Decolonizing DAOs | BanklessDAO
Catch Up With What Happened This Week in BanklessDAO
Dear Bankless Nation 🏴,
There comes a time in your working life when you wonder what your efforts are worth. Satisfaction can come in the form of recognition, monetary compensation, or job fulfillment. In traditional organizations, one form of satisfaction often comes at the expense of the other. DAOs are hoping to change this so that contribution can translate into monetary compensation and social capital. While we still have a way to go, what differentiates us from other organizations is that the conversation never stops, we never stop iterating.
The beauty of a collective consciousness is its ability to develop and promote a framework that rewards all participants and includes them in the decision-making process. This week’s Community Call was aimed precisely at addressing ways we can align our values to ensure that hard work and participation are rewarded. Every voice in bDAO is important, so put your hand up and voice your thoughts!! If putting your hand up is a bit painful, make sure you sign up for a DAOYoga sesh 😉.
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💪 DAO Coordinape Round
Thank you to everyone who participated in this Coordinape round. The sign-up closed on February 7, 2022 but if you missed out, don’t worry, there will be another round soon. Participating L1 and L2s: please remember to GIVE. The GIVE runs till February 13, 2022 so you still have some time to allocate BANK to fellow contributors who have worked hard over the last month! This is your chance to reward them for all their effort and leave a personal note of appreciation.
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In this episode, we talk with John Paller (Founder) and Joshua Lapidus (Executive Community Steward) from Opolis, a digital employment cooperative founded in 2017. We explore democratized employment and the need for turnkey solutions to support Web3 natives and contributors. John is also the Founder of ETHDenver, so we chatted about the largest and longest running ETH event in the world, and its intersection with Opolis.
The longest and largest ETH event in the world is kicking off today, February 11, 2022, and will continue until February 20, 2022. If you’re around, feel free to drop in and hang out with fellow bDAO members as we talk about ideas that look to shape the future. The event is free and you can still apply to be a virtual attendee. Join in and help build for the future!
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Look out for Chippi t-shirts (Chippi t-shirts!!!), artistic prints, super cool designs and a lot more as Ultrasound Merch looks to redefine merchandise for crypto natives. The latest product line is set to launch next Friday at ETHDenver. Follow UltraSound Merch on Twitter to stay updated on all the merchandise planned for the coming weeks.
💪 Bankless Sweden Metaverse NFT Exhibition February 16-18, 2022
Bankless Sweden together with the students of Stockholm’s School of Economics are excited to present ART x TECH—Future of Art. The three-day event starts with lectures from February 16-18 and ends in a Grand Finalé with the launch of Sweden's first ever metaverse NFT exhibition at the brilliant Fotografiska Museum. Join BanklessDAO on the night of February 18 for a live-streamed panel discussion at the museum, featuring some of Sweden’s top NFT artists and entrepreneurs. The metaverse exhibition will go live after the panel discussion at 21:00 UTC. The whole event will be held in English so that our global community can attend; follow bDAO Twitter for more updates and information about the upcoming event.
🌺 DAOYoga on Wednesdays and Fridays
“On Wednesdays we DAOYoga.” It’s your duty to stay on top of governance proposals, but it’s also your duty to take care of your body after a day in front of the screen. Unroll your mats with DAOYoga on Wednesdays and Fridays in the Watercooler voice channel for deep stretching, flexibility, and posture improvement. Classes are free and they last one hour; consult the Sesh calendar for times.
Get a job in crypto! Do you like solving hard problems, care about building more efficient markets for everybody, and want to work at the frontier of decentralized finance? KeeperDAO is looking for full time contributors, with salaries ranging from $169,000-$722,000. There are positions ranging from engineering, recruiting, product marketing, copywriting, and design. Sound interesting? Sign up for our referral program and go full-time DAO.
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I once heard DAOs referred to as: “group chats with a shared bank account.”
Other DAOs have been described as “digital flash mobs with money.”
While these reductionist takes may apply to some DAOs they don't speak to the innovation, nor the forward-thinking people that pervade nearly every crack and crevice of this burgeoning organizational model. No matter which camp you’re in, DAOs are certainly at the cutting edge of Web3 work. But does it follow that everyone contributing to DAOs has equal opportunity to participate in this grand experiment?
I’m not so certain.
In fact, I believe DAOs have a problem — an equity problem to be exact. I believe that those in the Western Hemisphere have an advantage when contributing to DAOs.
Now you may be wondering why this article is called “Decolonizing DAOs?” No, we’re not going to be talking about decolonization here, at least not directly.
Rather, we’ll talk about ways to ensure that DAOs remain truly global endeavors: free of constraints around time-zones and languages. After all, what’s more decolonizing, liberating, and globalizing than that?
Before we get into the depths of addressing these problems, let’s briefly review that which has come before — the company.
Corporations may seem quaint, uninteresting, or downright dystopian to some, but at one point in history they were a revolutionary concept.
From Corporations to DAOs
Among other innovations, the corporate structure allowed human beings to coordinate their time, money, and — when operating at their best — their passions, in a collective manner that reduced transaction costs when compared to previous modes of coordination.
But is that it? Is there nothing better? Are corporations the pinnacle of coordination?
In the Internet Age, amid the blockchain revolution, couldn’t there be a better model for coordination and work? Shouldn’t there be?
DAOs are experimenting, trying to find the answer to that question. DAOs are not trying to reinvent the wheel. They’re trying their very best to invent the flying car. Because aren’t flying cars better?
Can DAOs solve all these problems? We’ll find out one day.
No one really knows with 100% certainty that what we’re creating with DAOs will be an unequivocal improvement over the models for human collaboration that have come before.
We’re just passionate enough to roll the dice to try and find out.
Until we do get those answers, rest assured that if you’re participating in a DAO, you’re participating in one of the greatest experiments ever in relation to human coordination and organization. In the meantime, we have plenty of experiments to try and improvements to make.
The way that DAOs accommodate members’ various time zones is one area that needs improvement. Below are examples of how we can structure our DAOs, our workflows and our governance structures, to accommodate participants from around the globe.
Let’s start with the obvious one first:
For better or worse, most DAOs operate through Discord. DAOs should encourage members to use UTC time in their communications with one another, foregoing time zone acronyms such as EST or GMT. This can help prevent misinterpreted meeting times, and simplify scheduling between DAO contributors’ different time zones.
Prioritize and Encourage Asynchronous Collaboration
How many times have you sat through an hour-long meeting in your corporate job and realised an email would have sufficed?
Whenever proposing ideas, forming workgroups, assigning tasks or creating new projects, ask yourself, can this be executed asynchronously?
Asynchronous workflows should become a part of a DAO’s culture. In addition to providing better opportunities to DAO contributors in varying time zones, going asynchronous with your assignments can avoid unnecessary meetings and cut down on a DAO’s overall transaction costs. In fact, one of the primary ways in which the DAO model can eventually supplant corporations is in lowering transaction costs more than corporations are capable of doing.
With that in mind, let’s snag the low hanging fruit and get rid of those unnecessary meetings shall we?
Create Asynchronous Project Management Systems
Asynchronous work is one thing, asynchronous systems are a whole other ball game.
Let me provide an example from our very own BanklessDAO Writers Guild. Member @bamarc, who is based in a non-Western time zone, noticed that our editing workflow needed improvement. The guild meeting in which workflow discussions took place was inconvenient for the guild’s members who reside outside Western time zones. Paid editorial assignments were allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis during these weekly meetings. To address this, bamarc took the initiative to create a Google Sheet which automated the workflow steps, removing the need for allocation to be done in a synchronous meeting discussion.
With this newer system, editorial opportunities were distributed asynchronously. When a writer submitted an article, an automated ping was dropped into our editorial Discord channel. Any available editor could claim the editing task; no individual’s time zone gave them an unfair advantage in obtaining work.
Taking the time to develop systems that allow maximum participation in projects may not be as quick and easy, but it will be worth it to ensure inclusivity for all.
Vary Meeting Times
Whenever possible, stagger meeting times to give members an opportunity to attend. Sarah Moosvi of aGENDAdao says sweat equity is the basis for the way DAOs reward contributors: those who sweat the most for the DAO earn reputation, tokens, and positions that advance their standing in the community.
Contributors who can’t join a meeting due to their time zone can read the notes or listen to a recording later, but they’re missing out on active participation, social connections, and any “sweat equity” opportunities disseminated during meetings, putting them at a disadvantage.
Best practice, if tenable, would be to host multiple iterations of meetings, at varied times throughout the day, in order to cast a wide net.
Allow Region-Based SubDAOs
Preferably, people from specific regions wouldn’t feel the need to create a subDAO to accommodate their time zone needs. However, allowing for subgroups within the DAO that let users coordinate with those closer, or within, their time zone is vital to the health of a DAO’s community. This holds particularly true for DAOs that, for whatever reason, can’t enact the recommendations made in this article.
Are subgroups a panacea for the time zone problem? No.
However, since self-governance is one of the guiding principles of DAOs, if a particular group desires to branch from the original DAO, more power to them. It would be antithetical to the ethos of DAOs to prevent them from forming a subDAO. It’s even possible that subDAO might return to the fold when a more equitable distribution of work, bounties, and meetings are implemented.
However, we have to stay wary of complacency. There are so many questions yet to be answered:
If we silo into subDAOs, then how is that different from subsidiaries of a company working in different countries and under the umbrella of a larger company?
Does splitting up by time zone and/or language function as a form of decentralization? Or, does submitting to this type of partitioning represent defeat for a DAO?
Does it show that the experiment has hit a brick wall? Or should we strive towards further globalized coordination and compel asynchronous contribution amongst all individuals in a single DAO?
The lines begin to blur the further we advance this coordination experiment and we go further down the decentralization rabbit hole.
Combat “English Washing”
DAOs’ inherent trend towards Western-centric time zones can create an ancillary problem, one that @NissaSzabo refers to as the “English washing” problem.
Nissa posits that in the same way Hollywood films have often suppressed minority voices and representation through whitewashing, a similar type of suppression, unintentional as it may be, could be plaguing DAOs.
With English as the lingua franca of the world, DAOs may find themselves inordinately giving attention and power to members who speak fluent English, pushing them higher up their internal hierarchy. Whether English arises as the dominant language in many DAOs because of its status as lingua franca or whether it's the dominant language because the Anglosphere tends to be concentrated in Western-centric time zones poses a causal dilemma similar to the ol’ chicken or the egg question.
Indeed, the time zone issue may only be one element of this English washing problem (which is deserving of an article all to itself), but nonetheless it compounds the issue. To combat this, DAOs can allow lingual flexibility in completing work and bounties. Make it clear that non-English languages are accepted as options to complete work for the DAO.
While full-scale language-agnosticism likely isn’t feasible, putting options in place for contributors fluent in Spanish, Mandarin, French, Arabic, and Hindi to complete work in those languages would cover a significant proportion of those who do not have English as their first language.
DAOs should also promote diverse voices throughout the DAO. It’s one thing to add the option of contributing in one’s native language. Hearing a person in the DAO speak in that native language on a public call or in a team meeting entices new members who speak that language into the DAO, helping to build a diverse community from all over the world and reducing the dominance of one group over proceedings.
Police Time Zone Gatekeeping
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, speak up whenever those contributing to DAOs from time zones other than your own are treated poorly in the DAO or when their concerns are disregarded. If this type of behavior ever arises, breaking down the gatekeeping is key. No-one should feel as though they are left out or discriminated against because of their time zone. If a member voices their concern or frustration with the status quo, listen to them and adjust appropriately when possible. Being proactive, by structuring the DAO to accommodate different time zones, can avoid some of the difficulties and disadvantages we’ve discussed.
My suggestions may seem forced to some, or perhaps pedantic or preachy to others. To those detractors, I ask you this; how decentralized can a DAO honestly be if its members aren’t allowed equal opportunity to contribute?
The issues I’ve discussed may not be relevant to every DAO, but solving them is vitally important for DAOs that provide enough work opportunities so that a contributor can avoid taking on a second job needed to support their family. Likewise for DAOs that enable people to quit their soulless corporate job and work full time in Web3, or those that people contribute to in order to pay off their student loans, or move into a safer neighborhood.
These DAOs exist and the opportunities they provide are far more revolutionary than most realize. In the world of DAOs, behind the veneer of shadowy super coders, generalizations of illicit financing and money laundering, and false characterizations of contributors as apathetic alt-right dude bros, there exists a bit of magic, hidden from casual observers. People from all around the world and all walks of life are fundamentally changing the way we work with one another—and how we treat one another.
DAOs are offering us an opportunity to create better, kinder, and more equitable means of making a living, contributing to society, and finding purpose. To embrace input from people in time zones other than your own is an act of decentralization. To do otherwise is to enable our shared bogeyman: centralization.
We need to live up to the “decentralized” in “DAO.”
The magic awaits.
The flying car awaits.
It’s up to us to bring everyone along for the ride.
Second Epilogue From Our Fren, The Psych Guy
I love the article and how it’s written. If I may add my 2 cents, this is much more than making money and being a part of an experiment for some of us in South Asia. To us, it represents a kind of freedom we’ve never been able to imagine. My family thinks I am the richest person in India or something because that’s how happy they are about not having to worry about me as they get old.
Most people don’t start earning a feasible salary in Indo-pak region until they reach the age of 25 or 27, the conventional age of getting married in the region. The MNCs [multi-national corporations] know of it and really drive a hard bargain for our money. A night-shift job (8-9 hours + melatonin getting messed up) will yield…surprise surprise…15,000 INR. That’s 200 USD btw. Sure, things aren’t as expensive (the daily supplies) but other items (cars and electronics) are probably more expensive.
When the iPhone 13 launched, it was cheaper to fly to Dubai and buy it there and fly back than it was to buy it in India. A level of standard has been erected for developing countries to achieve (the west is the standard) and since the corps know that our lovely inferiority complex (call it multiple generations of subjugation maybe) will fuel us to achieve these standards SO BAD, they extract huge profit. When I recruit people from India or Pakistan or Nepal into the DAO, I don’t advertise it necessarily as the next step in economics or a revolutionary experiment (which it IS! It truly is) because you probably can’t make them appreciate much unless you tell them that it’s gonna solve the problem of income for them.
I too would love to see a world where developing countries can be in on it for the tech but the gross poverty of these people is just downright saddening. In my brief social work experience, there are villages in Rajasthan where mothers are forced to prostitute their own daughters for money (i am so sorry that I am writing this here but there’s no euphemism for it). It’s also true that it’s more of a geopolitical problem (developed nations extract maximum benefit from developing nations and DAOs are not responsible for any of it).
When the DAO service sector explodes (in DAO summer) and a lot of Indians hop onto it, you guys will see costs of services go down because the only way Indian subcontinent knows of being a valid service provider is to provide the cheapest service possible. That’s really how our thinking has been wired. Cheap is good. If you ask me personally, I have never been able to negotiate payments in bDAO or Olympus because any amount of money seems too much for me. If you pay me 0.5 BANK per word instead of 2 BANK per word, I would still love it. While bDAO won’t ever exploit me on the basis of where I come from, we’re going to see DAOs springing up that specialize in this very thing, call it revolutionary (reduced costs!), and then market it as innovation.
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Metcalfe vs. Dunbar: Intention And Intuition To The Rescue
You have probably heard of Metcalfe’s law, which is supposed to be the final salvation for crypto natives. Essentially it says that once we onboard enough people, the network effects will make sure we all succeed. One machine doesn’t do much, but together, we can do anything. Connection: extended and amplified.
Metcalfe’s law has an unwanted side-effect when it comes to teams: the more people in the DAO, the more people need to talk to each other. The number of possible (and needed) connections quickly escalates. It is impossible to maintain those connections (check Dunbar’s number), which is one of the reasons for the communication and governance issues we currently face.
The amount of time needed to spend with all these connections just to keep up with what is happening, let alone nurturing our relationships, puts a heavy toll on our own readiness (read: “Burn-Out”). The friction created by each not being able to sync with the whole decreases the readiness of the overall system.
What can we do? In Web3, we don’t want to solve this problem hierarchically; we need to solve it holistically, without reliance on “linear” communications.
Shared intentions and the fields of consciousness they create might very well come to our rescue here.
With our intention, we create a field of consciousness. If two or more people share the same intention, they all tap into the same field. Now, this is where it gets interesting: if we are in the same field of consciousness, our thoughts all stem from that field, and therefore all serve the same intention. It is like telepathy, but we don’t send thoughts to each other. Instead, we link our thoughts to the same source!
The more coherent our intentions are, the more coherent our thoughts are and the better they fit together. Much of the way we communicate our intentions is not verbal, but through intuition — that sense beyond the five. There is nothing “woo woo” in this, and we don’t need special abilities … we only need to allow our intuition to guide us: “What wants to express itself through me?” If we can trust ourselves, and be open to what is at the root of our unspoken and often unknown intentions, our shared generosity can land us all on the same page! Mindful presence meets ourselves and our frens. Rituals like being mindfully present can help us to quiet our thoughts so we can better listen to what is coming through, which helps us understand where we are and how we can get to where we want to be.
Yes, distractions will happen, and our intentions won’t always perfectly align.
Given the current dissonance in our governance, and in several teams, we might do well to check the intentions we truly have.
Asking ourselves: “Why am I here?” “Why are we here?” “And what is “West” for us all?” is the first step we can take. But the next steps? Well, those are up to all of us, together.
🎣 Phishing School
Staying safe in crypto can seem just as daunting as keeping up with the culture and innovation in this space, if not more. We have smart contract auditors to help protect our funds in open protocols and security departments in centralized exchanges to keep those funds safe. But a growing number of attacks will target us, the users, necessitating that we be on our toes.
But this is a battle we can win, by making a plan to simplify the process of staying safe while continuing our degen activities. We do this by conducting a security exercise called Threat Modeling. Let’s start off by asking ourselves the following questions:
What do I need to protect and why?
Whom do I need to protect it from?
How likely will I need to protect it?
What are the consequences if I fail?
By answering these you will better understand the assets, threats and consequences that need to be considered in your unique situation. This will inform your choice as to how far you are willing to go to protect your assets; every solution will lie on a spectrum between convenience and security. Convenient solutions may still possess security holes, but totally secure solutions may be so complex that you may disregard protecting the asset at all.
If you need some inspiration, here are some sample answers:
What do I need to protect and why?
My private keys and tokens, because they are a significant part of my net worth and identity.
My Twitter and Discord accounts, because they can be used by attackers to steal tokens from my friends or community if I don’t protect them.
My real identity, because I cherish my privacy and do not desire unwanted or possibly harmful attention.
Whom do I need to protect it from?
Scammers targeting everyone in a community (phishing campaigns, rug pulls).
Resourceful criminals specifically targeting me (spear phishing, SIM swapping).
Strangers who will steal my assets if given the chance (shoulder surfing, stealing hardware wallets left out in the open).
How likely will I need to protect it?
I am a mod in several Discord servers and will likely be targeted in social engineering attacks to takeover my Discord account.
I am a doxxed crypto whale, which can attract the unwanted attention, online and offline, of those that will try to steal my bag using a variety of methods.
Malware infects my computer often enough that I am concerned that sooner or later one which can steal my private keys will be installed.
What are the consequences if I fail?
A good chunk of my net worth, and possibly my identity, would be gone, forcing me to rebuild at a time when everything is more expensive than when I started.
My community will lose trust in me and my project if my Discord server is attacked through my compromised account, plus I would have to repay victims if the attack was successful.
I will become too risk averse to really invest or spend time in the ecosystem again, possibly leaving for good and missing out on future gains.
Once you have answered these four questions you can start considering your security options for protection. As mentioned earlier these solutions lie on a spectrum between convenience and security. The right choice for you will depend on what you are willing to compromise, or not, to achieve a level of protection for your assets that lets you sleep at night.
In previous Weekly Rollups we mentioned a few ways to protect your assets and will continue to offer more solutions. Expect to see more security education and guidance from BanklessDAO as a whole, such as workshops from the Education Guild or upcoming content from the newly formed InfoSec Team. Let’s help each other stay safe.
Proposals in Discussion
This mission-critical proposal is to remove quorum requirements and set Snapshot voting at a simple majority.
The management of Grants Committee funding for guilds is in need of an overhaul as the current model is running the treasury dry. The shift away from this model proposes a framework that treats guilds as professional associations and not as public goods. Following this model, the guild members would pay a membership fee to fund their guilds, and treasury money can be used to support projects.
The Translators Guild is discussing how they want to allocate their Season 3 budget. Specifically, they are asking (1) whether bounties can be used to fund projects, and if yes, what is the percentage limit, and (2) how much budget can be allocated to a single project.
DappBack is an interactive, Web3, community-driven education platform in the launch phase, with Bancor and MakerDAO already signed up. The platform features rewards and incentives that increase community adoption. In return for adopting the Task Page, DappBack simply asks that bDAO members use it and give feedback.
Governator is a software solution for voting that is an improvement on the current system of manually creating surveys. In addition to allowing for secret voting, Governator has the potential to manage elections and simplify the governance process. Project funding goes toward an MVP and a research initiative to accomplish the first step of private polling.
✅ Action Items
✋ Vote on the Quorum Removal poll.
💰 Coordinape is live, give your GIVE!
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