Ernesto Contreras Escalona

Head of Business Development, Dash

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16 December 2021

Dash’s Ernesto Contreras: I don’t like that crypto is too focused on speculation as there are applications that will change the world

Welcome to Bytes Interview, a new interview series by LocalCryptos, where we sit down with notable people in the crypto space. Our goal is to get to know the background and interests of our guests, the projects they’re working on and their view on the future of crypto.

Our first guest is Ernesto Contreras Escalona, the Head of Business Development at Dash Core Group. Ernesto has previously crossed paths with the LocalCryptos team at the Crypto Campus Tour, which was a series of webinars organized at major Venezuelan universities with the goal of educating students on cryptocurrencies.

We prepared ten questions for him about Dash and cryptocurrencies, so let’s get to know him!

Why did you get into crypto?

I got into crypto because I wanted to join a growing industry in the tech world. After discovering what the Bitcoin world offered, the idea of working full time in crypto took a whole different meaning and gained my full interest. This is an industry where you can shape the future of finance, help the world and have a career. It is, in my opinion, the best place to be right now.

What were you doing before working at Dash?

My first job in crypto was as the marketing manager for the largest exchange in LatAm, based out of Mexico. I am really happy and proud to see them grow to massive levels, so I can say I’m one of few people in Crypto who has been fortunate to have gained experience at a top exchange, and now at a top protocol.

How did crypto change your life personally?

First of all, I now feel in charge of my finances. I am a Venezuelan citizen, I have been living abroad for almost 10 years. It is such a relief to know that it does not matter where I am, I can use MY MONEY however I want.

It makes you feel liberated: no more banking hours, no more deposit limitations or withdrawal restrictions. I can send remittances to my grandmother at any place I am, from any amount.

By the way, using LocalCryptos has been a huge tool for me. I have used your service in Argentina, Venezuela and Europe… it’s wonderful!

How did you start working at Dash?

While at the exchange, I thought it would be interesting to see things from a coins perspective. One day I saw a post on LinkedIn, I reached out to the recruiter and boom! Almost four years have passed and I am proud to now be the Head of Business development, and to share ideas and insights on how Dash can grow by solving issues in emerging markets. It’s been an amazing time of growth, learning and pushing forward!

What are you working on at the moment?

I am the head of business development and we work on getting Dash integrated into businesses and organizations where crypto, and Dash in particular can be used.

We defined a growth strategy around three pillars, and we have been executing it constantly.

  • Crypto Trading: People want to move their funds quickly between exchanges, derivative or lending platforms, wallets and more. Dash can be moved within seconds. So we work on getting Dash integrated with InstantSend in as many places as possible.

  • Venezuela: Due to all the financial problems, we have seen a place ripe for crypto adoption. We have been working on increasing the platforms where people can trade Bolivars for Dash. Also enabling places to use Dash directly, as this is a great option to solve inflation and payment problems. Dash is now integrated into more than a thousand places including national retailers, supermarkets, global brands like Pizza Hut, and many more businesses.

  • NeoBanks: The global neobanks sector is growing rapidly. With their explosive growth, neobanks have turned their sights on digital currencies. The industry saw even more growth due to the current pandemic driving more users toward digital banking solutions.

We are presently approaching associations and startups in the sector and held initial meetings with several to better understand where their business interests lie, and to add cryptocurrencies to their current offerings. Dash offers advantages to neobank customers due to our real-world ecosystem, and neobanks are attracted by the relevancy the Dash network can provide their customers.

How do you see the future of crypto?

In the future, businesses will be able to sell across the world without intermediaries. We will also see very interesting decentralized applications for the bottom of the pyramid loans. Did you know that in Mexico and Venezuela there are people who get loans from local (semi-criminal) groups and have to pay up to 20% per week? Crypto has the possibility to change this. Also, with crypto I can donate to my favorite charity across the world for as little as 1 dollar.

I hate how crypto is too focused on speculation and price movements, because in reality there are way too many applications that will change the world. And they will… we just have to keep building, educating and innovating!

In your opinion, how is Dash changing/impacting the crypto landscape?

I see that Dash is one of the few projects that is actually working on getting real usage and enabling people. Much of the cryptosphere is focused on the “price go up” narrative.

Whether it is enabling a purchase on a Russian website, allowing a trader to move their funds quickly from an Asian Exchange to an American one, or allowing my family to avoid inflation and pay exact amounts in Venezuela, Dash makes it possible. With the upcoming Dash platform release, many more opportunities will open up.

LocalCryptos and Dash ran a series of webinars for university students called the “Crypto Campus tour” last year. Can you tell us more about the series? How was your experience?

We understand how important education is for the ecosystem, and we wanted to open up the opportunity to universities. So when we defined a launch date for Dash on LocalCryptos, we teamed up and did a tour of 5 of the top universities in Venezuela.

It was mind blowing to share crypto information and details with over 400 individuals all over Venezuela, and even though it was a time consuming and challenging job, we loved it and will repeat it this year. The Crypto Campus tour is coming back… this time we will go beyond Venezuela!

What are some upcoming projects for Dash that you’re excited about?

We have more massive integrations happening in Venezuela — soon more people will be able to buy at thousands of stores all over the country. We have received many inquiries to expand the Dash payroll solution as people are open to receiving their salary in Dash.

Outside of Venezuela we’re also growing. Last quarter, thanks to the Dash Direct launch in the US, people are able to pay directly with Dash at tens of thousands of places! In terms of trading, Dash will soon be available in regions where right now it is not traded.

Finally, we are looking forward to Dash platform: Dash platform will allow for effortless data storing on the blockchain. People will be able to deposit or request a payment from others (if they register on the blockchain).

Outside of crypto, I am really interested in short format videos and conversational apps. I think those two trends will massively change the communication landscape and will create great opportunities for marketers and companies to communicate with their users.

I’ve been on Twitter Spaces with some of the head developers at Google, talking about their new “shorts” app, and I got to ask them a few questions. How cool is that? Technology is uniting us in ways we could have never even dreamed about… These are certainly exciting times!

We hope you enjoyed the conversation with our first guest, and stay tuned for upcoming interviews on Bytes!

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