Aragon 2024: Looking Forward

2024 will be Aragon’s year. With a new CEO, a restructured team, and a plan to get back to doing what we do best – building innovative technology – the team is energized and ready to solve the key challenges facing DAOs in 2024 and beyond.

Our mission stands: to enable onchain organizations to experiment with governance at the speed of software.

At its essence, we see governance as the process of making and enforcing binding decisions. In a traditional political jurisdiction, these decisions are codified into law and enforced by a trusted system – often using force. Our vision is a world where humans can coordinate by the rule of code, reducing the need for enforcement through the threat of violence.

Admittedly we are far from that vision and onchain organizations face many challenges. Their needs are diverse, technically complex, and mistakes can be catastrophic. And, being on the cutting edge, they need to change constantly to survive. We as tooling providers need to stretch beyond serving the existing needs that DAOs have today, by building infrastructure for them that is future-proof and meets the demands of tomorrow.

We joke that our mission is to enable governance at the speed of using software, not writing software! The speed at which governance models can adapt and evolve is a problem we are hungry to overcome. Aragon isn’t just here for a quick win, but for a fundamental shift in how humans govern.

Our new tech stack, Aragon OSx and Aragon App, is solving for these challenges and pushing our mission forward.

We, the Aragon X team, are laser-focused on the following initiatives for 2024:

1. Low/no cost onchain voting: DAOs are not only secured by smart contracts, but also by the participation of their members. It’s still too expensive to vote on mainnet, where most DAOs want to be deployed. We have to reduce the cost of voting onchain so that anyone can participate, even if mainnet gas prices rise.

There are multiple paths towards reducing voting costs and preserving the security of onchain transactions. One is to integrate blockchains that are specifically built for auditable and censorship-resistant voting at scale. The other is to integrate our Multichain Governance Plugin into the Aragon App, allowing voters to vote for a few cents on an L2 while allowing the DAO to live on an L1, and thus keeping the benefits of increased security and liquidity. Both of these options could allow for near zero gas costs and could be abstracted away for voters completely.

We as an industry need to stop taking shortcuts by simply moving actions that should be onchain, offchain. By moving voting offchain we erode the values that a blockchain offers and open the door for more censorship and manipulation, something blockchains and in particular Ethereum were created to reduce. If we can ship onchain voting at low or no cost, we can finally unlock huge potential for DAOs and their safety.

2. Modularize the UI (Aragon App): Currently there is no singular DAO platform UI that offers a performant human-friendly experience for experimenting with DAO governance. The DAO user experience today is a piecemeal experience fragmented across platforms – some things offchain, others onchain with “trusted” handoffs – often requiring coding experience.

Our plan is to hyper-modularize the Aragon App, enabling builders to launch a custom DAO without writing one line of code and interact with it all from one place. Any DAO should be able to:

  1. Change its governance over time.

  2. Have multi-stage proposals that move through multiple governing bodies.

  3. Have multiple governing bodies participating in a proposal in parallel.

  4. Define separate proposal types with their own governance processes and granularly defined permissions, allowing different processes to provide checks and balances that protect and secure the DAO.

We also aim to continue iterating on the permission management system of Aragon OSx and make it increasingly accessible to everyone in the Aragon App. We want to make it easier for DAOs to identify and change permissions down the road with the same granularity that they would if working directly with Aragon OSx contracts.

3. Custom DAO Services: DAOs have unique needs. When we talk to DAOs, rarely are two trying to overcome the same problem with the same solution. There are lots of considerations - anything from legal to organizational design to everything in between. And all of these decisions could have a material impact on their future. This is why we have begun DAO consultancy and development services. We already have a lot of interest and are building several custom DAOs for projects worth billions in TVL, and we intend to scale our abilities to ship more of these custom DAOs as demand increases, so don’t hesitate to reach out today!

4. Your DAO, Your Code: Right now, building custom DAO contracts and UIs are expensive in both cost and developer time. It’s an opportunity cost, when instead, projects could be focusing on what they do best - developing their own technology. That’s why we’re now offering a “build-it-yourself” custom development experience. It should be as cheap, fast, and maintenance-free as possible, so your devs can get back to working on your product.

To do so, we’ve launched a new clean and forkable UI for any project that wants to create a DAO with custom governance requirements beyond what currently exists in the industry, and we already have a few DAOs testing it out. One of these governance designs that is being implemented with the forkable UI is Optimistic Dual Governance, which gives key stakeholders a veto safeguard while allowing core teams to work efficiently. We’ll be sharing more about this soon, so stay tuned!

In short, by the end of 2024 your Aragon DAO is going to be extremely easy and cheap to launch and operate—no matter how complex of a governance design you have—all onchain, and all in one UI. It will be the end of using 5 or 6 tools and platforms to meet your needs.

This is just a taste of what we are working on in 2024, and we are excited to see what unfolds throughout the year!

If you have questions, some ideas to share, or want to follow along on this journey:

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