Dash was introduced by creators Evan Duffield and Kyle Hagan. The currency incorporates several key innovations, some aimed towards increasing anonymity and others simply to improve the functioning of the system. Its core purpose is to act as a kind of electronic cash, providing a level of anonymity hitherto unheard of among cryptocurrencies. Evan Duffield is still actively developing Dash. Dash is not yet widely accepted by retailers, but a fair selection of independent businesses accept it. Its value per coin is also one of the highest on the market.
Dash's key innovation is its Darksend system: In order to make its transactions untraceable, specially designated computers called Masternodes collect and execute several transactions at once, making it unclear whose coins are going to who, like a massive electronic game of three-card monte. To increase anonymity, users can opt for multiple rounds of mixing to further obfuscate the source of their coins. This system also means that there is no publicly available ledger as there is with other coins, making it difficult for third parties to analyze your transactions and calculate your holdings. Dash's anonymity is not perfect – it is still possible for an attacker with government-scale resources to break through. However, Dash is still the most privacy-conscious cryptocurrency available today.
Another key feature of Dash is its X11 hashing algorithm. Most other currencies either use Scrypt or SHA-256 for their proof-of-work systems, but X11 is a unique alternative because its design allows users with less powerful hardware to still compete to verify transaction, and thus mine coins. While other coins have quickly become dominated by users running expensive custom hardware, Dash hopes to remain somewhat more egalitarian. X11 also consumes 30 percent less power than Scrypt and taxes hardware significantly less, making it an energy-efficient alternative.
In the future, Dash developers hope to add IP obfuscation to further anonymize transactions, instant payment processing and other features yet to be announced. Retailer acceptance remains low, but at around $3 per coin, Dash's value is surprisingly high for an alt coin. What's more, Dash is unusual in that it actually increased in value earlier this year, with the coin's market capitalization almost doubling.
The cryptocurrency market is still new and therefore uncertain. Dash's unique features, however, seem to be driving it towards a dominant position in the market. Whether you are interested in making anonymous global transactions or are simply looking for a promising investment opportunity, Dash offers both monetary value and unique utility.