Dash is an open source, peer-to-peer cryptocurrency that offers all the same features as Bitcoin but has additional, advanced capabilities, including instant transactions, private transactions and decentralized governance. Dash was originally released as XCoin on January 18, 2014, before changing its name to Darkcoin the following month. Finally, in March 2015, Darkcoin was rebranded as Dash.
Dash uses a two-tier architecture to power its network. The first tier consists of miners who secure the network and write transactions to the blockchain. The second tier consists of masternodes which enable the advanced features of Dash.
Unlike Bitcoin's single-tier network, where all jobs on the network are performed by miners, Dash utilizes a two-tier network. Certain network functions, such as creating new blocks, are handled by the miners. The second tier of the Dash network consists of masternodes which perform PrivateSend, InstantSend, and governance functions.
The most common way to buy Dash is through cryptocurrency exchanges, such as GDAX, Poloniex or Bitfinex, or directly from other people via peer-to-peer marketplaces. Purchases can be made in a variety of ways, ranging from hard cash to credit and debit cards to wire transfers, even using other cryptocurrencies.
There are a number of factors to take into consideration when choosing which cryptocurrency exchange to start investing and trading with. Some of these include, transaction fees, accessibility, liquidity conditions, reputation, transparency, even in which country the exchange is located. At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong exchange with which to start trading, but doing your homework first is highly encouraged.