March 17, 2022

A Deep Dive into DAOs: How DAOs Are Changing Everything

The global community is being heard. Web3 continues to surge in popularity as developers and end-users alike instill confidence in decentralized blockchains, where information lives transparently and out in the open, in direct opposition to Big Tech’s private, opaque databases storing massive amounts of data. 

Just as NFTs went viral in 2021, DAOs are now emerging as 2022’s hottest Web3 topic. Within the NEAR community, Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) are exhibiting rapid growth while bringing more project diversity to the ecosystem.

Decision making from the bottom-up 

A decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO, is a formalized, self-governing community, analogous to an internet-native Web2 company—where control is centralized. Owned and managed by its members, a DAO carries out a set of instructions determined by prewritten smart contracts, with voting required by members for any changes to be implemented. At its core, the DAO has a built-in treasury that no individual has the authority to access without the approval of the group, fostering the “trustless” environment championed by Web3 platforms. 

The first-ever DAO, created in 2016, made waves when its token sale raised the equivalent of $120 million USD, making it one of the largest crowdfunding campaigns in history. While the DAO’s underlying principles and core values remain the same, they have experienced a remarkable evolution in the last several years.

Uniquely Web3 with unmatched power 

In 2022, new Web3 users will find DAOs quick to set up, global in scale, extremely customizable, and exceptionally transparent. Think of them as a toolbox that invites anyone to create a business structure with elegant simplicity and flexibility baked in. As such, an immense diversity of structures and scenarios emerge from them. Flat or hierarchical, open to everyone or members-only, the power is invested in the stakeholders to determine how the community should be governed. 

The power of DAOs is being harnessed right now by communities to advance a number of missions, made possible by NEAR’s extremely fast, super secure and infinitely scalable protocol. In grants giving, DAO members vote and collectively decide which people and projects to fund. Businesses can track owners’ equity and elect managers to make day-to-day decisions, while investors utilize DAOs to pool funds and vote on strategy and decisions. Clubs of any kind can use the DAO toolbox to elect leaders and decide where to spend group funds.

The DAOs on NEAR are diverse, creative, and boundless in terms of growth. Reinventing the social internet, decentralizing finance, providing structure for various Guilds, and working in areas like legal and software development, these are just a few examples of DAOs that leverage NEAR’s sharded blockchain infrastructure. 

The types and number of DAO use cases grow daily, and its true potential is just beginning to be realized. 

Together we can do so much 

The lion’s share of DAO community growth on NEAR can be seen in blockchain infrastructure and the decentralized finance, or DeFi, space. By total assets, the largest DAOs are Aurora, a token exchange bridge between NEAR and Ethereum, and Octopus, a platform for launching and running Web3 independent, custom blockchains, known as “appchains”. 

DAOs don’t stop at providing structure for organizations blazing entirely new trails. They are also serving as the foundation for organizations challenging our preconceptions of social networks and even music recording and distribution.

Feiyu, a picture-based social network on NEAR, allows users to express creativity through memes and GIF sharing. In its novel take on social media, it all happens in an NFT-based metaverse where users earn tokens or NFT items for participating in the community.

Elsewhere on NEAR, DAO Records is reimagining the record label, building tools that will help write the future of the music industry, while working to fairly compensate musicians for their songwriting and recording work. Its founders are encouraging artists to release and package new music as audio NFTs, whose smart contracts allow for an entirely more equitable royalty structure, in perpetuity.

On DAO-powered social platform t² (short for time²), launching in late 2022, users explore a world of narratives “curated by time.” Feature articles are created, curated, and propagated under a curation market mechanism where all participants are fairly rewarded for the network value they contributed. t² acts as the first organization in the Web3 space attempting to monetize human time with the consensus achieved by “Proof of Attention.” 

Supercharging the NEAR community

DAO launchpads are gearing up the NEAR community through platforms that allow individuals to join forces with others and create guilds for meaningful projects and more. 

Sputnik DAO, a hub for NEAR’s DAO ecosystem, has a platform that welcomes and rewards creators of all kinds within the NEAR community. Individuals can receive rewards by submitting proposals to existing DAOs, it’s that simple. Meanwhile, developers are able to quickly and efficiently build apps on Sputnik because it makes use of coding languages that are already widely known, such as Rust and AssemblyScript. Paired with NEAR’s support and community engagement through Near Academy and the NEAR Certified Developer program, Sputnik is approaching 250 DAOs with a total of nearly 20,000 transactions completed on-chain.

Helping propel NEAR’s ecosystem to become one of crypto’s most diverse, AstroDAO is empowering groups anywhere in the world to make decisions together, collectively. In less than 10 minutes, and without a line of code, everyday users are able to launch a DAO using AstroDAO’s powerful platform. With over 100 DAOs and counting, and a total locked value approaching 90,000 $NEAR, AstroDAO is now a catalyst helping to bring communities together that thrive in the NEAR ecosystem.

The key to AstroDAO’s early success has been a feature set that has been incredibly well-executed on their platform, powered by NEAR. Central tenants are democratic by default, ensuring that decisions like distributing funds and member admissions happen through an intuitive and transparent voting process. Thanks to smart contracts, funds are held in a treasury and always distributed through a community-defined process. Who votes and how it works can be precisely configured to meet a community’s preferred operating style. 

Extremely versatile, DAOs act as one component of NEAR Protocol’s commitment to facilitate the decentralization of the network to a worldwide community on a fast, secure, and scalable blockchain. Through their democratic, flexible, and collaborative foundations, DAOs are empowering like-minded individuals to come together and take action in a truly global way. 

Robust and disruptive in nature, prepare yourself as 2022 shapes up to be the year of the DAO, powered on NEAR.

NEAR Team author avatar



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