Proposal “coreteammarketing1218“ (Completed)Back

Title:Core Team Marketing / Conferences / Travel (December)
One-time payment: 605 DASH (107322 USD)
Completed payments: 1 totaling in 605 DASH (0 month remaining)
Payment start/end: 2018-11-16 / 2018-12-16 (added on 2018-11-03)
Votes: 789 Yes / 81 No / 7 Abstain

Proposal description

Dash Core Group December 1st Funding Proposals
DCG is submitting 2 funding proposals for the December 1st budget cycle:
1) DCG Compensation: $477,000 (here)
2) DCG Marketing: $92,500

This Proposal

This is cross-posted from here

What does this proposal fund?

This proposal funds expenses related to conferences, internal meetings that require face-to-face interaction, and external events for the next 3-4 months for Dash Core Group team members. Included in this proposal are minor expenses frequently associated with T&E related to conferences including merchandise, tools, meetings rooms, business cards, etc.


Dash Core Group engages in a number of activities that generate travel expenses including conference appearances, DCG internal events and meetings with potential and current partners, regulators, media, etc.


DCG staff attend a number of conferences during the year. Conferences provide sources of new business development and marketing opportunities, allow DCG team members to represent the Dash network through speaking opportunities, provide media interview opportunities, and enable us to stay current with trends in the industry. In the past we took a two-pronged approach to conferences by speaking at select conferences, and attending more critical conferences via sponsorships. We’ve found this to be an effective means of gaining the most exposure in blockchain and payments related events at a reasonable cost.

Free Conferences

We continue to receive a large number of invitations to speak at conferences without sponsorship requirements, which enables us to restrict our attendance to events that may aid in executing our strategy, and incur only travel expenses for most events. We don’t attend all the free conferences we are invited to since many conferences don’t directly benefit the Dash network and we want to control costs associated with travel. Examples of recent free opportunities are:
  • CannacordGenuity Blockchain Symposium
  • The Blockchain Futurist Conference in Toronto
  • The Texas Bitcoin Conference
  • The Crypto Summit in Zurich
  • The upcoming Shift Money in Zagreb
  • The upcoming WebSummit in Lisbon
Sponsored Conferences:
A few months ago, due to the bear market in the price of Dash, we suspended sponsoring conferences and have focused exclusively on conferences that are free to attend. In parallel we have attended previously committed and paid for conference sponsorships (in Q3-Q4, only Money 2020 USA).

Internal events

Dash Core Group has a distributed workforce that is spread throughout the world. This gives DCG certain unique advantages:
  1. Allows us to hire talent from a global pool of available talent
  2. Enables us to reduce costs by hiring contractors who are located in cheaper markets than the ones we would otherwise hire based on our areas of operation.
  3. Avoids the cost of office space and infrastructure (e.g., phones, internet) for the majority of our workforce
  4. Promotes DCG ability to attract a diverse contractor base globally
However, one of the disadvantages of being distributed is the limited opportunity for face-to-face time for staff.  In order to advance the projects we have in flight, there is a need for periodic face-to-face interaction, especially for our software developers. As an example, DCG recently held a developers workshop in Portugal to ensure developers are in sync on the priorities for the next several months of planned development. This was a highly structured workshop with presentations from each of the team leads, and specific goals and objectives to advance the next several releases.

Other T and E

Another expense stemming from DCG’s distributed model is travel required for day-to-day operations to meet with partners, regulators, media, vendors, etc.

How do we know you are spending our funds wisely?

Our travel policy and arrangements are austere and all team members try to save money for the company whenever possible. These savings include frequently staying at a co-worker’s or friend’s home while travelling, booking non-hotel (e.g., AirBnB-type) accommodations when there is cost benefit, refraining from booking expensive flights if alternatives are available, and postponing or canceling travel plans if the need is not urgent or the benefit isn’t immediate. We also utilize a booking engine which ensures enforcement of company travel policies. Due to this mindful attitude towards the funds the Dash Network entrusts DCG with, our travel costs are ~$20,000/month and we plan to reduce this further over the coming months. However, at times, this cost may increase if there are internal meetings/alignments that need to take place to advance a project. For example, we anticipate holding another developers workshop this December which would entail increased travel costs for that particular month.

If we don’t spend the entire balance of the received funds by the end of Q1 2019 we plan on contributing the funds towards the Dash Conference which we are tentatively planning in late Q1 2019.

If you have any questions, please direct them to @fernando in the Dash Forum post to ensure we are notified of your request.

Requested funding is as follows for the December 1st budget cycle:

· 600 Dash for Travel and Conferences ($92,500 USD @ $154.00 per Dash)
· 5.00 Dash proposal reimbursement
Total: 605 Dash

Note: Should any funding remain, we will apply it toward future marketing/conferences/travel expenses.

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Discussion: Should we fund this proposal?

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5 points,7 months ago
In my opinion DCG is undertaking too many roles on behalf of the network and there is a strong sense of centralization to DASH. I am concerned that DASH could be labelled as a security because the SEC could conclude that DCG is a "Common enterprise responsible for profits" as defined as one of the points on the Howey test. I feel we would be safer however if we are more decentralized and have separate organizations for carrying out Marketing, Business Dev, PR etc. I also feel we would get a better performance (due to competition) and better accountability DCG are not that accountable, most of the time not answering questions or constructive criticisms on these proposals "taking the 5th" seems to be the norm for DCG. I feel in order for us to make better voting decisions we need responses to our feedback. Taking the 5th when investors are giving constructive criticisms is only demonstrating further we have a point that DCG is perceiving themselves to be unaccountable to the stakeholders and investors in the network by not responding to our feedback in these funding requests.

Marketing from DCG has not been that good I'm sorry to say. I think Fernando man of integrity and an asset to the network. But I would say that perhaps some areas of marketing would be better dealt by someone else.

My view is I would rather we did not go to all the above conferences and instead spend the money on real projects that are implementing DASH in the real world as a currency. Blockchain conferences outside of Malta are seeing large reductions in attendance. The two conferences I feel DCG should have gone to but did not were the ones held in Malta. Malta is the only location in the world actively building a legal infrastructure to support blockchain technology. The government is also welcoming to the technology. This is why many of the big crypto related firms are moving to Malta e.g. Binance is now based in Malta. However DCG did not attend these? I don't understand that. The one place in the world that is more crypto friendly than any other and DCG did not attend?

Back to my concerns on DASH being labelled as a security:
If you take a look at these videos from a specialist firm in Securities law that discusses the Howey test

This is my understanding of the 4 points of the Howey Test (which defines if an investment could be a security)

1. Investment (in my opinion MN are an investment)
2. Common enterprise are we relying on the efforts of others for the success. (In my opinion we are dangerously close to meeting this criteria through the DCG undertaking many functions for the network) Whereas we are unlikely to pass this if we had many separate organizations undertaking functions for the network as I am suggesting.
3. Expectation of profits - Are MN's expecting profit returns?
4. Return is dependent on others i.e. passive investment - Is MNO investment dependent on others?

The one point above I have concerns about is points 2. and 4. which DCG, as it stands right now could cause us the SEC to believe we fulfil those criteria and therefore pass the Howey test. If that happens we would be classified as a security and would be subject to a fine for all the years we were not registered.

I wish to clearly state I am not saying that DASH is a security. I am saying, however, that in my opinion that the DCG, as it stands right now, could cause us to be labelled a security under the Howey test because they are undertaking too many essential functions for the network. I feel we need separate organizations to fulfil the different roles that the network needs rather than one large DCG. In essence I believe DASH needs to be more decentralized in terms of management, and as a bonus we foster more competition, can replace low functioning teams, get an improved return on investment (due to the extra competition) and have more accountability and transparency.
0 points,7 months ago
Thanks for the comment on my integrity, many times you and I don’t agree on things, but I know we both say and do what we believe is best for Dash.

Let me address the things you mention:

1. This proposal is about travel. It has marketing in the title because we had to merge budgets this summer in order to optimize buffers, but it is funding travel that affects all our functions. Some of those trips are to conferences (and thus, marketing), but we are not sponsoring any, or even attending free ones if the expenses associated are high. The cost to attend those free conferences mentioned is, in most cases, less than a thousand dollars. Other trips are for developers to meet (we need another workshop soon), others for business development to meet with partners, and others for people in the team to work with media or regulators.

2. Splitting up DCG. I agree that competition improves things and splitting us up could foster some new competition. However, there are benefits to integration too and I think those are bigger at this phase. Our product is still changing a lot, and we all benefit from being next to each other. “Business functions” can give valuable feedback to developers and help shape the product. And we definitely could not do a big part of our work if we didn’t have access to them. Some of this can happen with separate organizations, but it is much more difficult. Cross-team communication is not easy inside an organization, but if you don't have that common ground, then it has to overcome more hurdles.

Also, we did split the compensation proposal very recently precisely because of the talk about this. The marketing/business development/customer support proposal passed with only a few votes less than the devs one (I believe less than 10, but I can’t check the numbers atm). I believe this shows enough support in the network to keep DCG like it is, at least for a while.

3. On conferences and Malta. You are right that most conferences are suffering. In fact, some have even been cancelled. I also agree that Malta is quickly becoming a very important crypto hub and, in fact, we’re currently trying to get us invited to one event there in 2019. However, that doesn’t mean that only conferences there are valuable. Many of the people who attend the conferences there, also attend events in other places. And we can’t always get us where we want. We are not sponsoring or paying anything, so what we want is not always what we can get.

4. Securities. On this topic, I can’t share everything I know. As the network is aware, we are pursuing a no-action letter from the SEC to get assurance from them that we are not a security. Because that is ongoing, our lawyers instructed us not to comment on how that is going until it is finished. However, I can say that before starting this procedure, we went through a very rigorous scrutiny by specialized lawyers to ensure that our case was great and they/we are not concerned about the structure of DCG being a problem.
0 points,6 months ago
@fernando, thank you for your feedback and taking it a positive way. If I don't do it, who will. I personally think it is important for all MNOs who have questions, doubts or issues with a DCG proposal have a responsibility to voice their opinions in a constructive way. It is only in this way that established ideas can improve.

I went to both Malta Blockchain conferences in 2018. The Delta Summit and the Blockchain main conference in November. What I learned is Malta is actively building legislation to support blockchain tech and cryptocurrencies. Leading crypto companies have already moved to Malta including Binance and Bitpay and many others.

In speaking with many firms at their stands I learned that they have had some influence in shaping the legislation in Malta. For this reason I believe it essential that DASH have some presence in Malta precisely for this reason. DASH could potentially have a favourable influence in shaping the legislation of digital currency. Since Malta is the first country in the world to pro-actively welcome and build legislation to support blockchain technology other EU countries will look to Malta when they start developing their legislation, meaning what happens in Malta is likely to affect the rest of Europe later down the line.

Malta is a small island with only 470,000 inhabitants. This means that large businesses setting up in Malta can influence the development of legislation through interactions with their accountancy firms and directly with the government if they have enough to contribute. I think it would be a good move for DASH to set up an office in Malta if we want to have some say on how the laws will develop for the EU for digital currency. The legislation is giving crypto businesses as sense of certainty that they can build their business based on a solid foundation. Something that cannot be said in any other country in the World.

Regarding your point on 2. There was greater than 10% of MNOs voted "no" which mean that DCG had previously agreed to separate out the funding and provide finer details. That only happened for one proposal month and went back. MNOs did not vote out the proposal because there are currently no competing alternatives. And the reason there are no competing alternatives is because 1 month is not enough for a competing PR Marketing firm to learn about the opportunity, build credibility with the community and put forward a proposal.

I notice that this proposal was originally low on votes and now it is higher than the core team compensation votes. I'm not clear how that could be possible when reading through the comments the great majority for this proposal are not favourable. The people are voting yes need to step forward and give their reasons. It is not about people with a contrary view only that give feedback as I explained in my last posting. Other proposals that are passing have a whole lot of positive comments. The DCG marketing proposal does not yet has more positive votes. That suggests to me the strong possibility that DCG MNO owners are simply voting on their own proposal. The comments in this proposal do not support the votes as they do in other proposals.
3 points,7 months ago
Voting no. The dash text, anypay and research asia can't all pass if this passes and I regard each of them more important than this one even though they're all fractions of the cost. Integrations and R&D should come before marketing/sales at this point in time.

There's also no details given about the strategy for marketing evolution yet. Until you can demo that to businesses, attract developers over, etc, i think there's better value for the network in other funding areas.
0 points,7 months ago
Please, read the details of the proposal. It has marketing on the title because we merged budgets a few months ago to optimize buffers and planning. However, this is about travel that affects all functions. Marketing to attend some conferences we are invited to, internal developer workshops, business development work and even regulatory.
0 points,6 months ago
I see you did a developers workshop in Portugal. This is the first time I've read that and I hang out in the discord and on reddit everyday. Who's fault is it that I don't know that? I would have loved to have seen a livestream of that too.
1 point,7 months ago
Im glad more mno are waking up and realising, and not rubber stamping core approvals.

But rather voting based on performance!!

Voting NO
1 point,7 months ago
Changed my votes to NO!!! It seems like the more money we give Core the more the price drops and the less information they give us about their future integrations and business development partnerships. Monero has NO MILLION $$$ per month budget yet they are at #9 in marketcap and we are only at #13. They are kicking our butts yet they have no money and have an inferior product!!! Where is Monero's marketing budget??? Are they out spending us??? Enough is enough!!!
6 points,7 months ago
We are the only project with a marketing budget and marketing efforts have been abysmal. DCG should stick with development. There is no formal marketing strategy, no market research, no coherent message or design to the advertising. It is ham fisted, and amateurish. Pathetic that this community is continuing to reward such terrible performance. We are routinely left off lists, rankings and coverage, yet people here feel like DCG is out there working hard to sure up our reputation. Total, complete bollocks.
3 points,7 months ago
I agree with you. Adding 13 no votes. Dash Core needs to focus on development, fire people, speed up and spend less money.

Look at what Bitcoin Cash teams (CSW attack aside) are doing with NO budget.
2 points,7 months ago
Its amazing what masternodes tolerate. Dash has been underperforming investment-wise for 18 months and no one has thought to look at a new marketing strategy or develop a strategy in the first place. Bush league.
1 point,7 months ago
It's not the masternodes which tolerate ... the simple truth: most MN are owned by dash core or fanboys which do anything core says.
You can see it in the votes, most "normal" MNO already lost interest or turned away. There used to be more then thousand votes during the cycle on core proposals, now there are only hundreds. But at the end of the cycle, the Core proposal is then lifted across the border by some members.
Even the no votes has decreased, which means people are just not interested any more.
Fully understandable after the drop from 5 to 13 in Marketcap, a roadmap which is just a wishlist. And the panacea Neverlution.
There are also no more meaningful proposals, the only thing that is voted for are paid users in Venezuela. Even if there would be proposals and even it would pass, there is no bugdet left, because core took everything.
This will now be my last vote, because I have lost hope, too.
Goodbye Dash
0 points,7 months ago
yes from me.
-1 point,7 months ago
voting YES
-1 point,7 months ago
Thank you.
0 points,7 months ago
I'm voting yes because I imagine we'll want DCG marketing for evo.

I encourage someone to put together a process that requires very little lead up for people to submit individual requests to attend conferences on behalf of Dash in their home countries. This will reduce the costs significantly and ensure Dash presence at many 'low' value conferences where a great many noobies can still benefit from learning about Dash.

Someone or some organization would need to take the lead on organizing and providing the structure for that
5 points,7 months ago
I also imagine we will want marketing for evo. However, since DCG has not released any marketing plans for Dashpay, I have serious doubts as to whether they can effectively execute their marketing budget.