What is Contribution-Based Governance?

As DAOs steadily grow in proliferation and popularity (yes, even in the bear market), there is a massive need to explore more alternative governance models. For the most part, we’ve seen DAO governance models that are largely based on capital (buying tokens, NFT auctions, etc).

One governance model that we would love to see more in DAOs is what we call contribution-based governance, which simply prioritizes the contributions of contributors and participants over capital.

In Kei’s article ‘The Prehistory of DAOs’ (still a fave read), she talks about the similarities between DAOs and alternative governance structures such as cooperatives. These structures have been incredibly important historically because they allow coordination and organization mainly by empowering workers and involving them in decision-making. In the same way, we believe it’s essential for DAOs to empower contributors and participants in DAO governance, in order to ensure their success and impact.

Of course, this is much easier said than done. Challenges such as Sybil attacks, the difficulty of tracking and accounting for actual work done, and the lack of a taxonomy for DAO contributions, all pose significant obstacles.

One solution to this is for DAOs to use Govrn. Govrn is a contribution management tool that provides a way for DAO contributors to easily record (and categorize) their contributions, manage them, and even mint them on-chain (allowing true ownership of one’s own work). This helps to reduce the chaos in DAOs, as well as improving accountability.

Under the hood, Govrn is also building out a contribution graph that, when integrated with reputation and compensation tools, aims to pave the way for actual, reliable, and robust contribution-based governance in DAOs, which in turn will make DAOs more functional, equitable, and sustainable for all.

PS: If you want a deeper dive into this important topic, check out this talk at Dappcon ‘22!

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