Dear Bankless Nation,
Happy new year 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.
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 ( 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?
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:
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.
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
- On-chain reputation
- 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.
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