America. We’re not just thinking of copying and paste our current best practices across the globe. We are going beyond that to accelerate adoption using our globally unique expertise together with software to gamify and viralize mass adoption as tomorrow’s best practice.
Towards that end, Ash Francis of Dash Retail and I opened the Dash Ignite discord in early January of 2019. This is a workspace only. Bullshit-free. Dash Ignite is the future of the DAO where thousands of small, independent yet interconnected projects will find a welcome home. They are getting incubation, mentoring, MNO advisory, and help navigating the treasury.
The future of the DAO is not a handful of chummy organizations that benefit from an unspoken gentleman’s agreement to maintain DAO funding, nor much less is it one where a single monolithic black-box organization dominates. The future of the DAO is competition. It is agile, inexpensive and transparent development: not just of software but of business, too. It is the cultivation of hundreds or thousands of proposal owners who will bring to Dash new and unexpected value. Value that will grow the pot so that there is room for everyone, and to spare.
We are looking for allies and partners across the globe with varying skillsets and even complete newbies. Our goal is growth, your growth as well as Dash’s. We have many projects on our agenda. Bring your own as well. But if you like this vision, join us in the Dash Ignite discord.
And please cast all of your votes for our proposals:
We are always looking for new use cases. Until we get volatility under control and until people in large numbers start to “get” the need for liberty and decentralization, the use case for Dash remains limited. This because no matter the technological marvel, the brilliant governance and the bottom-line fact that we have $700,000 to spend every month, Dash remains volatile and a PITA to use for the consumer and merchant.
Enter free speech, fake news, the alt-right and the Silicon Valley’s monopoly on modern media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WashPo, etc). Make a video even that might be lightly critical of Muslims, get demonetized (happened to me). Do more investigative journalism than anyone ever before, get your ability for people to fund your legal defense removed (Julian Assange). I could go on and I expect someone reading a digital cash blog to be aware of why cryptocurrency exists and is so valuable.
The basic fact today is that points of view unfavorable to the powers that be can and are attacked in a variety of ways, from blocking funding, to prison, to shadowbanning, to outright removal from modern, Silicon-Valley-monopolized mass media.
But there is a response. Gab.com for example. Like twitter but (promised) free. Steemit.com. Like reddit but just a tad more decentralized. Indie journalists. Wikileaks. Edward Snowden. This is a growing market with a strong use case for Dash. Dash is unstoppable, instant, truly immutable, mixable-fungible digital cash with a lot of real places where you can spend it on things that sustain your life!
The free speech industry needs Dash. They actually have a real use case for it.
So let’s adopt them.
No, not by disgorging breathtaking sums onto individual journalists, of course not. No, at least not until our treasury’s purchasing power is stupidly huge.
Let’s think about sponsoring gab.com. Let’s think about steem-in-a-dapp with IPFS. Or IPFs-in-a-dapp.
Let’s think about how to enable a global revolution in decentralized, immutable mass media.
How could we establish Dash as the free speech coin and thus leapfrog ourselves ahead of other cryptos in terms of having strong use cases? That is a long discussion. I encourage you to join me in this conversation. Don’t expect easy answers for the next treasury cycle tho.
Being the coin of Snowden, Assange and the alt-right doesn’t appeal to you? Yeah, it’s a risky move. We definitely need to give that some thought. But guess what, right now, Dash as the corporate payments coin is not a brand that is actually turning out great results. Our current brand is *boring.* Our tech and our treasury keeps us in the top 20, but if we had a real brand identity to go with it, we could be #1.