Annual Letter to BanklessDAO

Dear Bankless Nation,

Happy new year :partying_face: Wishing you all the best for 2022!

I’ll be rambling a bit in this post, but I wanted to take this opportunity to share some perspectives and personal thoughts as we head into the new year.

Perspectives

This is still a grand experiment

When BanklessDAO launched on May 4th 2021, no one could have imagined what the state of the DAO would have looked like at the end of the year.

Yet here we stand 8 months later and this DAO has materially affected dozens, if not hundreds of our lives. How many of us have quit our jobs to go full-time DAO? How many more have transitioned to part-time or earned supplemental income? How many of us have found a meaningful way to contribute within a healthy community of peers working towards something greater?

It’s easy to look from the inside and be bullish on BanklessDAO (as you should be!) but I want to be mindful that this is still just a grand experiment. No one knows for certain if this… thing we’re all building together will last. It’s hard to build a sustainable company, let alone one that is meant to operate in a decentralized way (:point_left: what does that mean btw??? ). Statistically, BanklessDAO is destined to fail. But over here, we make our own destiny.

A quick note for anyone that is considering quitting and going full-time DAO: High risk, high reward. What’s your risk tolerance?

We’re building the future of work

As the DAO continues to mature, we risk moving towards that which we seek to free ourselves from.

Our DAO has attracted people that want to move from CORPrat to DAOpunk. The DAOpunk manifesto reflects this well:

DAOpunks’s mission is to enable humans to liberate themselves from the soul-sucking drudgery of default world work and lead them to the rewarding, expansive freedom found in meaningful DAO work.

This isn’t our mission, but we’ve established a culture of meaningful work, collaboration, and empowerment. We cannot lose this.

PS. - Congrats to @samanthaj to being the latest addition to the full-time DAO squad:

Community is everything. We’re all leaders.

The switching cost for DAOs is next to nothing. In traditional companies, you go through extensive hiring processes before receiving a salaried position with benefits. In DAOs, that usually doesn’t exist. Join a discord, start providing value, get paid.

The “stickiness” of a DAO is its mission and culture. Our mission and brand recognition drive people to join, but it’s you that get people to stay. If people feel heard, included, valued, and recognized, they will stick around. It’s up to you to infuse culture into everything we do.

How are meetings run? How does work get distributed? How is trust earned? How do we create space for new ideas and inclusivity?

BanklessDAO doesn’t have a formal group of bosses and management. In that sense, we’re all leaders. If you’re in a position of soft power in the DAO (ie, you’ve been around long enough and people listen to you), it’s your responsibility to perpetuate our culture.

Good vibes only.

Governance is everyone’s responsibility

We still have a lot to figure out. DAO-ing it isn’t easy and the rules, processes, framework, and models we adopt will affect everyone. So whether this is within your local guild or DAO-wide, you must take part in governance conversations.

One of our strength is in our diversity of thought and experience. Please speak up. Together, we will make this a better space for everyone.

h/t to @nonsensetwice for beating this into my head

2022: The year of discomfort

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what 2022 has in store for BanklessDAO and I keep going back to one thing - We’re going to experience a lot of discomfort.

Discomfort isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Discomfort is when your muscles ache after a tough workout. Discomfort is when you face a difficult truth about yourself. Discomfort is the anxiety of change. Discomfort is what you feel when you are forced to grow.

And you can bet that BanklessDAO needs to see some major growth in 2022. Here are some things I’m thinking about:

Sustainability

BanklessDAO spends a lot of money:

  • Season 0 spend: 1M BANK
  • Season 1 spend: 11M BANK
  • Season 2 spend: 20.5M BANK
  • Season 3 spend (anticipated): 28.5M BANK
  • Total: 61M BANK

Not including S3, we’ve spend 32.5M BANK, which sits at 10 cents per BANK = 3.25M USD. Not including BANK, our treasury sits at 321,000 USD. I know comparing a fluctuating assets doesn’t always mean much, but we’re only capturing 10% of value for each dollar we spend. This is not sustainable.

We’re not in danger anytime soon. BanklessDAO’s treasury vests 40% of all tokens until May 2024, which equates to 11.1M BANK per month, with an optional inflation mechanic of an additional 2% per year afterwards.

But unless we learn to be sustainable, we will eventually run dry and BanklessDAO will be a dud. That’s not a good vibe.

Strategy

Sustainability comes from having a good strategy. How do we allocate resources and why? This will be a big question this year and will require us to be on the same page.

Our strategy thus far has been “Fund everything that falls within our broad mission.” Which was fine when we didn’t really know what BanklessDAO was going to turn into.

But as we have matured, we need to learn to be pickier with our decisions and make sure we maximize the value we can return from investing resources, money, and time.

Governance

Our governance processes need a facelift. I’m starting to realize (to no one’s surprise) that pure community voting isn’t a sufficient governance mechanism. It’s necessary, as it empowers community participation and ownership, but it’s not sufficient, as it leads to the problem of voting “Yes” on just about everything.

In 2022, we must evolve our governance models:

  • Delegated voting
  • Defined powers
  • Balance of powers
  • More “guiding documents” like the Seasonal Spec
  • Clear evaluation frameworks for saying yes and no (ie Strategy)

Personally, I’m quite bullish on this. These are the problems I like to think about the most and I have a lot of ideas.

SubDAOs

As we grow, we’re starting to see continued conversation on SubDAOs. But like… WTF is a SubDAO??? (I’m actually writing an article for HQ next Wed, which is why I haven’t written a brain dump on this yet.)

SubDAOs scale BanklessDAO outwards. But as we do so, it’s important for us to remain aligned. BanklessDAO does a phenomenal job of creating value, but is mediocre at capturing that value we produce.

If we go down the SubDAO route without clear guidance, we risk spinning out DAOs that have extracted resources, labor, and media reach of the DAO without providing much in return.


There’s more I’m thinking about:

  • Tokenomics
  • On-chain reputation
  • Compensation
  • Membership benefits

And more. There’s a lot to do, but this is a marathon, not a sprint.

I think the [Draft 1] Governance Solutions Engineer Program is a possible step at tackling some of these issues or at least helping us find the right model to work on meta-problems. But like I said, it’s all an experiment.

Conclusion

Okay, I need to wrap this up and head to a meeting. One final note: Gratitude

Thank you to everyone that has been a part of this journey, not matter how big or small. You have materially changed my life for the better and I am eternally grateful for having this opportunity.

If I’m being honest, I’m scared. I’m terrified of this thing we’re building going to shit, affecting my mental health, and stressing me the fuck out. But whenever I do feel that way, I always remind myself that I have a fantastic community of peers to fall back on. We’re all so incredibly lucky to be in a privileged position to have an internet connection and get paid for by a DAO. Always remember that.

We’re headed west. This is the frontier. It’s not for everyone, but for us, it is

Love you all. Happy new year :heart:

31 Likes

Happy to read through your thoughts Frog :two_hearts:
Let’s hope we can bring in more revenue from other DAOs this season.

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I think of this as largely a product of open ballets. Sometimes people just don’t want to make waves. We even have votes here where the choices are essentially Yes or No - Explain Yourself. Also, vote choices can be super biased, like Yes, I love the DAO or No, I hate everything.

Governance has caught me by surprise since I got here - I didn’t know it was a topic I was interested in.

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I am glad that people are devoting more and more time to the Bdao as @frogmonkee said High risk high reward cheers and much congratulations to @everyone who is making this dream a reality we can only say thank you with a token of gratitude and appreciation. @frogmonkee we value your leadership Thank you and take care. WAGMI :muscle:

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You have all of our support mate. Hope we have a great year ahead of us. :muscle:

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Always a good reminder!

Can’t really articulate how much this resonated with me being a DAO newbie, but thanks for saying this.

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Happy New Years @frogmonkee !!

Just super glad to have you on the BanklessDAO team.

Up only ser.

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Best Wishes on a New Year to all that DAO!! The refinements you propose @frogmonkee will surely lift the DAO to a whole new level. Glad you are here!

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As a relative newcomer (Nov. '21) to BanklessDAO, I have wondered about whether the Grants Committee has a strategy for achieving its mission. Not saying that you all haven’t been strategic, it was just a curiosity of mine because the organization is so young.

Wanting to work on this question and be part of the solution is what inspired me to apply for a position on the Season 3 Grants Committee. I think that there is a ton of potential for Bankless DAO to be strategic with its investments while continuing to support innovative projects and embodying what we love about working in a DAO. We can be smart stewards of the BANK treasury without going too corpo!

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Well written article.

I think the issue with voting is that it considers each proposal and project in isolation.

Should I get an ice cream— YES
Should I get a hotdog — YES
Should I get a pizza — HELL YES.

Would i want to get all three at the same time together? Maybe not.

So we need to kinda, piece things together to see the big picture. Not sure if we can transition to more sophisticated forms of voting.

For example:
Today, my plan is to eat hotdog in the morning, then eat ice cream during lunch, then get pizza during dinner. And because dinner is great and I have friends, I will spend 3x more on my dinner than my hotdog and icecream.

Hahaha, TLDR: why am I talking about food? I think we need to weave some proposals together and compare them side by side, to get a feel of how it fits together, instead of single issue voting.

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Legendary! Huge gratitude to all of you… lets start solving!

Happy New Year everybody.

@frogmonkee a huge thank you to YOU.

You’re doing a bang-up job dewd. Keep doing what you’re doing :+1::+1:

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Excited to join in - still even working out how to buy BANK that’s how newbie I am but have listened to hours and hours of the pod and like what is building