Arizona State University (ASU) has announced a partnership with the digital currency Dash that will provide $ 350,000 to “accelerate research, development and education in ways that accelerate transaction speed, efficiency, security and expand their uses.” The funds will be allocated as follows:
The Dash Scholars program, which provides $ 100,000 in scholarships for undergraduate and graduate research scholarships;
Industry open source research and projects laboratory, providing additional $ 100,000 in funding for the ASU Blockchain Research Laboratory (BRL) and $ 50,000 in new funds for the Luminosity Lab, and
Development of Blockchain courses, with $ 100,000 for the creation of an online graduate course that is expected to be offered at ASU this fall.
The $ 350,000 is financed by Dash, through a successful treasury proposal The director of the ASU Blockchain research laboratory, Dragan Boscovic, commented:
“ASU welcomes this initiative and is ready to play its role in creating a strong Blockchain research and innovation environment for young talents to develop practical Blockchain applications.”
Fusion of research and development
When thinking about digital currencies, the community tends to focus on the development side of the equation. New versions of the software, updates to add new features, route maps and the like, generally receive much more attention than research. However, the new features that excite everyone are possible thanks to researchers who discover the means and methods to add them.
Although Core DAO (distributed autonomous organization) of Dash focuses on the development, marketing and daily aspects of maintaining a digital currency, there are at least two research groups working to advance the project. Dash Labs is a DAO founded by the founder of Dash, Evan Duffield, based in Hong Kong, which is working to develop hardware solutions to allow chain scaling using massive blocks.
Similarly, ASU researchers are working on researching ways to improve Dash and solve cryptocurrency problems in general. Last summer, Dash funded the ASU Blockchain Research Lab with a donation of $ 50,000. Dash Core team CEO Ryan Taylor wrote:
“Initial research [will focus] on the performance capacity and latency performance of the blockchain technology, modeling and evaluating different network architectures (including the multi-level Dash architecture), applications and use cases to propose an implementation guide of “scalability” and best practices “
Bitcoin and MIT
Dash is not the only digital currency project to partner with a large university In the summer of 2015, MIT launched the Digital Currency Initiative and solicited donations that were used to hire three full-time Bitcoin developers. This movement followed the effective collapse of the Bitcoin Foundation, which had been providing much of the development funds. None of the funds actually come from MIT, but come from external donors and are channeled through the Digital Currency Initiative.
By May 2016, MIT had raised $ 900,000 to fund the salaries of these developers. Later that year, this number had increased to $ 2 million.
While some developers are willing and able to work full time on open source projects such as Bitcoin without compensation, most do not. Therefore, funds are urgently needed to maintain and advance the project.
A different method of financing
While MIT has a great capacity for fundraising, the dependence on altruism of others is always an unstable proposition. While most digital currency projects are based on donations or an initial endowment (through an ICO) to finance development, Dash has chosen a different method. Dash is self-financing with its development team, paying developers’ salaries for part of the rewards per block.
Each month, 10% of the rewards per block are reserved for successful treasury proposals. This means that up to 6,650 DASH, worth $ 5.8 million at the time of publication, can be paid directly by the network to those who achieve approval of their treasury proposals. Dash’s treasury system pays for marketing, business development and integration efforts, conference sponsorships and more.
The most important thing is that Dash’s treasury pays the salary of the Dash Core developers every month. Currently, Dash employs a team of 50, including 23 developers, four project managers, eight marketing specialists and another 15 administrative employees. These team members are paid a total of $ 300,000 per month, directly from Dash’s treasury system. Donations are not necessary, and no one is obligated to work for free.
It is this treasury system that funded the $ 350,000 partnership with ASU.
Direction of influence
One of the members of the Dash community who manages “TanteStefana” wrote that while MIT funds the development of Bitcoin, Dash finances the ASU research laboratory. She points out that the direction of influence is completely different: Bitcoin is, at least partially, dependent on goodwill and MIT fundraising efforts. This means that the university could theoretically try to influence the project.
With the association between Dash and ASU, money and influence flow in the opposite direction. It is Dash that is providing funds to ASU, so it is impossible for the university to exert any influence on the project.