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DAOs and the Future of Education | State of the DAOs
You're reading State of the DAOs, the high-signal low-noise newsletter for understanding DAOs.
Without question, DAOs are playgrounds for growth and development, as longtime BanklessDAO contributor siddhearta wrote last summer. DAOs offer contributors a myriad of ways to reach new personal goals and to acquire new skills, all while building the future of on-chain organizations. But have you ever thought about how to frame DAOs in terms of traditional education?
This week, Bruvton, a university student and budding DAO contributor, reflects on his time at university and discusses how DAOs have provided him with a whole different kind of education, one that can’t be found within the confines of brick and ivy. Through his work in DAOs, he has built global friendships, learned how decentralized technology works, and pushed himself in ways not possible at university.
As Bruvton writes, “Without diving into the world of DAOs, my conventional education would feel empty. My old limits have been pushed, and the time I am investing in myself now will pay dividends in the future. On top of that, the memories I've made and the people I've met will always have a place in my heart. No matter how I think about it, it feels like what I’ve gained for myself and can contribute to others is unlimited. Universities have not tapped this vast potential.”
This week’s DAO Spotlight focuses on a new group of token engineers setting the standard for our industry, and we conclude, as always, with a TL;DR on some of the most recent DAO ecosystem takes and thought pieces, making it easy for you to cut through the noise and learn everything you need to know about the current state of the DAOs.
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DAOs and the Future of Education
Exploring Collaborative Learning and Alternative Career Pathways
As centers of learning and distributed information systems, DAOs provide a playground for university students to practice newly acquired skills and while gaining both tangible and intangible benefits that go beyond a university education, and even web3.
Knowledge is priceless. It is the basis for individual freedoms and no matter how much we think we know, there is always opportunities for growth. As a tool to improve our society, we cannot rely only on university education. In order to meet the challenges of this century, we need a culture of learning that brings people into new depths of experience and understanding. DAOs are one of the ways of organizing communities around learning, and could replace a standard university-style education.
As a student myself, I am given a steady flow of information. It’s up to me to use this opportunity to build my own view of the world and to discover my truth. Majoring in philosophy has taught me a lot, but it’s a discipline that leaves out some of my core values. Plato, Aristotle, and Saint Augustine seem to have forgotten to consider decentralized, distributed ecosystems and open-source alternatives to finance. Go figure? Joining a DAO was my gateway into discovering the values of such ecosystems.
It wasn’t easy at first. I had a passion for writing and an interest in web3 that my classes couldn’t fulfill, but freelance work terrified me, and my lack of experience and a portfolio made me feel doomed. Nonetheless, I dove in head-first and searched for opportunities in the web3 ecosystem to help me learn more about this innovation. I hope my experience will encourage others to follow a similar path.
Learning As You Go
When I first joined BanklessDAO, I was lost. A warm welcome was waiting for me in the Discord server, but within seconds, I was overwhelmed within a labyrinth of channels and guilds, roles and gateways. I stumbled into the Writers Guild where my first assignment was dropped into my open hands. I had to write about something I knew nothing about, and had no idea where to start. After receiving some friendly guidance and simple advice, I was able to organize an interview with someone whose excitement for DAOs was instantly infectious. My fear turned into excitement as I absorbed as much information as I could, and before I knew it, I submitted my first article.
It only got better from there.
Working with an editor for the first time was exciting. I had never received such detailed feedback on something I’d written, especially not from any of my professors. By working in a DAO, I had direct contact with professional editors (they sometimes deny it, but I hope they accept this compliment). By the time it was published, I had learned an entirely new subject and gained skills and experience that my degree would have never afforded. I still learn something new with every article I write. No matter what field you are in, if you join a suitable DAO, you are sure to find help beyond what you could have ever imagined.
Writing those articles was merely a gateway into a new world. The DAO guided me to push my boundaries, sometimes with one-on-one help from people who knew what they were doing. In no time, I became a master at navigating the Discord channels and finding resources and information. I was becoming a citizen of a nation that was once foreign to me, a master of a tide that had once left me drowning. On top of those opportunities, I had the privilege to join a high-level writing cohort that encouraged me to publish my own content. It was a workshop that would have been far beyond my means if it was not funded by the DAO.
By participating in the Writers Cohort, I was able to meet new people with similar interests and a lot more experience. The doors to new DAOs were being opened to me, and I was exposed to fields and topics beyond my already widening scope of the frontier. The best part of this experience is that it’s open to everyone! Even if you don’t write often, it’s an experience that you don’t want to miss. Be sure to keep an eye out for the next BanklessDAO Writers Cohort.
I will admit, my attraction to DAOs wasn’t completely because of my love of knowledge. While I hungered for information, I also hoped for some material benefits. I wanted to invest in cryptocurrency, but as a student living in a foreign country, working a traditional job seemed nearly impossible. Working around my schedule was hard enough, but my lack of knowledge of the local language was crippling.
Contributing to a DAO accommodates all of these difficulties. I can work on my own time, I’m exposed to an international group of people, and I get paid directly on chain. I’m literally financially incentivized to do something I love and live new experiences in a way that helps to solve my dependence on traditional banks and expensive remittances.
As I continue to grow as a contributor, I’ll be able to take on more tasks and responsibilities. My ability to adapt and solve problems will evolve to a point that I could make more meaningful contributions to projects and teams in the DAO. I’m setting up my future in something I’m passionate about and I’m front-running the fields of a fresh frontier.
A Lesson for Universities: Built for Building
I am riding on the new wave of the financial system, growing and adapting alongside the technology. Though they have much to improve, I believe that DAOs are here to stay. As we continue to refine our skills, advance our missions, and welcome new explorers, our ideas will flourish. When I look back at how much I've improved in less than one year, I am filled with hope for the future trajectory of people like me. It pains me that I almost missed out on this experience.
Without diving into the world of DAOs, my conventional education would feel empty. My old limits have been pushed, and the time I am investing in myself now will pay dividends in the future. On top of that, the memories I've made and the people I've met will always have a place in my heart. No matter how I think about it, it feels like what I’ve gained for myself and can contribute to others is unlimited. Universities have not tapped this vast potential. Students like me need to understand the impact DAOs can have, both on systems and individuals.
DAOs provide knowledge and understanding in a distributed, decentralized way to those who seek it. On top of that they provide a new way to seek freedom, to earn an income, and to grow together. I can’t help but wonder what universities would be like if they embraced web3 technology. On-chain grades, incentivized participation and contribution, and a system where students help to set the curriculum would be revolutionary for many young learners. We are a long way from bringing the best of web3 to traditional education, but as long as university students continue to explore all that DAOs have to offer, it won’t be long until we see an IRL DAOversity near you.
🔥 and 🧊 insights from across the DAO ecosystem
🔑 Insights: Vitalik famously wrote in 2014 that DAOs are not-for-profit entities while DACs are for profit. From this, we must ask ourselves how can nonprofits be sustainable in web3? What if public goods funding dries up? In this article, the author articulates a DAC Manifesto, a siren call to builders eager to press into the next generation of digital organizations.
Value before Community. Build the product, then create the community. Don’t decentralize until your product has value.
Coordination Games over Governance. Organizations should move as much coordination, which you can think of as their business plan, on chain as possible.
Self-sustainability over Grants. It’s essential to create sustainable business models, not rely on grants and the benevolence of others.
Renovation over Reinvention. On-chain organizations should learn from organizational history and successfully businesses.
Modules over Monoliths. We should be framing on-chain organizations according to their capabilities, and trade offs are key.
🔑 Insights: Organizational design has undergone several evolutions, and yet another is in sight. New companies are seen integrating blockchain components and extending their functions into a digital ecosystem consisting of a product, protocol, and community.
Individuals view products or protocols as the anchor of organizations. However, a community can also be the primary anchor as they participate in the organization’s success and survival.
Community goes beyond potential sources of revenue; it is the network of agents within which a particular organization operates.
Organizational leaders must factor in all three components of a digital ecosystem to develop a complete strategy. The opportunities and risks associated with the organization will depend on its sequence, development, and integration.
Three of the most common sequences include tooling (which is founded on a product roadmap), protocols, and DAOs, which are started by establishing a community.
Author: Leo Paturel
🔑 Insights: Fyde and Snapshot published a research article on the governance structures of DAOs. This article provides a valuable resource for individuals looking to understand the current state of DAO governance. Various aspects of DAO governance, such as voting mechanisms, proposal numbers, and participation rates, with over 6,000 unique data points, are also covered.
Data on the 200 largest DAOs were collected and organized into five tables with different categories, including basic information about the DAO, Snapshot data, treasury holdings, Tally data, and aggregated governance data on both on- and off-chain proposals.
The article examines the voting behaviors of the top 200 DAOs and finds that while over 25,000 proposals were submitted with an average of 139 per DAO, the average participation rate was 20% and there was no significant correlation between DAO size and participation rate or success rate.
Author: Li Jin
🔑 Insights: Crypto projects frequently experience transactional, mercenary, and fleeting user interest despite actual digital asset ownership. It is important for crypto and web3 projects to leverage psychological ownership. This will improve user retention and promote enduring ecosystems.
People develop a psychological attachment to products they have invested themselves in, be it their time, energy, effort, or money. Having a form of control and agency over a product can also promote psychological ownership.
Products that distribute tokens to users can turn them into actual shareholders with potential governance or economic rights, further enhancing their sense of psychological ownership.
Psychological ownership in the crypto space can result in positive behaviors like active participation and long-term retention, while low psychological ownership may lead to low engagement in governance.
Leveraging the combination of asset ownership and psychological ownership can lead to faster growth and long-term success in crypto projects.
DAO Spotlight: Token Engineering Commons
Token Engineering Commons is a group of engineers, scientists, researchers, educators, ambassadors, philosophers, AR/VR game designers, digital nomads, activists, artists, edgewalkers, and pioneers who create sustainable and ethical designs for token ecosystems. In a broader sense, they are an organization that handles collectively-held resources designed for individual and collective advantage. They achieve this by focusing on integrated-systems design and the tools used to design and confirm tokenized ecosystems.
The creation of ethical, secure, and diverse economic systems that benefit societies is at the heart of Token Engineering Commons. With their two-layer system, they are on a mission to become a Schelling Point for the token engineering society. Their economic layer is set up to financially support projects that uncover, grow, and increase the most suitable practices for engineering safe tokenized economies, while their social layer aims to connect the token engineering field around the ethical principles, measures, mechanisms, and methodologies that materialize as the developing field of token engineering progresses.
Their strong value system permits their commons to function from a human-centric, prosocial perspective, prioritizing the progression of token engineering over short-term profits. They promote a radical open-source ethos, transparency, and accountability in their members. Another fascinating thing about this community is that it established engineering practices for the coming generation of decentralized economies.