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State of the DAOs #6: Working for a DAO
You're reading State of the DAOs, the high-signal low-noise newsletter for understanding DAOs.
Gm and welcome to DAO life! In this edition we explore how to become a full-time DAO contributor. If you have a friend who’s wondering how to choose a DAO, how to build a reputation, or how to get paid, we have an answer for you. Who knows, you might even build a reputation through your on-chain resume!
Next, we share the TL;DR on the latest DAO ecosystem takes and thought pieces, making it easy for you to cut through the noise and stay up to date on the world of DAOs.
This is the current state of the DAOs.
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Working for a DAO
What are the desired skill-sets, how to get started, and how to get paid!
In the future, it’s possible that the average person will not work for a traditional company or corporation. The future of work is being created now, emerging through new ways of coordination, production, and compensation, enabled by networks that are formed around the blockchain and crypto protocols. This shift has already begun to unlock new ways of income creation for individuals all over the globe and, due to its rapid growth, is creating the conditions for a value transfer from traditional organizations to DAOs.
Choosing a DAO
A Decentralised Autonomous Organization is an internet-native organization that is collectively managed and owned by its members. DAOs provide the tools necessary to effectively organize people and resources, making them accessible to everyone. DAOs come in many different shapes and sizes: DAOs that govern crypto protocols, make venture investments, provide services to other DAOs, purchase NFTs, and many more.
Even though there is a multiplicity of DAOs, they all share the same elements that distinguish them from traditional organizations and enable them to be open, accountable, and to equally distribute the value created within them.
DAOs are the future of work.
Think of DAOs as economies that are inherently open for people to participate in them, mixing and matching their talents and skills, putting them to work while distributing ownership. DAOs expand the quality and quantity of opportunities available to each participant (core contributors, bounty hunters, token holders, guest passes, and others).
How to get involved
There are no norms when joining a DAO. Each has a different way of doing things. Once you find a DAO that truly interests you and you think is a good match, you will want to get familiar with the culture or vibe of the community. The best place to do that is in places where DAO members are active the most. Join a community call, a newcomers meeting, or a guild meeting and start learning!
Go check out the community you are interested in.
See what the community is all about.
Check their vibe, take a look around, get an idea of what the community is trying to accomplish, and try to understand why people are there. Picking a DAO to get involved in and work for is supposed to be a thoughtful process, similar to picking a job IRL. Be prepared; it takes time and energy!
Once you find a DAO that aligns with your values and interests, go ahead and introduce yourself! Do not overthink it. People contributing to DAOs are the most friendly people in the crypto ecosystem, they are always happy to connect with new people and show others their work. Share your background, work experience if relevant, and motivation for joining the DAO. After introductions, it is important to be present and active, show up for meetings, keep up with the DAO’s developments, and share your ideas and discoveries with your peers.
This is just the beginning of your DAO journey! Transitioning from being part of a DAO to working for one takes time, energy, and consistency. Contributing to a DAO is all about creating value through participation, taking ownership and responsibility, and adding value to the DAO.
How do contribute?
When I joined the BanklessDAO this September I was overwhelmed by the amount of information, the numerous guilds, and the flurry of daily activities. Instinctively, I joined the guilds that fit my education and skillset best. After an intensive week of getting familiar with Discord channels and Notion pages, I joined my first community call and the following week I attended the weekly meeting of the Translators Guild. Soon after that, I started translating the Weekly Rollup and Decentralized Arts, and later that month I began distributing them to the Greek-speaking Bankless community. For me, this was a great opportunity to find my way around the DAO and start contributing. Everyone’s journey in a DAO is different and unique!
You might not be able to start contributing immediately to a project. Start by having meaningful conversations with your peers in the dedicated discord channels. Conduct them openly and honestly, adding value to processes like governance, membership, roles, and procedures. The key to becoming a DAO contributor is to declare your availability and take responsibility for a project or a task that you can execute and add value. This process is quite different from working in the corporate world. In DAOs, no one will drop a job on your plate. You have to be proactive in finding meaningful work. Once you find it, you do not need to ask people for permission and spend hours trying to justify your actions. You just need to present your idea in a meeting, write a small forum post, get soft consensus among the group and you are good to go. Volunteering, taking ownership, and getting things done are the way to go! Don’t hesitate. Go and get involved. DAOs need members that can take the lead, propose new projects, start new initiatives and resolve, in an inclusive manner, problems that arise along the way.
Much of what happens in a DAO is done through collaboration, as the decision-making power is distributed. Everyone is able to express, define and pursue their vision and leadership will emerge in those that identify gaps in the organization’s structure and products and address them.
Build an On-Chain Resume
In a DAO, acquiring trust through work is important. DAOs are looking for reliable contributors that can work independently in a way that respects the collective will of the organization. The reputation credentials one receives in Web3 are specific to the individual, they are not numbers in an app or platform. Your reputation is built on the blockchain and thus no one can delete them or suspend them. The value you provide in any Web3 community you participate in is traceable through the tokens, POAPs, and NFTs with which DAOs and communities reward their contributors. You carry them with you as both your on-chain reputation and as your resume. Once you have established a reputation in the community and enriched your on-chain resume, more opportunities will emerge.
Until then, there are lots of various roles depending on the focus of the DAO, but here are some roles that are common across a wide range of DAOs:
Community manager: DAOs as communities are usually in need of people who will act as moderators/managers and be the glue that holds a project or a guild together.
Project manager: The main product creation of DAOs takes place in projects and groups. Having project managing experience, knowing how to organize a group of people and put them to work is a sought-after skill.
Scribes/writers: Huge amounts of meetings take place every day inside DAOs, and because people are working asynchronously, it means that there is a great demand for people who transcribe and sum up events, meetings, and discussions.
Artists/creators: NFTs have become a popular way for DAOs to create revenue streams and POAPs are a common way of rewarding participation. In this sense, artistic abilities are greatly valued in DAOs.
Developers: Often DAOs build their own tools and products. If you are a coder, you can definitely find a DAO that is in need of your skills.
Treasurers/Economists: DAOs treasuries are massive. Thus, contributors with a financial background and experience in budgeting, treasury diversification, and asset allocation are highly valued.
As you understand from the list above, you don’t have to be a programmer or a computer science major to join a DAO and start contributing. Skills as the ones presented above are valued and sought-after even in technical-oriented Protocol DAOs.
The rule in the DAO economy is to first bring value to the community. DAOs always, unless you are claiming a bounty with a fixed allocation attached to it, ask for Proof of Work. Meaning, that every newcomer should overcome the initial phase of lurking and actually get involved in the community, take responsibility, execute tasks, and provide value. As mentioned above, in a DAO, when it comes to working, a lot depends on trust. Once you gain this trust through work, you will not only gain a reputation in the community but also be rewarded for it.
Having said that, it should be noted that getting paid by a DAO can take some time. DAOs provide countless opportunities to work for them, without the need for procedural formalities or influence of biases (e.g. interviews). Providing upfront work speaks volumes about one’s skills and commitment to the project.
There are different ways to get paid in a DAO, for example:
Coordinape is a web3-native platform that enables DAOs to fairly distribute compensation to contributors through peer-to-peer allocations. Projects, grants, and salaries can be distributed through Coordinape in a way that also incentivizes the participants to increase the volume of future contributions.
Set roles: Guilds often have predefined roles, especially in regard to coordination, governance, treasury, and onboarding newcomers. Roles are often compensated with a salary of tokens based on the hours/week each function requires.
Grants: Every DAO, and especially the major ones, have a Grants Program. Some like Uniswap, Compound, Sushi, and Aave, have large treasuries. Allocating funds to people who pitch unique ideas and proposals for services provides extra value for the protocol.
Bounties: Bounty boards are collections of discrete tasks with an associated price tag for each job. Bounties allow DAO freelancers to have trustless and frictionless interactions with the issuers since the bounties are distributed immediately upon the completion of the job’s present terms and conditions. DAOs, utilize bounties to incentivize the community to complete various tasks.
Hired by a DAO: Even though going ‘Full-Time DAO’ does not necessarily mean that you quit your job or go all-in at the DAO space, there are many DAOs that do offer full-time jobs. Protocol DAOs usually have the resources to provide stablecoin-based salaries and a stable working environment to enable contributors to make the switch.
In the DAO economy, there are no set rules for how contributions are paid. Some DAOs pay a standard hourly rate whereas others rely primarily on Coordinape to reward their contributors. Payments are often made in either the DAO’s governance token or the currency available in its treasury. As DAOs grow and attract more people willing to go full-time DAO, compensation is becoming one of the most discussed topics within organizations, with many developing different ways of remunerating contributors.
Working for a DAO is not simply about making money. DAOs represent a new framework for human coordination and thus organizational culture, where ownership is reclaimed and put in the hands of the community that built it. DAOing and participating in the life of a DAO has many benefits since the ethos of a community is at its core. Contributing to a DAO means that you participate in the culture of a vibrant community composed of people that share your values and visions for the world.
As DAOs are in a phase of continuous growth, they are always on the lookout for talent. These are people with the right attitude, that want to contribute, and are willing to take up tasks/responsibilities and deliver on them. Whether your goal is to build something fun with other people or to make a full-time salary, there are plenty of ways to get remunerated for your contributions, effort, and time spent in the organization. Even though one can argue that there are many ways for people to start making meaningful contributions to a DAO, in my opinion, one stands out. Being present, proactive, and willing to help and share knowledge, will drastically increase your chances of becoming a full-time DAO contributor.
📖 Read How to Join a DAO
⛏️ Dig into How to Get Paid by DAOs
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DAOs at a Glance
Hand-picked articles to understand the current state of the DAO ecosystem
Author: David Chaum
Software updates from web2 companies often come with bugs and vulnerabilities, while data breaches of corporations and nation states are frequently increasing. If that’s not enough, digital advertising companies collect your data to more effectively sell you ads, giving government agencies like the NSA and FBI a one-stop shop for detailed user information. The system was never built to help us be secure — the incentives of companies and governments could never allowed it. But web3 promises more than just the “metaverse”. Web3 promises an opportunity to render web2 business models obsolete and usher in a truly decentralized, privacy-minded, quantum-secure, and democratic internet.
Author: Crypto, Culture & Society
Labour is evolving: few jobs are for life and operate from 9-5. Nowadays, especially for gig jobs, people are more likely to interact with apps than managers. However, we are severely limited by how we can use digital platforms for work. Content creators are forever at the mercy of these corporations, which can make decisions at a moments notice and significantly impact creators’ hard-grown channels.
“It’s now clear that platform-based work which seems creative and aspirational is actually a kind of 21st century serfdom where one’s labor makes someone else rich.”
A better option would be for workers to log out of web2 platforms and sign in to web3, where creators become owners by building new means of production and distribution. Not only are there more opportunities to make an income from your labour, but you actually have a say in the important decisions made.
“This brings us into a new paradigm where it’s not labor vs. capital but labor and capital.”
Web2 internet broke the business model of media. The predominant business models, due to lack of payment infrastructure, were opaque, advertising-based and dependent on close garden networks. This gave “aggregators” an outsized advantage and creators were compelled to seek the broadest possible audiences and to create content that attracted advertisers.
The advent of web3 signals a disruption to this business model and tilts the scales in favor of creators. A new generation of technologies is emerging with the promise to change the balance of power in the creator economy. NFTs, DAOs, Patronage+, and programmable economic models are some of the catalysts this shift. Dive in to understand these technologies and how they are disrupting legacy media.
In the past 5 years, DAOs have exploded in almost all sectors. The top 20 DAOs alone manage over $14B in digital assets; this is serious business! With this year being special for the DAO ecosystem, DAOs are on their way to become the new LLCs.
In contrast to a hierarchy-based company, DAOs are self-governing and are built upon smart-contracts. The key perks of DAOs are:
Ownerless ownership: DAOs are owned by the people who create value for it.
Transparency: all the actions and funds of the DAO are publicly available on the blockchain.
Autonomy: decision-making power rests with the members.
Efficiency: due to the social contracts set in place, all decisions and changes happen automatically leading to high efficiency.
Anonymity: DAOs do not require you to provide your identity to invest or to contribute.
DAOs can be categorized as technically or socially-oriented. They offer services in virtually every stage necessary to build a successful DAO. These include building protocols, aggregating capital, producing content, etc. Starting a DAO is easier said than done. There are four phases that a DAO undergoes to achieve a well-built structure:
Build a Strong Foundation
Set Incentives and Rewards
While DAOs are currently concentrated in the crypto space, there is potential to DAOify almost any organization. The advantages of DAOifying traditional web2 companies are abundant. Moreover, new startups could opt to use a DAO-like model to capitalize on its advantages. With prominent names entering the space with revolutionary ideas, there is a paradigm shift in organizational sentiment towards DAOs.
Author: Kassen Qian
In this article, the insights of seven leading DAOs were aggregated to formulate the six main takeaways for community-oriented DAO onboarding practices. They are:
Establish a clear mission & vision: The existing members onboarding new members should have a clear understanding of the mission & vision and impart them correctly.
Design new member onboarding with contributors in mind: All DAOs have different onboarding methods, but the principles they agree on are these: contributing should be easy, how to contribute should be clear, and expectations should be communicated.
Facilitate personal connections, especially early on: Existing members should attempt to have one-on-one calls with maximum number of new members.
Invest in education and resources: The DAO should ensure that new members are updated on important and relevant information in a process that is as frictionless as possible.
Accommodate for different levels of knowledge and experience: Depending on the DAO’s target audience, there should be something for all levels.
Preempt scalability challenges, especially pertaining to quality of work and “offboarding”: Guardrails should be developed early to help core contributors deal with instances where members don’t follow community guidelines or aren’t aligned with the DAO’s mission and operations.
🔥 and 🧊 insights from across the DAO ecosystem
Author: Ben Schecter
In the future, most people will be making an income from non-traditional sources:
As well as the traditional Work-to-Earn model
This change will be facilitated by DAOs, which will coordinate all this activity taking place outside of corporations. DAOs will function as open economies, allowing people to mix and match income streams based on their interests and skills.
People may receive their income from:
Grants from DeFi protocols
Passive yield investment income
Capital gains from rising token values
Salaried roles and bounties
The future of work will be a dynamic place, where switching jobs may be as simple as switching Discord channels. “The entire world will be unified under a single workforce with access to all opportunities.”
Author: Tim O'Reilly
Back in 2005, Tim O'Reilly wrote a seminal post-mortem on Web2 following the burst of the dot-com bubble. His latest note leverages past experiences to assess trends in crypto & the broader internet today:
Open-source software and the World Wide Web helped break Microsoft’s dominance over the personal computer market. However, since then we’ve seen the emergence of monopolistic juggernauts founded on user-generated data.
Can blockchains enable a shift away from this recentralization? O'Reilly cites the concentration of bitcoin mining in low-cost energy jurisdictions as one example to the contrary and he believes there will be more.
The media focuses on the prospect of riches over utility, but if Web3 is to become a general system for decentralized trust, it needs to forge lasting connections with present-day legal & economic systems.
Lofty valuations for crypto assets (and tech startups in general) suggest we’re in the later innings of the current cycle, and it won’t be until after the coming bust that we’ll really understand which firms/protocols make-up the Web3 landscape.
Who might survive? Look for projects that have extensive userbases that are monetized. This will reduce the need for external capital and provide more favorable terms if injections are needed. Web3 winners will create unique and lasting moats.
In the West, free markets are generally considered superior to central planning for economic organization. It’s interesting then, that corporations still adopt hierarchical structures where executives decide how the company is run. Is there a way to have a market within a company?
Product iteration can compound insights, but the top-down nature of most org-structures creates innovation bottlenecks. Typically, there isn’t an internal market to identify winners from losers and there’s no decentralized consensus mechanism for resource allocation. This gets worse as a company grows because executives are limited in their capacity to lead, so layers of bureaucracy are added.
One way of bringing market forces inside an organization is to have leadership outline specifications for the desired outcome and then pay people if they successfully submit the work. Those bidding on projects compete on price, quality, and speed. This requires open-source systems, and ideally, the process would be permissionless.
If an entire “business” is on-chain and relationships can be ported without lock-in effects and minimal frictions, then such a structure could permit for the forking of a stakeholder base too.
This new dynamic would have profound consequences. From the developer’s perspective, iterations are performed permissionlessly and can scale with the level of resources allocated. Since there is no limit on the number of forks that can be created, shareholders aren’t a bottleneck.
As their growth and visibility exploded, DAOs became a key crypto buzzword in 2021. With this accelerated rise, however, many DAO contributors have suffered burn out, exhausted by the shear scope and magnitude of the communities in which they find themselves. So the question arises: how do DAOs scale while retaining the essential elements that make DAO life so attractive? The answer:
Build tools and processes that focus on the contributors’ best interests, including optimizing for their mental health.
As DAOs scale, it’s necessary to retain the passion and drive that brings people together to contribute their time and attention in new ways.
Align incentives with community to create a stickiness that keeps contributors active within the DAO.
DAOs must work hard to build an experience for contributors that attracts, engages, and retains people. Only by creating a great working environment focused on contributors will DAOs continue their trajectory and harness their world-changing potential.
The term “social network” is a broad one. Some of the connotations are good, like having the ability to organize and communicate with people all around the world, grouping together and finding like-minded people to share things that interest and excite you. They are also responsible for many negative things as well! The creation and rapid expansion of social networks has ushered the majority of people into a digital age.
Now with the advent of DAOs and digitally native money, we can not only communicate and share, but coordinate around capital!
DAOs are the new social networks, and there are a few basic categories:
DAOs are the future, reinventing how we govern, invest, work, create, donate and change the world around us. It is the framework that its all built on, and it will be an exciting upcoming year as the categories, number, and quality of DAOs evolve dramatically!
CitaDAO is a Decentralized Real Estate Tokenization Protocol which aims to create a DeFi ecosystem supported by yield generated from real world assets. The DAO is currently composed of a group of contributors, focused on building the platform and the community, with the aim to fully decentralize by the end 2023.
CitaDAO was created to provide yield farmers with a way to get sustainable yield at a time when yield is sustained by an influx of new money, a closed loop of on-chain trading activities, and the continuous dumping of valueless governance tokens. They believe that without real world productive assets coming on-chain, yields will trend lower as institutions arrive on-chain to chase yield.
CitaDAO is bringing real estate and DeFi together by bringing real world assets on-chain to utilize the full power of composibility that DeFi enables. Real Estate is an incredibly backward ecosystem but integrating it with the innovation from DeFi protocols will create untold value for society and further expand both the reach and influence of DeFi.
CitaDAO is actively searching for contributors to join the DAO and for community members who believe in vision of combining real estate with DeFi. Join them as they accelerate DeFi adoption and onboarding more people to the Bankless journey.
If you’re curious about the future of Real Estate on DeFi, join the discord!
Get Plugged In
This is a free, long term, data-stewarded directory for DAOs. It's built with diverse community cooperation and participation, which aims to enable greater understanding of the emerging DAO ecosystem, allow for more interDAO communications and awareness, and increase visibility and accessibility of joining a DAO.
🏝 BanklessDAO - Permissionless Conference: Tickets are on sale for one of the biggest DeFi conferences! Over 5,000 people will be attending in total and every two weeks 250 more tickets unlock. Once 250 tickets are purchased, registration closes and you’ll have to wait until the next release. Speakers include our very own Ryan Sean Adams and David Hoffman, as well as many others. Join us on Tuesday - Thursday, May 17 - 19, 2022 in sunny Palm Beach, Florida for the event.
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