Summary

  • Today we discuss how smart contracts can rearrange the more default organizations that make up our world. Those who have started companies know that there is a pretty small menu of choices when it comes to setting up a new organization: for profit, non-profit, recently b-corps.
  • Through smart contracts and DAOs we can attempt to escape from the regulatory environment and limited legal frameworks for creating cooperative agreements within groups. Because they run on distributed blockchain systems, they are cross-jurisdiction and robust to attack.
  • We hear from 5 projects in the DAO space today to get a taste of the sorts of efforts being undertaken and how to go about setting these kinds of organizations up.

 

This meeting is part of the Intelligent Cooperation Group and accompanying book draft.

DAOstack

  • DAOstack was founded 4 years ago aiming to bring a set of tools and libraries for spinning up your own DAOs.
  • Their first platform was Alchemy, the oldest DAO platform around (3 long years), no longer under development but running several existing DAOs. An example: dxDAO, a fully on-chain entity managing ~$100million in funds. Governance, payments, reimbursement for contributors all on chain.
  • Alchemy is fully built on Ethereum smart contracts that allow for sophisticated and scalable governance. A DAO running on Alchemy can do anything that’s doable on the Ethereum blockchain, but is not so friendly to use for the regular user.
  • Common is DAOstack’s new platform for DAOs. It’s much more targeted the mainstream with a mission of enabling coordination and collaboration of thousands and then millions around any joint interest, purpose or project: whether that’s a business, a town, a research program, or a nation.
  • common.io <- download it!
  • What’s there right now: “Simple DAO Launch”, as easy as setting up a Facebook group. Members can join by contributing an amount decided in the DAO setup process, either one time or recurring. Members can create proposals, vote on these, and make use of credit card and bank integration for managing community funds.
  • As of now, Common is not entirely on-chain: the limits of the Ethereum blockchain prevent the level of performance the team would like. DAOstack is working on a layer 2 solution suited specifically for DAOs to move DAO operations through Common back to a fully on-chain place.

SifDAO

Sifchain is a decentralized exchange company that is in the process of building a DAO to manage the exchange and create community around it.

SifDAO aims:

  • Achieving nation-state level wealth under management (a goal that several blockchains and DEXes have proved is possible).
  • A community where addresses replace SSNs and increasing profit on chain is the goal
  • Councils within the DAO: coding standards, commons cultivation, on-chain UBI, public funding of research
  • A “Needs and Gives” layer: a barter layer for goods and services with a reputation system built in to track community engagement
  • Collecting research on user goals and a “self-binding commitments” system to help folks meet their goals
  • Combine self-binding commitments with the “Needs and Gives” layer, and entice coaches/experts to join and help folks
  • Create fantasy-style classes for personas on chain that allow for gamified collaboration

ResearchHub:

ResearchHub is a Reddit-style forum where academics can share research outputs, anyone can curate, and there’s a pubic comment section. Academic papers are crawled from socials, and authors can claim their papers and see public commentary.

The problem: Goodharts law!

  • Academics needs funding
  • Research grants givers use bibliometrics to measure the quality of a researcher
  • This creates incentives for researchers to optimize for bibliometrics instead of scientific quality
  • 1% of PhDs actually get jobs, the rest leave academia

ResearchHub DAO aims:

  • Users earn ResearchToken (RSC) for their contributions to ResearchHub
  • Token holders have governance rights in the DAO
  • First DAO vote coming up: how should tokens be distributed to established scientists who claim their papers on the Hub?

VitaDAO:

VitaDAO is an organization dedicated to funding research into human longevity.

VitaDAO’s mission is to extend health span and lifespan. The focus is to attract researchers, post docs, crypto engineers and tokenomics experts to build a community around this achieving this goal.

The VitaDAO ecosystem

  • Members can get a stake in the DAO by contribute funding or work
    • Labs can get a stake by doing work or donating materials
    • Grant-writers, governments, individuals can get a stake by providing funding
  • The secret sauce: VitaDAO team is building a way to attach Intellectual property to NFTs, allowing real world assets to be held on-chain.
  • Researchers can make proposals to submit projects and get funding
  • The IP is given to VitaDAO which then commercializes the assets by licensing and monetizing assets like datasets on markets like OceanMarketplace

Crypto and longevity are both high risk fields, dismissed by insider institutions, and so are well-suited to be brought together to further common goals.

VitaDAO is aiming to create a funding ecosystem that can provide grants to the tune of $500K to $1 million in just 2-3 weeks, faster than existing funding pipelines. As research is funded and completed, intellectual property from the work will accrue to the DAO, which can then leverage it to generate revenues that are in turn used to reward and compensate DAO members for their contributions.

The DAO itself if a custom framework based on the MolochDAO V3 project and the tokenized intellectual property framework is being developed in-house. It consists of Members (the token holders) and several working groups compensated by the DAO treasury: Legal, technical, governance, tokenomics, awareness, ops, and longevity.

The VitaDAO pilot project: Danish health ministry data has been used to identify a number of compounds that may contribute to increased health and lifespans, and the first funded project will be to take the 3 most promising compounds and organize targeted trials around them.

Decentraland:

Decentraland is a virtual world powered by Ethereum smart contracts that employs a DAO to govern many of its most important aspects. It’s a system comprised of a CDN network to distribute graphical content, a P2P protocol for in-world communication and avatar location, a Scripting system for land owners to inject rich interactions into the world, and a marketplace for trading in digital land and other goods in the world.

The Decentraland ecosytem:

  • LAND tokens, ERC721 tokens representing plots in the virtual world
  • “Estates”, ERC 721 tokens that aggregate LAND tokens
  • MANA tokens, ERC20 tokensnused for DAO voting and transacting in the marketplace
  • ENS domains that allow for custom addresses to certain locations
  • ERC 721 wearables and cosmetic items that allow for custom appearance

All of these can be traded on the market place, and the fees from the market place fund the DAO (built on Aragon). An agent holds the funds and a voting contract collects votes from LAND holders and MANA holders.

The votes control CDN operations, major global constants (like marketplace fees, environment conditions in the world, content bans, changes to the LAND contract code, assignment f financial resources).

The DAO makes about $100K per month (about half of the operating expenses of the company)

The challenges:

  • The DAO is currently struggling for participation (voting is expensive when fees are high).
  • The DAO also has limited power in comparison to the coders that actually code the world and DAO. And the decentralized nature of the DAO limits what it can do, but is also dangerous at the same time: token holders can cooperate to potentially screw each other over potentially.

Q&A

Q: I’m very excited about these new ways of funding research! Inspired by Robin Hanson’s early stuff on prediction markets, have you looked into how to use them to fund the DAOs by letting folks bet on the strength of their research?

  • A: Yes! These are promising and we are definitely invested in trying them out
  • A: The Replication Markets project is a neat example

 

Q: We saw a massive failure of governmental science with the absence of human challenge trials responding to COVID: could one imagine doing credible, large-scale, robust human challenge trials resistance to pushback?

  • A: One superpower of DAOs is the ability to incentivize participation: One of the challenges is the ethical basis for reimbursing people to participate in these sorts of challenges.
  • A: The main thing that you need to run clinical trials is funding, a place to run it, and ethical approval. In principle the government won’t object to any trial that’s been ethically approved.
  • A: The Rapid Deployment Vaccine Collective is a group of biohackers creating a DIY COVID vaccine, testing on themselves and sharing data. DAOs COULD be used to create a decentralized sharing platform for folks to post their own data and be rewarded for this? Another approach could be giving trial participants author credit to reward that way too.
  • A: A key point: Governments can’t really stop trials, but they can say this trial doesn’t count and can’t be used to approve stuff. This will take the trial effectively useless.
  • A: How do we validate data from randoms in a decentralized way?

 

Q: How does the VitaDAO IP<>NFT thing work?

  • A: We’re working with a major law firm to figure out how to attach legal contracts that can be injected right into Metamask!

Links:

 

 

Seminar summary by James Risberg.