The Beginnings of Dash

This is the story of how Darkcoin (Dash) came about.

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by eduffield on Dash Forum,     Pub. Mar 30, 2014

this article is an extract. go here  for source.

This is the story of how Darkcoin came about. Recently the community has grown a lot and many people here aren’t aware at all of the early history of the coin. I’m sure you’ll see from the full story that I would have done things much differently, but hindsight is always 20/20.

So who am I and what do I offer?
My name is Evan Duffield and I’ve been developing software since I was 15. I also have a history in finance and an interest in economics and machine learning. I’ve worked all over the space for PR firms, creating search engines and machine learning algorithms for financial modeling.

I’ve have a rewarding career and consider myself lucky to have been a part of many great projects. Also, it’s worth noting when I worked at Hawk Financial Group I got my series 65 (a financial advisor license) and I’ve used that knowledge extensively for Darkcoin.

The birth of Darkcoin

I discovered Bitcoin in mid 2010 and was obsessed ever since. After a couple of years in 2012 I started really thinking about how to add anonymity to Bitcoin. I came up with maybe 10 ways of doing this, but I soon realized that Bitcoin would never add my code. The developers really want the core protocol to stay the same for the most part and everything else to be implemented on the top of it.

This was the birth of the concept of Darkcoin. I implemented X11 in a weekend and found it worked pretty well and it would give a completely fair start to the currency. What I really was aiming for with X11 is a similar development curve where miners would fight to create small advantages much like the early start of Bitcoin. I think this a requirement to create a healthy ecosystem.

Next I was thinking about changing the reward system. I thought it would be an interesting experiment to add more incentives to join mining early on, driving up the hashrate and protecting the network, that’s when I came up with 1111.0 / ((x+1.0)^2.0), which was the first formula for controlling rewards.


It was January 18, 2014 and I had everything ready or so I thought. I announced the launch of Darkcoin (XCoin at the time) on BitcoinTalk. We launched later and immediately got stuck on block 42, I was new to the Bitcoin codebase and wasn’t sure what I missed so I announced we’d relaunch later.

When we relaunched we had a rush of miners join causing a huge spike of coin production without it being able to adjust the difficulty quick enough, we just ended up spilling out coins. Retargeting happened every 576 blocks and could only increase the difficulty by four times, so it took about six retargets to get to a difficulty that was near 2.5 minutes per block.

Later on, after the difficulty evened out we realized that there was a serious problem with the block reward calculation. You can see people discussing the problems here:

I soon fixed this issue at block 4500, but none of us realized the amount of coins that had been issued at the time. At that point we didn’t even have a block explorer yet.

Right after block 4500 is when I started working on DarkSend. I was trying to create a proof-of-concept and eventually I succeeded, I posted about it and our coin started to become more popular by the day. This is when the coin became a serious project of mine.

Later on we switched to 11111.0 / ((Difficulty+51.0)/6.0)^2), these formulas proved to be much more powerful incentives to drive up the difficulty than I thought they would. Soon after we switched to (2222222.0 / ((Difficulty+2600.0)/9.0)^2.0), targeting a difficulty of about 3400.

In the end?
Darkcoin started from a few months of me thinking about ways to create a better coin and a couple weekends of coding. It wasn’t till later that we got established and I really started taking this seriously. Anyone can compare our recent efforts to the sorted past and see things are going much smoother. No one really knew how much this would blow up (in a good way) and how popular it would be, otherwise I would have took my time in the beginning.

Goals and the future of Darkcoin
I don’t believe the origins of Darkcoin are too much to overcome, but investors and users are going to have to decide for themselves if they want to support the project. Recently I’ve shifted away from other projects to going full time on Darkcoin. I think with a full time developer and our solid community we’ll be able to make something great.

It’s only been a couple months and we have a lot to show for it (X11, DGW and DarkSend Beta) and there is more in the works. This obviously didn’t go perfect but I think we have a really fantastic community and I see a really bright future for Darkcoin.

#1 eduffield, Mar 30, 2014
Speaking about Bitcoin: it’s the culmination of 5,000 years’ worth of financial innovation. Humanity has finally come up with something that is, at least on paper, better than good old gold.


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