A lot has changed since we first published the Regen Network Whitepaper in October of 2017! DAOs have taken off as a mechanism of blockchain governance, and numerous tools and conventions have been developed.
Following the “built-in-public” ethic, we’d like to revisit the original enDAOment criteria and have an opportunity to reflect on what has shifted in the past few years.
Here’s what we had written in the whitepaper:
What does the process look like now?
Each new DAO signs a “Grant Responsibility Expenditure Agreement.” This agreement was originally drafted before we planned on using it for the enDAOment process. Token grants used in the formation of DAOs are rather unusual, in that they’re permanent endowments. This document was originally written like a normal grant agreement—assuming funds would be received, spent down, and the grant would be concluded. The agreement has been updated to take into account the permanent nature of these grants. Given this direction, we’ve renamed the part of the document that articulates the purpose of the grant as the “charter.” This term better articulates the weight of DAO formation.
To look at an example, Common Stack’s charter outlines the Foundation’s grant for the following purpose:
The grant document has also been updated with various disclosures. As these token grants are permanently locked, Regen Foundation does not have the ability to rescind grants. That said, if a DAO shifted to malicious activity, etc. Regen Foundation or another community member could bring about an on-chain referendum for token holders to consider whether or not that DAOs funds should be confiscated (just as any blockchain can do, such as during the infamous hack of “the DAO” on Ethereum in 2016). Additionally, as outlined in the grant agreement, recipients commit to publicly publishing financials and updates, so that the larger community is aware of their contributions and status.
One of the legal requirements we’ve realized in the DAO formation process is that, as these are technically grants, we need a non-profit fiscal sponsor on the receiving end (although this non-profit can be a pass-through entity). In the cases of our first two DAOs, there is an affiliated non-profit. With future DAOs, we will likely encounter scenarios where we need to recruit non-profit community members to serve as fiscal sponsors to receive a DAO grant, and foresee this as a place we need to grow additional network capacity.
We’ve also learned that incremental token grants complexify DAO administration, as, in the current codebase, locked wallets can only receive an initial transfer of locked tokens. Each additional grant requires a fresh wallet with no transaction history. There may be work arounds—such as future upgrades to the codebase, or a DAO simply having multiple REGEN wallets.
On the pattern level, we’ve realized that there are at least two meta types of DAOs: bioregional (organized around a geographic location, such as the Amazon) and guild (focused on an arena, such as remote sensing). We’re still exploring the implications of these distinctions. As our Board Director, Kei Kreutler, pointed out on her recent interview with Epicenter, the one thing that she’s confident DAOs will be in the future is multi-chain, and we anticipate both bioregional and guild DAOs integrating other aims and communities (Commons Stack is a good example of this, in that their DAO already lives on xDai/Gnosis Chain, so this REGEN grant will bring them into the Cosmos SDK space).
We had imagined a set of selection criteria in October 2021, and set their “expiry date” for February 2022. So now is the time for review and design of the next generation of metrics.
Are you interested in participating in co-evolving these criteria, and the way in which DAOs enter and move through the enDAOment pipeline? Please join our bi-weekly governance calls at noon Eastern on Wednesdays. Reach out to us on Discord or Twitter to be added to the calendar invite.