Developer DAOs Redefining Coordination and Wealth Generation
The evolution of DAOs from single monolithic constructs to specialized and nimble organizations combined with a growing number of developers transitioning into web3 by using DAOs to learn, build and socialize is redefining the future of work and open source collaboration.
The catalyst for this transition is a blend of a few emerging factors;
- The maturing assortment of web3 tooling available for governance & coordination
- An open and inclusive web3 community and
- Non-hierarchical decision making
Developer DAOs - particularly D_D - have seen rapid growth in the last few months, resulting in over 5000 members. Kicking off season 0 last month, we see the internal structures of D_D taking shape.
Being both members of D_D and part of the team building tooling for DAOs on Radicle, we foresee the need for new infrastructure that would support:
- Micro-level distribution of resources (grants) from D_D’s treasury to the individual contributor or developer via guilds / subDAOs and
- The formation of effective and sustainable distributed decision making structures
DAOs have collapsed power hierarchies for decision making and are in experimentation mode to discover coordination flows that work for its community. Similarly, D_D has distributed certain aspects of its decision making authority to its guilds, including distribution of grants to contributors.
At the moment, grants in general are distributed manually and take up a considerable amount of time, focus and aren't very transparent. Although there are tooling available for distribution of resources, it is mostly limited to retroactive contributions. This results in contributors not being able to foresee recurring income for the continuous work that they do for a DAO. The lack of web3 infrastructure that supports allocation of resources for an agreed upon scope of work for developers / contributors in advance based on their past contributions hinders consistent contribution to DAOs in the long run.
The imbalance and inconsistencies between work performed and compensation received amongst maintainers and open source developers in FOSS is an example of how things could turn out for those working for DAOs if we do not create infrastructure and resource allocation and contribution flows that promote continuous growth of our nascent space.
In the last months, we have been working on a solution that would help developers, maintainers and creators in web3 and FOSS generate continuous and consistent income for their work. We call it Radicle Drips. We believe this would support D_D in effectively self-managing its resources while attracting and retaining highly participatory developers and contributors to its DAO.
Radicle Drips and D_D Guilds
Radicle Drips (Drips) is a crypto-native, application-agnostic funding tool built on Ethereum contracts and ordinary ERC-721 membership badges. It enables;
Web3 and open source projects to create built-in mechanisms for continuously receiving and distributing funds to any Ethereum address on a pre-agreed monthly basis with or without issuing membership benefits via NFTs, and
Offers users the option of sharing (“dripping”) a percentage of the funds they receive with (to) any Ethereum address/es of choice
While we have built a front end for Drips, developers and super-users also have the option of directly interacting with Drips’ contracts using tools and wallets of their choice.
For the context of D_D, Radicle Drips is a general purpose membership protocol that can be used for setting up recurring payments to its core contributors. For example, D_D’s treasury could drip allocated funds from grants to guilds and guilds can further drip to its contributors, both on a monthly basis.
Additionally, NFTs hardcoded with guild specific benefits could be issued for / by core contributors. Potential benefits that could be embedded include:
- Access to focused attention for input from core contributors
- Exclusive early access to new guild developments,
- Voting via Snapshot polling to signal the direction of the guild’s projects
- High-touch support from contributors and developers
- Gated access to Discord and
- Other types of access determined by the guild / contributor / DAO
Issued NFTs are tied to recurring payments made to, for example, the core contributors of each guild. When the payments stop, the NFT automatically becomes inactive. Drips NFTs basically act as a membership based access token for guilds and DAOs.
Eliminating Chaos and Uncertainty in Decision Making
One could argue that issuing memberships within guilds could potentially create some form of centralization as core contributors get to play an influential role in its direction. In the absence of power hierarchies, guilds / DAOs rely on the skill sets, reputation and influence of its highly participatory members to make decisions in areas of their expertise.
However, this type of fluid decision making effort could be disrupted by the need to achieve consensus from the community for every decision and in turn become chaotic as members within a guild or DAO grows.
An example of an organization that does distributed decision making successfully way before web3 tooling and DAOs is Buurtzorg, a self-managing Dutch healthcare organization of 10,000 nurses. It operates in teams of 10 - 12 nurses and uses the "peer coaching" model to solve problems and make decisions within the organization. This way of operating saves hundreds of millions of euros for the Dutch social system annually.
Frederic Laloux in his book Reinventing Organizations, describes this as the formation of natural hierarchies; an advice based distributed decision making model for coordination.
“Any person who feels strongly about an issue or a possibility has the power to do something about it. And at the same time, every decision is informed by a collective intelligence as everyone who has something meaningful to contribute is heard.”
This type of organization structure recognizes that all members within a team are not created equal and hence, draws upon strengths unique to each individual member of the team when making decisions.
Natural hierarchies are not uncommon within DAOs. However, the lack of internal organizational infrastructure makes this type of decision making less attainable. To bridge this disconnect, Drips could provide the necessary infrastructure for DAOs and guilds to concretely experiment on creating small teams of contributors within a guild and empowering them with certain decision making powers.
In essence, as D_D members, we already share the same identity, space and vibes. Imagine adding a circular resource value flow that functions with ease & clarity while vesting impactful D_D core contributors with guild specific decision making responsibilities to sustainably further its mission.
To learn more about Radicle Drips, check out;