What is a DAO, Really?


In this tutorial, we will explore the concept of a DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) and its different perspectives. We’ll delve into the characteristics, challenges, and benefits of DAOs, as discussed in a panel conversation. Whether you’re new to the concept or seeking a deeper understanding, this tutorial will provide you with valuable insights.

Panel Discussion Highlights

The panelists discussed their experiences with DAOs and shed light on the unique aspects of these organizations. Here are some key points from the conversation:

1. Introduction to the Panelists

The panelists, Miguel, Emo, and Juliet, briefly introduced themselves, their backgrounds, and their involvement with DAOs. They shared their experiences with projects like Constitution, FWB, Aragon, and Search, which shaped their understanding of DAOs.

2. Defining a DAO and its Different Perspectives

The panelists explored various definitions of DAOs and their similarities to other types of organizations, such as cooperatives and associations. They emphasized that DAOs provide an opportunity for communities to collaborate, propose initiatives, and make decentralized decisions. However, they also acknowledged the challenges of balancing decentralization and centralized decision-making.

3. Struggles and Challenges of Decentralization

The discussion touched upon the struggles and challenges associated with both excessive decentralization and centralization. The panelists highlighted the importance of finding a balance in order to effectively implement projects and achieve goals. They also mentioned that some areas, such as product development, may require a more centralized approach, while other aspects can be decentralized.

4. Experimentation and Autonomy in DAOs

The panelists emphasized the value of experimentation and autonomy in DAOs. They discussed how DAOs allow for creative problem-solving and the exploration of new ways to coordinate and achieve goals. They also highlighted the advantages of starting with a more autonomous structure and gradually decentralizing, as well as the need for appropriate tools and platforms to support these endeavors.

5. Permissioned and Layered DAOs

The concept of permissioned DAOs, where certain actions require approval or access, was introduced. The panelists discussed the idea of different layers within a DAO, where contributions and involvement determine the level of decision-making power. They mentioned examples where a core team or a founder may have a centralized role, while initiatives and working groups operate in a decentralized manner.

6. Ethereum as a DAO

The panelists shared their perspectives on Ethereum as a DAO. They highlighted the impressive achievements and decentralized nature of the Ethereum ecosystem, emphasizing the importance of community input and decision-making. They also discussed the role of context in decision-making and the need to consider the interests and perspectives of the community when making decisions.

7. Metrics and Long-Term Vision in DAOs

The conversation touched upon the metrics and long-term vision in DAOs. While metrics may vary depending on the goals and nature of the organization, the panelists emphasized the importance of community engagement, decision-making processes, and the overall progress of the DAO.


Through this panel discussion, we gained insights into the concept of DAOs and their various perspectives. We explored the challenges and benefits of decentralization, the need for experimentation, and the importance of finding the right balance between centralized and decentralized decision-making. We also learned about permissioned and layered DAOs, Ethereum as a DAO, and the significance of community input in decision-making processes. With this knowledge, you can now navigate the world of DAOs with a clearer understanding of what they entail and how they function.