Dan's DAO Resources - August 2022
DAO Resources - August 2022
I think we have a huge leg up after building volunteer organizations from scratch, because a lot of the setup feels similar: getting work done in an org that is extremely egalitarian and community-driven, where roles (and even membership itself!) are extremely fluid, and reputation must be built up over time. That said, DAOs today mix in those elements with a lot of technology and organizational baggage that feels foreign.
The best overview
I would start with the How to DAO course notes. It places DAOs in an interesting historical context but also carries through to implementation styles and challenges today. I was so taken with the doc that I invited the author, Stephen Reid, to come speak at my work.
Keep up with the latest
Next, there are a few folks who I think are thinking very deeply about the challenges for DAOs and frequently share what they’re learning and interview others in the space:
- Kevin Owocki’s Green Pill podcast – here’s a good example
- The Ownership Economy podcast
- Brave New Work podcast
Follow these and you’ll quickly be talking the talk of socialware versus trustware, crafting lore, identifying schelling points, and all the other buzzwords.
Two Projects I like, as of August 2022
You asked for specific projects to learn from. I’m unimpressed with the vast majority of DAOs I encounter and many others I just don’t know well enough to comment. Of the groups I’ve seen, these two have given me the best impression:
- Ethereum Cat Herders - This group manages the EIP (Ethereum Improvement Proposal) process to create standards for the Ethereum ecosystem. While not a DAO in the typical sense (it’s mostly off-chain activity), I think they’ve done a fantastic job at being welcoming & transparent, functioning effectively without a lot of money, and perceived as quite neutral.
- Gitcoin’s governance - The way they’ve set up their forum, do everything in a transparent and open way, and have a robust and diverse community of leaders in the DAO makes me admire how they’re built it. Kevin’s an ESGDAO adviser, so you can get more pointed background from him.
Voting and Reputation
You asked specifically about these two topics. I don’t think voting and reputation are solved yet for large groups. Gitcoin is probably the closest that I know of. Most DAOs today are still just plutocracies with a veneer of open participation.
Two DAO governance protocols that I think tackle these issues in interesting ways are:
- Orca Protocol – breaks everything up into “pods”, sub-groups that have authority in a particular area.
- DAOhaus and the Moloch DAO framework – offers deep customization and solutions for things like non-tradable voting tokens.
I also have a proposal for a standard protocol for reputation that’s under review by Ethereum community: https://eips.ethereum.org/EIPS/eip-4974. Eventually, this or another standard, could be a de facto way for people to develop reputations and keep them consistent across ecosystems.
I started thinking about what are the minimum-required building blocks to set up a functioning DAO and came up with this messy, off-the-cuff list:
- Public forum for discussion that is NOT an instant messenger. I like Discourse.
- Regular calls – open agendas, public recordings, and publicly share any notes or decisions
- Can you track everything in a spreadsheet before going on-chain? Why wouldn’t you start with that?
- Onboarding process for new community members
(Discord and Telegram are standard, although I doubt how useful they actually are for running a DAO)
- Membership digital asset that offer access/influence of some kind
- A system to manage members – who has membership and what power each digital asset grants
- Decision-making mechanism (it doesn’t need to be voting and staking like we see today)
- Receiving and making payments (the most legally complex)
Each building block already has several well-funded startups offering implementations. The links in the next section are the best compilation I’ve seen of all the different tools.
Kitchen Sink Resources
If you want to go very deep down the rabbit hole:
- DAOstar is a collective of DAOs working together for interoperability. By my estimation, the group consists of the most long-term-oriented DAOs.
- Metagov is a group of researchers producing research and collecting resources about the future of governance and community. While not strictly about DAOs, it’s right up the alley of what interests us.
- Giant spreadsheet of all the DAOs, tools, and relevant projects you can think of
- Good, but increasingly outdated, a16z DAO Canon, with myriad articles about DAOs