DAOs: Tools, Bounties, NFTs

The Trends.vc No-Code NFT (#0079) from the Meta Trends collection.

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“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

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❓ What You’ll Learn

  • What are the benefits of DAOs?
  • What are 8 types of DAOs?
  • What’s progressive decentralization?
  • Where to find DAOs to join?
  • What’s smart contract risk?
  • How to crowdsource DAO contributions?
  • What coordination challenges do groups face?

💎 Why It Matters

DAOs make it easier for groups to:

  • coordinate
  • withstand powerful enemies (i.e. nation-states)
  • and permissionlessly rewrite the rules of fictional entities (i.e. corporations) 

🔍 Problem

Groups face geographical, political and operational coordination challenges. 

💡 Solution

DAOs are a way for groups to align interests and organize to reach shared goals.

🏁 Players

Protocol DAOs

  • ENS • Readable Web3 usernames.
  • Uniswap • Decentralized exchange. 
  • Curve • Stablecoin liquidity pools. 

Investment DAOs

Collector DAOs

  • HerstoryDAO • Incubating stories of marginalized crypto creators.
  • PleasrDAO • Acquiring culturally significant NFTs. 
  • Whale • Social currency backed by rare NFTs. 

Research DAOs

  • Water & Music • Building a guide to the music business.
  • ResearchHub • Accelerating the pace of science.
  • VitaDAO • Researching, financing and commercializing longevity research.

Social DAOs

  • FWB • Cultural membership powered by Web3 artists, operators and thinkers.
  • Developer DAO • Accelerating education and impact of Web3 builders.
  • Meta Gamma Delta • Society supporting women-led projects.

Service DAOs

  • Raid Guild • Decentralized collective of Web3 product developers.
  • MetaFactory • Produces “digiphysical” goods that connect worlds.

Media DAOs

  • Forefront • Content and insights aggregator.
  • BanklessDAO • Helping the world move towards a future of greater freedom.


  • Nouns DAO • Each noun gives the owner a vote in treasury governance. 
  • Loot Owners • ​​A lore-driven DAO dedicated to world-building around Loot.
  • 17707 • A collectively-owned CLONEX NFT. Opposing Nike’s fractionalization ban

Who to Follow

🔮 Predictions

  • VC-backed protocols will be followed by DAO-native protocols. Aggregators may capture most of the value. Think Google Flights for DEXes, NFTs and DeFi loans.
  • NFT DAOs will thrive. One NFT, one vote. Instead of one token, one vote. See the Nouns DAO. Economic value of NFTs is uneven. Governance value will be equal. 
  • Liquid democracies will lead to nuanced policies. Do you support reproductive rights and gun rights? No problem. Delegate your vote to yourself. This is direct democracy. Or delegate to a protocol politician. This is representative democracy. Either can be done outside of N-year term windows. This is a liquidity democracy. See ENS delegates
  • Search Fund DAOs will emerge. PartyBid is a tool used to buy specific NFTs as a group. We’re a small step from specifying NFT criteria instead of specific NFTs. 
  • DAOs supporting social causes will become common.

☁️ Opportunities

🏔️ Risks

  • Smart Contract Risk • The DAO, BadgerDAO, FWB and others were compromised. How “Lindy” is your DAO? Are your smart contracts battle-tested and/or audited?
  • Social Engineering • A CityDAO admin was hacked. Then his account was used to trick community members. The hacker snagged 29.67 ETH.

🔑 Key Lessons

  • Progressive decentralization helps DAOs move fast. They decentralize as systems stabilize.
  • DAOs and NFTs are primitives. Building blocks. We have yet to see the full potential of trustless coordination (DAOs) or digital scarcity (NFTs).

🔥 Hot Takes

  • DAOs should focus on digitally-native use cases first. Webvan lost by chasing grocery delivery too early. Instacart came a decade later. Wikipedia, a new form factor, was implemented before we disrupted pre-existing models. Digitally-native DAOs have unsolved problems. Tackle these before taking aim at Uber and Airbnb. ConstitutionDAO would have had to solve custody and security problems if they won the bid. Not to mention the information problem that stood in their way. We’ll get there. But let’s focus on new form factors, like AMMs, instead of trying to replace Uber right now.
  • Governance token holders will vote to reward themselves over time. See Yearn. They recently revised tokenomics. The proposal passed with 99% approval. Brantly says ENS token holders were airdropped responsibility. Not free money. Time will tell. Like other governance token holders with decision-making power, ENS holders may opt to capture some value. The conversation has started. It takes two-thirds approval and at least 1% of participation to change the ENS DAO Constitution
  • Ethereum and Bitcoin are DAOs. The most decentralized, autonomous organizations in the world.

😠 Haters

“These are not unstoppable organizations. They can be stopped.”

Does the Chinese government want to stop Bitcoin? Probably. Can they? Probably not. The US government fought cryptography. Unsuccessfully. DAOs have the Streisand effect on their side. Martyred DAOs may come back stronger.

“What’s wrong with centralization?”

Nothing. In most cases. Corruption, waste and regulatory capture in others.

“Barriers to entry are still high.”

See the diffusion of innovations. Aside from awareness, financial inaccessibility and poor UX slows adoption. Think early cell phones and laptops. They were eventually democratized.


🔗 Links

📁 Related Reports

🙏 Thanks

Thanks Vajresh Balaji, Shane Neubauer, A Wiseman, Candace Stewart, Michael Carter, Kevin Galang, Vic Kalchev, Ken O’Friel, Roald Larsen, Lu Doan, Kevin Deol and Sam Hickmann. We had a great time jamming on this report.

What else?

Trends PRO #0079 — DAOs has more insights.

What you’ll get:

  • 8 Protocol DAOs (166% More)
  • 6 Investment DAOs (133% More)
  • 5 Collector DAOs (66% More)
  • 5 Research DAOs (66% More)
  • 5 Social DAOs (66% More)
  • 4 Service DAOs (100% More)
  • 4 Media DAOs (100% More)
  • 6 NFT DAOs (100% More)
  • 16 People to Follow (128% More)
  • 10 Predictions (100% More)
  • 10 Opportunities (100% More)
  • 5 Risks (150% More)
  • 5 Key Lessons (150% More)
  • 8 Hot Takes (166% More)
  • 10 Links (233% More)
  • 23-minute audio episode with exclusive DAO stories, insights and opportunities.

With Trends Pro you’ll learn:

  • (📈 Pro) How to launch a DAO?
  • (📈 Pro) How to design a token-gated community?
  • (📈 Pro) How to design and execute airdrops?
  • (📈 Pro) How are DAOs using treasuries?
  • (📈 Pro) What are SubDAOs?
  • (📈 Pro) How do treasury swaps work?
  • (📈 Pro) How will DAOs serve DAOs
  • and a lot more…

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