Surrounded by a sea of cryptocurrencies that act primarily as investment assets, Dash has decided to double down on its core value proposition as a payments currency.

While using a cryptocurrency as a means of payment instead of an investment may not be unique, most are challenged in environments that require speed, security and the need to work around cash or payment cards. Dash attempts to differentiate from competitive cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, by addressing those concerns.

“We have an incentivized infrastructure that allows us to provide higher network availability and higher speeds of processing. This in turn allows us to enable functionality that typically does not exist in other [crypto] currencies,” said Ryan Taylor, CEO of Dash. One key example he offered was the ability to provide instant transactions which makes the Dash currency truly viable at the point of sale.

Virtual currency prices
A pedestrian walks past a monitor showing the prices of virtual currencies at the Bithumb exchange office in Seoul, South Korea Bloomberg News

Two additional features of the Dash currency are low cost and ability to achieve that at scale. Taylor noted that the median transaction fee is one-tenth of one cent and the system can do it at scale.

While Starbucks may soon be allowing consumers to trade bitcoins for lattes later this year, it’s not likely to be a major payment methodology. Rather, it’s more designed to demonstrate that the company can continue to innovate in payments after former CEO Howard Schultz’s departure.

Dash is focusing its efforts on serving grey market industries such as the U.S. cannabis industry where cash is the de facto payment form and cards are generally banned. “Alt Thirty Six is an organization we have been working with to bring Dash to the Cannabis dispensary as a means of payment,” Taylor said. Other industries Taylor highlighted include high risk markets that tend to suffer high chargebacks such as online casinos and gaming.

Dash is also focused on international markets with growing acceptance in places such as Ukraine and Venezuela, where Cash is accepted by 800 merchants in Venezuela, mostly in Caracas where instant settlement is important. "They can’t wait for card settlement which can take up to three days,” Taylor said.

In a market where inflation is expected to top 1 million percent by the end of 2018, according to the IMF, instant settlement can mean the difference between staying in business or bankruptcy. It seems that is the type of market need that is well-suited to Dash’s strength in speed.

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