An Idea For Team Taxonomy aka WTF is a Guild?

An Idea For Team Taxonomy aka WTF is a Guild?

“Taxonomy” is a $5 word for “naming system”. Serving on the Grants Committee this season has given me first-hand experience on how difficult it can be to navigate the different types of teams we have at BanklessDAO, let alone try to judge them for funding purposes. I believe that by agreeing on a taxonomy, we can ease a lot of the friction we have at the DAO.

The Problem

  • Teams have designations of: project, guild, committee, program, etc. There is no common definition for these “team types”, which makes it difficult to judge whether or not these teams are fulfilling their purpose.
  • Funding at BanklessDAO is a chaotic and stressful process, which contributors have come to dread.
  • There’s a big discrepancy in compensation around the DAO, which ties directly to the funding process.

The Idea

Let’s create a taxonomy (i.e. naming system) for teams from the funding perspective.

Why a taxonomy? Naming things will allow us to attach a purpose to each type of team. Purpose provides focus, which will hopefully make the funding process smoother and easier. It will also allow us to compare teams of the same type, which may allow us to moderate some compensation discrepancies.

Why from the funding perspective? We’re a decentralized org that believes in team empowerment. Ideally, BanklessDAO has as little “central influence” as possible on our teams while still providing some direction towards our vision. As a DAO, one of our few centralized parts is our treasury (aka our funding source). By constraining our taxonomy to funding, we can provide clarity for funding while leaving as much scope as possible to individual teams.

Defining Teams

BanklessDAO is a team of teams - we have to work together not just as individuals, but as teams, too. At the same time, we don’t want to enforce any specific way of working within teams - that would reduce their autonomy, which defeats the purpose of being decentralized.

Instead, we can focus on the “shape” of teams, aka their inputs and outputs. This allows teams to act any way they want internally, while still being able to work with other teams. To do that, we need to agree upon a shared model we can use to define teams. Here’s a simple template for documenting teams that I’ve used in the past.

Team Name: Sample Team
Purpose: A single sentence which summarizes why this team exists.

Rights (can dos) Responsibilities (must dos)
A set of authorities that a team has. Responsibilities associated with the rights
Authorities/rights are essentially decision-making abilities If you have a responsibility to do something, but not the authority, it leads to unhappiness

A Draft Taxonomy

Here’s a draft taxonomy I came up with for BanklessDAO:

Every team is either funded or unfunded, and then further classified based on when/how they are funded. More details on each below.


Our “organizational primitive” - every group of contributors is a team.

Unfunded Teams

Unfunded teams include uncompensated teams like multisig holders and pre-funded projects like Bankless Card. Because they aren’t funded, they have no defined responsibilities to BanklessDAO (at least from a funding perspective, which is what this post is all about).

Funded Teams

Funded teams use BanklessDAO funding and therefore have certain responsibilities to the DAO. All projects, guilds, and any other group that uses BanklessDAO funding is part of this group, and therefore have the following rights and responsibilities:

Rights (can dos) Responsibilities (must dos)
Can use DAO funding in any way they see fit Must keep a public accounting of BANK spend
Must maintain a Notion page
Must maintain a Discord channel
Must report on progress monthly
If asking for more than 100K BANK, must have a multisig with at least 3 signers


Guilds are responsible for attracting, retaining, and upskilling talent, and nothing else. They are funded teams, so they inherit the rights and responsibilities above.

Guilds are a core function of BanklessDAO and we therefore expect to fund guilds in perpetuity. At the same time, we also want to keep them focused on talent, hence the following responsibilities:

All rights and responsibilities for Funded Teams, plus…

Rights (can dos) Responsibilities (must dos)
Can expect recurring, automatic seasonal funding from the DAO forever (using the formula below) Must have a documented governance process for electing roles and coordinators
Must maintain an auditable list of active members
Seasonal Guild funding = 195 general role hours * 1000 BANK/hour
                         +13 Notion admin role hours * 1000 BANK/hour
                         + (# active members * 10,000 BANK)
  • 195 general role hours amounts to 3 roles at 5 hours/wk for 13 weeks (season)
    • Guilds can choose the number and type of roles for which to use the funding. Some suggested roles are: Guild Coordinator, Education Lead, and Talent Lead
  • Notion Administration is 1hr/wk for 13 weeks (as per this forum proposal)
  • “Active members” needs to be defined (likely by meeting attendance and/or output).
    • I suggest that we let guilds define their own “active member” metric, and show their work, so that we can find the best mechanism through decentralized experimentation. Eventually, once we have found the mechanism that works best, we can have all guilds use the same definition.
    • The 10K BANK/member/season could be used by guilds in any way they like. They could use it to fund additional roles (if you’re a big guild, you may need another talent coordinator) or bounties (perhaps for meeting minutes?) or for infrastructure.
  • Why 10,000 BANK? It’s what was suggested in Guilds as Professional Associations, and currently used by the PM Guild. Check out the poll below if you’d rather it was more or less?

POLL: What do you think of the proposed automatic Guild funding mechanism?

  • I like it!
  • It’s interesting, but I have some issues with it which I will share in a comment
  • I don’t like it, and I’ll tell you why in a comment

0 voters

POLL: How many general role hours should a guild have?

  • 195 ( 3 roles @ 5 hrs/wk )
  • 260 ( 4 roles @ 5 hrs/wk )
  • 300 ( 3 roles @ 10 hrs/wk )
  • Something else (please comment below)

0 voters

POLL: How much should guilds get per active member?

  • 5,000 BANK/season/member
  • 10,000 BANK/season/member
  • 15,000 BANK/season/member
  • Something else (please comment below)

0 voters


Departments are funded teams that are responsible for keeping the DAO running (aka infrastructure teams). Because they are essential services, they are funded every season, forever. Because the purpose and scope of these groups is varied, they must present budget requests for approval (similar to the current seasonal funding process).

Examples of groups like this are: Operations Guild, Treasury Guild, InfoSec Team, and Grants Committee. They have the following rights and responsibilities:

All rights and responsibilities for Funded Teams, plus…

Rights (can dos) Responsibilities (must dos)
Can expect seasonal funding from the DAO forever Must have a documented governance process for electing roles and coordinators
Must present a seasonal budget request for funding
Must endeavour to improve processes every season


Projects are responsible for pursuing BanklessDAO’s mission, either directly (like Bankless Academy) or by somehow improving our organization (like Notion Decentralization). Individually, they are not essential or core functions of BanklessDAO, and are therefore also expected to strive for self-sovereignty (i.e. eventually being able to survive without BanklessDAO funding).

Projects are NOT part of a seasonal funding process - they must submit a proposal every time they want funding (similar to a startup who raise funds in rounds like Seed, Series A, Series B, etc). This will (hopefully) encourage projects to show forward progress every time they request funding, and to figure out ways to survive on their own.

All rights and responsibilities for Funded Teams, plus…

Rights (can dos) Responsibilities (must dos)
Can request funding from BanklessDAO at any time Must gain consensus around funding requests (i.e. forum quorum)
Must submit a proposal which includes expected use of funds
Must publicly post KPIs once a month

POLL: What do you think of the proposed ad-hoc Project funding mechanism?

  • I like it!
  • It’s interesting, but I have some issues with it which I’ll share in a comment
  • I don’t like it, and I’ll tell you why in a comment

0 voters

Benefits of the Draft Taxonomy

  • Seasonal funding effort is reduced by 85% (from 28 guilds/projects down to ~4 departments)
    • This would reduce contributor stress around seasons and allow us to take the time to set our Departments up for success each season
  • More clarity around types of teams and expectations
    • Now when you submit a funding proposal, you’ll know whether to label it as a guild/department/project, and our community will better be able to judge based on expectations of each
    • This will also allow us to compare groups (particularly guilds) to learn from those who are most successful
  • Standardized funding for guilds should help us ease some compensation issues around the DAO

What do YOU Think?

These are just ideas - by discussing them we can improve them, so be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments!

…for the sake of measuring consensus, here’s a poll:

POLL: What do you think of the Draft Taxonomy?

  • Love it! Grants Committee should implement it as soon as possible
  • I agree in general, but have some questions/comments/concerns, which I will leave in a comment below.
  • I don’t agree with this and I’ll tell you why in a comment below.

0 voters


I see the intent of normalizing guild funding by the number of active members to balance the guild allocations, and in principle, this might be good. One effect of implementing that is that guilds may be incentivized to define their “active member” status loosely, in order to boost their membership and obtain more funds.

It would be nice if we could cap guild funding and make it so that it’s active contributor-based only up to some reasonable maximum (50? idk), so guilds can’t forever grow and take more share of seasonal allocations. Hopefully we can eventually get to a point where capital is more strategically allocated to projects based on revenue forecasting and really reward and grow the teams that execute.


Yes, this is absolutely a concern, which is why I suggested we allow guilds to experiment with mechanisms. As long as they show their work (i.e. the numbers are auditable) then we can have discussions on whether or not these are truly ACTIVE members. Then we can try to standardize the metric based on the results of the conversation.

What’s wrong with a guild having 100 active members? Aren’t they really doing their job well if that’s the case, and therefore SHOULD get more funding?

I like the idea of standardizing the budget process but need some more data to really be able to vote for the guild funding. For example, Writers Guild currently has a Guild Coordinator, Gov Coordinator, Talent Scout, and Treasurer, is this the most common guild structure? Should certain roles be required (Coordinator and Talent Scout), while others are optional depending on the guilds needs?

Regarding the BANK x active members, what is that budget used for? One could say it is for onboarding and education of members, but is that really happening in all guilds? 10k bank per member seems like a lot if there are not clearly defined uses for that budget request. There also seems to be some efficiency gained at higher numbers of active members, a guild with ten members will have a higher cost/member than a guild with 100 members.

I would like to see us move in this direction, maybe starting with a guild survey to establish some baseline numbers would help us move in this direction.


I share @siddhearta 's POV. I would love a firmer understanding of the delta between current guild funding and where this model would take us.

If we were to take a snapshot of S4 (budget, roles, membership) and compare it to this model, how does every guild compare?

There are also certain guilds that pursue revenue AND act as a talent pool - how should guilds treat revenue seeking initiatives?

Ultimately, I think this is one of the best mechanics we can implement to really solidify guilds & calm the seasonal funding mess. I love the delineation of guilds and departments, that’s been a long time coming I think.

There’s a lot we don’t know about how this will impact the DAO - but I think the framework is a great shift in the right direction and I hope we can have some faith to implement it first, and tweak it later.


They can have as many members as they want, and yes that is a great measure of success, but should we really tell them they’ll get more budget for every new member without bound? I guess my point is that we should take care that allocations to guilds don’t grow unsustainably. A cap just seems reasonable to avoid gaming the system. The guild funding max can be seasonal and grow as the DAO does. That way we can ensure the majority of treasury’s BANK emissions are into projects with potential for revenue and user outreach.


Yeah, it’s true…we don’t want a single guild to dominate the seasonal emissions. What cap do you think is reasonable? 2M BANK?

@jameswmontgomery.eth and @siddhearta , i made a spreadsheet for you using the June’s meeting attendance as the “active member” metric (yes, I manually got attendance by going to every guild’s Notion page): Guild Funding Changes - Google Sheets.

Some notes:

  • some guilds don’t take attendance, or even worse DON’T TAKE MEETING NOTES AT ALL. This is an accountability issue IMO, and maybe tying Guild Funding to basic artifacts like this will help increase accountability
  • Even with this limited view, you start to get a picture of which guilds are efficiently attracting talent and which aren’t

Getting this kind of data was part of the intention of the GSE workgroup explained below. Analytics guild is working on it so I’ll follow up with them. If there is more data we need to be able to make stronger proposals, we’ll have it added.


I find this conversation fascinating.

While I agree with links, I don’t think a cap on funding would be necessarily a productive solution, I also think we should add guild contributors as opposed to per member.

Of course, each guild is free to define their membership as they please, and they should do so, the criteria for a guild member should be reflected in the value an extra member would bring to the guild. it doesn’t matter if that value is one extra video edited per week, or translation or article.

If a guild wants to receive funding per active member, it should be able to prove that its membership criteria adds value to the DAO.


Based on the BANK’s price we should probably be fairly flexible with the amount of BANK we allocate or expect to allocate from season to season or month to month, particularly if we want to incentives sustainable, good quality contribution.

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I really appreciate and support the progression towards a formal taxonomy so that we can bring clarity to our funding processes.
Reducing the seasonal budget burden on guilds and departments would be a positive step, but I have two pieces of feedback about this. One is that ‘forever’ is a very long time and not something any of us should commit to –

Can expect … funding from the DAO forever

The other is that there will be a need for discussion and education about what activities fall under the definition of “attracting, retaining, and upskilling talent”. We might need an ontology too links :wink:

My other piece of feedback, and I know you were just using it as an example, is that meeting attendance is not a fair indicator of active guild membership. I remember asking if we had comparative numbers around how budget allocations would change when the previous guild vs. project post was put up, so I agree that would be a good ‘due diligence’ step before proceeding with any changes.

bDAO is lucky to have you as a contributor, links. Thank you!


I agree with this proposal 100%, but also acknowledge Sid and James concerns as legitimate. We are in dire need of this framework even if the metrics are loosely based it would be a great starting point. I recommend using the time remaining in S4 to refine this post with input from Analytics and include this in the S5 spec


@Berg, I think this is a great idea :+1:t2:

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Are there projects that are already self sustaining…?

I guess there should be enough emphasis, for these projects to define Roadmap to Sovereignty as one of their primary objectives, and team to have workable plan for the same in place, while asking for funding. This can set the tone right, for everything else.

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I like this, one questions is should entities, like multisig holders, have the ability to vote on proposals? Like if I was a funded project could we vote for proposals that we think could benefit us? and if not should we consider some sort of citizens passport or something. Also I love this proposal by the way, I think its a great idea!

While it might be harder to vote on snapshot with a multisig, I think it is technically possible. Would be an interesting incentives for projects to hold BANK