August 11th, 2021

DAOs are simultaneously brilliantly simple and immensely complex, a contrast that is especially evident as I write this on the day of Ethereum’s London hard fork. Behind this incompatibility lies endless opportunities for building, failure, iteration, and exploration. Here I hope to provide a brief summary of the current state of DAOs and make a few observations about these opportunities.

What is a DAO?

Over the past 5 years, DAOs have evolved from an idea and exploit that nearly ended Ethereum itself, to one of the most promising platforms for experimentation in the ways individuals and capital organize toward productive outcomes. These experiments currently number in the thousands, control over $8B in capital, produce over $100M in monthly on-chain revenue, and trustlessly coordinate thousands of members globally. Yet despite their immense impact, DAOs are quite simple in the abstract.