The Bankless DAO Ombuds: A confidential, informal and off-chain dispute resolution mechanism that supports our social layer

Authors: @Eagle#2979, @Larry_With_An_L#1811, @the goodnunes.eth#3570

Read the proposal: Draft Forum Post #2 - The BanklessDAO Ombudsman.docx - Google Docs


  • Set up an Ombuds office for the Bankless DAO in order to align the organization to the best practices among the digital ecosystem.

  • The Ombuds office would be an informal, impartial, independent, neutral and confidential place for community members to address concerns.

  • Members may contact the Ombuds office to report any forms or types of abuse, dysfunctions, shortfalls, delays, violations concerning the functioning of the DAO.

  • The Ombuds office has the power to immediately address complaints, hear the involved member/s, suggest resolutions between the involved member/s, and recommend non-binding structural solutions to the DAO membership.


During Season 1, a discussion emerged with regard to situations in which members felt that their work had not been properly recognized within the DAO. Potentially, in the long run, other issues concerning miscommunication, confusion around policies and/or procedures, ethical and unfair treatment may emerge. Disappointment could also refer to the refusal of a funding request.

DAO governance frameworks, as the COALA model law for DAOs, suggest to provide for an internal “Dispute Resolution Mechanism”, intended as an on-chain alternative dispute resolution system, such as arbitration. The system should enable anyone to resolve his or her disputes, controversies in connection with the DAO. Moreover, one of the questions of the crypto-governance questionnaire spread among prominent DeFi DAOs by a research group composed by prominent Universities concerns the “power to resolve disputes over application of a policy to a specific instance”.

It seems therefore advisable to set up a body empowered to address/resolve members’ complaints and concerns.


The DAO puts decision making into the hands of the collective, in order to create legitimacy through an environment where the best ideas win. Every member is entitled to propose solutions and work in the best interest of the DAO. The DAO empowers the community to continually drive new initiatives by providing a space to self-organize and quickly move from idea to action. In this context, it is of paramount importance that every contributor feels protected and adequately considered for the work done among the community.


Why an Ombuds?

As previously mentioned, a mature governance system seems to require a dispute resolution mechanism. In this regard, many different forms could be adopted. Dedicated protocols and entities offer different types of solutions: An industry of decentralized justice is recognizable.

Among the main players, Kleros, Aragon and Jur should be mentioned. They offer sophisticated decentralized arbitration services for DAOs. Jurors/arbitrators are selected according to crypto-economic incentives and/or reputation mechanisms.

Due to the fluid governance system and the absence of a legal recognition of the Bankless DAO, it seems advisable to start from a less invasive system in which selected members act as Ombudspersons, who investigate complaints and attempt to resolve them through recommendations or mediation. When the Bankless DAO will have a settled governance system, the Ombuds office could evolve into a more sophisticated dispute resolution system with binding character for the members.

Areas of competence

Members contacting the Bankless Ombuds are entitled to anonymity. The Ombudspersons work confidentially, in compliance with the right to anonymity of the members and any witnesses, and keep secret the data and information obtained while performing the assigned functions.

The Ombuds office can be contacted for every kind of issue concerning the relationship between members or the relationship between a member and the wider community or a Guild. Members can also contact the Ombuds office to signal behaviors or procedures that seem not to conform to the DAO mission and its values.


The Ombuds will be composed of 5 members. Gender and geographic diversity should be granted. Every DAO member, except Genesis squad members and Grants committee members, can apply to be part of the Ombuds. The duration of the mandate will be 1 year.


In matters concerning the administration of states, the ombudsman’s functionality is secured by gaining legal authority from a parliament and effective power through executive acquiescence, but to function effectively the Ombudsman must maintain a degree of separation from the executive and the legislative powers.

Pure executive and legislative powers do not exist within the BanklessDAO. Nevertheless, due to its goals, it seems important to grant to the Ombudspersons the maximum degree of independence. Therefore, the BanklessDAO Ombuds office should be independent from the Genesis squad and the Grants committee. This means that Genesis squad members and Grants committee members cannot be part of the BanklessDAO Ombuds. Appointment of the Ombudspersons will be by DAO vote, with Genesis Squad and Grants committee members recused and abstaining.


For Season 1, the Legal Guild will cover the costs of the Ombuds office. To encourage access to the system no costs will be charged on the requesting parties.

In the forthcoming seasons, if the Ombuds office develops a true dispute resolution mechanism with a binding decision-making power assigned to the committee, a fee or a staking/escrow mechanism in $BANKs could be adopted in order to create the right incentives.


The name will be the BanklessDAO Ombuds. The Design Guild will be requested to create a nice logo!


The Bankless DAO Ombuds could become a symbol of the high level of care that the Bankless DAO devotes to its community. The success will not only be assessed on the basis of the number of cases submitted to the Ombuds, but also in considering the discussions and the interest of the proposed model in the industry.


  • Finding candidates to cover the five places.

  • Set up a dedicated discord channel and an email account to acquire the complaints.

  • Prepare a short medium or mirror piece to present the Ombudsman to the public.

  • I am in favor
  • I am against
  • I think that the proposal needs some minor amendments

0 voters


@Eagle is a Law Professor and Attorney with a European juridical background. Moreover he is a member of the Ombuds office of an important Italian Public Authority. He teaches topics related to blockchain and emerging digital technologies. He is trying to ameliorate his technical knowledge of DAOs and smart contract solutions.

@Larry_With_An_L is securities and regulatory attorney based in New York City. He has been working with private equity, venture capital and hedge funds for 10 years on a range of matters including M&A, public company governance, intellectual property and corporate structuring.

@thegoodnunes.eth is a former entertainment attorney licensed in California, and now runs an augmented reality studio called HEAVY, doing public art installations around the world. He also serves on a number of public boards and advisories.


Thank you all for putting this together!


Thank you to all involved for this well presented idea.


Excellent idea.

In my previous workplaces: we have this anonymous form to report on workplace harrassments and abuses.

And these reports go straight to the higher management. Good idea!

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Really like the direction of this. It’s really important to address dispute resolution mechanisms early and I really appreciate the non-binding nature and outlined methods as a starting point. I also really like the idea of staking entering into the picture at some point too and possible emergence of more decentralized mechanics that move past mediation into the realm of decentralized binding arbitration (not even sure what that is or means but I’m excited for this being established as a start and to see where it evolves to). I support.

I would love to hear form the ‘not in support and needs amendments’ votes soon so we can enhance the discourse here – it’s a complex topic and we need the wisdom of the crowd on this :crossed_fingers: more chatter from those putting on a ‘red team hat’ soon.

@Eagle this feels important enough to warrant a snapshot vote; can you confirm that is the plan?

Only clarification I see needed: active gc and genesis role omission, or permanent omission once those roles are held

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I think this a great idea, and good timing for it as well. The more we grow, the more we need people to fill roles that help people feel welcome, and keep the DAO running smoothly.


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That’s a good point Joe. I would say that the limitation works only for active roles.

Due to the fact that the Legal guild would cover the costs for Season 1, the idea was to launch a mere forum vote in order to establish the Ombuds and a second forum vote to select the candidates who will become members of the Ombuds. Then, if in the forthcoming seasons the Ombuds will evolve in a more structured dispute resolution mechanism, we would go for a snapshot vote.

Yeah that makes sense. snapshot should probably gate anything of delegated authority, decision rights, or even perceived authority, regardless of funding source…but agree with your logic that in current early experiment form it’s an optional service with tons of upside and low to nil downside.

Thanks for discussing with me.

Great work and excellent idea for the Bankless DAO Ombudsman, just voted in favor.

One question: “The duration of the mandate will be 1 year.”

    • is there a reason for this time period? Has consideration been given to other time ranges? (season-by-season or 2-3 seasons?).

Hi all, this is my first post here - my discord username is pab​:honeybee::octopus:#6151 - I’ve a guest pass and have been looking into stuff every now and then so pardon if i’m not completely up to date with many of the discussions ocurring in the different guilds. Full disclosure, I’ve been involved in 1hive since around October last year, and am a $HNY holder - that said, I think you guys should really check some of the products being developed over in that community, I feel like we really are aligned as fellow DAOists haha

Also may be worth mentioning since Aragon is mentioned in the post, some of the association’s members are actually some of the most important contributors to this DAO and have developed a decentralized Dispute Resolution Protocol called Celeste, amongst other cool stuff you can read about in their wiki.

I personally am not very familiar with the technicalities that implementing these within the Bankless community may involve but am sure there’s some bees who’d like to have you guys onboarded :slight_smile: not really here to shill tho and it feels weird that this comment has gone this far, just thought it would contribute to the discussion and would be healthy for this community to consider several options regarding such an important topic.

Thanks for your comment! At the beginning, the idea was to anchor the duration to the different seasons. It is indeed a valuable solution. Nevertheless, due to the fact that the duration of the seasons is still not decided, we have indicated this period of time, in order to demonstrate commitment for the role

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Hi, great initiative! I agree that it is awesome to have clarity around who to turn to in times of tricky communication.

I do see a risk that the ombudsmen will have time to accumulate a lot of privileged information and that becomes increasingly more easy to correlate as time passes. I suggest lowering it to six months or a seasonal approach, and also work out which way the ombudsmen are to be chosen and what would incur exclusion.

Which process will they follow or which value structure will they relate to when making decisions that limit (f ex mute) someone? I’m all for the “ranger” or “peace officer” role who can disarm a heated situation and support those who’s voice is drowned out but it’s important that it is predictable so we can avoid group think.

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Thanks for your reply.

Can you explain why the information would be privileged?

As to the other points, it would be of course possible to anchor the duration of the Ombuds to the seasons. The problem is that we still don’t know the duration of Season 1. At any rate, 6 months would also be a proper amount of time to guarantee the seriousness of the commitment.

The members of the Ombuds will be 5 and they will be selected by the community through a vote. The values will the values of the DAO. References can be found on notion under mission/vision/values.

Please consider that the “decision” of the Ombuds will be a mere recommendation without binding character.

Sure. I just mean that they would get to know inconvenient facts and undercurrents of drama and that could become reasons for bias or abuse. 6 months should be fine. :slight_smile:

Yes, this may happen. It would be part of the Ombuds functions. Neverthess, due to the nature of the office, “a committee of 5”, I frankly don’t see many risks of abuses.

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Thank you for proposing this. A step toward egalitarian representation and inter-dao emotional security. Well played!