‘We’re Doing the Planning That Takes Us to 1 Billion’ – Ryan Taylor, Dash Director of Finance


Well, Ryan Taylor, thank you for joining me today. How are you? Doing well, thanks for having me. Excellent. So, you and I have spoken before, but for anybody who hasn’t seen that episode would you kindly give us a brief bio of yourself so we know who on earth Ryan Taylor is, and why he was attracted to the magic internet money, Dash? Sure. So I have a background in technology and finance. I actually started my career with a major company as an enterprise architect. And got more and more interested in the finance side of the business that I was involved with, and actually ended up pursuing a MBA from Columbia Business School in finance and economics. And then I went and spent seven years doing strategy consulting for mostly financial institutions. Spent four years at a hedge fund covering the payment space, so I was researching companies for both a private equity fund and a public markets fund. So kind of ran the spectrum in terms of size of company that we would invest in. And became deeply, deeply embedded in the payments space. And that’s when I decided to come to Dash. I got exposed to Dash pretty early on, in 2014. Moved to Arizona in 2014 for personal reasons from New York. And I was commuting back and forth to New York for about two years. And finally decided last year to pull the plug and come join Dash fulltime and expand on the relationship that Evan and I had built over that time. So, that’s how ended up here. What was it about the nature of Dash that caused you to take it seriously enough that you thought it was an actual contender to enter competitively, the payment space that you were in at the time? Yeah so, I think that if you look at most coins of course, they’re copy-and-pastes of Bitcoin. They do pretty much everything the exact same way. The thing that attracted me to Dash initially was just the fact that Evan was willing to do something different. Here we had a new algorithm. We had a new approach to the tiering of the networks and collateralizing nodes and rewarding infastructure. These were important aspects. And so, I dipped my toe in the water back in 2014 and bought a masternode and played around with it. I wrote a few guides. Got involved with the community a little bit. And it wasn’t until I moved to Arizona and wrote Evan an email and say, hey, do you want to meet up? And I started sharing some of my views on what the issues were with cryptocurrencies and why they did just not line up with what anything in the payment industry would teach us. And he’s — he absorbs things very quickly. And he very much was receptive to the things I had to say and the reasoning behind them and so on. And we immediately started brainstorming of ideas that the second-tier network could start to address. And how they could address them. And it was pretty clear that we could do something really, really different. And so, it was that combination of having a leader who really was receptive to learning about the industry that he’s basically in, along with innovative ideas and figuring out how to do all the things that payments companies do in a decentralized way. And so, it’s that combination that got me really excited and as progress was made, and as more and more of the ideas that we brainstormed together would come to fruition it started to become something that I just spent all my days — you know — thinking about. And excited about. And so, at a certain point I just decided to follow my passion. And so, here I am. It’s been a wonderful experience so far. I think, anyone who’s looked at the last year, since I’ve been involved fulltime, it’s been an amazing ride during those 11 months or so that I’ve been around in that capacity. So, definitely a decision I am very happy with. Indeed. So anyone who has seen Ryan’s presentation from the North American Bitcoin Conference — I’ll post it on the scree now — knows that Ryan got a good deal of attention when he pointed out that within the payments industry that he comes from, no new payment method has seen success unless it ticked at least two of three checkboxes basically. Which is, the payment method must be either easier to use, more secure to use, or have some type of incentive or loyalty reward. Like a switching incentive basically. So, with that in mind, I want to ask — so Dash is both a payment network and a currency Does that unique combination — does that present any unique challenges going forward that maybe new contenders in the payment space alone don’t face? Yeah I think that in many ways it’s a challenge. It’s also an opportunity. I think that, certainly for those of us who live in relatively stable conditions and get to have the benefit of using a relatively stable currency like the euro or the dollar or something like that, it does create some barriers for people that want to be able to use a different currency. It’s different than the accounting methods that they have to use to run their businesses, their personal lives — their bills are all denominated in. And so, that is a significant barrier. And I think, even within those markets, there’s going to be some people though, that view that as a benefit. Because they are fearful of the future. Or fearful of the manner in which central banks and governments are running up the spending bills, and so on. So, I think that you’ll find that some people will view it as an advantage and some people will view it as a disadvantage. I think that it’s an opportunity, particularly in countries where their own currency is very unstable. And acquiring stable currencies is difficult and costly. And you see this in a variety of different regions of the world. Where even a currency as volatile as Dash’s value is — it may be volatile but at it’s at least not falling. And so, in many respects this is a huge upgrade for many people in the world. And so, I think that you’re going to find different receptivity to a new currency in different regions. And Dash, and other cryptocurrencies, I think, puts a floor on how bad a central bank or government can be before the people have an option to switch to that is much, much better. And so, I think that we’ll see different adoption in different regions for different purposes. I think that one of the things that is really useful about cryptocurrencies is they are no where and everywhere at the same time. And so crossing international borders is very easy. So there’ll be use cases with remittances. There’ll be use cases with international payments, where it makes a lot of sense, regardless of what country you’re in. There are other use cases where I imagine some of these poorer and less stable countries will gravitate to a solution like this over the options that are available to them today. And so I think you’ll see different purposes in different regions for people to take it up. But I think that it is both a challenge and an opportunity. That makes sense. Those seem to be the two sides of the same coin. Yeah. In terms of region-specific use cases like you mentioned, like even country-specific use cases, In… Have you seen other payment methods reach out to specific countries or specific regions in the past? And if so, how did they do that? How can one reach out to one particular region and say hey, would you like to try our product? Yeah it’s interesting. There’s a number of use — there’s hundreds. Literally hundreds of different payment methods around the world. Most people don’t realize it. And many of them are regional or country-specific. Some of the examples that I would point you to is M-Pesa in Kenya. And it’s actually spread across much of the continent at this point. But it started out as the phone companies noticing that people were using phone minutes and trading them for goods and services. And it was forming a form of digital currency that people were using on their mobile devices. And so they saw an opportunity and decided to enable people to transfer money between their phones. And M-Pesa came to be. And it’s ubiquitously used in many countries in Africa for day-to-day transactions. And it’s another way that the phone company has a big incentive to drive adoption the too because it creates loyalty to the phone company as well. And so these mobile devices have come to take a day-to-day role in commerce there. And it’s provided people with a great deal of economic freedom that they didn’t have before. Another example is Klarna out of Scandinavian countries. Klarna is a company that allows… really took advantage of the culture there, which is that people didn’t — it’s very much a cash-based economy. People don’t take, use credit. And they don’t like to pay for things before they receive them. And so Klarna introduced a payment method where only after you receive the goods from an e-commerce order do you get to pay — or do you have to pay. So you basically get a grace period. And that was very popular there. It’s also very popular in Germany, which has a similar type of culture. A very conservative culture. And now they’re spreading to other countries like the UK and attempting to enter the US market. And that was very successful in that region but it probably isn’t going to work as well in other regions. There’s example after example where there are different paths to entering the market in different regions and you really have to tailor something specific to that market and offer both merchants and consumers a value proposition. And that’s hard to do — to get both sides to create that. But the types of things that resonate really consistently is: lower transaction fees for the merchant, and rewards for the consumer. If you do those two things you have a much better chance of success. And I’ve found that of these that are successful usually do it within a very closed geographic area. Or a very closed marketplace. Where buyers and sellers can easily find each other. It’s really tough to do just entering a giant new market without that element in place. Because it’s really tough right now — taking Bitcoin as an example — of being able to find a merchant that accepts Bitcoin. But if you integrate that into your product and make it easy for people to find then you’re going to give people more options and more utility of using it as a service. And same thing with the merchants — you’re bringing them customers that they otherwise might not get. If you can bring merchants incremental sales at a lower transaction fee and a higher conversion rate when people get to that checkout page, you’re going to to well. Hands down, you’re going to do well. And so those are the things we’re focused on. I don’t think you’re seeing other cryptocurrencies focus on well what are the manners in which we can increase conversion rate when people hit the checkout page? They’re focused on creating absolutely perfect privacy features. And they’re interested in creating increased block capacity. Things that just — customers don’t care about. Those are not things that are going to drive adoption. A full block size will create a poor experience and will create a barrier to adoption, but it’s not creating any type of incentive if you fix that. And so they’re fixing problems, they’re not creating solutions. And that’s what I think is the different between Dash and virtually everything else that’s out there in the cryptocurrency space. You’re not — they’re fixing problems as opposed to coming up with the solution. An interesting way to put it. So I would like to shift gears a little bit and ask you about what is it is that you do in particular for Dash. Especially when it comes to… you’ve oft been called the Director of Finance — and it’s true, so many of Dash’s treasury proposals are proposed by you go through you and then are divvied out to the subcontractors whom you oversee. Or at least, whom you facilitate payment for. Is that something that — is that an idea that you came up with? Or is that something that, it seemed like people were coming to you saying, hey I want to do some work Ryan, give me some money, and you thought, my goodness, maybe it’s more efficient if I am simply the distributor here rather than these people making all their own proposals. Yeah so when I first started talking with Evan about coming on fulltime, what I didn’t want to do was come on fulltime without a clearly defined role and a purpose for being there. And I think I was the one who proposed leading the finance function. And the reason I did that is because I think we were very reactive at the time. We would see an opportunity or identify a need that had to be filled and then someone on the team would put a proposal in for it but there wasn’t a lot of planning ahead for what comes next. What comes three, four months down the road. If the budget increases how would we spend it? And so it really put us on our back heels oftentimes because there either wasn’t enough money in the budget for something that we needed this month so we had to forego a conference or something like that, and then the next month there’d be this gaping hole that there was no use for. And so, I said, you know, one of the things that would add a lot of value to the project straight off the bat, is being able to plan ahead. Know what costs are coming prioritize those against criteria like how much of an impact can it have? How aligned with our strategy is it? How quickly will we receive the benefits and therefore have that compound into our budget next month? And, by getting all of these ideas out on the table, prioritizing them, and then managing that through, we started getting a lot more value out of the budget that was available. And we could plan ahead for an expense that we knew was coming in three months — a conference that was coming up — and by doing so, even get lower costs on our travel and hotel and things like that. And so, I saw that as hugely valuable. Now as I got into the job, I realized that a huge part of this is figuring out, well what are our strategic priorities? How are we going to manage bringing more people on and the resources we need? Which resource is more important given a constrained budget? And, you know, naturally I think any plan in any finance organization embedded within any organization — you’re having to reach out to literally every area of the organization and gather the necessary information, and then facilitate getting everybody on the same page as to how that’s going to be spend. And benefit the organization. And so on. And so, it really turned into a much broader exercise around just keeping all of these moving parts on the same page. And so I think I’m stretching myself. We had a strategic plan that was really meant to take us from up to around 100 or 200 million dollars. And at this point we obviously quickly moved past that so fast that we’re a little bit back on our heels again and having to do the next planning that gets us to $1 billion. I remember something like three or four months ago it was the first time that more proposals were put in than we had treasury funds to pay out for. Or maybe, more were approved than we had treasury funds to pay out for. And you left a comment somewhere that said something like, this is not a problem. This is what causes us — this is what forces us to prioritize our resources. And I thought that was really neat. And obviously everything that you have proposed thus far has been to the majority of masternodes liking. Because even in the months where there has been more competition than we could afford to pay out your proposals continue to be paid out. Well I certainly would love to be able to take credit for that but you know, the core team has earned — I think — a lot of respect. And trust, more than anything from the masternode owners as we continue to deliver. I certainly can’t speak for everyone, but I oftentimes get messages from folks that say, you guys are doing a really fantastic job. And I have a lot of faith in virtually everything that you guys pursue. Not everything is going to be successful, but you know, I support you. And so I think that you’re seeing a bit of that come out. The more we build a track record of performance and the more we build a track record of delivering on the things that we say, for the most part, I think that you’re seeing that reflected in the votes. And I think that same opportunity is available to any DAO or contractor that comes along and wants to serve the network. I think it’s tougher when you first start out. And I think as you build a reputation and build a track record and history with the network you do gain the trust of the network. And gain additional support. And maybe even leeway to say, you know what, trust me on this. This is really important for what we’re trying to do as part of our overall strategy. And so I think that that is a natural outcome and one that is healthy and good for the network, is to have different contractors that have a track record with the network that can be more trusted with these funds. And so, yeah I think it’s been and interesting — an interesting evolution in terms of the way we work to having individuals each learning how to do a proposal. And how to do it efficiently. How to present them to the community. And so on. We’re specializing in different tasks. Our developers should be focused on development. And our folks doing international outreach should be focusing on international outreach. And so, by taking the reigns on the proposals, and taking that off their plate, their able to focus on their jobs. And I’m able to focus on getting those through in a pretty efficient manner. So yeah, I think that there’s a few things that we’ve done to kind of help and make it better. Well Ryan, do you have any final comments that you would leave us with, if you wanted to? Do you have one? Well so tomorrow — by the time this airs it will have already have occurred — but tomorrow we’re going to be hosting our quarterly call. It will be available, recorded, and I would encourage folks to come check it out. Because we’ll give a lot more detail on what we’re doing. But for me, I think the top level message for that call is, my how things have changed over the course of the last couple of months. We seem to be pretty stable in the $40-45 dollar range. Which is a huge jump from where we were even a month or two ago. And that is essentially two to three times growth. And deploying those kinds of resources efficiently and for the maximum benefit of the network is going to be difficult to do. I think that it’s hard to grow quickly and efficiently at the same time. But we’re going to do our best to deploy those resources as efficiently as we can. The thing that we’re struggling with more than anything right now is growth. And adjusting our planning for this new level. But it’s going to allow us to do a lot more than I think most people realize at this point. When you put pen to paper and start to realize the kind of firepower we now have to go after growing our ecosystem, hiring people — and compensating people well — to attract and keep good talent, I think that we’re going to see another huge change in the project that’s going to allow us sto to make the next big leap up to the $1 billion mark at some point. Probably quicker than most people realize it’s going to happen. That’s my prediction. I made some pretty bold predictions in the beginning of the year with triple digit growth and at least number four by the end of the year, but we passed that more quickly we have to be more bold. Ryan Taylor and the rest of the Dash core team hold a quarterly report call for investors to listen to as well as ask questions. Click here to view the most-recent of such calls. And I’ll see you back here next Friday, same time, for the next DASH: Detailed Spotlight.

35 thoughts on “‘We’re Doing the Planning That Takes Us to 1 Billion’ – Ryan Taylor, Dash Director of Finance

  1. Hey, all. Thanks for watching the first Spotlight, and kindly forgive the bandwidth problems I experienced. Currently crafting a solution that should eliminate them going forward. Thanks! – Amanda B. Johnson

  2. I wonder would Dash ever go mainstream when the public knows a large majority of the coins were premined. My bet is that someone will just duplicate the technology without the bad parts and that will go mainstream.

  3. Great new show Amanda. Keep up the excellent work. I'm already a regular fan of Spotlight, right from its inception!

  4. more than a year ago I began closely watching DASH but held back investing in them because the team that time seemed so rag-tag and spread so thinly that it appeared that the typical headwinds any startup faces quite possibly would stall the entire project. the price fell from around $12 to under $9. I almost bailed out but just thought the potential was still there. Today I see a startup that's far more cohesive and focused. I believe the Skysong move was Outstanding! the milestones have piled up quickly this year and I'm more comfortable than ever.
    the road to mass adoption was never promised to be smooth or easy but every week it seems a bit less distant. my advice to investors is to stay the course while keeping your eyes on the bigger picture. we're on a winning horse, allow the team the latitude to continue their great work.fasten your seatbelts the next upleg promises to to be even more exhilarating than the last.
    ouch…..http://www.marketwatch.com/story/sec-rejects-proposed-winklevossbitcoin-etf-citing-lack-of-regulation-2017-03-10?dist=markets

  5. "Some are just fixing problems instead of creating solutions" .

    Well put Baby Giraffe. Highlight of the show right there.

  6. Great interview, Amanda maybe in another show you can dig a little bit on the ATM Compliance Program, that would be a great way to grow the Dash ecosystem. accessibility!! Thanks

  7. Great video, thank you. There are sane business people working at dash. A lot of other coins? You got whitepaper nerds that want to make a name for themselves with new technology, with little to no consideration for economic long-term realities or creating long-term value.

  8. If Dash reaches 1 Billion dollar market cap is that $198 a coin? I had a dream Dash went up in value, reason for my inquiry. Is dash fast/secure? Never used it. I don't hold any Dash, I'm all in Bitcoin.

  9. In just a day the market cap is up to 475 million..?? I'd like it to calm down but I dare say the markets dictate and when the pullback comes the balance will return..!!

  10. Good stuff. I like the tech (POS and increased block size) and Ryan seems confident and competent. I'm in. Downloading the wallet now. Great job Evan and team. This is gonna be fun.

  11. How can i save dash offline? so far no videos about this topic so far. I have the wallet on my PC and i can create a file called abcd.dat – Doesnt seem that trustworthy. Can you help with info?

  12. I just made a facebook forum for Dash, and I hope some of you guys could join it. (why make a dash forum, when offical dash already has a facebook page).
    Because it's a facebook page, and not a facebook group, You cant post things on Dash's offical facebook, but you can post things on this dash forum I made.
    So please join it, I really need people to start it up with me. I need admins, but we will see if the groups grow a little first. I try to invite 100 people that already is into Dash.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Dash.Forum/

  13. how do I purchase dash in Toronto, Canada?
    As well, I downloaded the dash wallet app for my phone and to back it up it requires a password but I was never given one nor given the opportunity to create one. trying to purchase dash has been a very frustrating experience so far.

  14. I think this was a very good overview of a lot of things and some of this ie Ryan's background, is actually a timeless resource for the future. I would love more DASH. Watching it explode has been pretty neat for me. Have a nice week Amanda and others.

  15. that X11 shit is awesome it's what someone like me with a programming background and no cryptography knowledge would come up with

  16. simplefx link https://simplefx.com/?sfx-r=af9e95bb-318d-456f-91cd-6807ea8eb454

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