When brands think of web3, they think of NFTs and the metaverse, of monetising branded assets and ‘immersive’ entertainment opportunities. But few, if any, are looking at the vast opportunity web3 – and its monolithic, if slightly lofty, promise of decentralisation – offers for the future of trust, social change and investing in what you believe in.
DAOs – pronounced ‘dows’, an acronym for Decentralised Autonomous Organisations – are potentially at the heartland of this promise. These communities have been described as the members’ clubs of web3, but it might be more accurate to describe a DAO as a group chat with a shared bank account, in which everyone in the group gets a vote on how the cash is spent.
Usually, when a DAO is founded there’s a seed pot, invested in by VCs or founders, and the pot grows as people buy the DAO’s tokens (a cryptocurrency specific to the DAO). Token holders also get voting rights on how cash is used or distributed.
DAOs are seen as mysterious and complex, but unlike metaverse experiences or branded NFT auctions, many of these self-governed communities have thus far proven themselves to be quietly useful in achieving social change. Musician, activist and self-proclaimed anarchist Nadya Tolokonnikova is responsible for two DAOs of note, for example.
With rising concern over governments and big tech platforms controlling people’s online behaviour, interest in DAOs is growing