Note: this post was written in a short, limited time frame, and rather than being a streamlined complete narrative it’s more like an associative collections of thoughts. I still hope though it can successfully convey my main message.
Alchemy Earth & the Genesis DAO
Alchemy Earth is live and with it the Genesis DAO. It’s hard to express the excitement in words, better witness it first hand.
Alchemy offers a rigorous, on-chain decision-making platform for DAOs, solving their hard governance. Soft governance, on the other hand, is about the off-chain processes in the DAO; communication, collaboration, deliberation and everything else that eventually lead to the DAO decision-making. If hard governance is the backbone of the DAO, soft governance is its blood and spirit.
Reputation for Daniel
Last week I’ve been to Edcon, Sydney. I’ve spent long hours with Daniel Bar, one of the most active blockchain entrepreneurs in Australia, the founder of the Bitfwd community, Blockathon movement and Alice Dapp among other things. Towards the end of our meeting I’ve toured Daniel through Alchemy, which got him stoked. Daniel immediately asked to participate in the Genesis DAO and I’ve enthusiastically proposed Genesis to allocate reputation to Daniel. We’ve written the proposal together, taking long time to go over each and every detail of the proposal, posting a social-identity verification tweet and putting everything into place.
The next day I was horribly surprised to find out people voting against the proposal; and more so, key people from within the DAOstack team itself. The main argument for rejecting the obviously good proposal was that it was not submitted by Daniel himself, which was argued to be against ‘the norm’ .¹
While trusting the objectors that they were acting from a good fate and doing what they thought is good for the DAO, I think they could not have been more wrong. In this short post I’ll try to explain why this kind of voting is not only bad, but actually toxic for the successful future of the Genesis DAO. In a deep sense I’d say that if we lost this proposal the unfortunate fate of the Genesis DAO has already been dictated.
There’s only one question a voter should ask herself when voting on a DAO proposal: given the proposal and all of the information around it (existing budget, alternative proposals, etc), is this a good proposal for the DAO or not? I would define any motivation other than that as politics, ‘norms’ included.
For example, on one hand off-chain channels of conversations about what should happen in the DAO would lead to a more coherent collaboration. On the other hand, having an off-chain channel of conversation being a unique source of truth, or a prerequisite to be active in the DAO, will be detrimental to its scalability.
More specifically, basing DAO decisions on local ‘norms’ obtained in off-chain, group conversations will:
- Inevitably push out (from staking, voting or contributing) those who do not participate in those conversations; whether it’s because they don’t want to or they simply can’t.
- Prevent DAO scaling since the very nature of those local conversations is that they’re not scalable (and that’s what DAO and generally indirect coordination for).
- Resort the DAO back to centralization by putting major weight on local, centralized conversations. The facilitators and owners of an ‘important’ channel or conversation would benefit unproportionate power.
DAOs are promised to be scalable organizations by virtue of holographic consensus. If they wouldn’t be scalable they wouldn’t be interesting too. Small companies on the blockchain would not change our society in a radical manner; scalable, decentralized human associations will. But decentralized scalability is so fragile, any sort of politics or group-bullying dynamics will crash either scalability or decentralization.
More promisingly, DAOs will not only scale to thousands of collaborators, but they will specifically attract to them all those ‘cats’ that never fitted any other frame in their life, got never herded by no one. Cats hate politics, cats hate ‘norms’, and cats hate group dynamics (particularly bullying). They’ll keep their four feet out of these DAOs every time. The evolutionarily winning DAOs will be those scalable cooperations of thousands of cats, all united (apart from other topical interest) by their aversion of group dynamics.
I believe we are in a critical junction. Genesis Alpha has been started as a bold experiment to test the vision of DAOs, their platform Alchemy, holographic consensus and other assumptions. Since its inception it has gained abnormal traction and momentum is building up every day. At the same time, it is also destined, if being successful, to grow into Genesis, the DAO of DAOs, to carry on the DAOstack project from technology to adoption.
To be able of doing that it’d need to have a very delicate composition and culture. A damn hard mission that we’ve postponed pursuing too far. I believe now is the time, and Genesis will need to go through significant maturing process to be able of scaling itself up successfully.
Any sort of group dynamics, monopolized channels or conversations, unofficial but brutally enforced norms and all of that kind will kill Genesis before it stood up on its legs. I really hope that the Genesis DAO will wake up today and start tearing down ineffective legacy formulas. Conversations and channels should definitely thrive, in the many, without a single source of truth and without monopolized power. Makers will find their way to the DAO.
If the above resonates with you and you care for the future of the Genesis DAO please upvote the original proposal to allocate reputation to Daniel.
¹ Btw, not only I wasn’t aware of that “norm”, but I will also argue it actually does not really exist. In fact, I’ve proposed reputation for someone else several times (not too far) in the past, successfully.