How To Join a DAO: Step-by-Step Guide
Decisive guide on Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs). Explains what is a DAO, how it works, how to join one, along with examples of reliable DAOs to invest.
Oh, Good Morning, fren.
Perhaps you have heard this buzzword “DAO” thrown around a lot lately on Crypto Twitter, by Tiktok financial advisors, and the media in general.
And… I’m sure you must be pretty confused. First off, WTF is a DAO? How do DAOs work? At the core of it all, How can I find a suitable DAO for me?
In this article, we will be covering just that. Here’s a quick outlook on the subtopics we will be covering today; feel free to skip through if you’re a little more experienced.
Now without further ado, let’s break down the DAO.
*Stick to the end for a surprise…
What Is a DAO?
DAO is short for Decentralized Autonomous Organization, a group of people working through smart contracts to achieve a common goal, with no central authority.
A DAO is transparent, automated, and operates on a trustless system: the blockchain.
Let’s look at each aspect of the DAO in detail.
Decentralizationis a core tenet of the DAO. After all, it accounts for the D in DAO! Decentralization simply means there is no central entity controlling the entire DAO, very much like how the Chairman of some organizations has Veto Power. All matters in a DAO get a fair vote.
But how do we know what is fair or not?
Transparency; a defining feature of any DAO. To be transparent means an open-source record book of all the DAOs proposed course of action, something like a public ledger. Under-the-table deals and backdoor approaches go against the very principle of a DAO, and neither should this be possible.
But why aren’t they possible?
Smart contracts; the code that enables a trustless system in DAOs. Smart contracts are actions waiting to be executed, based on predetermined conditions set by the DAO. It is a trustless system because so long as the conditions are met, the smart contracts will self-execute on the blockchain, without human supervision (or intervention).
This is what a DAO is in a nutshell, and these 3 mechanisms are defining features of any legitimate DAO.
Truly, the beauty of a DAO lies in anonymous people coming together, pooling millions of dollars under a decentralized network (without collateral), and building towards a common goal. So yes, to answer that inkling of a question in your head, DAOs benefit the web3 community greatly.
How Do DAOs Work?
Most foreigners to DAOs are amazed by the amount of effort and coordination it must take to build such a group. Well, it is a lot of work – but starting a DAO is not so different from a traditional organization.
First, a person or a group of people has a purpose. They decide to establish an organization, and as web3 natives, a DAO is the solution. LinksDAO wants to acquire Blockbuster and turn it into the first DeFilm streaming platform.
Nouns DAO started as an experimental attempt to encourage the formation of on-chain communities.
Next, the founders lay down a set of rules for the DAO. This will ultimately shape the way how the DAO is governed, and rules cannot be broken. This set of rules is actually code, written on the blockchain for all to admire. Smart contracts are thrown into the mix to lay out the groundwork for governance.
Finally, members are admitted to the DAO. This usually requires raising funds for the DAO to be operational, and also gives a financial incentive to contributors. We will cover DAO fundraising in greater detail in a later section.
Governance refers to how a DAO is run. And action is the only way forward.
DAOs use proposals to drive action, as well as make critical decisions on the direction of the DAO. The rules vary with different DAOs, but one thing holds true for all DAOs – proposals that pass shape the DAO and determine its future.
Of course, this is up to voting as well. Members of the DAO generally vote “For, Against, Abstain”, and in most cases, the majority wins. When a proposal is passed, the necessary actions are initiated by a smart contract, permissionless and automated. If a proposal is defeated, usually, the smart contract never gets triggered.
Thus, a DAO achieves decentralized governance.
Now that you know what a DAO is, and how a DAO works, let’s have a look at the main theme of the article: How to join a DAO.
Note: Just my 2 cents on how to find your DAO and join a DAO. Let me know in the comments if you found better techniques!
1) Know Your Purpose
No, this is not a philosophical lesson where you find your purpose in life and walk away a happier person.
Jokes aside, the first step is to be clear on what you are looking for in a DAO.
An avid collector and patron of the arts, interested in curating culturally significant pieces of art as a community? PleasrDAO, one of the earliest and most established DAOs in the web3 Art community, is the right one for you.
Perhaps you want to help out the war effort in Ukraine, and donate some crypto to the cause. UkraineDAO would be the DAO to help.
Or maybe you’re a history buff obsessed with preserving historical artifacts and pieces, peculiarly, the U.S. Constitution. Sad to say that ConstitutionDAO is now… a piece of history 😉
After you have found your purpose, then the hunt for a DAO begins.
2) Find a DAO
Finding a DAO that suits your needs can be tiring and seemingly impossible. Believe me, I’ve tried it. Google just feeds you with all the fluff and no substance.
I do have a few techniques to share with you, which I hope would aid you in your journey to finding the right DAO.
First, some words of advice. Keep your personal goals in mind, but try not to overthink that. DAOs that truly make a difference typically have a bigger vision than the dreams of an individual. Trying to figure out where YOU can add value to a DAO is a good starting point.
Next, maybe Google is not your friend, but there are some helpful resources out there. I like Discover DAO has a handy list of top DAO tokens by market cap.
Another trick I have up my sleeve is the Advanced Twitter Search method. This is because most web3-natives use Twitter, so it’s the most convenient social network to find up-and-coming DAOs.
Navigate to Advanced Search on Twitter, and input “DAO” under “This exact phrase”. I would add a target word, in the case below, “Football” to “Any of these words”. Search, and scroll… you should find a relevant DAO in no time.
And oh, one final piece of advice. Don’t join DAOs where the goal is to “make money”. You will be their exit liquidity.
3) Join A DAO
So you’ve scoured the internet for hours on end, finally finding the DAO of your choice. Great! Now that the tedious research is done, it’s finally time to join the DAO.
It could sound like a monstrous task to join a DAO for good. After all, different groups govern separate DAOs, each with its own set of rules and onboarding process. But fret not – generally, DAOs follow this framework.
First, attempt to find a DAO’s Twitter page. From there, you should be able to find their Twitter or Telegram groups. Join these groups and ask around – I’m sure community members would be eager to help you out.
If you can’t find their socials, perhaps check their OpenSea collection (for NFT DAOs). Or check for their native tokens on decentralized exchanges. Still not found? Perhaps it’s better to pass on this super secretive, closed-door DAO!
The next step would be the onboarding process. Most DAOs are paid; obviously, funds are used for operations within the DAO and funding proposals. So far, DAOs use two admission methods: Tokens or NFTs.
Tokens are the conventional way of admissions into DAOs. Also called “Governance Tokens”, these DAO Tokens aren’t just used for admission into the DAO; but also determine your voting power. Voting mechanisms vary too, so remember to do your due diligence.
For example, some DAOs set voting power in accordance with the number of tokens you have. In this case, it makes sense to accumulate as many governance tokens as you can. Other DAOs may have an equal vote for every member, regardless of token count. Be wary of this DAO mechanism as it can be easily gamed by bots making thousands of accounts with just 1 governance token.
DAOs normally post links to either “mint” their tokens off smart contracts, or buy them through decentralized exchanges. Regarding DEXs, check out Uniswap for those on Binance Smart Chain.
Alternatively, NFTs can be your membership ticket to a DAO. Similarly, minting an NFT from the DAO’s site or buying off secondary marketplaces such as OpenSea would grant you access to the DAO.
Yes, free DAOs exist. Unfortunately, most free DAOs don’t have sufficient funds to frequently push for proposals. In fact, these free “DAOs” may not really be full-fledged DAOs, in the sense that they don’t have anything on-chain; and are merely Discord groups discussing potential projects.
There are some exceptions – including Nouns DAO of course! We’ll talk more about this in a bit.
4) Enter The Community
Now you’re officially in! What next?
If you haven’t already entered the DAOs Discord or social group, you definitely should. Here, you can get to know more about the DAO especially if it doesn’t have a ton of publicly-available information.
Some DAOs also have a “Holder-verify” channel. You may be asked to verify that you are indeed a holder of the DAO token/NFT before being able to join the rest of the DAO members.
And off you go, BUILD!!
Connect with new Frens, and perhaps once you’re comfortably settled – find out how you can contribute to the DAO. I urge each of you to come up with a proposal to help the DAO move forward. Be bold and stay open-minded; you’ll reach contributor status one day! (Spoken from experience)
Which DAOs To Invest In?
If you’re still unsure about which DAO to invest in, here are three that show great promise.
BitDAO is one of the largest DAOs, co-jointly founded by billionaire entrepreneur Peter Thiel, crypto exchange Bybit, crypto investment firm Dragonfly, among others.
They have over $1 billion in their treasury; with the mission to create an open decentralized finance economy. BitDAO also spends a large part of its treasury collaborating with other top-tier crypto, NFT, and DeFi projects.
MakerDAO is a long-standing DAO; godfather of the crypto P2P lending space. It is fully autonomous, using smart contracts to facilitate peer-to-peer borrowing and lending on the Ethereum blockchain.
MakerDAO also launched the Ethereum-based stablecoin DAI, which has been around since the stablecoin beginnings (and lasted longer than UST).
Nouns DAO is a community-inspired project aiming to spread CC0 NFT culture. With a first-of-its-kind daily NFT auction system, people can join the Nouns DAO by purchasing a Nouns NFT.
But one of the most remarkable features of Nouns DAO is its accessibility to the public. While admission to the inner circle is expensive, it is completely free to join the Nouns DAO community and start building. Mind blown? Check it out for yourself by joining the Nouns Discord!
Why DAOs Are The Future
In a nutshell, DAOs make great use of blockchain technology to create a fully anonymous yet functional web3 community.
Not only do DAOs completely get rid of the element of “trust”, but it also empowers the individual in contributing to the collective. Now that… is revolutionary.
Thank you for reading till the end, appreciate you sticking around.
As a thank you, we are giving away* *Hercules, Mixed Noun #87!**
Kindly fill up the following form, it’s a mini-quiz I hope you’ll enjoy.
Feel free to leave any comments as well. And a big thank you to Goldy and Tummlin for making this giveaway possible!! See you in the next article of Nouns Blog 🙂