Overview

Dash¬†(DSH), like Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin, aspires to be a common currency, one that can be spent or saved like any fiat currency. It emerged in 2014, before the boom of cryptocurrencies and so-called “altcoins”, and has slowly built a stable market presence within the top ten tokens by market capitalization.

Dash was originally conceived by Evan Duffield, who used Bitcoin’s source code to create his own coin, originally called Xcoin. Later it was named Darkcoin in reference to its privacy features, and then eventually settled on Dash, which is short for “Digital Cash”.

Purpose

Dash simply aspires to be a global digital currency, accepted at any and every store, restaurant, or place of business, online or off. It was conceived to do exactly what Bitcoin originally promised to be, a peer to peer currency, the only difference being technological improvements to provide more speed, security, and privacy.

Technical

Dash sought to solve perceived problems with Bitcoin, and those solutions are the core of what constitutes Dash’s differentiating features. One is increased privacy, by use of a built-in transaction mixing system called PrivateSend. This system breaks transactions into preset increments of 0.01, 0.1, 1, 10, 100, or 1000 Dash. These denominations are mixed with increments within transactions made by other users so that they are in essence shuffled in between senders and recipients. This makes it hard to trace the history of any Dash amount, preserving the privacy of users.

Another feature is a built-in system of governance by using masternodes. Bitcoin, according to Dash supporters, was a great technological revolution but has no methodology in place for participating developers or users to direct the course of the evolution of Bitcoin. If there is contention, as there has been in the Bitcoin community, there is no way to come to a consensus, and there can be harsh factionalization leading to splits and competition.

Dash’s masternodes are servers on the network where users commit at least 1000 Dash and a server capable of running continually with no downtime. These servers help with the operation of the network by providing consistent computing power, but they also give the owners of masternode the right to vote on proposals that affect the development of the network. In 2016, a proposal was made to the Dash network on whether or not to increase the block size from one megabyte to two, and they voted on an answer, which was to increase the block size, within twenty-four hours. Compare that to the Bitcoin block size debate, which has raged on for years and ultimately led to the divisive creation of Bitcoin Cash.

The third significant feature of Dash is the speed of its transactions. Blocks are not only mined and transactions committed every two and a half minutes, but also Dash has a system of “quorums” where ten masternodes can lock in a transaction’s details before the next block is mined. A quorum can process a transaction within seconds so that a buyer and seller can have near instant gratification, and the quorum will lock out other attempts to access Dash associated with those coins, preventing double spends.

Market

The total supply of Dash is 18 million coins, and a little more than a third have been put into circulation. At the time of this writing, it is the seventh largest token by market capitalization, and it looks like a stable contender to more or less maintain its position, barring some exceptional unforeseen circumstance.

Dash does have its loyal supporters, but, it’s most often accepted at places that take cryptocurrencies in general, meaning in the larger market it hasn’t clearly carved out a niche for itself. The challenge for Dash is that, unlike tokens that seek to find some kind of niche, a currency is definitely defined by how common its usability, which means the common person wants to have the currency that is most widely used by everyone else. This leaves little room for a second and third place contender. Cryptocurrency is still very much unknown in the wider world, which means there is a huge market to grow into, but, should one cryptocurrency start to gain mainstream acceptance, it could snowball into being the one winner. Dash could be that coin, but it has very strong established competition.

Coin-Spotlight-Icon-ICX

Overview

ICON is a platform on which one can build new tokens, with their own rules of governance and features. In this way, it is much like Ethereum and the ERC20 standard that allows for new tokens to be created on the Ethereum blockchain. Where ICON differs from ERC20 tokens is that all coins within the ICON ecosystem, called the “ICON Republic”, share an ability to be traded with each other without the need for going through an exchange, a form of a built-in atomic swap.

The republic is supported by what they refer to as a “loopchain”, which is the underlying ICON blockchain that interconnects all individual tokens. The loopchain consists of ICX tokens which are used as the intermediary currency between all other tokens. However, since exchanging between different tokens within the ICON Republic is all handled by smart contracts, transactions should effectively be instantaneous and seamless, giving the impression of direct conversion.

Purpose

The goal of ICON is to create an overall environment in which companies can create tokens that suit their individual needs, and yet still be compatible with all other tokens within the ICON system, allowing for greater liquidity of assets. At the same time, the ICX coin will be a currency that people can use for purchasing goods and services.

One example they offer is of a person going to a hospital that is part of the ICON network. When the person’s visit is registered with the hospital, it alerts an insurance company that uses its own token. The insurance company may be using its own token for smart contracts to handle claims in particular way that is of no concern to anyone outside of that company. However, the insurance company, seeing that the hospital visitor is a member of their services, can issue its own tokens to the hospital or to the hospital visitor, and the hospital or visitor can receive them as a different token they find useful. For example, if the insurance company reimburses the hospital visitor, that visitor might choose to receive the tokens in the form of ICX, which they can then use to go to a coffee shop and buy a drink. Or they might opt to move the tokens into their university’s blockchain, where they also have their own token, using smart contracts or other token features to track students or course credits.

In the end, the ultimate goal is to create for everyone the benefits of custom smart contract solutions, while preserving the advantages that come with a common currency.

Technical

ICON is built much like Bancor, which uses a “delegated proof of stake” model. In ICON’s implementation, blocks are validated by people, called delegates, who vie for that status by committing tokens to what amounts to putting them in escrow. However, just committing tokens is not enough, that is essentially just nominating oneself for the role. One must also submit a proposal and exhibit skills necessary to running a node, and then one is voted into the position.

ICON also follows Bancor’s model of reserve backed tokens. Essentially, when creating tokens, one deposits a certain amount of money to ensure that no matter what, there were always be a value to the coin. If other people start buying the newly created token, driving up its price, a smart contract works to balance the price of the token with the amount in reserve.

Market

ICON has a system in place where it can issue up to 20% of its current number of tokens within the space of one year. The amount of increase it is voted on by people called C-Reps who are delegates that act as representatives for individual tokens. In some years the growth could be zero, or 20%, or anything in between. This means its effectively an inflationary currency. If in any given year a number of new tokens equal to 20% of the existing supply, it means all current token holders have their holdings reduced by 20%.

ICON is backed by DAYLI Financial Group, a large Korean conglomerate, and has a robust network within Korea of banks, insurance companies, and government institutions. As such, they’re well funded and networked, so they have the resources to see themselves through market dips and other hardships that might be too much to bear for smaller startups.

Their promotional material often emphasizes hospitals and insurance companies, which in itself is a large market. Even if they stay within Korea, and within that one business sector, they could stand to increase in value a great deal. If they can break out of that niche and find wider adoption, then their growth could be very substantial.

Korean manufacturing giant Samsung is considering using blockchain technology for its global supply network.

Cryptocurrencies may be controversial to a lot of people, but the supporting technology is one of the most talked about topics in a wide range of industries. The innate security and immutability make blockchain technology attractive to companies that rely heavily on record keeping.

According to Samsung SDS Co. Blockchain Vice President Song Kwang-woo, Samsung is interested in the ledger system for tracking its global shipment worth tens of billions of dollars every year.

Song believes that deploying blockchain “will have an enormous impact on the supply chains of manufacturing as it is a core platform for fueling digital transformation.”

Blockchain, the technology behind bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, has penetrated the market for cross-border payment systems and related applications. However, Samsung is the first major company in manufacturing to consider a move to a distributed ledger system. A growing number of companies have started to test the waters, especially in fintech. One of such companies is IBM who recently launched a blockchain venture which extends microloans to small businesses in Africa.

For Samsung, it’s about finding a cost-effective way of working. Physical documentation is not just annoying; it is expensive as well. In 2018, SDS projects that the company will ship 488,000 tons of air cargo and one million 20-foot-equivalent shipping units. The implementation of blockchain technology could save Samsung as much as 20% in shipping fees.

Blockchain implementation for manufacturing firms goes beyond just saving money as it also impacts customer satisfaction by reducing the time span between when a product launches and ships to the customer. This keeps the customer happy and gives the company a competitive edge over its rivals.

Popular Crypto Wallet, Blockchain.com has hired ex Goldman Sachs executive Breanne Madigan as the head of institutional sales and strategy in a bid to boost its presence with institutional clients, according to a new report published by CNBC.

According to Peter Smith, the CEO of Blockchain.com in a statement released to the press, “Breanne has a proven track record of adding value to her teams.” He continued “as Blockchain continues to grow, I can think of no one better to help scale our business.”.

Madigan, who until recently was the head of institutional wealth services at Goldman Sachs, a division whose total assets rose under her management to a record $1.4 trillion in 2017.

Madigan leaves a 13-year career with the investment giant Goldman Sachs for a cryptocurrency startup. During her time at Goldman, she worked in different roles including chief operating officer for the famed G10 foreign exchange business.

Hiring Breane Madigan shows Blockchain’s intent to boost the presence of institutional clients in the market. So far, institutional clients have not taken the leap that many people predicted after the launch of the futures last year.

For a lot of institutional investors, cryptocurrencies remain a volatile asset given the massive fluctuations the prices have recorded over the years. Bitcoin, for example, has seen a fall from grace to grass, as it hit an all-time of $19,000 in December before taking a hit, weeks after, which now sees it hover around $8,000.

Blockchain.com has 24 million wallets opened on its platform, and it recently launched a service for customers in the U.S to buy and sell digital currencies in a bid to compete with the likes of Coinbase.