Some Thoughts from an Early Dive into DAOs
Originally published on The Voyage newsletter on December 14, 2021.
After writing last week’s essay on DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations), I spent time exploring further which felt like wading through a field of Ponzi schemes. Eventually, I found some interesting projects which might point towards what the future holds.
The first group of organizations I looked into was centered around climate action. There’s a lot happening right now in that space, especially following COP26 in Glasgow.
I was also drawn down this path because a common concern frequently voiced around blockchain is that they are draining a colossal amount of energy. While this concern does hold true for many traditional uses of Bitcoin and Ethereum, it doesn’t hold true across the board, nor is the high energy usage inherent to all of blockchain. Additionally, there are plans for the Ethereum network to move away from the intensive process of Proof-of-Work validation to Proof-of-Stake which would reduce its energy usage drastically. All that said, here are a couple of DAOs I came across.
The first is called KlimaDAO who essentially has a goal of increasing the value of carbon assets and driving up the price of oil, gas, and the likes so much so that it becomes less affordable and pursuits around sustainable energy solutions become more coveted and a natural endeavor across the board. This project screams Ponzi scheme to me, but who knows, maybe it’s legit.
The DAO issues KLIMA tokens which are backed by 1 tonne of verified, tokenized carbon reduction/removal. The KLIMA treasury only accepts certified, third-party verified emissions reductions from reputable carbon offset/credit issuers. It was hard to follow exactly how the offsets are purchased by the DAO and how they play a role in driving up the cost of carbon assets. The idea is that the KLIMA (tokens mapped to carbon removal) will increase in value over time and so the organization members will profit from positive environmental change. While I’m wary of its legitimacy, it’s a project worth keeping an eye on. The project is powered by the Polygon (MATIC) blockchain network.
DAO IPCI (Integral Platform for Climate Initiatives) is another DAO with the climate in mind. It’s made for the carbon market institution and allows users to allocate and manage products like carbon offsets and carbon credits, but on the open blockchain. In theory, the transparency of blockchain is a great fit for carbon offsets as anyone can trace back the authenticity.
Next, I wanted to further explore DAO within the communities of artists and creators. PleasrDAO is a collective of early NFT collectors and digital artists. They seek to acquire ‘culturally significant’ pieces together. They want to fund important ideas, movements, and causes that could be found as blockchain NFTs.
Currently, they primarily acquire these NFTs and seek ways of distributing ownership amongst the DAO members. They intend to experiment with other possibilities in the world of community ownership, DeFi (decentralized finances), and digital art.
Another, artist and collector based DAO, is UltraDAO. They have a similar intention of collecting NFTs with cultural significance, however, their intentions span beyond just that. Here are a few additional things they mention on their website:
- Interest in buying art from under-represented artists
- Showcase collection in the metaverse
- Produce NFTs that fund other DAO initiatives
They are also working on an NFT project called WoodiesNFT. This essentially looks like another avatar project of generating numerous variations of an avatar with different traits like eyes, hats, clothing, etc. For an environmental impact, they are partnering with Trees for the Future and have committed to planting $1 million trees in sub-Saharan Africa.
All I can really conclude from looking through these projects is that we are in the early days. The technology is nascent and there is a lot of development ahead. We won’t be seeing DAOs come anywhere close to competing with the scale and value creation that firms and corporations currently provide. Building anything at that scale would be like trying to build a functional skyscraper out of Legos.
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