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At MoneroKon 2019, Riccardo “fluffypony” Spagni talked about Tari, a new project he is working on that is meant to supplement Monero with more easily usable and buildable features than Monero, and utilizes “Validator nodes”, which fluffypony compared to Dash Masternodes.

(Riccardo Spagni Tari presentation starts at 6:05:50 in video above)

“A validator node in Tari, is a node you run, you can think of it like Dash Masternode, where you run it and it sits by itself, you lock up some Tari, and you participate in digital asset validator pools, and you’re able to do certain validator actions, and because you act as a validator you get paid”

Fluffypony, who is co-founder of Tari Labs, goes on to give a demo of what they believe a Validator node manager would look like. Spagni also talked about how it was designed with engineers that believe it is possible to create the Validator node manager and his demo in a decentralized way. Tari is intended to be merged-mined with Monero and the Validator nodes’ comparison to Dash Masternodes illustrates the ability for Masternodes to add advance functionality to cryptocurrency.

Fluffypony intends to utilize the Validator nodes to support the creation and use of digital assets that users can select from a marketplace. Spagni describes assets as “things that people buy or earn but exist entirely in digital form” and gives colored coins, in-game tokens, cryptokitties, tickets, software licenses, etc as examples. Fluffypony intends to use Big Neon, a ticketing company, as a pilot company to use Tari with Validator nodes supporting its platform and use on the decentralized blockchain.

Notably, Fluffypony has been a past critic of Dash in general, and of masternodes in particular, even claiming that their implementation in a project represented the work of “mediocre developers” and posited before that the incentive structure would cause the network to attack itself. The Tari project represents a sharp change in direction from previously long-held public viewpoints, and may be indicative of running into limitations of a network based solely on miners and without an incentivized node structure.

Fluffypony pursuing similar direction of Dash

Fluffypony also described how they want to grow to increase the use of privacy and independent money among more individuals, but highlights that “they might be getting to a point where they hit a plateau” and that he is afraid of Monero being “a really power piece of software with niche appeal”. Fluffy ponders that to get broader appeal, they have to branch out of their core community because they “are up against others that are very resourceful and well funded”. Thus, fluffypony said the CCS, Monero’s crowdfunding system, “is amazing, but again the CCS has an upper bound, and that upper bound is that people that use the CCS already have to be interested in Monero”. Monero’s CCS uses crowdfunding rather that Dash’s automatic 10% reserve of monthly block rewards for projects. However, Dash also suffers from the same problem of requiring proposal owners to already be in the ecosystem. Thus, Dash has recently launched the Dash Investment Foundation, which will get its investment funds from the Dash DAO Treasury, but will be able to seek out projects to invest in and gain equity for the network.

Fluffypony also discussed the importance of good UX and design and goes on to say that despite iterating on the core Monero wallet design and the more friendly Monero mobile and web wallets that have emerged, using Monero is still hard.

“I think we can all acknowledge that using Monero is kind of clunky. You know, it’s not easy. Having 95 character-long addresses is not easy. I mean, it’s objectively worse than using Bitcoin from a user experience.”

He then went on to use that as an explanation for why he thinks that many consumers simply leave their money on exchanges, which defeats the purpose of having a trustless blockchain money system. Dash has been solving the UI/UX issue with outreach groups educating the public and working on blockchain user names and a new DashPay Wallet to be released in the next version 1.0, Evolution. Plus, Dash has released Automatic InstantSend to lock in transactions in under two seconds to make its use at merchants simple in addition to the numerous POS devices that accept Dash. Additionally, the digital asset marketplace and improved developer ecosystem that fluffy hopes Tari will create has similarities to Dash’s DAPI and Drive system being prepared with the coming Evolution release to enable more consumer and developer options.

Dash setting the bar for other projects

Monero is not the first to follow Dash in its innovation since other cryptocurrencies have implemented variations of Dash’s inventions, recently. Aside from numerous other coins utilizing Masternodes, which Dash pioneered, Zcoin recently copied Dash’s ChainLocks, which makes the blockchain significantly less vulnerable to 51% attacks. Then Bitcoin Cash previously considered, last year, creating a treasury similar to Dash to create a sustainable funding model. Further, Decred is another coin attempting to make a DAO work and has even done a comparison analysis with Dash to see how the two stack up against each other. Imitation being the highest form of flattery, Dash is utilizing its innovative DAO Treasury model to fund the creation of more innovations that the wider cryptocurrency community find useful. Despite Dash not always getting the credit, Dash is making headway towards wider adoption and has made a reputation for being the source of innovation, which bodes well for finding ways to achieve mass adoption.