August Domanchuk and Jacob Hemmerich, two computer engineering students at Iowa State University with a passion for Dash, are in the process of starting a cryptocurrency student organization on campus and have already hosted several Dash events, including getting their whole dorm floor involved in Dash. They sought to attend the first Dash conference in London this weekend, but as university students with a limited budget, were unable to secure the funding for a transatlantic flight on such short notice. They then turned to the Dash community to help crowdfund their trip through cryptocurrency donations, promising to donate the proceeds to a computer science charity if they fell short of their goal.
The pair have since passed the $6,400 fundraising goal and will be headed to London this weekend. I spoke with Domanchuck about how the Dash crowdfunding experience differs from traditional fundraising platforms, as well as his future plans as a future Dash developer.
August Domanchuk: Dash was one of the first cryptocurrencies I researched and I immediately identified some of Dash’s key features that set it apart from the average coin. I saw it as the first widely accepted digital cash and believed in the scaling potential. As a young entrepreneur, the monthly Dash treasury fund and the proposal system fascinated me. I couldn’t stop thinking about the potential possibilities.
How did you get your first Dash?
AD: I paid for my first Dash with the paycheck I received from working as a Youth Mentor running a summer program that taught coding for kids.
Plenty of established professionals and investors look for ways of diversifying their portfolios and thus look into digital currencies. Do you think this is different for young people such as students?
AD: Absolutely not, if anything I think that students of all ages are open to new ideas and vectors of investing, cryptocurrency being a prime example. It’s the new kid on the blockchain and what age demographic do you think is most likely to explore this new tech? Students were the first to adopt Facebook, they will be the first to adopt cryptocurrency and use it in their daily lives.
You’ve made some good efforts promoting Dash at your university, how has the reception been so far?
AD: The response has been incredible! As a dorm floor, we put up sticky notes across our den windows with the Dash logo and the website that can be viewed across campus. On the same night of putting up the sign we set up over 22 Dash wallets and gave out over $500 (donated by the community) in Dash to our entire floor. After the word got out, we had dozens of students ask us about Dash the next day and set up even more wallets. From the first impressions we’ve seen from students, it appears that Dash will make a massive splash in the university/student environment.
One demographic of students that really took an interest were foreign exchange students who must pay a large fee to wire money from home for covering tuition and other university expenses. After talking to a few exchange students and international student organizations, they presented me with the opportunity to give monthly presentations to their club members about the benefits of Dash.
It looks like you’ve crowdfunded your trip to the London Dash conference, congratulations!. How was this different for you from raising funds in more traditional methods?
AD: I could have never imagined that we would be at this point. I thought that as a best-case scenario we would be able to purchase a few more coding kits for the kids back at home. In just under 8 hours we raised over $4,000 to go towards our trip.
The huge difference between conventional ways of crowdfunding and using Dash as a fundraising tool is simply because it’s so fast! We were able to receive donations almost instantly after posting the link, no need to link a credit card or bank account, and wait a week or more for the donations to be transferred and processed by a third party crowd fundraising platform, only to be charged 10% to use their service. The power of InstantSend is that we could instantly take the donations and purchase amazon gift cards for our hotel room or buy our plane tickets 5 minutes after receiving the donations. This was important because flights and rooms were filling up fast!
We actually have plans to write a future proposal for a charity or nonprofit crowdfunding platform using Dash. We are working with InstantKarmaFund.org to make this a reality.
What happens after London? What are you going to do next?
AD: Our next steps after the conference involve some pretty exciting proposals that we are actively working on with many long-term community members. One proposal that we are extremely excited for is called STEM Tech Tutors which will provide STEM related classes and programs to kids in local communities for free and employ high school mentors paid entirely in Dash. The other components of the proposal include Bit By Bit which will donate learning resources for financially challenged and underrepresented youth. The last pillar of the STT program is our active role of promoting the use and adoption of Dash as the world’s first Digital Cash.