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DAOs Go Mainstream

This cycle has no doubt propelled crypto into the public zeitgeist in ways that most…

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This cycle has no doubt propelled crypto into the public zeitgeist in ways that most couldn’t have imagined in the doomy depths of the previous bear market.    

 

But here we are, Super Bowl ads, celebs and movie studios slinging JPEGs, multi-billion dollar dog money. Crypto is now most definitely here, and most people have at least heard of it. But are we really mainstream yet? 

 

No, not really. Phil Collins has sold twice as many albums as there are Bitcoin wallets. 

Number of Bitcoin block explorer Blockchain.com wallet users

Phil. Collins. 

 

So what is going to push us over the edge? 

 

It could be DAOs.

 

I know, I know, most of you might be in the “DAOs will never work” frame of mind (which is understandable, honestly) but let’s wind back the adoption curve a bit and look where we’ve come from and where we’re going. 

 

In the beginning there was Bitcoin

 

The first “primitive” of the cryptospace was money. Satoshi’s solution to the double spend problem with Bitcoin, was/is beyond revolutionary, but it did take a long time to land. 

 

For the first year, the difficulty of Bitcoin was 1 (it’s 30 trillion times harder now). It was basically Satoshi and his shadowy cypherpunk chums fiddling around with some open source tech.

 

In the modern market this is an ice age. If something doesn’t bang to a hundred million dollar market cap in weeks it’s considered a dud. 

 

Back in the early days things took time, but the scene was set. The Cambrian explosion had begun. Albeit nice and slowly. 

 

Tokens, tokens, YOLOOOO

 

It wasn’t long before people realised you could just do Bitcoin again, twiddle the monetary knobs a bit, call it Bitcoin Gold or something, and you’ve got a fun new way to wind back the pump clock to zero. 

 

Altcoins were the next major primitive i.e. same same, but different. 

 

Daft as it was, it was enough to drive the next wave of adoption. Speculation is a helluva drug.

 

Sure, there were some esoteric side experiments but for the next several years it was really random token trading on emerging bitcoin forks that pushed crypto into a new stage of maturity. 

 

ICO, ICO, ICO

 

Then Ethereum, the world computer. What did we do with this new miraculous invention?  

 

More tokens! But much easier, and this time we could collect an open ended amount of money and give you, dear degen, some magic beans in return. 

 

Of course people abused the hell out of this new found super power. Yeah, we could have disrupted venture capital, but we just made a perpetual whitepaper powered scam engine until everyone was rekt enough that we needed a multi-year cool down on the market. Humans be humans. 

 

DeFi

 

Then something new. A use case! 

 

At the tail end of the last cycle a new primitive was born. The ability to do what the financial services (aka degens in suits) had done for many years, borrow and lend money. 

 

This was a new revolution, and this time you got tokens (spot the pattern) fired at you for doing it. 

 

In the mix here we managed to replace the thing that really put the breaks on token utopia in previous cycle; the gated (albeit bribable ones) world of centralised exchanges. 

 

Now we had DEXs. We can create new tokens /and/ create markets. No stopping us now! What happens next was DeFi summer, the post COVID catalyst that dragged us out of the gutter and made 10X’s a thing again. Up the adoption curve we go. 

 

NFTs

 

It’s fair to say that NFTs have opened the door to an entirely new group of crypto users. 

 

Liberated from the need to have absolutely any fundamentals whatsoever, the world discovered the wonders of speculative JPEG trading. This gave us a monstrous kick up the adoption curve.

 

Now, we live in the neo-absurdist reality where people will pay millions of dollars for a monkey JPEG. Weird I know, but it was what we needed. DeFi was too mind bogglingly complex, ICOs were too scammy and word on the street is that sending a Bitcoin transaction is the equivalent of driving a Tesla to the moon and murdering a thousand penguins. JPEGs however, they’re culture. 

 

So, it’s mass market time! Erm, also, not really. The whole NFT space has transcended into a weird kind of elitist game where whoever owns the hot collectible early wins. Sure, it brings in the flexing celebs which is good for exposure, but it’s not gonna get the next billion through the door. It’s just too weird for the normie brain to comprehend. 

 

To capture the minds of the masses we need something that’s actually useful. Enter…

 

DAOs

 

What does every boring adult do every day? 

 

Work. 

 

Where do they do it? 

 

In an organisation. 

 

Well, what if the entire lid on that game got blown off and there was a new cool kid way of doing work? Offering you not only a salary, but also magic beans and JPEGs! 

 

Listen. There are people who made 30 years normie salary this year on monkey pictures. Do you ever expect kids to want to work again? It’s over. 

 

We’re in the new paradigm now. Gen Z wants action, they want upside, they want flexibility. They want DAOs. 

 

Yes, they’re early, messy and utterly dreadful organisations but that’s because we’ve barely built any good ones yet. They are a “meta-primitive” wrapping in all the previous crypto primitives into a new digital entity that can be controlled by the crowd. It’s like eating a Sunday Roast instead of a bowl of peas. Game changer. 

 

Beyond the Chasm

 

So what needs to happen for us to cross the Phil Collins (maybe even the Ed Sheeran) threshold?

 

Well setting up a DAO and pooling money with your mates needs to be so easy even the JPEGers can do it. We need to be able to go on a stagDAO, instead of a stag do. Governance systems need to mature to the point that they don’t descend into a bikeshedding bonanza and the regulatory environment needs to clear up enough that you don’t have to worry about the gulag when hitting go on the token button. 

 

There’s a lot of work to do, but it’s coming. Inevitable even. DAOs have the potential to not just go mainstream, but drag the whole space with it. Why? Because they’re actually useful beyond raw speculation. Once you get DAOpilled the true disruptive power of blockchain technology becomes apparent, and then you ape.

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