Introducing TDS DAO

The Digital Sisterhood began with a group of Black Muslim women deciding to start a podcast. Since launching in April 2021, TDS has grown to over 160k monthly downloads in 65+ countries, and climbed the Apple charts to reach #1 in the US, UK, New Zealand and Australia in the Islam & Spirituality category.

A team of Muslim women of color, with zero institutional backing and zero institutional funding, beat out well-established organizations because of the strength and support of our community. We came together to celebrate and uplift Muslim women, with a commitment to tell our stories our way.

“A lot of people love to doubt Muslims, especially Muslim women of color. So we said, forget their stage! we’re going to build our own stage” - Cadar, Host of the Digital Sisterhood podcast

TDS has never been a one-way street between creator to consumer. Or even a two-way street. We’ve always been in this together, in continuous cycles of co-creation and collaboration. Whether through Instagram polls, Twitter threads, or our Discord server, we’ve built the Digital Sisterhood from the ground up. We’ve always been community first: a space for Muslim women to show up as unapologetically ourselves, in all our beautiful and unique ways.

Now, we’re entering the next chapter in empowering community through TDS. Consider this our official first step in building the TDS DAO - a decentralized autonomous organization that will enable community members to become contributors, owners, and decision makers in TDS’s web3 initiatives and a growing number of new projects.

What is a DAO?

First, some background on DAOs, and how they utilize new technologies to expand on traditional organizational models.

DAO stands for decentralized autonomous organization:

  • Decentralized - shared ownership and authority. Rather than a central group that controls power and financial assets, both decision-making power and financial rewards are shared across DAO members. Instead of a top-down chain of command, imagine a network of relationships where consumers can also be investors and creators, and each role is in cooperation with the others
  • Autonomous - actions can be triggered and run on a public blockchain, allowing individuals to contribute and engage without a single group or person responsible for oversight. A DAO’s balance sheet is publicly managed by a series of smart contracts - code written to ensure that funds are deployed according to the will of the community.
  • Organization - a group structured around a mission. Just as a company exists around a product mission, or a nonprofit around a social outcome - a DAO is an organization that can have any or several of these objectives at its core. Like any organization, a DAO is driven by a shared vision and purpose.

You can take any organization today, and imagine its DAO parallel by introducing these key principles: decentralized and autonomous.

In a for-profit company, a CEO and team of employees work to deliver a great product to customers, and returns to investors. There is a unidirectional flow of value and authority: investors influence a team through capital, the team influences the customer through the product. In turn, consumers pay for the product, and profits flow back up through the company to its investors.

In a decentralized network the relationships between investor, creator and consumer break out of this linear model. Any interested individual might access information and propose new ideas to contribute to a project’s growth. Consumers might earn a financial stake just through using and evangelizing a product, thus furthering their own interest in its success.

The same framework can be applied to nonprofits, investment funds, even masajid and local communities. A web3 grant foundation might be a DAO where any individual can contribute capital and vote on how funds are directed. Any community member might submit a proposal, and have transparency into how it’s received and how decisions were made. A masjid might have public forums where community members vote to fund new programs, and hold leaders accountable.

Why a DAO?

If you’ve been keeping up with TDS, you know there are exciting new projects in the works: our own NFT collection, scaling Vibe Check, and building community on Discord. In addition, every day we receive messages from amazing individuals on new ideas to pursue. We’re committed to make these happen, and believe a DAO will be the best way for us to launch and grow these initiatives:

Global Talent & Collaboration

TDS has been multinational from its inception. We want to make it easy for anyone, anywhere, to contribute to and benefit from TDS. We want to create tools for individuals to self-identify opportunities, using their passions and talent to further our shared goals. We believe DAO protocols that structure participation in TDS’s web3 initiatives and new projects will allow us to scale how we work together as a global community.

Shared Ownership

TDS has always been for the community. Formalizing that fact by empowering community members to stake ownership in parts of TDS just makes sense. Importantly, ownership not only means giving community members authority through DAO governance, but also enables individuals to materially benefit from our shared success. As we pursue new web3 initiatives through our NFT collection and upcoming apps, we want the community and consumers of these projects to rise together with us.

Transparency & Accountability

We’ve always operated with the knowledge that our ultimate return and loyalty is to God, and that He has knowledge over all things. While we strive to create in this spirit and hold ourselves accountable - we know we might not always have the best information or ability to do so. Through public decision-making and accounting, we hope to benefit from community keeping us in check. We want to make sure we always act in the best interests of our ummah, and in accordance with our deen.

What’s Next

So what does this vision mean for the future of TDS?

  • Podcast Season Two - We’ll continue with season two of The Digital Sisterhood, our bread and butter. Cadar and Muna will continue to lead this effort separate from the DAO, giving us freedom and flexibility to experiment with DAO protocols and frameworks on newer projects.
  • Vibe Check App - We’re bringing Vibe Check online. After $12,500 in preorder sales and seeing first-hand the financial and environmental impact of physical production, we want to make the Vibe Check experience more scalable and sustainable. Building and iterating on the Vibe Check App will be one of our key initiatives as a fledgling DAO, and testing ground for how we work with distributed developers and designers to build an open-source app
  • NFT Collection - Our NFT projects will be our first signature in web3 - an opportunity to celebrate Muslim women in our unique way. We hope the NFT drop will create an early network of stakeholders in the larger TDS vision. NFT sales will not only allow us to seed our treasury with capital to grow TDS, but also generate a network of accountability and ownership to further our mission.
  • $TDS Governance - Finally, we’ll launch a $TDS governance token to power DAO operations. Token holders will have decision-making power in addition to financial ownership in the NFT projects, upcoming apps, and other potential projects that community members might come up with. We’ll be working together to define what this governance model looks like. More on the governance framework and token distribution to come!

Join us on Discord as we continue in our journey - this will be our main hub to organize ideas and collaborate on the future of the TDS DAO.

If you’re interested in getting involved to launch our DAO, or have general ideas around what’s shared here, drop me a message! @alalafox

Finally, to learn more about DAOs and the current DAO landscape, check out these resources:

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