Solana DAOs: A Snapshot of AthensDAO
Day 1: Introduction
AthensDAO/Hacker House X was the first DAO-focused, community-organized event held in the birthplace of democracy, Athens, Greece. The week-long event consisted of activations curated by the Grape Protocol team to facilitate connection and conversation with builders, thought leaders, and enthusiasts stewarding the future of human organization. The event was hosted at Innovathens, a newly integrated innovation and entrepreneurship center, located in the heart Athens. The lower level of the space was set up for panels and presentations with convenient livestream capability included for remote participants, while the upper levels were equipped with tech for developers to hack away at their respective projects and bounties.
Having attended past Solana Hacker Houses, this style of setup was fairly unconventional but I later found that it provided a dynamic physical and digital arena for networking, educating, and building. The AthensDAO organizers preserved the authenticity of the Solana Foundation Hacker Houses and further optimized beyond their developer-oriented style to engage and accommodate a diverse group of attendees.
Realms, the backbone of SPL governance, kicked off the presentations with their roadmap of high-impact integrations connecting Web2 and Web3 platforms, updates, and verticals that aim to use DAOs to increase awareness and supercharge activity on Solana. Mango Markets, an on-chain spot-perpetuals trading venue, and one of the first DAO implementations on top of SPL governance, also presented on their short-term product roadmap and how they are working to improve the user experience on Solana.
Realms infrastructure undergirds the different types of DAOs emerging on the Solana network. Multisigs are a natural entry point to DAOs as they relieve organized groups of one crucial concern: keyman dependency, by decentralizing transaction authorization across multiple signers. Fundraising DAOs, like UkraineDAO through Nation, provided a transparent and fast way to raise relief funds for Ukraine using Web3-native tools. Tokenized community DAOs like Grape leverage token structures to activate, manage and reward communities on-chain with verifiable membership credentials. SuperteamDAO is growing the Web3 workforce by connecting talent to opportunities on Solana. Protocol DAOs like JetDAO use DAO infrastructure to make key decisions on DeFi protocol offerings and mechanics like asset onboarding, fee structures, etc.
The Solana DAO ecosystem is still in nascent stages and there is ample space for innovation in frameworks and tooling. We can expect to see an emergence of DAOs with more niche use cases like NFT community and collector DAOs, gaming DAOs, grants DAOs, and tools that allow DAOs to operate and scale sustainably like delegators, launchpads, notification support, analytics reporters, and vault managers.
Day 2: JetDAO presentation, Legal frameworks for DAOs
On the second day of the event, JetDAO presented on our Governance infrastructure, the J-DAP framework, and the legal setup of the DAO. JetDAO also shared technical insights on our open-sourced codebase for the JetGovern app built on top of SPL governance infrastructure with key custom features such as $JET staking which uses SMS verification for regulatory compliance.
Grappling with the uncertainties of a largely undefined regulatory landscape surfaced as a common pain point amongst projects in attendance, so naturally the hot topic of the day was connecting DAOs to the real world and navigating legal structures. As an organization seeking to design an effective decentralized governance system to steward the protocol whilst remaining legally compliant, the conversations had on this day were particularly eye-opening.
Day 3: DAO Pain Points, Measuring DAOness, Increasing DAO Adoption
In order to create tools and frameworks for DAOs and decentralized communities, the problems they face must be deeply understood. The third day of AthensDAO was spent identifying key DAO pain points and brainstorming solutions:
- Metrics: how do you measure decentralization and health of a DAO (Measuring DAOness) - What are the important metrics: voter participation, pull requests, number of diverse contributions, treasury size, the velocity of money, etc.
- Adoption: How do you bridge the gap for web2 users to web3 with DAOs?
- Diversity: How do we encourage diversity in contribution and perspective? How do we balance competition and collaboration in a diverse group?
- Participation: How do we activate the sense of agency of all DAO contributors, not just the few, to realize true autonomy?
- Rewarding: How do you attribute value to work without a central authority? How do you pay contributors fairly while balancing the need for confidentiality and openness?
MonkeDAO, an NFT DAO based around the SMB NFTs is a community of artists, developers, and project builders addressing some problems identified above. MonkeDAO does this by working on initiatives to educate and contribute to the growth and development of the Solana ecosystem through events, media, and open-souce contributions. MonkeDAO emphasizes the importance of each DAO outlining specific guiding principles that direct the development of products and initiatives. Moonlit, a soon-to-be-released MonkeDAO vertical acts as a permissionless bounty board for signaling opportunities, interest, compensation, experience, etc. which improves the experience for DAO contributors with varied capacities.
Gilder is building a new iOS app to streamline DAO participation and shared a link to their live beta for users to begin testing. The app leverages Realms infrastructure on a mobile-first interface and sends push notifications that remind users to participate in the DAOs they belong to.
Streamflow Finance enables stream payments for DAO members and Unique Venture Clubs is building a platform that enables people to create venture clubs with flexible configurations for each stage of its life cycle.
All projects and DAOs have a shared responsibility to amplify collective intelligence and unique perspectives by fostering heterogeneous communities through resource subsidization, DEI and education initiatives, and conflict resolution protocols to bridge gaps and reduce barriers that can lead to more diversity in DAOs.
Day 4: Demo Day!
The final day of presentations offered the chance to showcase the compelling use cases of products and integrations in the contexts defined above. As DAOs scale, coordination across working groups becomes harder to manage. Squads, a multisig management protocol for Web3 native teams, and Realms, the hub for DAO creation on Solana, teased new UI designs and showcased the demo of an integration that allows Solana DAOs to spin up sub-DAOs for smaller focused teams within their organizations.
Tokr Labs, an open finance protocol built on Solana for financing real-world assets like real estate, introduced their consumer app that allows anyone to invest in the places they work, play, and live.
Solana Sanctuary is creating a healthier and fairer ecosystem and solving for widespread centralization in NFT projects leading to value-draining rug pulls by providing a viable means of recourse to affected users.
Realms Ecosystem DAO showcased an experimental primitive for grants and bounties on Solana with a community-first approach, incentivizing development from idea generation to creation.
Castle Finance demoed their protocol mechanics for safely generating yield on DAO vaults to sustain operations and team salaries.
Civic Pass showcased a permissions layer that can be added to a smart contract which enables specific access constraints based on real-world identity properties, solving for DAOs with operation restrictions in age, geography, etc. with an interesting prototype using facial recognition to authenticate a user’s uniqueness.
Lighthouse demoed the MVP of an on-chain scoring system that allows DAOs to interpret reputation however they choose and implement reputation management systems using ‘Non-Transferable Tokens’. Lighthouse protocol quantifies user participation by identifying the most productive individuals to provide DAOs with a reliable reputation-based rewards system.
AthensDAO: The rising tide that lifts all boats
But the DAO-fest did not end with just panels, presentations, and hacking! The Grape team graciously prepared a well-rounded itinerary that allowed attendees to connect in different settings and experience the beauty and culture of Greece. From a beer tasting, to the legendary MonkeDAO beach party, and even a StepN running event.
It was a pleasure to step out of our individual and organizational silos and begin to plant seeds that will eventually grow into robust support networks and collaborative inter-DAO relationships. The social exchange that arises from meatspace interaction in comparison to digital can never be overstated. We all left AthensDAO feeling educated, nurtured, and extra bullish on the future of decentralized governance. Our team at Jet Protocol is grateful to all participants that brought this idea to reality and we remain motivated to keep imagining what is possible and then building it for the benefit of all.