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Dash is now accepted at over 3,600 merchants worldwide, far exceeding a popular projection of Bitcoin Lightning network adoption at the end of next year.

According to popular merchant listing site DiscoverDash, at time of writing 3,619 merchants around the world now accept Dash as a payment method. This represents 619 merchants added in the last month alone over the 3,000 merchant milestone early last month. The majority of the new businesses added have been in hyperinflation-plagued Venezuela, with 563 now accepting Dash since the same time last month. This brings the total number of Venezuelan Dash merchants to about 54% of the global total.

Roger Ver and Charlie Lee bet on Lightning network adoption passing 1,000 merchants

The surge in Dash-accepting merchants comes as debate over the future viability of Bitcoin’s Lightning network continues on. In a recent debate on the CoinsBank Blockchain Cruise (at 10 minutes 42 seconds of the video below), CEO Roger Ver and Litecoin founder Charlie Lee disputed over the long-term viability of the Lightning network’s ability to effectively serve as a payment system for merchants in the near future. The two bet on whether or not the number of merchants accepting Bitcoin payments via Lightning in 18 months time would exceed 1,000 total. This number is about one fourth of the total number of merchants accepting Dash today, a figure which is increasing rapidly and is expected to be significantly higher next year.

There is some debate over the present number of Lightning-accepting merchants due to the CoinGate merchant processor’s support for the payment method. Some claim that, because of this, the number of Lightning-accepting merchants is actually in the thousands presently, while others contend that there is a discrepancy between the number of merchants able to easy enable Lightning and those who have done so presently. Of note is CoinGate’s support of multiple cryptocurrencies, including Dash, meaning that if Lightning were enabled by default on thousands of merchants, the same would be true for Dash.

Dash’s explosive growth in merchant adoption

Dash’s growth in merchant adoption has increased at a remarkable rate over the past several years. In May 2017, the DiscoverDash merchant listing was launched, giving a platform for obtaining relatively reliable metrics for adoption. The first 100 merchants were added in June of that year, with an additional 200 by August, and 200 more to equal 500 listed by the end of November 2017. This figure was 792 in late March of this year, reached the first 1,000 a month later, hit 1,500 in mid-July, passed 2,000 in early August, and finally hit 3,000 in early September. The global total may easily exceed 5,000 by the year’s end near the time when the first stages of Dash’s much-anticipated Evolution update are released.