What is (and isn’t) a DAO? Why do DAOs matter? How do DAOs fit into web3, crypto, the creator economy, future of work, and many other areas?

Inspired by our NFT Canon earlier this year (and original Crypto Canon), we’ve culled the below list of resources for those seeking to understand, build, and otherwise get involved with these “decentralized autonomous organizations” — which represent the future of community, coordination, work… and much, much more. If you have suggestions for quality pieces to add, let us know @Future.

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Definitions; conceptual foundations, evolutions

Why decentralization matters — decentralized networks aren’t a silver bullet, but they offer a much better approach than centralized systems
by Chris Dixon
https://cdixon.org/2018/02/18/why-decentralization-matters

The meaning of decentralization — one of the most frequently yet most poorly defined words; reasons for; three types of
by Vitalik Buterin
https://medium.com/@VitalikButerin/the-meaning-of-decentralization-a0c92b76a274

A glossary definition — defining the “decentralized”, the “autonomous”, and “organization”, all enabled by blockchains
by Alex Pruden and Sonal Chokshi
https://a16z.com/2019/11/08/crypto-glossary/

Defining D, A, O — organizations and DAOs as tools for coordinating human activity; going beyond organization to organism
by Philippe Honigman
https://hackernoon.com/what-is-a-dao-c7e84aa1bd69

D is for…, A is for…, O is for… — what is a DAO?
by Aragon
https://blog.aragon.org/what-is-a-dao/

DAOs defined: the big picture — from traditional organization to internet-native organizations
by Aragon
https://blog.aragon.org/a-dao-defined-the-big-picture/

‘Scissor labels’ — on narratives, incentives, and how terms can be divisive
by John Palmer
https://j.mirror.xyz/RUeJfZEZxr-hkuzUCakQyUuf2kOJVMPPiAWBaQFhhqc

Terminology guide — smart contracts, autonomous agents; decentralized applications, decentralized organizations, decentralized corporations
by Vitalik Buterin
https://blog.ethereum.org/2014/05/06/daos-dacs-das-and-more-an-incomplete-terminology-guide/

Who will control the software that powers the internet? — toward an internet governed by open, community-controlled services
by Chris Dixon
https://www.wired.com/story/how-blockchain-can-wrest-the-internet-from-corporations/

DAOs: a new organizational and governance paradigm — a conceptual introduction
by Louis Grx
https://medium.com/@LuigiGrx/2-2-daos-a-new-organizational-and-governance-paradigm-93e889df1b39

The successor of the ‘organization man’? The ‘blockchain man’ — on cooperation, a world without transaction costs, and “protocolism”
by Taylor Pearson
https://www.ribbonfarm.com/2017/10/10/the-blockchain-man/

On cryptocurrency communities — how company building and cryptocurrency building are different
by Nick Tomaino
https://thecontrol.co/on-cryptocurrency-communities-f592b5ce6b0b

The slow death of the firm — why do firms exist; making decentralized organizations more broadly adopted
by Nick Tomaino
https://thecontrol.co/the-slow-death-of-the-firm-1bd6cc81286b

Bootstrapping a decentralized autonomous corporation — encoding a corporate mission statement into code
by Vitalik Buterin
https://bitcoinmagazine.com/technical/bootstrapping-a-decentralized-autonomous-corporation-part-i-1379644274

Companies, networks, crowds [a16z podcast] — ‘The DAO’ vs. a DAO; automation, contingencies, smart contracts; will the firm go away?
with Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee, Frank Chen, Sonal Chokshi
https://future.a16z.com/podcasts/machine-platform-crowd/

Past, present, future: From co-ops to cryptonetworks — how cooperative governance can be both efficient yet representative
by Jesse Walden
https://a16z.com/2019/03/02/cooperatives-cryptonetworks/

On web3 and participatory governance — policy frameworks for the third generation of the internet
by a16z Crypto
https://a16z.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/How-to-Win-the-Future-1.pdf

DAOs and legal questions — on legitimacy, legal ramifications, and more
with Priyanka Desai and Aaron Wright
https://modern.finance/episode/flamingo-dao/

The rise of ‘Lex Cryptographia’ — a new subset of law for rules administered through self-executing smart contracts and DAOs
by Aaron Wright and Primavera de Filippi
https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2580664

Overviews & guides

A prehistory of DAOs — defining a chimeric term; layers of; cooperatives, gaming guilds, and the networks to come
by Kei Kreutler
https://gnosisguild.mirror.xyz/t4F5rItMw4-mlpLZf5JQhElbDfQ2JRVKAzEpanyxW1Q

A beginner’s guide to DAOs — definitions, mindsets, tools, examples
by Linda Xie
https://linda.mirror.xyz/Vh8K4leCGEO06_qSGx-vS5lvgUqhqkCz9ut81WwCP2o

The Dao of DAOs — NFTs and DAOs; why DAO, how DAOs can be a source of competitive advantage; types of DAOs today and tomorrow; DAO lego kits
by Packy McCormick
https://www.notboring.co/p/the-dao-of-daos

DAOs, NFTs, and the new creator economy — a DAO allows its creators, its support, its contributors, and its audience to be owners in the collective
by Jarrod Dicker, Brian Flynn, Patrick Rivera
https://www.coindesk.com/business/2021/03/04/nfts-daos-and-the-new-creator-economy/

The ABCs of DAOs — internet-native constitutions; how DAOs are automating the corporation, more
by Theodor Marcu
https://1729.com/daos

DAOs and the future of organizations online — public goods on the internet; governing and funding projects
with Chris Dixon interviewed by Steven Johnson
https://adjacentpossible.substack.com/p/lets-run-the-experiment-a-conversation

DAO landscape — different types and use cases of DAOs; how DAOs evolve
by Cooper Turley
https://coopahtroopa.mirror.xyz/_EDyn4cs9tDoOxNGZLfKL7JjLo5rGkkEfRa_a-6VEWw

Everything you need to know about DAOs — a primer on how DAOs are working to collectively shape the new creative economy
by Foundation
https://foundation.app/blog/everything-you-need-to-know-about-daos

DAO applications: communities, creators, future of work, cities, more

15 ways the world is being transformed by DAOs — doing for organizations what the internet did for communication
by Aragon
https://blog.aragon.org/15-ways-the-world-is-being-transformed-by-daos/

Community DAOs — what makes a DAO a DAO; going from group chats to real businesses
by Patrick Rivera
https://p.mirror.xyz/cVN3KOss0uqpZwxHQKtC4Syvn1RfXaxofFKHJuKLWS4

Giving communities the power to bid — pooling capital, fractional ownership, more
with John Palmer interviewed by Cooper Turley
https://zine.zora.co/party-dao-interview

‘Fantasy Hollywood’: Crypto and community-owned characters — enabling communities to bring new characters and culture to the world
by Cuy Sheffield
https://future.a16z.com/fantasy-hollywood-crypto-and-community-owned-characters/

DAOs and the promise of utopia in the music industry — changing the way music and art move through its usual life cycles
by Resident Advisor
https://ra.co/features/3914

Why DAOs are essential to DeFi — almost all major DeFi applications are now governed by DAOs
by James Beck, Mattison Asher
https://consensys.net/blog/codefi/daos/

Minimum viable participation in crypto — spectrum of participation from capital to earning one’s place at the table to participating in crypto
by Elena Burger
https://future.a16z.com/minimum-viable-participation-in-crypto-games-costs-accessibility/

Squad wealth — informal peer-to-peer institutions, role of trust in squad logic; theory of the squad; a new model of group coordination; can squads scale?
by Sam Hart, Toby Shorin, Laura Lotti
https://otherinter.net/research/squad-wealth/

The future of work — “you will probably work for a protocol someday”; from create-to-earn to judge-to-earn to participate-to-earn
by Stephen McKeon
https://medium.com/collab-currency/the-future-of-work-5d7b47cff308

…plus DAO stories

From contemptuous to indifferent to curious to pretty damn excited: my journey to web3 — what if NPR Planet Money could have been reinvented with DAOs?
by Adam Davidson
https://adamd.mirror.xyz/ef3BZjrJGk7bb1ElhVdz5AMWxEAN7GIOQhsXMKTmOWY

ConstitutionDAO — the great decentralized blockchain experiment
by Kate Irwin
https://decrypt.co/86359/constitutiondao-hits-30m-ethereum-raised-one-day-before-sothebys-auction

Examples of DAOs for economic empowerment — more easily organizing human and financial capital to invest in projects and people, enabled at scale
by SyndicateDAO
https://syndicate.mirror.xyz/xeRR8PJUnGr-mUlwLJppFHe65WPpyyULFBiz89K1qfI

What is it like to join a DAO? — experiences of the first four weeks of joining a DAO
by Shawn Cubbedge
https://blog.aragon.org/what-is-it-like-to-join-a-dao/

Life of a ‘protocol politician’ — overseeing governance, making proposals, voting, more
by Cooper Turley
https://newsletter.banklesshq.com/p/the-life-of-a-protocol-politician

How-to’s & getting started with DAOs

DAOs and creators — resources to get started today from 101 to much more
by Kinjal Shah
https://kinjal.mirror.xyz/eD3-Sgv2h50j-kwjHQCOnwqMKqSLTfnrqrtNypU-P5k

How to DAO — basics & answers for beginners
from Aragon
https://blog.aragon.org/how-to-dao-answers-for-beginners/

How to join a DAO — why join, identifying goals, getting started
by William Peaster
https://newsletter.banklesshq.com/p/how-to-join-a-dao

How to build a DAO in three days — the DAO stack and components, case study of ConstitutionDAO
by Packy McCormick
https://www.notboring.co/p/lets-buy-the-us-constitution

How to DAO from day one to deeper levels — from vibe check to creating value to making a commitment to doing it full-time
by Jack Fancy
https://forefront.market/learn/guides-tutorials/how-to-dao

Building & participating in DAOs: mechanics, incentives, governance, legal, more

Progressive decentralization: A playbook for building — product-market fit, community participation, ownership; how to avoid getting stuck
by Jesse Walden
https://a16z.com/2020/01/09/progressive-decentralization-crypto-product-management/

Come for the creator, stay for the economy — go to market strategy and the three phases of creator mode, org mode, protocol economy
by Patrick Rivera
https://p.mirror.xyz/1EpvJwUpx_KlRcHOKLNqADEkwHL_Z1ZYKobF2uLwgBg

How to get paid by DAOs — different ways to contribute to DAOs
by Lucas Campbell
https://newsletter.banklesshq.com/p/how-to-get-paid-by-daos

Creator DAOs, web3, and incentives — intertwining social and financial, intrinsic and extrinsic motivations,  from badging to tokens
by Jarrod Dicker, Jonathan Glick, Tal Sachar
https://darkstar.mirror.xyz/Tf9IS6yNxtPXwC5mmfi_UISe8v6BOfef2bDmQSxoJao

Building and running a DAO: Why governance matters — development of financial incentives, how the mechanics matter, practical challenges
by Tarun Chitra
https://future.a16z.com/building-and-running-a-dao-why-governance-matters/

Moving beyond coin governance — from Defi to ‘DeGov’, exploring the design space for governance; solutions to keeping voting and DAOs safe
by Vitalik Buterin
https://vitalik.ca/general/2021/08/16/voting3.html

How DAOs could approach treasury management — functions to manage treasuries from spending and asset allocation to borrowing and reporting
by Shreyas Hariharan
https://newsletter.banklesshq.com/p/how-daos-should-approach-treasury

Organization legos: The state of DAO tooling — DeFi’s “money legos” have seen a Cambrian explosion, but “organization legos” are still in their infancy
by  Nichanan Kesonpat
https://medium.com/1kxnetwork/organization-legos-the-state-of-dao-tooling-866b6879e93e

How to grow decentralized communities: community building for token networks — funnels that lead discoverers to being participators
by Peter Yuan Pan (pet3rpan)
https://medium.com/1kxnetwork/how-to-grow-decentralized-communities-1bf1044924f8

How to assess new community building hires for token networks — what matters, what doesn’t; questions to ask candidates; assessing track records
by Peter Yuan Pan (pet3rpan)
https://medium.com/1kxnetwork/how-to-assess-new-community-building-hires-for-token-networks-a2672c07dd58

On-chain vote buying and ‘dark DAOs’ — security for blockchain voting; how to avoid decentralized cartels, opaque vote buying, more
by Phil Daian, Tyler Kell, Ian Miers, and Ari Juels
https://hackingdistributed.com/2018/07/02/on-chain-vote-buying/

Voting, security, and governance in blockchains [a16z Podcast] — voting in social systems (blockchains, boardrooms, elections); gaming mechanisms
with Phil Daian and Ali Yahya
https://a16z.com/2019/02/09/voting-blockchains-governance-security-cryptoeconomics/

A legal framework for DAOs — on taxation, entity formation, and operational issues pertaining to decentralized autonomous organizations
by David Kerr and Miles Jennings
https://a16z.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/DAO-Legal-Framework-Jennings-Kerr10.19.21-Final.pdf

  • Sonal Chokshi is the editor in chief as well as podcast network showrunner. Prior to joining a16z 2014 to build the editorial operation, Sonal was a senior editor at WIRED, and before that in content at Xerox PARC.

  • Zoran Basich is an editor at a16z & Future, focusing on crypto and corporate development/ finance. Previously he covered venture capital and the startup ecosystem at the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones, and was the banking editor at NerdWallet.

  • Guy Wuollet is a partner on the a16z crypto investment team. He focuses on infrastructure and application layer investments. Previously he worked on independent research in concert with Protocol Labs.

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