What is a DAO?

A DAO, a term short for decentralized autonomous organization, is a self-governing organization that is engineered by smart contracts executed on a blockchain. DAOs are a type of business model that relies on blockchain technology to operate which eliminates the need for a centralized authority. Generally speaking this can make DAOs more efficient and democratic than traditional organizations like corporations.

The principle feature of DAOs is that they have no central point of control (or failure). Decisions are made collectively by votes from the members. Tokens are typically utilized in the voting process to represent membership in a DAO. DAOs are designed to be efficient and transparent and have the potential to revolutionize the way organizations are structured for new use cases and businesses.


A DAO is an organization that is run by code usually on the Ethereum blockchain. When a DAO is created, the first step to create a smart contract that will act as the DAO’s organizer.  The organizer will be responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the DAO. Once the organizer is in place and properly coded and audited, members can be added to the DAO. 

Each member will have an account on the Ethereum blockchain, and they will be able to vote on proposals and transactions that take place inside the DAO. Proposals my members can be submitted to the DAO’s smart contract. If the proposal receives enough votes from other members, it will be executed. If not, it will be rejected. Transactions are similar to proposals, but they do not need to be voted on. Instead, they are automatically executed when they are submitted to the smart contract. Anyone can exit the DAO at any time by transferring their tokens out of the smart contract.


DAO’s are a type of organization run through decentralized autonomous governance. This means that because there is no central governing authority, decisions are made through consensus among DAO members. 

In order for a DAO to be successful, it is essential that the members have a shared vision and goals. DAO’s must have clear rules and guidelines for decision-making, and these should be communicated to all members. DAO’s must also have mechanisms in place to prevent abuse of power and ensure that all members have an equal say in decision-making. 


Some common use cases for DAOs include fundraising, marketplaces and governance.  In the case of a decentralized marketplace, a DAO would be responsible for matching buyers and sellers, processing payments, and ensuring that all transactions are fair and transparent. With governance, the DAO would be responsible for maintaining the network, voting on proposals, and executing decisions. I the case of fundraising, the DAO would be responsible for collecting and distributing funds to project developers. Each of these use cases require a different set of rules and processes, which can all be organized and managed by a DAO.


One of the biggest risks is that, due to their decentralized nature, DAOs can be very difficult to manage and control. If there are parameters around voting for proposals to be approved and there is a lack of community engagement, proposals can be stuck.  This can lead to unforeseen consequences, such as financial loss or the misuse of power. Additionally, DAOs are often reliant on complex technology, which can be vulnerable to hacks or technical failures. 

How can you get started with using a DAO for your business, and what should you consider before making this decision?

The first step in organizing a DAO is to decide what type you want to create: public or private. Public DAOs are open to anyone and are typically used for projects or organizations that benefit a wider community. Private DAOs are only accessible to those who have been invited or approved by the creator of the DAO.

Once you’ve decided on the type of DAO you want to create, you’ll need to choose how you want it to be governed. There are two main governance models: voting and voting with reputation. Voting allows all members of the DAO to have a voice in the DAO whereas voting with reputation adds priority to certain members who have demonstrated greater community engagement and thus have greater voting power.  

why do experts believe DAOs could play a major role in the future of commerce and social interaction online?

DAOs offer a way to decentralize power and decision-making, which could create more democratic and efficient organizations.  One of the big complaints of Web 2.0 is that overall the power of the internet is dominated by tech giants including Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft.  With DAOs, members have the opportunity to create greater community involvement and potentially greater profit sharing on successful projects. 

DAOs could help to reduce the costs of transaction and coordination, making it cheaper and easier to do business online. Perhaps one of the biggest benefits is that DAOs could provide a new level of transparency and accountability in online interactions, which could build trust between parties and help to prevent fraud and misuse of power. 

By eliminating the need for a central authority, DAOs give power back to the people. This new model of commerce is transparent, efficient, and borderless. With DAOs, anyone can participate in the global economy, regardless of location. And because DAOs are powered by smart contracts, they can be used for any type of transaction, from buying a house to ordering a pizza.

what are some specific examples of successful DAOs and what do theY do?

One specific example of a successful DAO is the ArkEcosystem, which provides financial incentives for open source development and decentralizes governance through a network of delegates. The ArkEcosystem also allows users to create their own custom currencies and smart contracts. 

Another successful DAO is Augur, which is a decentralized prediction market that allows users to buy and sell shares in the outcome of events. Augur also allows users to create their own markets for any event that can be resolved by yes or no. 

Another major project is called MakerDAO, AaDAO that issues and controls the Dai stablecoin. The Dai stablecoin is pegged to the US dollar and is used to stabilize the value of cryptoassets.


A corporation and a DAO are both legal entities that can be used to run a business. A corporation is owned by shareholders, who have a vested interest in the company’s success or failure. In contrast, a DAO is not owned by any one person or group but is governed by a decentralized network of stakeholders. 

Another difference corporations are typically managed by a board of directors who make decisions about the company’s strategy and operations. DAOs are usually organized and managed by smart contracts, which execute automatically according to pre- programmed rules. 

As of this writing corporations are subject to government regulation, while DAOs are not. This makes DAOs more resistant to interference from external forces and potentially limit the liability of organizers. 


There are a few different blockchains that DAOs are using.  Technically Bitcoin is the world’s largest DAO with buyers and sellers engaging in a specific set of terms for the cryptocurrency and it’s corresponding value.  The second most popular blockchain, Ethereum, is also the most popular blockchain utilized for DAOs.  Other blockchains using DAOs include EOS and Waves.  

Ethereum is the most popular option for DAOs because it supports smart contracts. However, it also has a high level of complexity to code and implement. EOS is a blockchain that is designed to be more user-friendly but it has struggled to gain traction.  Waves is another popular choice because it offers fast transaction speeds. All of these blockchains offer decentralized governance. This means that DAOs can run on them without having to rely on a central authority. Blockchains offer DAOs a lot of advantages, including transparency, immutability, and security. This makes them an attractive option for businesses and organizations that want to decentralize their governance.


DAO lawsuits have been a growing concern in the cryptocurrency industry. Because they are online communities that operate independently of any centralized authority they have the benefit of being highly resistant to censorship and fraud while at the same time a structure that makes it difficult to resolve disputes.
Typical disagreements include when members of the community disagree on how to spend funds or on how to interpret guidelines. Without a central authority to mediate these disputes, often a community decides by simply disengaging from the DAO. Broadly speaking a DAO is considered a general partnership among its token holders. Anyone who holds tokens that are native to the DAO have decision making authority (as opposed to a corporate board or executive team structure)

In 2018, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission brought a lawsuit against the creators of The DAO, a now-defunct Ethereum-based organization, for violating securities laws. The case was ultimately settled, with the creators agreeing to pay a $12 million fine.

More recently in 2022 a defi DAO named bZx was hacked for $55M. 14 of it’s users who lost between $800 and $450,000 filed a lawsuit. The complaint alleges that because the DAO lacks any legal formation or recognition, its members are responsible for “making good” to the plaintiffs for their collective loss of an estimated $1.6 million. What’s ironic and somewhat confusing is that the individuals who have brought this case are likely members of the bZx DAO themselves and therefore they may also be liable for the DAOs activities. As this is a very new lawsuit this case likely has implications future DAO structures.

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