Emergent DAO Structure Support & Services

*Originally posted as GDoc in Discord #ops-general; advised by @frogmonkee to repost here instead. I was unable to post multiple links and media as a new user limitation so original doc is here: Google Doc Version with Images

An Emerging Ops Model

Author: Bpetes#9961 (joined May 31st)

Intent: Early-stage reflections, sense-making, and a desire for directional feedback if ideas in here are interesting/useful

TL;DR: I’m sensing that this organization is exponentially growing whilst quickly moving towards a style of self-organization that has standardized internal/external informational and value exchanges that can have an incredible pace of innovation and productivity…but to keep Maloch pushed away (without sacrificing autonomy, creativity, freedom, and ‘a sense of play’) there are lots of opportunities to map and garden some new structural and behavioral workflow affordances. That this ‘job to be done’ could perhaps be a service guild (unless I’m missing that it already is one) or additional projects under the Ops Theme and Initiatives. I’m keen to contribute to this and have some ideas on some emerging opportunities outlined below that I’d love to workshop on with others.

Background: I’m very inspired by what I’ve seen in my first few days playing this amazing game called Bankless DAO (particularly outro discussions at Project Management Meta Planning Meeting Jun 2). I’ve often thought of the Future of Work as being much more like playing a MMORPG and caught glimpses of it in a ‘game of work’ I played in circa 2017 with a network of 1,200 active BUIDLers and 30+ projects. Hanging in this Bankless community is the first time I’ve viscerally felt this style of ‘self-organizing’ work at a similar scale/pace. It’s returning memories and ideas from that time period that I’d like to share here for feedback. My hope: There’s interest and guidance will be provided to dive deeper with existing workstreams and DAO members to further explore. My fear: this isn’t resonating and it was a bit of a reach to share this after only observing things for a couple of hours at most.

Reflections on Structure & Behavioural Protocols

The structure in communities like this one are very amorphous at first. That said, it appears in Season 0 that lots of structure emerged along with some shared language and ontology. It appears also to be loosely codified (but not ossified). Additionally, several social norms or behavioral protocols have been established as a baseline and are documented for foundational activities like ‘decision making’. Below are some reflections on the structure and behavioral protocols/norms and some possible opportunities for consideration.


Current State

Example of emerging ontology:

  • This awesome post on the ‘DAO talent stack’ by @frogmonkee – link in GDoc version

I love the early recognition that communities like this run on talent and the focus on how talent structures itself into layers, teams, and/or protocols. I see an early structural ontology emerging and this is great for a shared language that guides talent to a place where they can intersect their passions/skills with emerging DAO needs.

I perceive something like this based on the above link combined with DAOism

  • Guilds - groups of similar talent and expertise
    • Find your skill tribe
    • Find talent for emerging cross-functional projects
    • Services for internal coordination (e.g. Ops, Legal, Finance, Marketing)
  • Projects - a way to channel talent towards specific valued outcomes
    • thematically grouped
    • categorized into initiatives
    • directed by goals/kpis
  • Roles - I’ve noticed some language emerging here but still pretty nascent (coordinator, champion, etc)

Image in original GDOc version


The structure doesn’t (yet) seem to have affordances to transact with one another and open up emergent markets (aside from tipbot) and all treasury related resources flow entirely via proposals.

I suspect over time that there will be an opportunity to allow more established guilds (or projects that mature into standing micro-enterprises) to have some autonomy over a localized treasury via proposals and/or seasonal planning protocols.

The decentralized and autonomous culture of Bankless could benefit from anticipating these emerging opportunities/needs and building minimum viable scaffolding to support it in advance of when it’s needed (else Maloch returns). Similar to the adage “If you’re not embarrassed you’re not shipping code/product early enough” organizational ops support/design should adhere to "If you’re not thinking it’s a bit too much structure while designing it; Maloch will return before you deploy it in exponentially growing communities’’ There’s an opportunity to start treating structure like an internal service or product and doing design thinking and ethnographic research on an ongoing basis to test possible models with dedicated resourcing on this.

Below is a possible simplified model that may be interesting to explore as a starting point

Image in GDoc Version

Behavioural Protocols

Current State

Example of emerging codification:

DAOisms identify a lifecycle for decision making (diagrammed below because I’m a visual person). This is enough structure to help someone new navigate how to get their ideas out there and how they can progressively move towards a ‘community legitimized’ decision with some guidance of which conditions require harder consensus. The current design is great because it provides coaching and affordances for multiple paths to be taken as well as the ability to start or exit at almost any stage.

Image in GDoc Version


Many more flows and lifecycles are likely emerging and there’s perhaps a role for ‘community cartographers’ (or similar) to go out and map them, meme productive ones, and perhaps codify via proposal important ones. As these lifecycle flows stabilize general-purpose mapping and knowledge repo tools (e.g. notion/gdocs) may give way to new protocols and more purpose-built solutions (i.e. the cartographer can become an excellent signaller to the BanklessDAO community protocol backlog manifesting solutions in tools like DiscordBOTs, Existing purpose-built web2/web3 solutions, or new ones. Cartographers may also become 'gardeners over time being able to spot shared challenges and propose novel solutions that might help guide the system and not just observe it.

Example Lifecycles that could be mapped in the current state:

  • Decision Lifecycle (active - see above)
  • Project lifecycle (emerging)
  • Guild lifecycle (?)
  • Member lifecycle (active and expanding)

Possible future ones:

  • Product/Service lifecycle (feels like some current projects will birth products/services both internal and external that will have a continuous operation and perhaps one day even be ‘sunset’)
  • More granular life cycles as various classes or stages of things are observed
    • Membership feels like building and progressing a ‘character’ in a game. There could be various complexities and multiple paths for building your ‘character’ and in many ways already seem to exist and are expressed as levels.

If you read to the end of this midnight musing, thank you for your kindness.


I think this characterization describes our aspirational culture, not our actual culture, and that may be the point you were making here. am I correct? We are not very decentralized and not very autonomous right now. We’re probably right where we need to be, but at some point we will need to diverge from our current path if we want “DAO” to be descriptive. If I’m reading you correctly you are pointing this out and calling for anticipation of the structural needs that will enable us to scale and beat Moloch.

In a way it’s all about sacrificing one thing to optimize another. Think of the difference between Binance and Ethereum. Ethereum has sacrificed speed and fast growth to optimize for solving hard problems around decentralized coordination. Binance co-opted this tech and sacrificed decentralization to gain speed and fast growth. I’m not saying one model is superior in every situation, but there is very real tradeoff and we are making choices.

There is more going on than I can follow, so I’m holding these observations loosely and invite other perspectives, but from where I sit the “coordinator” roles are arguably the most identifiable points of centralization. We haven’t really figured out how to implement functional decentralized governance yet and we have a ton of energy and participation to direct so a small group of people are doing a lot of heavy lifting to compensate. Having people in these roles may be necessary in these early days. We gain a lot by doing things this way for now. I do like your vision of more guild autonomy.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about this and it sounds like you have as well. Questions keep coming up for me like what sacrifices/tradeoffs are we actually making? What are the opportunity costs involved in doing things this way? What vulnerabilities are we introducing? Is there a limit to how far we can scale the current structure? How does Moloch appear in the future? I’d be interested in working with you on these sorts of things!

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Thanks @Silver4k TL;DR after OP I’ve stumbled into some of your other thoughtful posts here on this topic and resonate and would love to work on this with you.

I believe that as a recent member onboarding the aspirational is the first signal I receive and the actual will be clearer to me as I steep into things. I like the polarities you’re framing here and trade-offs.

An emerging idea: I’m starting to become curious if there are opportunities for some guilds that are related to coordination skillsets to help start to decentralize things a bit (legacy language call these skills project management or organizational development/design/continuous learning) and that guilds like this could assist in roles embedded inside of projects, discover project portfolio and lifecycle practice, whilst also pooling knowledge and talent that can facilitate exploration of near-future leaning experiments thematically focused on ever more decentralized models of intra-DAO economic exchange and service agreements.


I love, love, love this. Let’s make it. It would be nice to have a space to think through building out the aspirational, even if it is not possible to implement yet.

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@Bpetes @Silver4k

To me, this sounds like yall are hypothesizing on possible decentralized coordination problems. That’s awesome.
We’re going to have to progressively decentralize over time. Planning ahead would influence the route we take.

Overall, great post. I found the framing of lifecycles really helpful.

@Silver4k find me on discord (DM/#op-general) and let’s coordinate some ways to prototype working on stuff like this.

Moving to #archive

Please reply if you’d like to keep it open