DAOs in <200 words

tweet me @_Sarah_Du with more thoughts, questions, & resources

What exactly is a DAO? Here are 5 of my favorite definitions, in no particular order:

  1. According to Vitalik Buterin in “DAOs, DACs, DAs and More”, DAOs == automation at the center, humans at the edges.
  2. A socio-economic definition by Mario Laul: DAOs can be defined as organizations that combine automation (via distributed computer networks and smart contracts) with crypto-economic incentives (via tokens stored in distributed ledgers) and human collaboration (mostly online, relying on both crypto-native and traditional web-based coordination tools).
  3. The essence as captured by Coopah: “DAOs are internet communities with a shared cap table and bank account, a commitment to share value with a community.”
  4. Two conditions a DAO must meet from Spencer (h/t @DaoHaus for sharing)
    1. all members have at least some direct control over the org’s assets and actions
    2. nobody other than the members can shut it down
  5. This analogy by Peter comparing a DAO to a tech startup:
    1. instead of applying for a job, you join the startup’s Slack with one click.
    2. you can work via bounties or teams. Bounties = a massive JIRA board. Team = a slack channel where you can volunteer to do something / see what other people are working on.
    3. others can submit proposals for you to get paid.


  • DAOs as a framework/ethos (of a well functioning community)
  • DAOs enabling more independent careers, allowing us to “open-source ourselves as workers”


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