A DAO That Already Exists and is Working - ICANN

If you're looking for examples of DAOs that are working and functional, look no further than your web browser - ICANN is technically a DAO, minus the blockchain parts of it right now. It's decentralized, international, and its major decisions are done through the power of the vote.

A lot of the DAOs that popped up in the Web3 space over the years have the technical functionality but currently lacks the organizational structure (and in some cases, the will) to do things in a "proper" decentralized way. (A lot of corners were cut during the hype of last year, and I'm guessing that the projects that didn't do their due diligence will be facing big lawsuits very soon.) ICANN has been around for much longer, which is shown in their governance structures and organizational depth. I think that this could be a decent model for a lot of newly formed DAOs to learn from since it provides at least some concrete examples to work with in the real world.

ICANN has been around since 1998 and has evolved into its own multi-faceted governance system since.
ICANN has been around since 1998 and has evolved into its own multi-faceted governance system since.

It'll be interesting to see what happens with the crypto domain name wars, since domains like .eth, .tez, .crypto, etc. can't realistically expect to work in any of the major browsers any time soon, unless the governing body reviews and approves it explicitly. (There is a ~$200k USD application fee just to try, btw.) And ICANN only updates their domain name list every 12 years, apparently - the earliest we can get there is 2025 or later, barring any complications.

The United States in recent years opted to pull out of ICANN, following the trend of the country withdrawing from the world stage, opting for unilateral control instead. A lot of the Web2 companies - and many Web3 startups unaware of the habits it still carries - often aims for the same. If you look closely at the how many of the DAOs out there actually operates, you’ll probably find that your “voting power” on there means very little, since the value of what the votes themselves have yet to be defined. (There are some projects doing things in good faith, some are currently exploiting the lack of understanding in the space to make a quick buck - the latter ones will probably face a backlash in the near future as more details come to light is my guess.)

The truth is that there are already many organizations and platforms out there that are doing the whole “decentralization” thing - and have been for a while. There are meeting documents for transparency, the budgets and allocations are posted regularly, and the voting procedures are there right out in the open. And anyone can get involved in these organizations since they’re looking for new members all the time - if only they would show up, that is.

So the idea of a decentralized organization itself is not novel or new - though it tends to be much more mundane and slow than the dopamine-driven “move fast and break things” mentality of Web2. What makes blockchain technologies interesting is that it could potentially bring the sophistication of decentralized governance to everyone out there - since these organizations are often very expensive and time-consuming to run. If you make the tools available, easy to use, and inexpensive enough for the average person out there, many will take the opportunity to use it to better themselves and their communities, especially at the local levels. (The big names have the resources to allocate expensive lawyers for this stuff, they don’t really need the help, really.)

What’s the point of DAOs if people don’t bother using it for what it was actually intended for? That’s where the struggle with the industry is right now, in my opinion. I think that eventually a few people will figure it out, but it’s probably going to take a while - crypto is as much of a learning experience and a shift in mentality as it is a technological breakthrough, and the sooner we realize that we’ll all be better off, imo.

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