Dash is a fork of Bitcoin that focuses on the payments use case. It has introduced a number of features to the industry including masternodes, LLMQs, ChainLocks, and InstantSend, which target scalability, speed, reliability, cost-effectiveness, and user experience. The Dash network is also the longest-running decentralized autonomous organization, utilizing on-chain governance to allocate network resources toward projects and organizations that support the network.
Dash originally was architected by founder Evan Duffield and a small group of other individuals who collaborated to create an alternative to Bitcoin that would enhance user experience by providing transaction speed that could facilitate everyday use as well as greater control over transaction privacy. They believed competing virtual currencies were not as viable for use in ordinary purchases, such as buying a cup of coffee, because transactions can take too long to confirm. In pursuit of this goal Dash created a two-tier network with incentivized nodes and decentralized project governance (Masternodes), instantly settled payments (InstantSend), instantly immutable blockchain (ChainLocks), and optional privacy (PrivateSend).
The Dash Network is governed by masternodes, powerful servers backed by collateral held in Dash designed to provide advanced services securely and governance over Dash's proposal system. In exchange for part of the block reward, masternodes provide a second layer of services to the network. They facilitate advanced functions such as InstantSend, PrivateSend, and ChainLocks, which protects Dash against 51% mining attacks.
Dash governance system, or treasury, distributes 10% of the block rewards for development of the project in a competitive and decentralized way. This has allowed the creation of many funded organizations, including Dash Core Group, Inc. (DCG), which supports continued development, integrations and other activities of Dash.
Similar to Bitcoin or fiat currency, a token is necessary as a unit of measure for the value exchanged on the Dash network. Dash is a pure monetary token, and users interact with it by sending it to one another, by buying and selling on exchanges or the OTC market or interacting with decentralized financial services (DeFi) for lending and staking. Masternode owners also use their Dash as funding collateral to set up masternodes, as a means to ensure operation of the network is sufficiently distributed.