Dash has a Klingon problem.
No, not literally the fictional alien race from Star Trek, but clingers-on, people who attach themselves to the hard work of others in an attempt to steal credit. This happens internally between the various Dash-funded projects, as well as more notoriously in the rest of the cryptoverse, where countless copycoins seize the latest innovation and pass it off as their own. It’s not easy, but I have some ideas on how to address the issue on both fronts.
The Dash treasury suffers from this problem due to the way the system is set up. Projects make a strong pitch to voters, receive funding, then continue to receive it after making a strong case that they are deserving of such. This skews incentives towards simply focusing on what your project can claim, rather than how Dash can get better with or without your help, leading to a certain degree of isolation between treasury proposals. What’s more, when voting time is coming up and you’re a little lighter on achievements than you would have hoped, promoting something someone else did and hoping they don’t notice becomes an easy way of padding your record. Of course, this has the effect of redistributing funding away from achievers and towards light producers, which is detrimental to the ecosystem as a whole.
Solution: Standardize claiming credit, reward collaborations
The biggest reason this happens is there is no standard process for presenting the product of the various treasury projects’ hard work to the general public. Certain reporting practices exist, for example posting updates on the proposals themselves, but are mainly internal and are only noticed once per month when voting time comes around. Standardizing a real-time formula for posting updates and day-to-day achievements across the whole network will significantly increase the chances that credit is given where due, and not swiped.
Another important aspect is to promote cross-project cooperation. When a proposal owner sees what’s going on next to them, they can be tempted to claim (or at least imply) credit in order to boost their chances of passing in the future. If, however, they are looked at favorably for joining forces with and supporting fellow projects, this becomes an easier and safer move than a credit swipe. Even further, looking with skepticism on a project that does not have collaborations with others can make would-be credit stealers have to minimize these claims in order to give some legitimate props, and getting involved with another group brings another witness to each group’s activities, increasing the overall accountability of the ecosystem. Not to mention, the network as a whole grows stronger the more projects help each other out.
Greater Cryptoverse Klingons
Of course, this problem is much worse outside of Dash, with a host of competitors trying to claim its innovations for themselves. This can be copying privacy functions, claiming to be the first DAO, improving instant confirmations, even plundering the “digital cash” tagline. Since these area all open-source projects with few limitations such as patents and licensing, it’s pretty easy to focus all your efforts on hype and branding while occasionally looking over what Dash is doing, swipe it, and claim it as your own innovation.
Solution: Win the media game, keep being first to market
For a while, Dash has lost out by not being included in the crypto intelligentsia who spread most of the hype around the space. The only way around this is to win the hard-fought scramble into the general public’s consciousness. This comes from improving Dash’s PR performance, winning over key influencers and pundits, and a relentless social media presence that’s impossible to ignore. At that point, it will be significantly harder to get away with claiming falsehoods like governance firsts or high involvement in a particular country without being immediately put in their place, while right now such claims can be made without much resistance.
Finally, Dash simply has to keep innovating, and implementing, first. It took years for others to notice the benefits of masternodes, improved privacy, on-chain governance, an instant confirmation mechanism, and a treasury budget. Still in relative obscurity are sporks, long-living masternode quorums, BLS signatures, the DAPI, and, of course, blockchain usernames and contacts. As Dash becomes a more complete and market-ready product, and achieves success in getting its innovations implemented in public commerce, this window between rollout and other projects swiping innovations will become more important and easier for Dash to profit from. Eventually, the series of “firsts” will become to much to catch up with.