Dash stands for digital cash. Dash protocol, based on bitcoin's codebase, was created by Evan Duffield back in 2014. What makes it different from bitcoin is its focus on payments segment of the market. Dash developers aim to create a universal payments mechanism that involves merchants, online point of sale and user-to-user transfers.
Decentralized autonomous organization
Dash ecosystem is self-governed, it was set up as a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO). Such governance structure allows to fund the developers' team, keeps the whole ecosystem independend and helps to cover fundamental expenses. Three separate organizations are operating under dash DAO: Dash Core, Dash Force and Dash Labs.
Dash Core is the original, and by far the largest, of these groups, and takes care of the creation, maintenance and dissemination of the main dash code.
Dash Force deals with community-level engagement, including media, community contests and giveaways, international outreach, main street adoption and defensive messaging.
Dash Labs, created very recently, works on future dash technology to ensure the network remains competitive beyond the present-day market. It is based in Hong Kong and focuses on developing cryptocurrency-specific hardware.
DAO also provides a way to make decisions on further development. Masternodes were implemented to achieve just that.
Anyone can run a masternode, the only condition is that operator requires to have 1000 dash coins. The block reward is split between PoW miners and masternodes, with each group earning 45% of the block reward. The remaining 10% of each block reward funds the treasury.
Masternode owners vote and decide where the funds from treasury go. Voting results are recorded directly onto dash blockchain and help to decide which projects are good and likely to benefit dash ecosystem. Decisions with the majority of votes get a green light. Community interaction with people who submit proposals is done through dash forums and other community-driven websites. These websites allow participants to provide multiple drafts, then lobby for community support before finally submitting their project to the network for a vote. After the participant gathers enough support, the network automatically pays out required funds in the next super block, which takes place monthly.