Impact DAO Case Studies
This chapter showcases the 12 Impact DAOs that are part of our study. We begin with Impact DAOs addressing societal issues, followed by the ones engaged in climate solutions, and then the meta Impact DAOs providing funding and assistance to social and climate Impact DAOs.
The Impact DAOs case studies provides an overview of who they are, their impact and how they DAO, with links to 1:1 interviews with the builders for deeper insights into their DAO way of making an impact.
1. Human DAO
DAO Members Interviewed
- Christopher Chase, Founder
- Adam, Core Team Contributor
- Kyla, Core Team Contributor
What is Human DAO
Human DAO’s mission is to use crypto and web3 to improve lives. Founded by Christopher Chase in 2021, Human DAO evolved out of the play-to-earn surge that peaked in the Philippines in 2021.
A veteran of Web3, Christopher was drawn into the world of Play-to-Earn in 2021 via Axie Infinity. For those who don’t know, Axie Infinity is a crypto-based game that has provided an actual livelihood for many in countries such as the Philippines (where some shops even accept the in-game tokens as a form of payment!).
In time, he found himself being approached for scholarships - a system in the game whereby a would-be player who lacks the means to purchase an NFT gets to borrow one from a player with NFTs to spare. This allows them to earn tokens by carrying out tasks within the game. “Hearing their stories,” he says, “how much a dollar a day could make a difference in their lives…I kept buying more Axies to get more scholars.”
The Axie model uses the blockchain to create cross-border economic opportunities without the need for work visas or official trade agreements. Previously, you had to buy your way into crypto (e.g. exchange USD for BTC). Now you could earn your way in. Almost unintentionally, games such as Axie onboarded millions of “ambition-rich” individuals to the cryptoverse.
It eventually struck Christoper that this model could be parlayed into generating economic value via real-world tasks. Hence the idea of their new product, Pocket Assistant NFT was born. PANFT holders outsource simple web based tasks to people in the emerging markets thus providing them work and an opportunity to earn in crypto. With their new initiative PANFT, Human DAO is expanding to Argentina and Nigeria.
“It’s a cross between Tinder and Uber”, as Christopher puts it, referring to the fact that the platform’s web app allows PAs to view potential tasks and “swipe right” on those they wish to undertake.
The system is therefore predicated on a fair exchange of value: a PANFT holder gets to save time and effort on routine tasks, while the PA can generate a regular income (e.g. $400 per month). In certain countries such as Argentina, an income of this size, paid in stablecoin, is preferable in many ways to a conventional job.
The aim of HumanDAO in the broadest sense is to use the disruptive power of Web3 to solve the problems faced by humanity. In the words of its founder Christopher Chase, it’s like a charity on steroids. To date Human DAO has impacted the lives of 1000 people in the Philippines and are bullish on their new product launch, PANFT providing income opportunities to people in the emerging markets.
How Do They DAO
- Human DAO uses tokenomics to fund their operations and impact. The HDAO token launched with the DAO helped them generate $3.5mil in funding.
- Remote distributed team with contributors and community collaborating on Discord. They have the largest community amongst the Impact DAOs we studied with 60,000 Discord members.
- Their tech stack comprises Ethereum and Polygon blockchain, Discord for community, Facebook, LinkedIn and Indeed for community outreach, Notion for Documentation, Safe (formerly Gnosis Safe) and Parcel for fund management, Discourse and Snapshot for governance and voting.
- Beneficiaries are part of the community and so are token holders. All stakeholders collectively govern the DAO. Anyone can raise a proposal which is discussed and voted upon by token holders.
For a deeper understanding on how Human DAO operates refer to the conversation with Human DAO Founder and Builders
2. Impact Market
##DAO Members Interviewed:
- Marco, Co-Founder
- Bernardo, Co-Founder
- Jessica, COO
Interviewer(s): Yvonne, Harsha and Deepa
What is Impact Market
Impact Market is a poverty alleviation protocol governed by a DAO distributing unconditional basic income in cryptocurrency (stablecoin cUSD) directly to people living in extreme poverty. Impact Market uses smart contracts (self-executing computer programs with contract rules written into lines of code) to distribute unconditional basic income (UBI). Funds are deposited directly into the wallets on the phones of people that are hard to access in places like Afghanistan, Venezuela, Congo, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Togo, Mali. Most of the countries on their list are war stricken, hyper-inflated economies where the dollar can make the most difference and have high penetration of smartphones.
“The same code works in any region. It’s beautiful. You don’t need to set up a subsidiary or a local bank account,” says Marco. “People think scalability is about the number of transactions. But a lot of people are constrained by the lack of a bank account and other logistics.” Whereas traditional fund distribution to distressed areas of the globe requires the use of costly intermediaries and on-the-ground auditors, the blockchain clears away such barriers.
Impact Market recently renamed their Poverty Alleviation Protocol to Human Empowerment to reflect their new ambitious vision of going beyond UBI to provide education through learn to earn, micro insurance and micro loans. They are also developing interesting new solutions to verifying identity and reputation of beneficiaries and have developed an inhouse crypto wallet that fits the requirements of their beneficiaries of low tech smartphones Their goal is to reach the poor without intermediaries and be 100% decentralized in their operations.
As a young organization founded in late 2020, Impact Market has had a tremendous impact. They have distributed UBI to over 40,000 people across 269 communities in 35+ countries. The UN WFP is partnering with them in many hard to reach places such as Afghanistan to get the UBI people via the phone
How Do They DAO
- Launched as a DAO in late 2021 (a year after the protocol) with the idea of DAO and protocol controlled by the token holders. The implication is that donors can now participate in DAO governance matters. Anyone that donates to Impact Market earns a $PACT token that entitles them to governance matters of the DAO for instance which communities should Impact Market onboard next for the UBI, donors can now have a say as they are part of the organization.
- Tokenomics to be self-sustainable with $PACT token providing both liquidity and serving as a governance token. ($PACT)
- Collaborative decision making with the two co-founders at the helm for direction setting
- Full time and part time contributors are paid in cUSD (Celo stablecoin) the currency used for UBI for the poor.
- Tech stack comprises Celo blockchain, Valora crypto wallet, slack for collaboration, discord for community engagement, GitBook for documentation, Google Docs and CRM for data insights and relationships management.
- Slow approach to decentralization. Even though Impact Market launched as DAO by introducing the $PACT token they are still on their journey to fully decentralize the organization with the goal to include all token holders in voting and governance matters.
For a deeper understanding on Impact Market and how they operate refer to the conversation with Impact Market builders
3. Ukraine DAO
##DAO Members Interviewed:
- Alona Schevchenko, Co-Founder
- Bertrand Juglas, Early Contributor
What is Ukraine DAO
Ukraine DAO was formed in anticipation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb 24, 2022. The DAO was set up 3 days prior to the border crossing. The goal was to raise funds for Ukrainians using web3. In just five days, UkraineDAO raised $7M in crypto donations from 3000+ people on the internet. Using the power of the Ethereum blockchain, web3 tech, and social media platforms, UkraineDAO was able to establish itself, mobilize, and collect and deploy funds rapidly and with maximum transparency.
Initially, UkraineDAO focused on providing financial support to the organizations directly serving the needs of Ukrainians. The DAO has now shifted its focus to fact-checking and countering misinformation. They work closely with the Government of Ukraine and adapt as the need changes.
To date Ukraine DAO has:
- Donated over $7 million to the Ukrainian government and to organizations like Come Back Alive. The donations are publicly verifiable in UkraineDAO.eth - Treasury. The Ukrainian flag NFT auctioned by Ukraine DAO is the tenth most valuable NFT ever sold, showing how non-fungible tokens can solve real-life problems.
- Organized events both online and IRL to support the Ukrainian cause.
- Assisted other disaster relief DAOs - e.g. helping to set up Iran DAO.
- Participated in the Kyiv Tech Summit held in the middle of the war torn city. The tech summit was attended by Vitalik Buterin, Founder of Ethereum.
UkraineDAO demonstrates it is possible for a DAO to get up and running not only in response to, but ahead of, a disaster. It also shows how quickly a DAO can adapt to the changing situation that so many ongoing crises present.
“The beauty of a DAO,” says Alona, “Which is not possible with a traditional charity, is that we adjust to Ukraine and to its needs immediately.”
How Do They DAO
- Internet-native (no office), no official legal status, no bank accounts, no board of directors, or any other trappings of a typical nonprofit organization.
- Completely volunteer-run with only one full-time paid contributor.
- 100% crypto fundraising, using a multisig for fund management and NFTs as a tool for raising capital.
- The DAO is divided into smaller groups known as “pods” to carry out the DAO activities, each with functional leads. Not all pods are active at all times. Currently, the most active pod is Fact-Checking and Media Literacy, owing to the pressing need to amplify Ukrainian voices amid the flood of government propaganda.
- Participatory decision-making (Ukraine DAO Governance).
- Particular attention is paid to the onboarding and assimilation of new members. The majority of members are everyday Ukrainians with limited web3 knowledge. There are over 2,000 members on Discord and close to 20,000 followers on Twitter.
- The tech stack consists of: Telegram and Discord for work and community, Notion for documentation, Twitter and Substack for external communication and community building, and Utopia Labs for treasury management
- Censorship resistance in particular is an advantage they have over their nonprofit counterparts. For example, the Ukrainian nonprofit Come Back Alive was suspended from fundraising on Patreon, while Ukraine DAO was shielded from censorship as a public blockchain-based organization (Patreon on the Removal of Come Back Alive).
For a deeper understanding of Ukraine DAO and how they operate, refer to the full founder interview and a detailed profile of Ukraine’s DAO origin and fundraising.
4. Pact DAO
##DAO Members Interviewed:
- Marisa Rando, Founder
- Alfredo Gil, Core Team Contributor
What is PACT DAO
Pact DAO is a New York City-based DAO building hyper-local mutual aid and neighborhood support programs. They were founded in 2020 as a US-registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit during the COVID outbreak. Pact, at that time, was a donation subscription service, fundraising for a featured hyper-local grassroots organization each month. In September 2021, they transitioned to a DAO, with the launch of a crowdfunding campaign on the web3-native mirror.xyz.
Pact continues to raise funds in both crypto and fiat to support various mutual aid programs. They see great potential in web3 tools for collaboration and coordination (multi-sig, Snapshot voting, etc.) giving agency to local leaders and making citizen participation easy. They are building a digital resource library to educate and onboard grassroots organizers on web3 tooling. Additionally, they conduct IRL events in NYC to connect with the community and to socialize the idea of using web3 for coordination and coalition building.
Currently, Pact DAO defines its impact in terms of relationships formed with grassroots leaders and organizations and in having healthy, open conversations around web3 and crypto as a tool for coordination. They have distriburted $15,000 is mutual aid to date.
How Do They DAO
- Pact DAO collaborates on Discord with 70+ members in their Discord community and 5 core team members.
- The group has completely transitioned to a DAO model and was among the first to amend its nonprofit bylaws to be DAO-compatible. The new, amended bylaws bring community members, broadly equivalent to board members, for collective decision-making.
Right now, I guess we are the classic, a DAO with discord and
multi-sig - Marisa Rando, Pact DAO
- Their tech stack is Discord for community, multisig wallet for fund management, Wonderverse for task management, and Notion for documentation.
- Fundraising is a crucial function. Pact DAO uses web3 fundraising platforms, mirror.xyz and Gitcoin Grants in addition raising funds in fiat on their website.
- The DAO does not have a token and they do not intend to launch a financial token
- Voting and decision-making in Pact DAO are carried out through discussions and emojis on Discord.
- Pact DAO is deeply inspired by the book “Mutual Aid” by Dean Spade, which strongly emphasizes relationship-building as a primary metric of success (Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity in This Crisis, 2020).
Sometimes web3 tools allow us to bypass relationships because we could
all purchase the same NFT and be authenticated into this group but do
we have shared values - Marisa Rando, Founder Pact DAO
- Pact DAO employs a “dual power” operating philosophy that argues for working on two sides. You need to be both counter-power (similar to protesting) and also to simultaneously build solutions for what is being protested.
- One of their biggest learnings operating as a crypto organization interacting with local communities in New York, is that you have to meet people where they are and become part of their community. You have to be a neighbor, not an outsider, and to slowly help them understand the power of web3 in enabling change.
For a deeper understanding of how Pact DAO operates, please refer to the conversations with the Pact DAO builders.
5. Proof Of Humanity
DAO Members Interviewed:
- Clement, CTO of Kleros ( the team that developed the POH Protocol)
- Federico, Founder and CEO of Kleros
- Juanu, Developer, Klero
Interviewer(s): Pauline de Mortain
What is Proof of Humanity
Proof of Humanity (POH) is a proof of human identity protocol, a registry of unique (non-repeatable humans) built on the Ethereum blockchain. The protocol launched in March 2021 and has verified nearly 20,000 users as human to date!
The concept of having a blockchain-based identity for every human has the potential to help solve a multitude of problems, ranging from fair democracy (one person, one vote) to providing the 1.5 billion who currently lack a universally recognized form of identification, and hence cannot access services such as UBI. Other uses include emerging issues, such as the issue of bots on social media platforms and sybil attacks in the cryptosphere.
The first application of the protocol was to provide a means of verifying individuals to receive Universal Basic Income (UBI), and remains the primary focus. The protocol is progressing to other use cases in the web3 ecosystem, for example, countering Sybil attacks.
Gitcoin (the web3 crowdfunding protocol) and Lens Protocol (the web3 decentralized social media protocol) have integrated with Proof Of Humanity to authenticate “Proof of Personhood”. To be verified on Lens, for example, you must be registered with Proof Of Humanity. Proof of Personhood is an important primitive for the blockchain world, above and beyond its application for UBI. It could also be used in verifying decentralized social media profiles, validating token airdrop recipients, etc.
The POH protocol was developed by the engineers of the Kleros Cooperative. Kleros itself is a blockchain protocol, typically described as a “Decentralized Court”. The original concept of a list of “non-repeated” humans came from Ethereum’s founder Vitalik Buterin, who believed that Kleros could be used for curating a list of humans, not just a list of tokens. An important primitive within the crypto ecosystem, it was set up as a community-managed DAO from the outset.
There were originally two distinct schools of thought concerning how Proof Of Humanity should be used. Developers in the crypto space were focused on using it to build a secure population of users to counter problems such as Sybil resistance in blockchain networks. The other group looked further afield, conceiving it as having to potential to facilitate social benefits such as UBI to the underserved 1.5 billion without means of identification. This bifurcation has created tensions within the Proof Of Humanity collective, which if unresolved may eventually lead to a fork in the protocol.
While the open-source Proof of Humanity protocol was built by developers from Kleros, the UBI application of the protocol, together with the UBI token, is developed by Democracy Earth.
UBI depends on Proof Of Humanity but Proof Of Humanity doesn't depend
on UBI. Proof Of Humanity doesn't emit or mint any tokens at all.
Clement, CTO Kleros
How Do They DAO
- POH’s “one person, one vote” philosophy meant the DAO was decentralized from the beginning. Anyone on the registry automatically became part of the DAO and had a vote on governance matters. This makes it the “most democratic DAO” (according to its members!) as decision-making is wholly vested in the hands of the community
In Proof Of Humanity, you join by registering on our protocol, and
then that's it - your registration is the participation you need to
vote, so you don't need any tokens at all. - Clement, CTO Kleros
- Changes to the protocol can be proposed by anyone and are discussable by everyone. All registered users take a vote, and if there is a change or an update to the protocol, these are called ‘Humanity Improvement Proposals’.
- The DAO uses a form of delegated voting style whereby registered users can transfer their vote to a representative to vote on their behalf.
- Voting within the DAO has always been a contentious issue. The ‘one person, one vote’ model has led many to complain that most voters do not have enough knowledge or interest to vote optimally. Many registered voters came to POH initially for UBI, and hence may lack the full context on the issues being voted upon. The DAO is therefore evolving its voting mechanism and coming up with alternatives that help with the ultimate dual mission of having a registry of proof of personhood and UBI.
For a deeper understanding of Proof of Humanity and the DAO, please refer to the following conversations with POH builders.
Interview with Juanu, Developer, Kleros
Interview with Federico, Founder Kleros
Interview with Clement, CTO Kleros
POH presentation at DEVCON Bogota Oct 2022 by Santi, Democracy Earth
##DAO Members Interviewed:
- Anna Stone, Co-Founder
- Jessica Salama, Core Team
- Steve, Community Lead
What is GoodDollar
GoodDollar protocol is a standard for deploying free money as a public good. It achieves this by the issuance of a daily distribution of GoodDollar (a reserve-backed token) as daily universal basic income (UBI) to members, empowering everyone - regardless of socio-economic background - to onboard into crypto, start learning, and join the coming wealth boom. Anyone can receive real, free, reserve-backed crypto straight to their phone, so you don’t need to buy crypto or invest in order to participate and learn.
To emphasize the point: anyone, anywhere with a smartphone with internet access can participate. Onboarding is as simple as signing up for a GoodDollar wallet and taking a selfie to confirm identity.
The goal of GoodDollar is to use the mechanisms of DeFi as an effective infrastructure for solving global wealth inequality. It achieves this in two ways: 1) anyone in the world can create a non-custodial wallet and receive crypto UBI, and 2) the capital concentrated in DeFi within staking and liquidity pools provides a new pathway for sustainably funding a decentralized universal basic income system at scale.
GoodDollar is supported by eToro, the world’s largest social investment trading network. Aiming to remove the barriers to investing across all assets, eToro grew rapidly during the crypto boom, which inspired CEO Yoni Assia to explore ways to move beyond traditional corporate social responsibility programs and build a truly innovative, long-lasting, and open-source alternative. eToro committed to sponsoring research and development in this area, and this resulted eventually in the GoodDollar protocol.
GoodDollar protocol is a blockchain-based, anti-inequality UBI
protocol built with the purpose of letting crypto flow freely to
people who need money the most, in a manner that enables them to learn
about crypto by experiencing it. - Co-Founder, Anna
In the countries where GoodDollar is active, community members facilitate the off-ramps using mobile minutes or other forms of mobile money.
With a truly global community, active in over 181 countries, GoodDollar continues to improve its protocol and is becoming a truly scalable, sustainable UBI system governed by its members (through a DAO). After two years, a robust community is beginning to emerge.
The bottom-up economy, as described in the protocol’s initial whitepaper, has become real. The worldwide adoption of $G has validated GoodDollar’s overall thesis for building a crypto-native UBI protocol: $G improves the lives of its recipients around the world, regardless of the amount of the UBI given.
How Do They DAO
- The GoodDollar protocol was always intended to be community-managed. It transitioned to a DAO in Jan 2022, 3 years after launching the UBI protocol.
- It has adopted a progressive decentralization approach, rather than going all in from the beginning. GoodDollar aims to decentralize one function at a time. Currently, the hiring of community leads and in-country ambassadors is managed via the DAO.
- Hiring for DAO jobs is carried out within the community, on the basis that $G token holders have ‘skin in the game’ and are best suited to steward the GoodDollar protocol.
We are hiring directly from the community of members. You need to
bring in people early that have the skin in the game. - Anna Stone,
- GoodDollar members need to be active contributors for a minimum of 6 months in order to participate in the DAO.
- A separate DAO governance token known as GOOD is used for voting and is different from the $G UBI token. The guiding principle here is that people should be able to earn rather than buy the influence.
- Collaborative decision-making takes place via discussions and community calls with the final proposal put up for voting on Snapshot.
- The tech stack comprises Discourse and Snapshot for governance and voting, Notion for documentation, Telegram, Discord, and Twitter for community engagement and communication, and Safe for the multisig wallet.
- The org structure is concentric: with a core team (full-time employees hired by the GoodDollar Foundation) as the innermost circle. The next circle consists of initial DAO community members, who hire the next outer circle, and so on.
- The ultimate goal is to make the DAO responsible for setting the direction of the protocol, which in turn is powered by the community of $G token holders.
For a deeper understanding of Good Dollar and how they operate, please refer to the conversation with GooD Dollar builders.
7. All for Climate DAO
##DAO Members Interviewed:
- Leen Schelfhou, Co-Founder
- Xavier Damman, Co-Founder
All for Climate DAO's vision is to be the Greenpeace of the 21st century. Their goal is to build a sustainable decentralized climate movement using the web3 toolkit and ethos. The DAO empowers climate activists with shared infrastructure, connections, and web3-oriented execution. The grand goal is to enable sustainable climate solutions that are rooted locally and connected globally.
Currently, All for Climate DAO (A4C) acts as a ‘project of projects’, intended to be a home for anyone working on climate and social justice initiatives. It is currently fulfilling this role (i.e. as a fiscal host) for 180 such projects or ‘collectives’. It also acts as a gateway to web3 for climate activists and enthusiasts, providing them with training and support.
Disenchanted with status quo solutions to the climate crisis, the founders see web3 as an innovative, radical real-world experiment.
- Prioritize decentralization in all areas of their DAO.
- Key ‘commons’/web2 tooling to support collectives
- Emphasize the importance of human connection throughout the DAO, and influenced deeply by deep democracy and holacracy.
The Founders believe that one can be both pro-climate and pro-Web3. It is not a case of either or.
How Do They DAO
- The All for Climate DAO collaborates using Discord, where they have created an inviting environment for anyone interested in web3, and climate solutions to partake in discussions and group projects.
- Onboarding new Discord members into the community is a key focus area, and there are designated onboarding personnel.
- There is a strong emphasis on co-ownership and decentralization of projects within the DAO. All for Climate enables new project ideas with their own multisig wallets and direction setting. For example, ‘Artists for Climate’ and ‘Regens Unite’, exist as sub-groups within All for Climate DAO, and operate their own budget and multisig.
- The tech stack is as follows: Discord for community, Twitter and Mirror for external communication, Clarity for work organization, Dework for task management
- Work is incentivized through task-based bounties, which are earned by members. Contributors are paid in stablecoin DAI.
- Voting is carried out via community engagement. Proposals are submitted via a Google Doc and discussed/edited through group calls and comments. The approach to decision-making is to ascertain if a proposal is: a) good enough for now or b) safe enough to try, with a feedback loop to ascertain if it working effectively. This decision-making style is inspired by Sociocracy Theory.
- The DAO issues a token, with no monetary value assigned as yet. It is currently used for keeping a record of contributions. It is expected that contributors will be able to exchange the token for currency at a later date.
Our community currency is mainly used more like equity in a startup -
equity that is worth nothing at the beginning but with the hope that
at some point it will be worth something - Xavier Damman, Co-founder
All for Climate DAO
- All for Climate DAO is inspired by the book Reinventing Organizations, which is considered a core text for both DAO and Climate movement founders (e.g. Extinction Rebellion, Fridays for Future). The governance design also incorporates principles of sociocracy, holacracy, and deep democracy (in which co-founder Leen is a trained practitioner).
For a deeper understanding of how All for Climate DAO operates refer to the conversation with the co-founders.
8. Regen Network
##DAO Members Interviewed:
- Gregory Landua, Co-Founder
- Revathi Kollegala, ED Regen Foundation
Interviewer(s): Darren, Deepa
About Regen Network
Regen Network is in the business of regenerating the planet through the creation of high quality carbon credits. Blockchain technology can support planetary regeneration because it enables parties to transact eco credits on a decentralized, transparent, and immutable basis. Regen Network launched in 2017 using the Cosmos SDK (Cosmos) public proof of stake blockchain to build the Regen Ledger, a registry of carbon credits. The Regen Ledger is the backbone of the Regen Marketplace, an online storefront for minting and selling quality eco credits (see: Introduction to Regen Network).
Regen Network's users are primarily land stewards, scientists, validators, and buyers of eco-credits, who work together to support regeneration by creating an economy around eco-credits.
Founder Gregory Landua has a background in Permaculture and Agroforestry. He has focused his studies in these two areas, as he believes they offer the most pragmatic solution to the so-called ‘meta-crisis’, defined as ‘ the multiple overlapping interconnected global crises that our nascent planetary culture faces’.
Additionally, Gregory has spent considerable time working on the ground, creating pathways for financial sustainability in the area of land regeneration. In 2013, he co-authored a book Regenerative Enterprise: Optimizing for Multi-capital Abundance, and developed the so-called “eight forms of capital”, which have now become a default learning module in permaculture education. The eight forms of capital are also seeing a resurgence of interest in the cryptosphere (e.g. it is referenced in the book GreenPilled: How Crypto Can Regenerate the World).
The Regen Network comprises:
- Regen Marketplace powered by the Regen ledger
- Regen Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit committed to the inclusion of a diverse community of stakeholders to build the tools of regeneration
- Regen Network Development, Inc. a US registered C-Corp running the token sale to capitalize the development of Regen Network.
Regen Network does not describe itself as an organization, but uses the terms community, commons, movement, public blockchain-based protocol, and of course network. The community is governed by the holders of the governance token. The community determines how the network should function, e.g. developing standards for eco-credits, peer review processes, and so on.
Their users are not typical app developers, but rather land stewards and scientists creating a wide range of eco-credits, from biodiversity to water quality. The validation of eco-credits takes place off-chain. The ultimate goal is to decentralize the process of high-quality eco-credit creation, and to develop more inclusive and pragmatic processes for users. The buyers of Regen Network eco-credits are traditional institutions, as well as entities operating in the cryptoverse (with increasing demand from the latter).
Regen Network is also exploring new ways to bring eco-credits to market: using smartphones, satellite technology, or by simply recording observations on paper and taking a picture of it. They are always on the lookout for developers, hobbyists, and prosumers to help them build this vision. While many are based in Latin America, contributors to the network span the globe. This diversity of membership adds to the resilience of the ecosystem.
In 2020, Regen Network sold and retired over 120,000 CarbonPlus Grasslands credits to Microsoft on the Regen Network blockchain. Since then, they’ve partnered with fellow Cosmos blockchain protocols such as Osmosis, Stargaze, and Cheqd to become carbon-neutral. The new Regen Marketplace launched in October, 2022 has 20,647 eco-credits tradeable, 4,771 retired, and 25,419 created to date.
How They DAO
Regen Network is the first decentralized registry program owned and operated by its community of experts and land stewards. Regen Network’s backbone, Regen Ledger, is built on top of public proof of stake blockchain and hence decentralized by design.
The Regen token is a form of currency as well as a governance token. It can therefore be used to pay contributors (as currency) and in voting (governance).
Regen Foundation has allocated 30% of Regen tokens to aligned stakeholders in Regen Network who otherwise might not have representation - such as farmers, researchers, engineers, indigenous nations, and rights-of-nature projects. An “EnDAOment” program rewards communities felt to be doing the best regenerative work, by helping them to raise their voice within the Regen Network. These Community Staking DAOs can delegate their tokens to blockchain validators and receive validator rewards, which they can either re-stake or manage within their own governance circles.
The community engages in off-chain polling and voting for decisions on matters that affect the entire network.
The DAO structure is nested (i.e. made up of autonomous companies and multiple sovereign sub-DAOs). Regen Network identifies itself as a LAO (Legal Autonomous Organization) as it operates within the legal framework in the United States.
Various types of payment options exist, from the native Regen token to stablecoins and fiat. For instance, validators of eco-credits get paid in the Regen token for providing security by default, but also have the option to pick from various other tokens in the “Allow List” (determined by a community voting process).
For a deeper understanding of how Regen Network operates, please refer to the following conversations with the Regen team:
9. Klima DAO
DAO Members Interviewed:
- Hugh, Core Team
- 0xymoron, Core Team
- Marcus Aurelius, Core Team
Interviewer(s): Darren and Deepa
What is Klima DAO
Klima is disrupting the traditional voluntary carbon credit (VCC) markets using web3 technology. The Klima protocol uses the public blockchain to bring transparency to the current system, which is opaque and inefficient. With the issuance of carbon-backed, algorithmic currency - the KLIMA token (Klima Token) - KlimaDAO aims to further incentivize demand for carbon credits.
As the protocol grows, KlimaDAO aims to solve various critical issues with the status quo:
- Illiquidity: Carbon Credits come in many different varieties, and a multitude of carbon brokers and other middlemen fragment the total liquidity of the market.
- Opacity: Trades occur often behind closed doors, allowing buyers to circumvent the pricing power of the market.
- Inefficiency: buying and retiring carbon credits has numerous barriers. By utilizing the Polygon ecosystem, much of this friction is removed for users.
KlimaDAO launched on October 18th, 2021. It was inspired by Olympus DAO (a decentralized, censorship-resistant reserve currency designed for the Web3 ecosystem) and was both conceptualized and built by a distributed pseudonymous team.
Klima’s reserve currency is backed 1:1 by carbon credits. The protocol rewards users for bridging carbon credits on-chain and bonding them to a treasury (see here to understand bonding and staking works) managed by the DAO. Since its launch, over 25 million carbon credits have been brought on-chain using the bonding mechanism. This represents a significant fraction of carbon credits on the market, and has drawn attention from ReFi natives and legacy carbon market players.
Klima bootstrapped their community with an Initial Discord Offering to incentivize early members. Klima now has over 60,000 Klimaholders, over 40,000 members on Discord, and about 100 active contributors.
The token engineering of KlimaDAO is especially important to properly incentivize a community to achieve its goals. KlimaDAO’s token design, modeled after OlympusDAO’s OHM token, incentivizes individuals to bridge carbon on-chain and bond it to the treasury. The treasury then issues Klima in exchange, which users can stake to earn more rewards. Another important aspect of Klima’s community is its strong emphasis on meme culture, both to keep members engaged and to create coordinated actions like staking.
Looking to the future, KlimaDAO has identified a pressing need to increase knowledge and use of the web3 carbon market. On the supply side, the quality of credits remains an issue (as it does on legacy registries like Verra).
Strategies to reduce barriers to demand include simplifying the process of onboarding and executing transactions on the blockchain. Klima believes that addressing these challenges on both the supply and demand side could lead to a breakthrough in the adoption and growth of the voluntary carbon market.
To date, KlimaDAO has bridged 25.4M tons of carbon credits on-chain, retired 470K, and currently holds 16.7M (making it the largest single holder of tokenized carbon assets).
How Do They DAO
- Klima launched as a DAO from the outset. The core team that formulated the idea and the protocol brought in early contributors to advise on policy decisions, help manage the community, and set up the DAO’s structure and processes.
- Discord serves as the primary informal medium for community inclusion and discussion.
- Governance matters are discussed on a forum prior to voting in Snapshot.
- Multisig wallets are used for treasury management. These multisig wallets are the tools for executing adjustments to policy variables such as bond capacities and reward rate, as well as to distribute funds from the DAO wallet to pay contributors and fund DAO initiatives.
- KlimaDAO compensates contributors in two ways: monthly payroll (for stable, long-term roles) and bounties (smaller, one-time jobs, such as content writing and software engineering tasks). Bounties are managed by means of a web3-specific tool called Dework that integrates with cryptocurrency wallets for reward distribution.
- Distributed team and community with remote, asynchronous work practices and a flat organizational structure.
- The tech stack includes Snapshot for token voting, Discord for community, Notion for organizing work, Figma for UX/UI, Github for code, and Safe (formerly Gnosis Safe) for fund management and protocol access control.
For a deeper understanding of Klima DAO and how it operates, please refer to the following conversations with Klima Core Team and their DAO documentation.
10. Gitcoin DAO
##DAO Members Interviewed:
- Kevin Owocki, Co-founder
- Scott Moore, Co-founder
- Ben, Cause Round Lead
- Kris, DAO Ops, and Community Engagement Co-Lead
- Saf, Full-time Contributor
Interviewer(s): Deepa, Impact DAO Media
What is Gitcoin DAO
Gitcoin is the largest crowdfunding protocol for web3 open source projects, as well as various other causes. It was founded in November 2017 by Kevin Owocki and Scott Moore. They chose to transition into a DAO in May 2021. Gitcoin DAO manages the crowdfunding protocol. To date, they have disbursed 72.4 million dollars in funding to 3.4k projects across 15 grant rounds. They run four quarterly grant rounds every year.
Gitcoin serves as a go-to platform for web3 entities looking to support their ecosystem’s open-source projects. Impact investing firms like Omidyar Network and philanthropists such as Kimbal Musk are also using Gitcoin’s platform to channel funds into web3 impact projects.
In addition, Gitcoin was the first to apply the quadratic funding model to match grant funds. Quadratic funding is a radically new way of funding programs in a highly democratic way. The quadratic funding model was originally defined in a paper published in 2019 by Vitalik Buterin, founder of Ethereum. For more information on Quadratic Funding, view the video.
Grant success on Gitcoin depends on how much the community cares about the project and how well the project can rally a support base.
In 2023, Gitcoin is making a big leap by transitioning into a decentralized grants protocol. In addition to hosting the Gitcoin Grants Program, the new protocol will allow any community, ecosystem, or individual to run their own grant rounds, and will come out of the box with the ability to create quadratic funding rounds. The other major products of GitcoinDAO are Bounties and Hackathons.
How Do They DAO
- Gitcoin transitioned from a traditional tech company in 2017 to a DAO in 2021. They are the most mature DAO in our study with well defined systems and processes in place along with over 100 full time contributors on payroll.
- Their transition process was slow, with initially only a few departments taking the plunge into the “way of the DAO”. However, as of today, all Gitcoin departments are now part of the DAO.
- The DAO was launched with the GTC token (Coinmarketcap GTC Value). The token generated funds needed to sustain and grow operations. The tokenomics also made it possible to transfer 100% of the funds raised on the platform to grantees.
- The Gitcoin organization structure consists of concentric circles. Anyone that shows interest in Gitcoin (by joining their Discord) becomes part of DAO Citizens (the outermost community circle). The innermost circle comprises Full-Time Contributors (=employees), who are subdivided into workstreams with functional leads. There are four main concentric circles: DAO Citizen, Trust Steward, Part-Time Contributor, and Full-Time Contributors. As of Aug 2022, the Gitcoin DAO had 120 Full-Time Contributors on their payroll.
It goes from, being a DAO Citizen, to Trusted [Stewards], then you go
to a Part-Time Contributor role and then to a Full-Time Contributor
- Kris, Ops Co-lead Gitcoin DAO
- The GTC token is used for financing, governance, and payroll.
- The DAO employs the delegation voting method for major decisions (e.g. budgets).
- In delegation voting, power is vested in the hands of Stewards, who are designated to actively participate in governance by preparing/reading thoroughly around each decision.
- GTC token holders can delegate their votes to these Stewards as they are well-versed in the issues and can make informed decisions.
- Commonly used tools at Gitcoin include Discord, Discourse, Snapshot (for off-chain voting), and Tally (for on-chain voting).
- The Tally vote is the autonomous part of the Gitcoin DAO. That is, if the vote passes, then funds will automatically flow from the Gitcoin DAO multisig to the relevant workstream’s multisig.
- As part of the move towards complete decentralization, the two founders Kevin Owocki and Scoot Moore have delegated the power to the DAO by stepping down from Gitcoin leadership.
There is no limit to what you can accomplish if you don't care who
takes the credit! In the DAO space, you have to be willing to let
things happen without requiring that you're always at the center of
it. - Scott Moore, Co-Founder, Gitcoin
- Gitcoin governance matters are openly discussed on Discourse.
For a deeper understanding of how Gitcoin DAO operates, refer to the following conversations with Gitcoin Founders and Builders:
11. Dream DAO
##DAO Members Interviewed:
- Madison, Co-Founder
- Joshua, Founding Builder
- Madhav, Founding Builder
What is Dream DAO
Dream DAO’s mission is to help Gen-Z leaders (15-20-year-olds) use web3 to solve society’s problems. The DAO grew out of a non-profit called Civics Unplugged, which it still collaborates with. Civics Unplugged is a 501(c)(3) social enterprise founded in 2019, focused on creating Gen Z leaders through training, funding, and networking.
Dream DAO is a spin-off from the original nonprofit. It runs two fellowship programs a year of 40 students per program. The fellows, referred to as Builders, are matched with leaders from web3 known as Champions. During the course of 6 months, the Builders are given an immersive introduction to web3, with exposure to key web3 concepts, events, and hands-on learning experiences.
When we learned about the potential of web3 to solve civic problems,
we saw that not very many young people were being onboarded to the
Impact side of web3. We thought ‘Who would be better at training and
onboarding young people than an organization that is already focused
on just that?" - Madison, Co-founder Dream
Dream DAO launched in late 2021 and has run two fellowship programs to date having trained 80 students through 1:1 mentorship. The DAO measures impact in terms of how many students are onboarded to web3 through their fellowship program and internship placements.
They also conduct IRL events in various cities and colleges globally to create awareness and build a community of Gen Zs interested in web3 and social impact.
The learning experience in web3 is continuous as we learn a range of
web3 skills including making and distributing POAPs, learning HTML or
R, getting introduced to governance mechanisms, and even working on
projects with the likes of NEAR Protocol, Tezos, or Polywrap. -
Joshua, Dream DAO Founding Builder from Mexico
How Do They DAO
- Co-creation of the DAO by engaging students from Civis Unplugged to help with ideation, structure, and launch of Dream DAO. The students who contributed to the formation of Dream DAO are now referred to as ‘Founding Builders’.
- The DAO is remote and distributed, with students from all over the world. They collaborate on Discord and use it as a primary platform for ‘Learning Together’ sessions and connecting with mentors.
- The DAO uses NFTs to represent membership, with students being awarded free NFTs while the Champions must buy them from the NFT marketplace OpenSea.
- The DAO votes on all matters and uses NFTs (instead of fungible tokens) for voting and Snapshot (a decentralized off-chain voting platform) to cast votes.
- Operations are divided into workstreams, with each workstream led by a Builder (student) and a Champion (mentor). The structure is fluid and changes with every season.
- The DAO does not issue tokens. Because of the central role of young members, the target governance model is merit-based rather than token-weighted (i.e. not dependent on how much money you have spent).
- The tech stack comprises: Discord for collaboration, Notion for documentation, Snapshot for voting, and Clarity for task management.
- The co-founder Gary Sheng, who largely stewarded the DAO, has stepped down recently with the intention of making the DAO more decentralized and autonomous (i.e. not remain dependent on one individual for functioning).
For a deeper understanding of how Dream DAO operates, refer to the conversation with Dream DAO Founders and Builders.
12. Commons Stack
##DAO Members Interviewed:
- Lívia Deschermayer, Cultural Build Lead
- Tamara Helenius, Program Manager
- Ivy Bagay, Communications and Legal Lead
Interviewer(s): Pauline de Mortain
What is Commons Stack
Founded in 2019, Commons Stack helps communities dedicated to public goods deploy regenerative microeconomies by providing open-source web3 toolkits. In other words, Commons Stack makes it easier for groups of people to manage shared resources - or ‘commons’. They create digital tools to help people fund, manage, and govern these ‘commons’ together.
A commons could be a natural resource, such as an endangered forest or unpolluted air. It could also be a digital resource, like Wikipedia, or a local service, like after-school care. It is, in short, any resource that can be co-owned and co-governed.
Commons Stack bases much of its work on the research of Nobel Prize winner Elinor Ostrom (Elinor Ostrom's Books. Before Ostrom, it was believed that a shared resource would be over-used and destroyed if left to its users, a phenomenon referred to as the “Tragedy of the Commons” (Tragedy of the Commons, Elinor Ostrom). Her economic research showed that this is not always the case. Small communities tend to establish self-enforced rules that lead to the sustainable use of shared resources.
However, Ostrom’s research also found that this does not appear to scale well in larger groups. Commons Stack hopes to empower communities - large and small, global and local - to manage their commons effectively. Commons Stack envisions these communities operating as ‘Platform Cooperatives’.
A good deal of Commons Stack’s work has focused on identifying ways to build sustainable economies based around a given commons. This could, for instance, remove the need for a constant flow of new funds to operate, thus allowing the commons to flourish. Blockchain technology presents an opportunity to experiment with tokens to incentivize this desirable outcome.
While anyone can mint a token, designing a effective token is not easy. This is why Commons Stack established the Token Engineering Commons (TEC). The TEC is a DAO dedicated to ‘sustainable and ethical design for token ecosystems’.
Commons Stack has also launched a membership organization called The Trusted Seed. The organization is home to a group of impact investors who are targeting long-term positive social impact. The group votes on token launches for new Commons through their governance token $TRUST.
More recently, the Trusted Seed played a major part in selecting the winner of the Commons Stack Prize - Grassroots Economics. They will now launch a Commons with all the benefit of the Commons Stack toolkit, expertise, and community. the experience gained from the first Commons deployment, the Token Engineering Commons (TEC).
Commons Stack has three divisions: Research, Products & Development, and Services. The research-based approach guides them to design tools that can be applied to commons upkeep, for example, the Augmented Bounding Curve for funding, Conviction Voting for prioritization, and the Analytics Dashboard for token launch. The “Praise System”, developed in collaboration with TEC, is another important invention. The Praise system (Praise) allows DAOs to collect data on people’s non-financial contributions and praise them.
Commons Stack hopes its tools will help people solve real-world coordination issues. Many of their tools rely on blockchain technology, and since blockchain technology is not widely adopted, the initial work will focus on organizations already in the blockchain space.
How Do They DAO
Although it operates in a non-hierarchical and open manner, Commons Stack itself is not yet officially a DAO. Its progressive decentralization towards a full DAO model is scheduled to begin in Q4 2023. In keeping with the goals of the Commons Stack, the emphasis is on moving deliberately, with sustainability in mind. In other words, the team appears in no rush to expand before they’re ready.
Commons Stack’s Trusted Seed Member organization of impact investors exercises governance power via the $TRUST token, mostly in deciding on token launches for new Commons, and voting for the winner of the Commons Stack Prize. The Commons Stack team also holds the $TRUST token.
For a deeper understanding of how Commons Stack operates, please refer to the following conversations with the team:
Interviews releasing soon on All About Impact DAOs Podcast
Interview with Lívia Deschermayer, Cultural Build Lead
Interview with Tamara Helenius, Program Manager
Interview with Ivy Bagay, Communications and Legal Lead