Reimaging Our DAO’s Direction: Harnessing Value and Fostering Sustainability

Dear bDAO Fam,

From my initiation as a contributor in Season 2, I’ve had an unwavering pride in our transparent, inclusive culture. It’s clear to me, as it is to all of us, that we’re cultivating an extraordinary community. Yet, we collectively face a pressing challenge: how do we effectively capture the value we create and establish a sustainable revenue stream?

In this post, I wanted to kick-start an open and meaningful discussion around this crucial matter. But before exploring potential pathways towards growth, let’s collectively tackle the issue by first understanding our present financial situation - our treasury status.

Treasury Status: A Snapshot :see_no_evil:

While the following figures may not provide a precise picture, they afford us a solid understanding of our current financial standing. As of now, our DAO treasury holds approximately USD 1.14 million in assets. This encompasses around USD 0.67 million worth of BANK tokens (233 million BANK), USD 0.1 million worth of ETH (58 ETH), and USD 0.07 million in stablecoins (USDC+DAI). The bDAO Treasury Report 2022 indicated a burn rate of approximately USD 0.2 million. Though we’ve seen improvements in the recent season, this indicates that revenue generation remains a top priority.

Origins of Our Treasury :money_mouth_face:

Our treasury has been historically funded through various sources, such as BANK token allocation, revenues from community-incubated projects, LP yields on DEXs, income from media content (sponsored content/marketing campaigns), grants, and donations, to name a few. To highlight, the DAO Punk NFT project, excluding BANK token allocation, has been the largest revenue source, accounting for most of the ETH in our treasury as far as I know. However, the NFT sale was completed a few seasons ago.

Your Ideas, Our Shared Future :green_heart:

The key to bDAO’s success resides within our community - your invaluable insights, perspectives, and creativity continually propel us forward. Now, it’s time we unite to discuss how we can enhance our revenue generation and secure a more sustainable future for our DAO.

To stimulate our discussion, consider these questions:

  • How can bDAO effectively capture the value our community generates?
  • What new avenues can we explore to diversify our revenue streams?
  • How can we optimize the utilization of our existing resources for income generation?
  • Given our current treasury status and project review, what projects should we consider for future development?
  • How can we boost the value proposition of our DAO to attract more members and investors?

Remember, no idea is too big or too small. By pooling our collective wisdom, we can secure the longevity and prosperity of bDAO.

Eagerly awaiting your ideas and looking forward to our fruitful discussions. :pray:

Best regards,

For reference: Projects’ Bank Consumption and Guilds’ Bank Consumption in 2022 from bDAO Treasury Report 2022


Wow 12 hours and no comment! Huge props on posting this, and many or us are talking about these things daily. We have needed a centering post to ground this discussion and be a gathering place for ideas, so let’s use this! Here’s my quick hot take - we’re a media DAO, and need to focus our revenue efforts on attracting sponsorships, partnerships, grants, and retro grants to all the projects that create original content and otherwise support those efforts through translations. BP and News recently brought on someone (or more like they agreed to come on board! :pray:) to help us better monetize our content, which is a great first step but just that, a first step.

The DAO is also an incubator for mission-aligned BanklessDAO-branded products and services. As far as I know, not many projects return 10% of their revenue to the DAO, as has been the historic norm. News and BP do, and I think DAOstewards does too, but I’m not sure there are many others.
I know @links has some thoughts around this stuff he should share because the are great :slight_smile:


Difficult times lead to profound decisions from the heart.
From my perspective, I welcome the transparency and effort that has been made to maintain the sustainability of our DAO.
I can think of more strategies to continue our exploration and perspective.
1.- We need to put that ETH to work, as a DAO, I think it is essential that we are running an ETH node and validating blocks, it is counter-intuitive that we are not participating in the autonomous governance of ethereum, having the means and the knowledge.
2.- Incentivise our DAOists to contribute to liquidity pools to encourage passive savings on their current assets. Create an intermediate level to make small pools in the time we expect tlBANK.
3.- Use tools and strategies to invite DAO’s, being the DAO as a service, as used as a ramp for web3 work for Consensys.
Just some of my thoughts =)


If the goal is revenue, we need to take into account our strengths and weaknesses to come up with viable rev-generation strategies. Here are a couple:

The Sell-our-Audience Strategy
Leverage the audiences of each of our media nodes for sponsors/ad revenue. Strength is that we have plenty of projects who are working to build audiences now, which are global and cross-media. The weakness is that it is difficult for potential sponsors/advertisers to understand what options are available, and that the quality of our media execution is variable. I believe @NFThinker and @Ornella are working on this strategy, as well as all contributors to media nodes like IMN, Newsletter, BP, podcasts, etc

The Sell-to-Bankless Strategy
The Bankless brand brings people from far and wide to our Discord and media channels. If we sell something they want to buy, we leverage our strength of brand and our skilled contributors. The hard part is building and maintaining a lovable product (lots of upfront and ongoing cost). @0xbaer is working on this for Bankless Wallet and i am as well for Bankless Card

The web3-tooling Strategy
Utilize the fact that we are the most DAOiest DAO to iterate on useful DAO tooling that can hopefully be sold to other web3 groups. This leverages our brand and DAO expertise. Weaknesses are the same as building a product (expensive upfront), and that most web3 orgs don’t have a willingness or ability to pay.

There are more strategies, but we mainly leave this kind of thinking to projects because our structure doesn’t make it easy to centralize strategy prioritization. We could change that by having some sort of strategy group which awarded more DAO resources to projects that pursued certain strategies (just an idea).

Notice above how I said “DAO resources”? That’s because we have more than just BANK, we also have stables, our audiences (managed by Marketing Dept and projects), and our brand. That last one we can’t actually deploy in a reliable way. bDAO is not a legal entity, and therefore cannot own intellectual property like a brand. If we had a DAO legal entity, we could perhaps entice BanklessHQ to allow us to delegate the brand to projects built at BanklessDAO. This would be another potent tool in the search for revenue and also allow us to create an IP policy for projects (see DEGEN project for why something like this could be useful).


Since we don’t own any brand IP, I guess we can’t sell merch?
Hosting a Shopify store that creatively promotes our mission on mugs & t-shirts could create a small revenue stream. Shopify offers web3 plugins now. This is low-hanging fruit that doesn’t solve any holistic issues… I imagine it’s been discussed already.


We have a pretty extensive merch history. In the past, we’ve sold merch through partnerships with MetaFactory, and we went native too. There’s actually an entire infrastructure built out under the Ultra Sound Merch project for paying for merch w/ BANK (fwir). @RedCrystalDragon might be the only original team member left who is active in the DAO.

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FWIW the Bankless Japan and Bankless Korea IMNs printed shirts with Bankless in katakana and hangul. We did these at-cost and bDAO members bought them more than outsiders. But it was a start, HQ loved seeing these shirts on socials and people at the events we attended wanted these shirts as well.

I think we can go far with merch and the permissions we have with the Bankless IP, if they are tastefully executed and cater to a specific niche.


Going to be pretty quick because I’m a bit tired.

  1. There are a few guilds that spend more time than not trying to siphon BANK from the treasury. I could name names but this is not that kind of thread and it’s unnecessary to the main point. Where it is relevant is that we need to see where the leaks are for the rapidly decreasing treasury.

  2. Typically business (of all shapes and sizes) have a goal of providing value. Our goals may be splintered between groups, guilds and projects. As we know, the growth path from start to finish is never a straight line, so that’s okay. However, the main alignment still needs to be there. So we as a DAO need a clear, strong goal to be productive.

  3. A basic goal can be to reach out to other daos as a sort of trusted advisor/consultant (I.e. bankless consulting on a larger sale)

Streamlining initiatives can also make us a cohesive unit.


Thanks @cryptodad. I think you’ve raised an important concern, and appreciate the breakdown here. Just outlining some thoughts, not directly on revenue generation but I believe it could open itself to better funding opportunities.

I think BanklessDAO should strengthen it’s positioning as a public good.

BanklessDAO is one of the few and only examples of a fully permissionless DAO who are largely non-technical and involved in a multitude of activities across media creation and beyond. Not to mention an extremely passionate community that care about the DAO and want to contribute towards it’s mission.

Aside from creating a number of projects that could be considered a public goods, BanklessDAO itself is one. It has contributed to the onboarding of perhaps 1000s of people into web3 as DAO contributors and educational efforts, without expectation of having to mint an NFT or any of that. It has provided a source of income to many across the world, and has incubated a number of projects from the ground up in a completely decentralized fashion. And created organizational structures and governing mechanisms across many many projects, guilds and departments, which, while work in progress, is quitely frankly a huge feat already.

This is a great display of the future of work and how it is being shaped inside decentalized organizations. And I think BanklessDAO is at the forefront of this effort, being kind of an OG DAO, which I’d say is ahead of many of it’s peers which started in 2020 / 2021, who either aren’t active anymore or have pivoted to closed / non-permissionless structures.

There is so much to be learnt from BanklessDAO. and I guess the newsletters and the Making Bank podcast are a good documentation of that.

But is there a way to encapsulate the impact of this organization on the lives of its contributors and consumers, AND its significance on the ecosystem?

I think we do a good job at it during our community calls and season kick-off twitter spaces, as it highlights the results of the DAO vs. individual projects. But can we better articulate that story about the DAO, and again, exemplify its significance to the ecosystem.


There is an intrinsic business model built into every DAO - at least as long as it’s organized around a specific purpose & attract/curate expert knowledge.

Sell the data (or some form of it) and use that to pay for permanent storage of it on something like Filecoin or Arweave. It creates a historical record and revenue.

This could be as simple as exporting contents of Discord (a gated space = high value) and posting it for sale on Ocean Protocol. One step better would be to create embeddings for fine-tuning LLMs. Quarterly updates to the dataset creates recurring demand. Privacy and deidentifying the data would be a concern that analytics guild could likely help with.

Theory behind this is called the web3 sustainability loop.


Advising and consulting is important, as is the importance of giving folks access to the treasure trove of data that is the 2+ years of Bankless DAO. This is one of the more popular, important DAOs. It would make sense to leverage. Agree with what you are saying.

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Everything you just said is perfect.

Now put a number on that, and you have a revenue stream. Providing value for the community.


Seems viable to me to sell sponsor packages at ~$500 - $2500/mth on 6mth commitments to get full exposure across all Bankless Media etc. I helped a YouTube chan do this a while back and it sold out with 5 recurring subscriptions, so like $5k - $10k’ish/mth recurring

Happy to discuss this further with anyone and narrow down a possible game plan
cc @NFThinker


I have a strong lead for this angle atm, would need some creative thinking tho…who’s the right BD lead to brainstorm with on dis?

I will say @jarisjames

Cool, I just pinged him on Twitter, what’s the best way to reach?

Thank you for raising this topic; it’s definitely a challenge we will need to approach collectively. I’ve always believed that bDAO’s value is much greater than the sum of the group of individuals that contribute here.

It seems to me that the absence of clear direction weighs us down at times, but that we also need to recognise that making the path as we go is bound to involve a few dead ends and rough patches.

I wish I could say I know without a doubt what our direction should be. I think producing content is our best bet - but what we need to refine are the distribution models that allow us to sustain our efforts. Also note my definition of content is pretty broad here but I equate it to the ‘web3 onramps’ that our current mission statement references.

The most pressing action we need to take is to stop distributing BANK to guilds, or at least to limit it to nominal amounts. Honestly, I look at guild budgets and I see wasted BANK. I say this having been fortunate to hold roles in a couple of guilds and I don’t mean guilds have no value. They have a place as shared spaces for learning and discussion, but I don’t think these activities should be supported by the amount of BANK currently given. Part of being a professional in your chosen field is to voluntarily contribute to the shared conversation and the development of each other as peers. While there might be small compensation given for someone to coordinate some of the activity, I think most of it can and should be driven by the group without financial incentive.

The graph included shows the distribution of BANK to guilds, but what it doesn’t say is that according to the Treasury report, approx 23.5 million BANK went to guilds in 2022. What, truly, do we have to show for that?

If we are serious about sustainability, we should transform guilds into voluntary organizational units with minimal overhead, and focus support on the development and implementation of ideas in the form of projects.

I remain undecided about whether we should only pursue public goods grants or whether every idea should be one that attracts paying customers or advertisers, but maybe there is room for both in the DAO. What will give us more time to work that out is to shift the emphasis from guilds to projects.


[quote=“cryptodad, post:1, topic:5844”] How can bDAO effectively capture the value our community generates?

I’ve talked around this topic in Discord in the past, months ago now, but folks seem to think I’m howling at the moon.

I suggest there are two ways to help raise value stemming from bDAO.

First is to train folk in grant searching in partner DAOs. This could originate in DAOlationships, who have a mandate to go out to partner DAOs in any case.

I don’t believe this is necessarily
a specialist skill, although it could have layers, but it’s one that every bDAO guild needs.

This topic was first discussed in research guild, who are naturally inclined towards the new, because research typically generates constructive action off the back of findings.

Second, every bDAO proposal needs to have an assessment of future economic value embedded in it.

Yes, it’s a Web 2 discipline, but it’s actually important to look at where revenue was generated, and do more of that, and less of the stuff where there is a negative effect on Treasury.

The GC needs to ask for this seasonally from guilds and projects, perhaps including education on how to do this if guilds and projects don’t have the local skills to do this.

Cross pollination and mentoring from other guilds should be entirely possible. Net positive guilds and projects have a social responsibility to those who need more of a helping hand.

Having arrived at these conclusions, and signally failed to give them any impact, I wondered what best I might do next.

I went back to look at onboarding, where ChatGPT can have a transformative effect on talent arriving in any DAO.

Idea matching, which this post is asking for, requires an individual to be able to match their ideas, projects, background, values with the group they join and the group collective values, projects, products and backgrounds.

That level of complexity is why I see ChatGPT as being a step forward for onboarding.

In this case there are two clear external role asks bDAO can make, with effective onboarding, to bring in suitable talent. And probably others based on replies from other folk here.

  1. Grant Hunter
  2. Proposal Writer Mentor

I also suggest the two can be connected. A Grant Hunter surfs a selection of partner DAOs for grants - Discord sets a natural limit of 100 - and maintains a discussion status in an internally maintained table. Various bDAO attempts have been made at such tables, and maybe Ops Guild need to step in and provide a centralised resource for this.

And then the PWM can advise on what type of proposal stands the best chance of success given the partner DAO culture. I wrote a proposal for dYdX for bDAO, which I felt was workable, but probably tried to deliver too much value, and therefore missed the point from the dYdX culture perspective.

@feems and @links will be aware of this.

I see these options as possible solutions to the issue @cryptodad is raising.

In my view of future ideation in DAOs, an ideas bank is a central resource, also available guild by guild, such that ideas are reviewed regularly, and at least seasonally by role holders. I suggest the idea base is issued periodically for voting to guild members. Things change, and what didn’t work last season might well be viable this season. Advocacy for ideas should be encouraged, but I suggest ideas are actually centrally important to the health and future of any DAO. Any guild with a static or stagnant ideas pool needs to have fresh talent, I suggest. These are all things the GC can ask for, and I believe bDAO would benefit from it.

If I seem like I’m ranting to some, I apologise, but as someone who has lots of ideas, and can also suggest doable ways to resource them, it gets a little frustrating at times. My language is direct about this because I believe it’s a critical need to be addressed.

And I believe ideation is such an important aspect for any DAO, because I don’t see ideation underpinned in other DAOs I visit.

To put it another way, this comment isn’t a proposal, but I believe the ideas in it do carry value, if acted on. Ideation could even be a product Bankless offer to other DAOs.

Final final point on this. This is what I believe the path is for ideas.

Ideas :arrow_right: Team :arrow_right: Proposal :arrow_right: Project :arrow_right: Product :arrow_right: Data Analytics :arrow_right: Strategy

Better projects stem from better ideas. We’ve all seen dumb projects get dumb investment, the biggest irony. Can we pivot where needed?

Isn’t is worth investing in better projects from day 1, in looking for better ideas?

Nuff said. Over to you guys.

Gonna quickly step-in here on the topic of BD/external grants etc…

After having applied for 50+ grants within the IMN project and a few others in other bDAO projects, I realised that the problem with fishing external grants is that we are trying to capture value from an external DAO without offering value back. Secondly, the people applying for these grants have no reputation in the external DAOs, hence 99%+ of these applications get rejected.

That is one of the reasons we started DAOStewards, which uses the following strategy

Step i. Gain reputation in external DAOs by actively participating in governance
Step ii. Leverage this gained reputation to influence bDAO grant applications

This has worked well for us so far, the only challange is that. ‘We as a DAO are not coordinated’. I have been here for over 2 years and I have never seen a decent bDAO pitch deck. As some peers have listed above we need to

a. Identify which projects or groups are ready for external scrutiny
b. Customize those into specific packages for the partner DAOs need.
c. This need can be accurately sensed by participating actively in partner DAO governance.
d. Strike with the right combination of products and services
e. Everything else that is not ready for external scrutiny should not even market themselves to externals