“We are servants of the Secret Fire, wielders of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udûn. Go back to the Shadow! You cannot pass!”
- Us, to Baal, if we choose
Human collaboration will be the pinnacle achievement of crypto
I’m stating this with certainty for two simple reasons: the quality of tools being built to incentivize coordination and the humans behind these tools. I’ve already explored some social impact projects being undertaken in the space, but much effort will be wasted if their endeavors become siloed and zero-sum competition ensues.
Combining the success of DeFi and NFTs with the ethos of forking / composability will shift human organization models from dominating extractive ones to symbiotic collaboration
Two main takeaways from Kevin’s brilliant banger:
Stacking DIOs –– Propagating beneficial externalities across a network of DIOs. Establishing a continuously replenishing stream of work that benefits a variety of entities. Instead of fighting each other for resources, DIOs can fluidly collaborate on new projects, protocols, and become greater than the sum of their parts.
Stigmergic Feedback Loop –– For every DIO Stack externality created, 1 or more new paradigms could be discovered. An established feedback loop ensures that victories are seized, improved, and hopefully sunset for better versions. These positive-sum virtuous circles get us iteratively closer to ideal solutions.
Taken together, these concepts show us a new model for achieving greater public goods than we can imagine. A hybrid of intentional DIO2DIO networks loosely aligned on some goals, underpinned by a layer of free flowing human agents from which novel iterations and concepts can emerge.
Now for the emergent-behavior-collective-intelligence-individual-human-organization, I’m constantly fascinated by Govrn who’s been testing and refining their governance framework for close to 3 years. I’ve had the delight of speaking with Aaron and others in their discord. The community there is passionate and driven.
At the heart of complex emergence is incentive design –– an area determined by governance. One’s ability to craft an enticing reward system will determine the fate of the project
Appropriate incentives attract the best execution, while others will fizzle out
Let me get one thing out of the way. There was some discourse a couple weeks (months ?) ago about governance minimization (insert that ameen pic) which I believe took place in a flawed frame: governance is not restricted to voting. To me this is part of the nuance Govrn injects in the conversation. As far as voting goes I’d largely agree with David here. However, given the Voting Systems Stuff we discussed, voting is mathematically imperfect (as stated in Arrow’s Theorem). So, truly, voting should be reserved for when it’s absolutely necessary.
The user, and user alone, should be the custodian of their work record
Iterating towards an ideal solution requires open and accessible participation
Selecting leaders / builders / committee-members requires us to accurately assess previous work
Govrn’s operational framework is simple:
You should be able to govern anything that governs you
I encourage you to read through their Governance Model yourself, here’s a light overview. This is all mostly ripped from their site
Govrn augments governance through a set of modules:
The Movement Model –– Creates a framework for community contributions focused on operational priorities. The Model allows community members to contribute and earn rewards/governance for those contributions
Outcome Coalitions (OC) –– Gives a community ways to scale up or scale down initiatives they wish to accomplish. By allowing you to vote or fund Outcome Coalitions with the “rewards” you earn in the Movement Model, it’s the Outcome Coalitions that make the “rewards” valuable
Outcome Coalitions improve upon current initiative models as they gauge funding based on interest, not the other way around. Whereas before a DAO needed to get a proposal approved before forming a taskforce / workstream, outcome coalitions pre-align the community on a mission which receives proportional funding. For this, two stakeholders –– Builders and Funders –– must opt-in to the OC.
An OC is created –– essentially a community proposal
Stakeholders buy into the OC. Builders pledge their time and expertise, while funders donate funds. Builders stake a proof of commitment, and funders receive a proportional amount of governance power
Completion Criteria are then established, which dictate what a “successful” project looks like
Once the Criteria are met, builders receive their original stake along with payment from the funders, and proof of commitment.
If they’re unsuccessful, staked points go to the community treasury. There are however ways to distribute the points given unforeseen circumstances
A successful project is submitted to the treasury for reimbursement
“ While it takes a lot to engage the full DAO, OCs create a flexible process for initiatives to move with agility and small consensus, while reducing exposure of the most active community members “
Govrn breaks down these new primitives as such:
Proof of Engagement –– Self-submitted and community verified. Contributors received a predetermined amount of points for a given task. Points awarded by the Movement Model represent governance power in the org
Proof of Commitment –– Staked and earned by builders for completion of a successful Outcome Coalition, and by funders for donations
Proof of Completion –– Earned for successfully meeting Completion Criteria for a project
Composable Governance –– Reward can be determined with an additional social consensus layer, such as Coordinape
If you’ve drank the flavor aid by now (I hope you have) your mind is likely racing through a universe of possibilities. I’m going to highlight some I think are beneficial
I think it’d be fun to layer “game” rewards on top of participation. An NFT marketplace where you can visualize your Proof Of (Engagement/Commitment/Completion) for a certain event. I’d like to build a complement, where artists provide additional incentives for a task with artwork that contributors, builders, and funders can redeem with their POE/C/C. This adds another avenue for participation and is honestly just more fun
Currently, DAO proposals are extremely clunky. Attempting to “democratize” every aspect of a community sounds ideal but in practice is inefficient. With the Govrn Framework contributors can arise in their areas, independent of formal orgs, and move around ecosystems as they’re needed.
Contributors can build up a reputation of excellence in an area, as vouched by community/ies, and gain governance power in their respective field. If you’re a marketing + branding expert, you carry a verified portfolio of designs, and deploy your services to whichever next project you feel is best.
Instead of submitting branding changes to the whole community, we can trust these experts to make the best decisions, and vote to change or discard only if absolutely necessary. This significantly reduces the implementation process and ensures that the best fitting contributors are working where they’re needed.
Groups of contributors can each focus on their field while trusting that other aspects of the org are running smoothly as well
While creating funding / governance channels through token swaps, DIOs can collaborate on Govrn Movement Models and OC. Acknowledging that one group’s effort benefits everyone, each DIO can offer complementary Movement Model points, and accept each others for Outcome Coalition stake. By doing so, we begin to effectively Stack DIOs, pooling resources on the challenges that matter most; building with composability + interoperability in mind
We could dissolve the concept of “monolithic” DAOs altogether, and adopt a modular approach to projects and funding. Whereas singularly focused DIOs could quickly achieve a lot, they might miss the greater picture and become irrelevant. By distributing innovation across a wide area, we’re ensured to seize the most relevant, deserving successes. Continuously building on innovation gets us closer to that Stigmergic Feedback Loop
Looking towards nature, this modular ecosystem begins to resemble Siphonophorae, a group of deep sea modular organisms each specialize in specific tasks. As DAO Ecology starts to takeoff, we’d do well to look at examples of how nature organizes itself.
Originally conceived as a Civic Engagement platform, Govrn’s Framework serves us with tools to begin valuing active political participation.
As I talk about in Local Civic Engagement, LCE is inaccessible. Not everyone has the availability, knowledge, or foresight to meaningfully participate in the process. Using Govrn, active participants in the civic process can gain reputation through public proposals and amendments. Citizen-politicians would be rewarded for their knowledge, from synthesizing government proposals to holding informal town halls.
It’s also boring. The intricacies of zoning laws and budget breakdowns aren’t appealing to everyone. Providing external incentives to participation could increase low turnout. Adding a gamified layer on top, as I talked about, is an additional way to drive participation.
Given the outsized impact you have at the local level, increasing civic participation is crucial for a functioning democracy. Until we DAOify our government, we’re still required to work through legacy channels. Calling your council-members, speaking during public comments, proposing improvements, and helping run new campaigns. These are all valuable services that citizens provide free of charge. Now, each city can decide on a set of actions they want to incentivize, recognizing the work that otherwise goes ignored.
With these structures set in place, similar community graphs begin to emerge. Quantifying who’s had the biggest impact (by personally increasing participation, or proposing approved budgets, or other) would be a good indicator of who should be elected in the first place. Currently disparate community organizations could also align on a set of goals they chose, and watch as their city flourishes around them. From transit accessibility to housing development, these advocacy groups can become key stakeholders in the direction of their city.
Update: Engagemint –– Civic Participation Platform –– fixes this. If you’d like to help me build this, HMU!!
Clearly DAO organization models are still in their infancy. A variety of attempts and executions will take place before finding a good fit. Thus far, the most compelling vision I’ve seen begins with a Govrn Framework. With contribution sovereignty, trust and competence graphs, and virtuous building circles, this direction seems to be the most conducive towards progress.
Debate on the level of democratization should still be had, and each community will determine their openness such models. Monolithic DAO will still clearly have a place in the space, from Art Collectives to Gaming Groups. In the public goods space however, putting collaboration at the center guarantees us the best results.
I think this can be improved further with generalized knowledge graphs on contributions, best practices, treasuries, and other salient data points. Building these graphs requires inherent collaboration. Thus, tools that build for for this in mind become vital for our continued progress.
If you enjoyed reading this (or hated it), feel free to hit me up on twitter. I’m going to keep writing about Web3 applied Civic Tech so if you’d like to chat or collab, come over! Ciao loves <3