This Week in DAOs - September 9, 2021
Loot's Governance Struggle, the Gitcoin<>Bankless DAO Report, and a16z's Open Call for Delegates
This week in DAOs features a crypto Lord of the Rings storyline, the most comprehensive report on DAO participants ever, and an open call for delegates from one of the top VCs in the space - keep scrolling to get caught up!
📊 This Week’s Stats
Ecosystem Overview - September 9, 2021:
💰 $8.53 billion in DAO treasuries 💰
🗳️ 226,988 ballots ever 🗳️
👥 59,372 unique voters ever 👥
✍️ 5,928 proposals ever ✍️
Governance Activity - Last 7 Days
🗳️ 5,850 ballots cast on 59 different proposals 🗳️
👥 2,283 unique voters 👥
🌐 21 DAOs with active voters 🌐
✍️ 46 new proposals created this week ✍️
📰 This Week’s News
Loot’s Governance Struggle
Last week in this newsletter, we talked about NFTs<>DAOs and cited NounDAO as an example of an NFT project that is giving birth to an open-ended DAO.
The significance of NounsDAO is that it is an example of spontaneous, open-ended DAO conception. There is no road-map for Nouns, it is entirely up to Nouns holders via NounsDAO.
When one steps back to think about what a successful DAO needs, a few things come to mind: community buy-in, resources to accomplish its goals, legitimacy (with regards to governance and operations), etc. NounsDAO has it all.
Another NFT project, Loot, is providing an example of how such “open-endedness” can lead to (beautiful?) chaos.
First, let’s go over what Loot is. Here’s the origin tweet from Loot’s creator Dom Hofmann (co-founder of Vine):
Essentially, Loot dropped as a set of 8,000 text based NFTs that describe gear for characters in a game that doesn’t exist… yet.
Loot can be thought of as an open-ended metaverse (don’t roll your eyes, reader), where the initial free-to-mint NFTs are the foundation. Others have subsequently built on top of this foundation, such as Dope Wars - a project that describes itself as “Like Loot Project, but without the Fantasy. The GTA of Loot” - and Adventure Gold - an ERC-20 currency for the “Loot-iverse.”
That’s enough background to start talking about the theme of this newsletter: DAOs and governance.
As noted in the tweet above, $AGLD was airdropped to Loot NFT holders - some of which kept their tokens, while others did not. A secondary market proliferated and the base of $AGLD holders outgrew that of Loot NFT holders.
Governance over the Loot ecosystem/metaverse/hyperverse (you can roll your eyes now, reader) is based, like NounDAO, on the principle of 1 Loot, 1 Vote. Loot holders can vote on the Loot Snapshot space on proposals that, ostensibly, have some sway over the aforementioned ecosystem/metaverse/hyperverse.
The problem with this, however, lies in a concept that is crucial to DAOs and governance in general: legitimacy. Where does the power come from and do people recognize it? As it turns out, in a totally random, open ecosytem (for our sanity, let’s drop “metaverse” and definitely drop “hyperverse”), legitimacy is hard to pin down.
For example, several community members proposed and advocated for using $AGLD as the governance token of the ecosystem.
This was put to a vote that narrowly passed in the Loot Snapshot space but was widely contested by others in the community.
🃏Fiskantes (For, Adventurers) @FiskantesI am against this proposal. I dont think loot needs a governance token. And if it does, OG loot can be it. AGLD could be an ingame currency if anything. https://t.co/2inFc3v9ot
And even of the main drivers of the proposal, Will Papper of IDEO, acknowledged that it shouldn’t be binding (thread):
Will Papper ✺ @WillPapperSix hours left on a vote for accepting $AGLD as the governance token for Loot: https://t.co/Xr0YBK4IRI The outcome of this vote will inform the upcoming proposals that reconcile the interests of $AGLD, Loot, and mLoot holders. It will also inform the governance structure for Loot
The community continues to debate how to handle its affairs. But a wrinkle was added yesterday, September 8th, when Dom Hofmann posted in the Loot forum to propose burning the keys to the Loot contract. The effect of this would be to “remov[e] the ability for any figure or organization to ever act as its owner” - including a DAO of Loot NFT holder or $AGLD holders.
That vote is live now, with a convincing majority of Loot holders voting YES.
Basically, what’s happening in the Loot-iverse right now is this. Where Dom Hofmann is some combination of Frodo and Gandalf… I think… go ahead and fill in the rest of the metaphor yourselves…
Whatever happens, the Loot community’s search for legitimacy and self-organization has been fascinating to watch unfold. As of now, though, it looks like the “one ring to rule them all” may end up destroyed…
Gitcoin<>Bankless DAO Report
At long last, the much-awaited Gitcoin x Bankless DAO report has been released.
Based on a survey of 422 respondents from 223 DAOS in 290 cities around the world, this report provides an overview of the DAO ecosystem, its tooling, its culture, and more.
Like the report? Submit a bid to buy it as an NFT!
a16z Open Call for Delegates
A couple of weeks ago, we highlighted in this newsletter a16z’s release of details around their governance rights delegation program, including:
Best practices for token delegation
Criteria for assessing delegates
Legal mechanics and template docs
Current delegate network
Ideas for future improvement
Yesterday, September 8th, a16z announced an open call for delegates.
Jeff Amico @_jamicoOver the last year @a16z has delegated the majority of our governance rights in protocols like @Uniswap @Compoundfinance to a network of nonprofits, startups, university orgs & more. Today were excited to share the details of this program & open source all of its component parts
Next time, a16z should just check out everyone’s Delegate Pitches on Boardroom!
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