BanklessDAO Governance Architecture - Draft 1


This document serves to kick off a discussion to explicitly define and gain consensus on some of the different organizational components and units at the DAO.


A Decentralized Autonomous Organization that is a collection of organizational units oriented around its mission(in this case onboarding 1 billion into crypto).

Grants Committee:
Oversight committee that has defined powers and potentially checks, that asses funding requests and distributes funding based on the mission of the DAO, and orientation of the season. Powers need to be further defined.

Curated talent pools that are considered public goods. They are not profit seeking, and have governmental structures and generally democratic processes. They will always be a cost, and curate talent and organization at the DAO to support projects.

Intentional (and potentially interguild) groups that focus on guiding the DAO through proposals and oversight. Departments are a part of guilds, that will be overseen by the guild, and funded as part of the guild.

Example departments:

Short term groups spun up to investigate issues and topics, and create actionable proposals for the department, Guild and ultimately the DAO.

Example Committees:
Tokenomics Treasury Diversification Committee - Intent is to diversify treasury.
PLM - Working group to provide guidance to the DAO on project lifecycle management.

Profit seeking, or non-profit entities that have their own defined structures, governance, and revenue models. They resource talent from guilds, based on the guidance of departments. They are funded and vetted via proposals to the DAO and the grants committee and are accountable to the grants committee and the DAO.

Example Projects:
Bankless Academy


  • Approve Above Definitions
  • Needs Modifications

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Powers, Checks and Balances:

Beyond these definitions, I think the powers of each of these bodies should be defined, checked and balanced. The idea of checks and balances is to support equitable decisions being made DAO wide, and ultimately maintaining alignment amongst these entities.

An example being, GC has powers, Guilds have powers, and Projects have powers, and these different entities could veto each other with enough consensus to some defined degree.

Additional forum post required, post consensus on this proposal!


Could you elaborate on this point? Why make this distinction?

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Because I think that supports the Guilds maintaining focus on their purpose, and alignment with the DAO.

I think when Guilds seek profit, it starts to muddy their purpose and downstream efforts , and introduces incentives that may misalign with the DAO.

Additionally, I think that GC creates a check on a lot of processes and funding, AND I think Guilds and projects should additionally have powers that can check the decisions of the GC.

But dependence on a governing body, supports alignment(both GC to Guilds and Guilds to GC). Ideally done in a fair, equitable, and as non-biased way as possible. (Rough draft thinking…)


We talked briefly about this in PLM, but the two main issues I have:

  • defining guilds as « public good »
  • enshrining these structures as a core part of our governance seems premature

For guilds-as-public-good: this just feels like a blank cheque. Guilds are a huge burn on our seasonal spend, and calling something a « public good » gives a lot of impetus to fund a cost sink with no plan for sustainability. Example: DevOps. Why is the Dev Guild funding project infrastructure? What happens when a project takes off and costs balloon? Will Dev Guild (aka the BanklessDAO treasury) continue to subsidize these expenses? Will projects appear sustainable on paper while being subsidized by public goods?

It’s an intentional extreme take for illustration purposes. DevOps has value to the public, but by bundling it in guild budgets rather than letting it stand on its own, we’re entrenching unsustainable processes into our funding model. Imagine instead a DevOps service that had reliable, predictable costs, that projects could pay for to ease estimation and deployment. That shift makes all stakeholders win (project, DevOps group, BanklessDAO-at-large)

In general I believe guilds should provide value to the DAO by providing value to their members. I see guilds more as a professional association that collects, rates, and helps distribute talent. They could be a warm welcome for new members, and a place to grow and find work for established members.

I further think the entire seasonal funding process could be streamlined by funding guilds by active members. A flat x BANK/member would significantly ease seasonal funding stress and effort. Guilds could still run departments like DevOps, but having fixed budgets will force them to run them sustainably.

As for enshrinement - I actually think grants committee as it is could be greatly improved, and adding a bunch of dependencies on it will hold us back from improving it. Personally I’d rather see grants as a representative democracy. Any BANK holder could delegate their BANK votes to multiple individuals. Delegates with > x BANK are remunerated for the time it takes to evaluate funding proposals.

It’s too early for us to be adding more codified pieces of governance. If we concentrate on refining just one aspect (grants) to really work for us, it gives lots of room for the rest of our org to explore and innovate. Codifying everything now will cull the explosive creation that’s happening here.


Oh yea, agree 100%.

Accountability is important, and ideally we need a web of accountability that is interrelated and supported by powers that are checks upon the different groups.

I think our ideal model is interdependence.

Hmmm, I agree in terms of supporting the creativity and that they shouldn’t be codified, although I think it is important that we are explicit in our definitions of the different organizational units, which is what this post aims to do.

How they interrelate I think is still up for discussion and debate.

100% agree.

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I agree with this idea. This is a new model for me—previously, I would’ve been inclined to agree with Iced on “guilds as a public good.” But you’re right—they’re a huge cost center and they absolutely should be paid out based on membership. A smaller guild can get away with 1-3 roles, whereas a bigger guild needs 5+. Therefore, more remuneration. Also, do all guilds get the same coordinape funding regardless of size? Keeping better track of size means we can give guilds proper allocations.

This opens the discussion of how to determine membership in guilds, which, after our Writers Guild discussion on it, is a pretty thorny topic!

@links I’d love to see a forum post on guilds as professional associations. (Isn’t that what “guild” is defined as in Merriam-Webster, anyway?!) I’d be happy to collaborate on it. I really really dig that new framework.

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Generally in agreement that guilds should not be focused on generating revenue, but rather fostering talent and staffing downstream projects that do generate revenue. But within bounds as well - As links said, they are a huge cost center and we need to sustain them.

I’m hoping that, as part of the GSE program under Contribute Alignment we’ll begin to standardize guild practices.

On another note, I like the abstraction of Departments, but disagree with the definition.

I see Departments as ways to tackle specific verticals in the DAO. The most obvious departments in my mind are Media and Membership Benefits. Or even the recent Branding discussion.

These Depts serve as a meta-coordination layer for existing DAO projects. In this way, Tokenomics would not be a department, but something else entirely. Personally, I see Governance, GC, and Tokenomics as their own class of org primitives.

The Media Department would work with media products (newsletters & podcasts) and provide services like:

  • Partnerships
  • Sponsorships

Membership Perks could be:

  • Adfunistration
  • Partnership (eg, discounts on events or whatever)

In this sense, Adfunistration is less of a department and more a domain within a broader department.

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