Top DAO Applications
The biggest categories of DAOs so far have been fractional ownership, marketplaces, and social organizations. Details on some of the coolest DAOs of each type.
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In my last post I reviewed the concept of DAOs and gave an overview of their legal structure. I mentioned a few of the interesting applications of DAOs, and in today’s post I want to dig into these in more detail. A leading Crypto news service called Bankless defined DAOs are “digitally native communities that center around a shared mission.” I like this definition since it is broad enough to cover just about anything someone wants to do with a DAO. The biggest categories of DAOs so far have been fractional ownership, marketplaces, and social organizations. We’ll review each in turn here.
A few DAO projects have hit the mainstream media, and most of these have been in the fractional ownership category. The biggest splash was made by ConstitutionDAO, where 17,000 individuals came together in less than a week to bid at Sotheby’s on one of the few remaining copies of the U.S. Constitution. This caught fire on Twitter and got coverage on CNBC. The group raised $47MM for their DAO, which planned to buy the rare document and then display it at a museum selected by the DAO community. I thought the idea was so cool that I threw ETH 0.1 (about $400 at the time) into the DAO. Unfortunately, the group lost the bid to noted Crypto critic Ken Griffin from Citadel, so participants got their ETH back and this DAO has been dissolved.
PleasrDAO is a group of NFT and digital art enthusiasts that is purchasing digital assets collectively. They have bought important pieces of NFT art including one from Edward Snowden for $5.5MM and a Wu-Tang Clan album for $4MM. MakerDAO is a DeFi organization with a large pool of assets and their $DAI stablecoin has a $10Bn market cap. Another cool DAO in the fractional ownership category is LinksDAO. They raised $12MM to buy and operate a golf course. The tokens will work like a private club membership, allowing holders the opportunity to play the club. Steph Curry even participated in LinksDAO. A number of smaller DAOs have been established to buy expensive NFTs. I am part of two, one that bought a CryptoPunk and another that bought a Bored Ape. Other DAOs have been set up to try to buy an NBA team (the hilariously named KrauseHouse DAO), a blimp, a fast food franchise, and many more.
In the next large category, several interesting marketplaces have been also established as DAOs. Uniswap is one of the largest marketplaces to trade cryptocurrencies. They are set up as a DAO and their $UNI token sports a $7Bn market cap. Holders can vote on the fee that the marketplace charges for transactions and other governance issues. Other Crypto trading marketplaces have been established as DAOs.
In my last post, I briefly mentioned Braintrust, which a DAO marketplace for corporations to hire tech talent for freelance projects. They have 700,000 freelance developers on the platform and have worked with hundreds of big companies. Braintrust describes itself as the “future of work”, with individuals offering their services to companies via a decentralized network. RaidGuild DAO is doing something similar here, bringing together developers for projects and publishing open source code for anyone to use.
The DAO structure has been used for social groups as well. FriendsWithBenefits is the most popular on this type of DAO. People need to buy the $FWB token to get access to the organization. Access increases based on the number of tokens an individual holds. They host live events in NY, LA, and London, with more cities coming soon. The cost to get access to everything FWB offers is around $5,000 upfront. Decentraland DAO is tied to the Decentraland metaverse game. Holders of their $MANA and $LAND token can vote on proposals from virtual land developers in the game, functioning like a decentralized city planning committee.
Mirror is another interesting DAO that spans the future of work/marketplace and social group categories. Mirror is a DAO for writers, mostly bloggers and newsletter publishers. Mirror brings this group together to change the future of media, but it certainly has a social function as well.
DAOs are one of the coolest things that have happened yet in the Crypto space. They are unlocking the creativity of the community and expanding at a rapid clip. It will be fun to see where the next big DAO comes from and what it does. Bankers and traditional financial institutions are going to need to figure out how to interact with these DAO communities or they will lose out on large fee opportunities as the DAO sector continues to grow.