Proposal “dashroots-crowdfunding-system“ (Active)Back

Title:DashRoots – Grassroots Crowdfunding Site Continued Development
Owner:martinrue
One-time payment: 136 DASH (8927 USD)
Completed payments: no payments occurred yet (1 month remaining)
Payment start/end: 2018-11-16 / 2018-12-16 (added on 2018-11-02)
Final voting deadline: in passed
Votes: 88 Yes / 192 No / 64 Abstain
Will be funded: No. This proposal needs additional 592 Yes votes to become funded.
Manually vote on this proposal (DashCore - Tools - Debugconsole):
gobject vote-many eae9eb8a6eb073eca48d64c7da3a25159ff20ddb03a7f949a24b6916d76a2dd4 funding yes

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Proposal description

Hello MNOs, we are Martin and Tom, the team behind DashRoots – a new crowdfunding platform for Dash. Please allow us to introduce the project.

SHORT VERSION

A few people have mentioned to us that our proposal is perhaps too long, so here's the short version. Please refer to the full proposal for additional details of course, but here's the very quick overview:

We are a team of two experienced software engineers from the UK. We have been involved in Dash for a while now (back when Dash was $35). We believe in "doing", and we wanted to bring our skills and time to Dash, not just our money.

16 months ago we came up with the idea for DashRoots. We wanted to build a system that offered a new way for smaller proposals to get funded by donation via crowdfunding. This was before DashBoost existed, and in fact is completely different to DashBoost. Crowdfunding allows even small projects to receive support without the need for majority voter consensus. This allows local or very specialised projects to thrive, potentially receiving help from only 1 or 2 other backers, who want the project to happen. DashRoots opens up the funding options within the Dash ecosystem to people at the grassroots level. We funded the 5 DASH fee for this proposal via DashRoots from 7 other backers.

Last year we ran our first proposal. MNOs were concerned that our unknown team didn't have enough trust within the community, and so we were not funded (273 Yes, 272 No). We decided that this would be a good opportunity to show that we were committed to Dash by going ahead with the project anyway, self-funding the creation of what we had proposed. We launched DashRoots 10th October 2018, having spent around 14 months building, it in spite of the failed proposal. After a lot of hard work, the system is now live and has 18 users so far: https://dashroots.fund.

We have a huge vision for DashRoots that moves it towards a system not just for helping grassroots projects crowdfund, but also for tracking delivery and reputation of workers. But to reach this point, we have spent every last Dash we owned. We're really excited to continue this work, and we need support to do that. 

We are not asking for reimbursement. We are asking for the absolute minimum amount we need to continue (which is about 1/4 of what we've already spent ourselves to this point). We believe we have come to the network with a valuable proposal and a solid team, demonstrating our long term commitment to Dash. We hope MNOs see that we are a capable, committed, productive team and support us.

Thanks!

FULL VERSION

DashRoots is a crowdfunding platform designed exclusively for the Dash community. DashRoots helps Dash continue to attract grassroots talent by providing a system for people to raise funding for smaller ideas directly from the Dash community itself.

Currently a budget proposal costs 5 DASH to create, or ~$800 at current price. The fee works well as a spam mechanism and keeps MNOs focused overall on a smaller set of better, well-formed proposals. 

But on the other hand, many people at the grassroots level cannot access the system at this cost. Moreover they may require less than 5 DASH in the first place to launch their idea, speak about Dash at a conference, produce some advertising content, etc. This leaves many smaller projects and individuals, that could otherwise contribute to the Dash ecosystem, doing it on their own, or not at all.

We believe that Dash will continue to succeed as long as the utility and use-cases of the network continue to grow. For that to happen, we need to be attracting great people and encouraging them to bring their skills and ideas to Dash first, at every level. We want to see Dash continue to attract the same kind of talent that originally created, and today continues to evolve the Dash project. Such talent is essential in order to continue creating new and exciting content and projects that will cement Dash’s position in the market further.

Last year, prior to any development, we ran a proposal to seek funding in order to build the system. Unfortunately we didn’t receive quite enough yes votes to fund the project. However, since then we have self-funded the development costs to continue the work we proposed.

On 10th October 2018, after many months of hard work and determination, we launched the first version of DashRoots, which is now live at https://dashroots.fund. Our official release announcement can be found on the DashRoots blog: https://blog.dashroots.fund/2018/10/10/launch. DashForceNews also covered our launch here: https://www.dashforcenews.com/dashroots-launches-crowdfunding-platform-to-increase-funding-access-go-language-dash-node-to-increase-decentralization. After absorbing all costs to date and depleting our budget to reach this stage, we’re now returning with a second proposal to raise funds for continued development. 

In light of a stretched budget and many other valuable proposals, we have worked hard to keep a very lean project and a sensible proposal at a minimal cost to the network.

We hope our work to date and plans for the evolution of the system sufficiently de-risk our second proposal, and will gain your support to fund continued development of DashRoots.

It is our primary goal that DashRoots becomes an important part of extending the appeal of Dash to those who can help grow it from the edges; to all those small projects that one day could become huge.

As a nice demonstration of the potential of DashRoots, the 5 DASH fee for this proposal itself was crowdfunded via DashRoots, which you can see here: https://dashroots.fund/#/proposal/official-dashroots-proposal/1641ab4c-399b-4177-832a-a7af57fc922a

PROGRESS TO DATE

Here’s a breakdown of all functionality we have built during the last 14 months of development time, all of which is now live in the latest release:

  • User system (log in, sign up, forgotten password functionality, secure password storage, email-based account verification)

  • User profiles, allowing users to write a short bio about their role in the Dash community, including location information. Users can also opt to participate in DashRoots anonymously from within the user profile section. 

  • User profiles currently show the number of pledges (not amounts) and number of proposals a user has created. This is the groundwork for more meaningful reputation scores in the future, based on votes received back from pledgers once proposals are delivered.

  • Funding system, allowing users to manage deposit addresses, track deposit history, and request withdrawal of funds from DashRoots. The funding system talks to an instance of dashd, ensuring full knowledge of deposits directly from the blockchain (no risk of collusion from relying on any third-party APIs).

  • Proposal create/edit workflow, allowing users to create new proposals, make changes to proposals, and view other users’ proposals within the system. The proposal editor includes a step-by-step process to create a new proposal, including a Markdown text editor for the main body of proposals.

  • UX work to ensure the site is as minimal and usable as possible, including responsive design all the way down to small mobile devices, ensuring DashRoots is available everywhere. We also hired a designer to work with us to ensure DashRoots’ workflow made sense and was easy to use. We think UX is crucial and should not be an afterthought generally speaking, but especially within the crypto world where users are even more responsible for their own mistakes.

A large part of the work-to-date was building the backend payment system that enables users to fund their DashRoots account. The system not only tracks deposits and funds within DashRoots, but handles withdrawals and communication with a Dash Core node to verify all payment data.

COMPARISONS TO EXISTING SYSTEMS

Main Dash Treasury

The main Dash treasury system is a crucial part of what makes Dash function as a network. Applying part of the coin emission to fund teams/projects is still something Dash does very effectively compared to competitors, and underpins why we strongly believe in the long-term sustainability of Dash.That said, the issues mentioned above regarding cost of access remain an issue for smaller, grassroots projects and teams. DashRoots complements the main treasury system by widening the possible set of options to fund new projects, providing a means to crowd-fund directly from the Dash community.

DashBoost

Shortly after our first proposal, DashBoost was announced to help with micro proposals and we were pleased to see it funded by the network. We were encouraged that MNOs supported this sort of work, as it’s a valuable extension of the set of ways people can get projects off the ground in Dash, and similarly that principle is also core to DashRoots.

DashRoots differs from DashBoost by providing a direct crowdfunding model. Where DashBoost has funding rounds, where majority consensus is required to fund proposals, DashRoots is a system that allows people to seek funding directly from the community – perhaps even just one other person.

This has important implications in terms of the types of projects that can thrive via DashRoots. For example, if you propose a hyper-local idea using other systems, it may be more difficult to gain majority consensus. With DashRoots, one or two people, who perhaps identify with the local goal/problem, may decide to support it fully themselves.

This proposal itself is possible because just 7 people decided to make it so, supporting our DashRoots proposal to raise the 5 DASH fee.

FUTURE CHALLENGES

Looking forward to the future of DashRoots, we have a couple of obvious challenges we need to tackle to ensure the long-term sustainability of the system:

Decentralised Escrow

DashRoots uses the same model as exchanges to manage funds. DashRoots acts as an escrow for deposited and pledged funds, releasing them to the proposal owner if the proposal is successful, or returning them if not.

This choice was made for two primary reasons:

  • It allowed us to deliver DashRoots faster, and begin iterating more quickly, since decentralised solutions are more complex to get right.
  • It allowed us to avoid compromising on the UX of the system overall – depositing, backing a proposal, and receiving the correct amounts for successful proposals are all much easier to achieve from a UX perspective.

However, it’s not the ideal solution to the problem, and as DashRoots grows, the risks with this model also grow. As a result we intend to gradually move away from this model, replacing it with mechanisms to allow on-chain transactions which “pledge” against a proposal, time-locked until the proposal is successful.

Getting the UX correct is the most challenging element. It’s important that everyone can easily participate in DashRoots. Making a pledge should not require deep knowledge of signing and not broadcasting transactions, for example. Proposal owners need to be safe in the knowledge that the total pledged funds will be available, if their proposal is successful – not worry that transactions may have turned into double-spends during the lifetime of the proposal in which they were not broadcast.

We’ve had some encouraging conversations with folks on the Core team about mechanisms to enable this workflow, and we plan to continue working in this direction to gradually introduce these features. The end goal will be to have no third-party risk within DashRoots at all, but it will be a process, one that must balance UX and decentralised functionality.

Open Source

During development of DashRoots, we have paid careful attention to the eventual goal of open sourcing the project. It is necessary to have a wider conversation about whether the network would want this, particularly when thinking about the increased risk of duplication that it would enable for competing coins.

Overall however, we believe open sourcing DashRoots would be an effective way to enable it to live beyond a single team and become an asset owned by everyone collectively, and so we are preparing for that possibility early.

Funding

While we have developed the core of DashRoots and reached this first release milestone at zero cost to the network, we have reached a point where we need support to continue its development.

At the same time, we’re very aware of the DAO’s overstretched budget in this climate, and of developing a general over-dependence on the treasury to survive. 

One remedy we have employed so far is to remain as lean as possible – our team of two has developed the system on a shoestring budget, and our cross-functional skill set allows us to avoid certain costs such as expensive hosting, expensive design agencies, etc. We intend to remain as lean as possible in order to best ensure the continued survival of DashRoots.

Looking to the longer-term future, DashRoots may also be able to support itself (even partially) using other methods, such as: running proposals on DashRoots itself, other kinds of community-based donations (similar to Dash Central) and an array of other ideas. We believe open sourcing the project would help a lot with this as well, by eventually having members of the community make open source contributions to avoid growing an expensive team.

NEXT 3 MONTHS

Looking shorter-term to the next 3 months, here’s what we intend to build and deliver. The following features are crucial to the overall functionality and value of DashRoots.

We are structuring the proposal into a 3-month batch of work. This is based on our understanding of where we’re at now and where we need to be. Please see the costs section immediately following for the breakdown of financials.

Discussions

While a DashRoots proposal currently contains all the required information to understand the work proposed, the deliverables, and the timescales, it doesn’t currently provide a means of discussing and refining those things further with the proposal owner and other DashRoots users.

During this work period we’ll deliver a discussion system that will provide a threaded discussion section for each proposal, allowing people to have conversations about the content of the proposal. The discussion system will include a voting mechanism, allowing users to up-vote and down-vote comments, much like Reddit and similar systems, allowing better to content to rise to the top, and help prevent spam.

Discussion is crucial to enabling 2-way communication between the owner of the proposal and current/future backers. Through these discussions, we expect proposals will improve as issues are able to be discussed back and forth on a per-proposal basis. Discussion data will also play into future reputation scoring, something we’d like to think about in the future.

Delivery Voting / Reputation

The primary aim of DashRoots is to help grassroots projects and teams get off the ground by crowdfunding from the community, but that’s only the start of the process. Once a proposal reaches its target, the responsibility to deliver that work now sits with the proposal’s owner. 

DashRoots will ensure that after the proposal’s specified work period is reached, the proposal owner will supply evidence of delivery of the proposal’s stated goals. The proposal’s backers will then be invited back to vote whether the proposal has delivered what it said it would. A proposal can be then be defined as delivered or failed, by the consensus of its backers.

During this work period we’ll complete development of the voting system so that it will be in place for all future proposals. It will also operate retrospectively for existing proposals that have occurred during the development period.

Decentralised Escrow

During this work period we’ll continue to research the best way forward to introduce decentralised pledges, with the aim of having a concrete plan to deliver this fully in the next window of work.It’s important to find a solution that best applies the technology we have within the Dash network, and combines it with a good user experience. We intend to solicit as much feedback as possible from Core and the wider community before proceeding with a concrete implementation.

COSTS

With the current market conditions in mind, we have made every possible effort to reduce our costs to the minimum viable in order to complete the work detailed above. Given the work already produced at no cost to the network, and the relatively low costs required to complete the outstanding work, we truly believe we are offering the best possible value to Dash we can.

  • Hosting (2 servers handling web, API, and payments system) x 12 months:$50 x 12 months = $600
  • $225/day fee per team member (Martin full-time, Tom 20% time):
  • Martin: 22 working days x 3 months = $14,850
  • Tom: 22 working days x 3 months x 0.2 = $2,970 
  • 5 DASH proposal fee reimbursement

Note: we are estimating a rate of $140 per DASH due to unpredictable market conditions. Any gains in value in the proposal period will be applied to additional hosting runway.

Total: (600 + 14850 + 2970) / 140 + 5 DASH = 136.57 DASH

TEAM

The DashRoots team is made up of Martin Rue and Tom Bell. We are both multi-stack software engineers with more than 10 years experience developing systems for web, mobile, and other devices across a variety of technologies.

We have known each other a long time, and consequently work very well together. With a complementary set of skills across design and development, we’re an effective team and very confident we can continue to build value for Dash together via DashRoots.

In addition to DashRoots, we have also been co-developing the humble beginnings of a full Dash node written in Go, called DAPR. You can learn more about the project in our official DashRoots launch post and the DashForceNews coverage. DAPR is already open source software, which can be found at: https://github.com/dapr-project/dapr.

To learn more about us individually, here are a links to our public code on GitHub as well as other projects we have been involved with:

Martin
GitHub: https://github.com/martinrue
Twitter: https://twitter.com/martinrue
Personal website: https://martinrue.com

Other projects:

Yakk
A language learning app for iOS that helps people develop conversational fluency. Supporting over 1,000 users.

Esperantujo
A social network for speakers of the constructed language Esperanto, currently with more than 2,000 users.

Tom
GitHub: https://github.com/tombell
Twitter: https://twitter.com/thetombell
Personal website: https://tomb.io

Other projects:

Stark
A window/application manager for macOS powered by a custom JavaScript configuration.

Hubot
An automated bot, originally written by GitHub, to help automate everything from small tasks to deployment of GitHub itself. Tom maintained the open source Hubot project for over 2 years, and is still its second biggest contributor.

THANKS

We look forward to your support and to having the chance to continue our work with DashRoots. We would be happy to answer any questions.

Show full description ...

Discussion: Should we fund this proposal?

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0 points,14 days ago
Hmmm??....not passing. Good luck with any future proposals. I know you guys are passionate about the Dash project. I'm honestly neither here or there with this proposal! abstain for now.
Reply
3 points,1 month ago
Glad to see you guys are still working on this project. I'm a big fan of sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, a lot of cutting edge work being done there. The value of this project in my estimation is not merely that it's a "crowdfunding site" for Dash projects exclusively, but rather it's potentially a platform for any sort of project to be funded through Dash donation.

Do you have to attract people beyond the Dash ecosystem to participate in it both as a way to seek funding for their own projects but also to be paid in Dash, or is the focus still primarily for this as an alternative to the Treasury or Dash Boost?
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0 points,1 month ago
Thanks. We share the same belief that crowdfunding is an exciting way to open up a new means for people to create and fund cutting edge work.

There's nothing at all in DashRoots that limits a project to being a Dash-related project. Right now anyone can go create a proposal on DashRoots to seek money (in Dash) to get their project off the ground. So long as enough people support the idea/team, the project will receive funding.

It's entirely up to the backers to decide whether they want to support the idea/team. Whether that's because the project helps grow Dash's awareness or not is a decision each backer can make independently.
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0 points,1 month ago
I can see you guys have put some work into this already, thus respect.
Q1. Are there any successful comparative example like this project regarding other cryptocurrency projects that you are aware of?
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1 point,1 month ago
Thanks Criticalinput, appreciate that.

Short answer: there are a few projects that broadly describe themselves as "crypto crowdfunding platforms", many of which were just glorified token sales back in the bull market. A few are still around (such as http://www.cryptstart.com and https://lighthouse.cash), but a lot of them have died away.

Coffee break answer: while there are these more general systems out there, what we want to do here is create a system for what we see happening in our own community already. A system that emphasises and strengthens it, to make Dash the go-to place to take your ideas.

At the Dash conference in London, for example, two guys had raised money via the forum (IIRC) to manage to fly from the US and be there. Seeing that was a great example of the power of a supportive community.

In that vein, we created DashRoots to allow people to throw small change (in aggregate) at interesting ideas/people, and to track the delivery of those projects. The next step is to capture feedback from backers to turn into reputation data, and create a feedback cycle where the system starts to highlight who's really delivering valuable work.

DashRoots is all about Dash. We don't want to build a general platform for everything. We're aiming at a very focused solution to help our own community to support each other even more, and make Dash even ever more appealing to those who may drop by and build something awesome.

For us, the value is in widening the set of possible ways smart people can come and get involved in Dash. The more smart people we attract, and keep, the more we can expect to see innovation from the edges (as Andreas Antonopoulos describes it).
Reply
5 points,1 month ago
There's a few comments regarding combining efforts with DashBoost and only funding one system. I'd just like to throw a few thoughts in that may help:

1: The two systems are not equivalent – crowdfunding is a model that allows a different kind of participation, and is especially helpful for more local, or more focused projects that won't easily get wide consensus in consensus voting. The more ways we can encourage people to get involved in Dash in some productive way, the better, especially in these conditions. Adoption is key and we have to keep building.

2: Two separate teams are competitive, and competition drives innovation. Both teams run on a tiny relative budget, and it would be more effective to have competition and decentralisation than one monolith that does everything.

3: DashRoots is a lot more than just getting smaller proposals funded – our roadmap outlines the path we're moving down, which is all about reputation and tracking/voting on delivery. It's as much about measuring who's being effective (so we can have metrics around trust and repeat successes) than it is about funding smaller projects. There's a much bigger vision here.

4: We're a strong team and have shown every effort we can to demonstrate that to the network. We've been working hard for a long time to build DashRoots exclusively for Dash and we've absorbed all the associated costs ourselves, returning with a fully deployed and functional system.

In the VC space, often good teams are more important than the products and ideas, because we expect those to change. We would like the chance to continue to show dedication and hard work for Dash. We have no doubt that DashRoots will evolve and change with the requirements of the network, and through competition, but we need to stay in the game to keep playing.
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-6 points,1 month ago
If you're goal to look and feel so different from Dashboost, you should not start a crowdfunding platform with funds from the DAO. It should all be crowdfunded, and you start of by donating time and energy of you're team for free, or ask for donations from does that you expect to crowndfund things on your platform.
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0 points,26 days ago
point: that the goal of Dashroots doesn't need to be one of being so different from Dashboost. That both sites are fine to request funding
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7 points,1 month ago
Our lead developer Alex has forked their Go implementation of a Dash node and we are already using it in our extended projects. Alex is a perfectionist and a very talented coder, I can't think of much better a testament for their development abilities than that. The Dash Roots platform itself is fast, well designed and easy to use. Projects like these are what Dash should be striving for.

The team have also shown commitment above and beyond to Dash by working on this for over a year despite their initial proposal not passing. Not only did they refine and improve the product they actually brought it to full production before re-approaching the DAO to develop it further.

If you're wondering where this fits in the current funding ecosystem, this process is currently happening behind the scenes already (with people donating privately to support projects & proposal owners) as well as publicly on Dash Donates, here's a breakdown:

Dash Treasury - Block reward funding for medium and large scale Dash projects
Dash Boost - Block reward funding for small Dash projects
Dash Roots - Crowdfunding platform for Dash projects (Goodwill / charitable, small proposals, rewards, pre-sales, )

Really Dash Roots sits well in this trifecta and empowers the Dash Community to directly support proposals or initiatives they believe in - and put their money where their mouth is!

This Kickstarter for Dash could also allow for pre-sales to fund development (Dash POS systems or Dash dedicated hardware wallet anyone?) or product based fundraising (Dash Venezuela t-shirts) opening up a whole new sector.

In my view, this is exactly the kind of team the DAO should be supporting; they are hard working, talented and committed to Dash and have brought a great product and proposal before you.
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8 points,1 month ago
Thanks for your support Ash, appreciate you taking the time to share that. Also really pleased some of our open source code is already helping others.
Reply
-5 points,1 month ago
I am a big proponent of Crowdfunding but I don't see why the DAO should fund this. It seems like the lure is that it is "exclusively for Dash". Unless I see a very compelling reason to change my mind I am going to vote no on all proposals where this is the main selling point for the DAO's involvement. IMO Dash is going to be used because it is helping people not because they are being forced to use it. It is an emergent phenomena not a planned one.
Crowdfunding is dope.
Dash is dope.
A crowdfunding platform where the founders like dash sounds good. I don't really care if it is Dash only though. In fact, I think I'd prefer if it was using any crypto you want and I saw that people were choosing to use Dash over the other options. It looks good for Dash, exposes outsiders to Dash, and it would confirm my suspicion that Dash is one of the best, if not the best, crypto.
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7 points,1 month ago
We bought our first dash at ~$30/DASH and have been big proponents of it for a long time now. We're also programmers, and in fully agreeing with you that adoption is key for every crypto project, we decided to try and find a way to invest our time, not just our money/HODL, to help in the best way we know how.

We saw that proposal fees were becoming higher and higher (in fiat terms) and aimed at solving that problem. Our solution was to create a community-driven means of raising small amounts of money to do useful things to help adoption of Dash (that's why it's Dash-only by the way – not to force anyone, but to help our own community).

We ran a proposal last year (https://www.dashcentral.org/p/grassroots-crowdfunding-system) to build it (this was before DashBoost even existed) and many of the comments were encouraging towards the idea, but thought it too risky because they didn't know us and we hadn't delivered anything yet.

So we committed to building it ourselves, paying for our own time on it, and removing that risk by showing we can do it. For the last 14 months we've been doing that, and we've spent over $70,000 (most of the DASH we own) to get it done. The system is built, it works, it's live. We even used it to raise the 5 DASH fee for this proposal.

In returning to the DAO, we decided not to ask for reimbursement (after all, it was our own decision to build it, why should the DAO repay us for that), and instead take on those costs to demonstrate we're a committed and effective team and that we could actually deliver it.

And we did. There's no smoke and mirrors, we're not trying to lure anyone. We've done a huge amount of the work at no cost to the network already.

But we have a big vision for DashRoots, which goes into personal reputation and tracking project delivery (details in the proposal above), and we need help to continue this work.
Reply
-9 points,1 month ago
I think at this point we should fund dash boost to make the necessary changes, having a redundant funding layer is questionable.

Ill abstain for now
Reply
1 point,1 month ago
challenge: that that could be a poor strategy move. Since this Dashroots team has already shown very big work ethic, and the proposal is logical
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-7 points,1 month ago
Isn't this what we have DashBoost for?
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8 points,1 month ago
There's a section in the proposal "Comparison to Existing Systems", which compares DashRoots with both the main treasury and Dash Boost to highlight the differences. Briefly: DashRoots is crowdfunding model, where any idea could be supported by a small minority of people who see value in it (as apposed to majority consensus of all voters). The fee for this proposal was raised from a total of only 7 people on DashRoots in fact.
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-9 points,1 month ago
I think it would a be a much better idea to build in crowdfunding into dashboost instead, with Dash it current marketcap and community size it makes allot more sense to combine the two as well. And seeing Dashboost is running the extra costs should be minimal as well.
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