Fears of DASH suffering a 51% attack resurface before the mainnet upgrade

Dash Core Group, the legal entity for Dash’s development team, published an important development update yesterday. According to them, Dash Core v0.13.0 will launch to mainnet on Monday of January 14th.

Update v.13.0 will focus on delivering several consensus improvements to this masternode-based cryptocurrency:

  • Automatic InstantSend, which will improve the speed of most transactions at no additional cost;
  • A deterministic masternode list to provide a single source of truth for clients validating transactions;
  • Special transactions to accommodate non-financial transactions on the blockchain;
  • A third masternode key to enable delegation of masternode voting; and
  • Several improvements to private transactions.

The mainnet update was initially publicly confirmed as “tested, finalized, and ready for release” in a Medium post dating back to January 4th. This post saw Jon Kindel (Head of Business Developments at Dash) detail the things the team did to prepare for the v0.13.0.

New information surfaced a day ago when Elizabeth Robuck (Chief Product Owner at Dash) confirmed the update launch date. Her post also reminded partners, node operators and stakeholders to finalize preparations for the update and to fill out a community survey. As previously noted, 0.13.0 is expected to activate on January 14th, and will become fully operational once 80% of the network confirms they’ve upgraded their software (expected within a week of update activation).

While this update is expected to serve as the basis for Dash Evolution (a new, decentralized payment platform built on Dash blockchain technology), suspicions emerged about the decentralization of Dash’s mining network. Reddit user u/Flenst took a deep dive into Dash’s “nicehash-ability”, aka its susceptibility to a 51% attack from Nicehash (a marketplace where random individuals can purchase hash power).

Research this user did showed that 70% of DASH’s hash rate was controlled by Nicehash miners, a number alarmingly higher than what this marketplace usually has over other PoW coins (10-20%). He also found that more than two thirds of those 70% belonged to unknown mining pools. Digging further he found that three mining addresses – that were controlled by a single entity – collected over 53% of DASH mining rewards. You can follow the entire DASH hash rate controversy here.

Dash faced with harsh criticism

Dash is the altcoin credited with starting the craze for masternodes. Back when the coin was trading for under a dollar, the Proof of Work coin introduced a masternode system that called for staking 1,000 Dash.

The scheme proved hugely successful, both as a means of governing the network, and as an earner for individuals running a node, who were being handsomely compensated by the time the crypto market mooned in 2017. At its peak, it would have cost $1.5 million to purchase enough Dash to set up a masternode. The success of the scheme, which made early adopters of Dash’s masternode system very rich, was soon copied by countless other coins.

Take a look at the best wallets for DASH tokens.

Masternode concept is surely one of the major propellers that pushed Dash in the crypto mainstream but as the protracted bear market persists, more and more “whistleblowers” from within altcoin communities come out and bring all the project’s skeletons out of the closet.

Reddit user u/tellmesay shared a post detailing the negatives that the crypto payment solution DASH faced during the year behind us. The post was originally posted on a Dash-friendly subreddit r/Dashpay but was scrubbed from there for reasons unclear.

Overall, the post titled “Dash In 2018: Disappointments, Boondoggles, Scandals, Disasters, & Catastrophes” spared no punches as it revealed every single negative thing the project experienced in 2018. Such points as not getting listed on Coinbase due to “Dash’s notorious Instamine, centralized development, and murky Howey Test/SEC Action status”, over not being included in the OpenBazaar project (while Monero and several other alts were), to not getting support from Wirex or any other debit card provider stand out among the promises that Dash failed to deliver on. Further down, the post mentions Dash’s FanDuel fiasco, CoPay fiasco,  KuvaCash fiasco, Alt36 train-wreck-in-progress, and the fact that they organized a crypto meetup in a Miami-based striptease joint.

A special place in this analysis is given to their Venezuela dealings, where Dash attempted to implement an aggressive strategy of selling cheap Krypt mobile phones that came with DASH currency and software required to use said currency. News and promotional poured in suggesting that DASH adoption in Venezuela is growing; however this was squashed by several sources, culminating in KFC Venezuela (which Dash touted as a surefire merchant to start using their cryptocurrency) denying the news and lamenting Dash higher-ups for spreading fake news.

The mentioned post goes into much more detail, exposing further failure by Dash to deliver on their promises and even reminding us of some important security issues with the currency that were never properly addressed. You can check out the complete post here.

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Julian Joseph Lehmann
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