What is a DAO?

DAO (acronym) = Decentralized Autonomous Organization


Short definition

A DAO is a group of people without central management that coordinates over the Internet around a shared set of rules to achieve a common goal.

Technical definition

A DAO is an internet-native entity without central management which is regulated by a set of automatically enforceable rules on a public blockchain, and whose goal is to take on a life of its own and incentivize people to achieve a shared common mission.

Aragon-specific technical definition

Aragon brings more than a general description of DAO - we provide an opinionated technical framework for developing DAOs. At present these technical opinions include

  • Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) and EVM compatible tools as our public blockchain of choice

  • IPFS as our web3 network storage protocol of choice

  • Multi-signature wallets as the default

  • Freedom to customize the EVM Access Control Lists (ACLs) in a hierarchical and flexible way - software should aspire to reflect how people naturally interact.

Key words

For our purposes, you can think of DAOs as flexible, global, and uncensored online organizations.

DAO use cases

  • Part-time projects with friends or strangers

  • Future of work: people working part-time on multiple things for short periods of time

  • Temporary pop-up companies

  • Companies in authoritarian jurisdictions

  • Global, distributed teams

  • The rise of populist authoritarians

  • The future of work (remote and distributed)

  • The growing de-platforming problem

  • The rise of decentralized finance

  • The increasing complexity of human civilization

  • Growing adoption of blockchain currencies in central banking institutions

You can read more about DAOs at aragon.org/dao.


Decentralised Autonomous Organisations and the Corporate Form p. 316

Comparison and Analysis of Governance Mechanisms Employed by Blockchain-Based Distributed Autonomous Organizations p. 196

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