Darkcoin DASH cryptocurrency bitcoin
Darkcoin's rebranding to DASH - Digital Cash - could help disassociate it from illicit activities on the dark webDarkcoin Foundation

Darkcoin, the anonymity-focussed cryptocurrency, is to change its name to DASH in order to "better represent its platform" and make it more accessible to users. The rebranding to DASH - a derivation of digital cash - will take place on 25 March with the next update of the altcoin's digital wallet.

Darkcoin's lead developer Evan Duffield has said that the decision had been spurred in part by darkcoin's unwanted association with the dark web.

"The goal of darkcoin was never to support the dark web, it was to fix all the problems that have plagued bitcoin since the beginning and to create a trustless, decentralised, private and fast payment platform," Duffield told IBTimes UK.

Dark web explained

The dark web is a section of the internet that requries specialist software tools to access, such as the Tor browser. Originally designed to protect privacy, it is often associated with illicit activities.

It is often confused with the deep web, which is in fact a vast section of the open internet not indexed by search engines like Google. The deep web comprises around 95% of the internet.

"Recently it became apparent that our branding was getting in the way of our mission, so we started investigating rebranding. We believe Dash, which stands for digital cash, is a great representation of what we want to become."

The Darkcoin Foundation is set to vote on a new logo design that has been commissioned for the occasion and will unveil it ahead of the rebranding.

"We are only changing the name, no technology is affected by this," a spokesperson for the Darkcoin Foundation said. "The coin, the blockchain and the team will be the same. Users don't need to act upon this.

"Exchanges, payment processors and other services have been notified so they can prepare in advance. Our ideals remain intact and we will continue to pursue them under any branding we have, now and in the future."

darkcoin dark web bitcoin ecash
Duffield describes darkcoin as "the perfect e-cash"IBTimes UK

Darkcoin has become popular on the dark web over the last year due to its advanced privacy features and fast transaction times.

The technology has much wider applications than the dark web, however, and has been widely lauded amoung the cryptocurrency community for overcoming many of the flaws that come with bitcoin.

In an interview with IBTimes UK last year, Duffield said that the motivation behind the cryptocurrency was to create "the perfect e-cash" by making it both untraceable and instantaneous.

"What darkcoin's trying to be is just like cash, except you can transact over the internet with it," Duffield said. "It's like me handing you ten bucks over the internet and there's no trace of that and it's instantaneous between the two of us.

"So you get all of the benefits of cash - like the security and the anonymity - without having to wait an hour like you would have to with bitcoin."

Two key technologies - DarkSend and InstantX - have helped to achieve Duffield's vision and propel it to its current position as the world's third most valuable cryptocurrency, behind bitcoin and litecoin.

Since December 2014, darkcoin has bucked market-wide trends by more than doubling its market cap from around $8m (£5.4m, €7.5m) to today's price of $17m, as more merchants have become aware of its potential.

"If we make something that is way easier to secure and anonymise, and faster to spend, then I'm sure that will draw in an amount of people that want to use it for illicit activities," Duffield said.

"That's the way that bitcoin started and it eventually moved away from that and more into legitimate areas, so I'm guessing that darkcoin will go the same route."