gm. Welcome to Full Time DAO. In this blog, we delve into the world of DAOs and explore their growing influence across sectors like media, advocacy, and journalism. The content on this blog is from my conversation with Spencer Cavanaugh (aka. @clinamenic), an avid DAO contributor sharing his journey as a leader and core-contributor in PubDAO, Lobby3, and JournoDAO. He also consults early-stage DAOs with virtual org design over at Clinamenic LLC.
In the Full Time DAO series, our objective is to distill the wisdom acquired from the unique journeys of individual DAOs. This piece is structured into three segments, each dedicated to a particular DAO:
PubDAO - a media collective built around a content-as-a-service model.
Lobby3 - a decentralized advocacy organization
JournoDAO - a network of journalists seeking to incubate web3 innovations to support a healthier media landscape.
You can access the original livestream here, and a summary follows:
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Back to the blog. Let's start with PubDAO.
Spencers involvement in PubDAO began after discovering the DAO through a decrypt article. He gradually became more active in the discord community and eventually took on administrative roles and became a core contributor in the DAO.
PubDAO focused on creating a decentralized platform for content creation and publication. Contributors served as writers, and the project's scope expanded to define various roles, onboard community members, and connect them with opportunities to write articles for clients.
Challenges with Community Engagement
One significant lesson Spencer learned from his involvement with DAOs, including PubDAO, is the challenge of maintaining an active group of contributors. Many early projects tend to involve discussion and ideation, making it challenging to retain contributors who volunteer their time often without compensation.
Spencer also noted the importance of looking beyond superficial indicators of community engagement. While Discord channels might appear active due to discussions or memes, real productivity could be happening elsewhere, possibly within a core team's smaller group. Measuring the health and activity of a project is not solely based on external appearances.
PubDAO is currently inactive. PubDAO did not have a token and the project was co-managed by a centralized team from decrypt.
Lobby3, a nonprofit on-chain organization, established itself as a unique platform that aimed to bridge the gap between civics and emerging technologies. With an initial base of more than 800 token holders, Lobby3 engaged in various governance activities. This advocacy DAO was founded with the involvement of notable figures like Andrew Yang and his former campaign team, who envisioned leveraging Web3 principles to bring a new perspective to policy making and advocacy in Washington, D.C. While the DAO had promising objectives, it also faced several governance challenges related to identity verification and compliance in the lobbying space. The compensation model for contributors relied on retroactive proposals, highlighting the complexities of DAO governance and payment structures.
Legal Challenges faced by Lobby3
Lobby3 DAO encountered several legal challenges throughout its journey. Spencer highlighted the complexities arising from foreign nationals' involvement in US lobbying efforts, particularly concerning regulatory issues and the contributions of non-US nationals. Spencer explained the DAO's efforts to address these challenges by exploring solutions like zero-knowledge identity verification, using zero-knowledge proofs to verify participants' nationalities while maintaining their privacy. These insights underline the intricate legal matters faced by DAOs in their efforts to operate within regulatory frameworks and their attempts to strike a balance between decentralization and compliance.
On learning Systems Design in DAOs
Spencer's journey with Lobby3 exposed him to the complexities of systems design, as he got more involved in crafting governance systems within decentralized organizations. This entailed designing structured processes for decision-making, defining protocols for proposing and implementing changes, and laying the groundwork for coherent decision frameworks. Alongside this, Spencer recognized the pivotal role of comprehensive documentation. Through his experiences, he learned that extensive and well-structured documentation was a fundamental aspect of transparent and effective DAO operations. It served as a knowledge repository, providing guidance to members seeking to navigate the DAO.
Founding of JournoDAO
JournoDAO, founded by journalist Eric Mack (and Spencer as a fellow founding member), serves as an incubator for projects aiming to reshape the journalism ecosystem. The idea behind JournoDAO germinated in the PubDAO discord server, where individuals shared a mutual interest in web3 technology's transformative potential for publishing. As PubDAO's focus leaned more towards marketing content, there arose a distinct interest in exploring the unique questions and curiosities related to journalism. Eric Mack initiated the JournoDAO server, forming a community of people keen on the intersection of web3 and journalism. Over two years, this community evolved into the JournoDAO core team.
Operations and Bridging the Web3 and Journalism Gap
JournoDAO operates as a small, dedicated group of individuals passionately discussing how journalism can benefit from web3 technologies. JournoDAO has been instrumental in bridging the gap between web3 and journalism, acting as a liaison at journalism conferences and helping educate mainstream audiences about the potential of this technology.
The web3 use-case for Journalism - Censorship-Resistant Publishing
Recently, JournoDAO has been working on creating an indexing system for content, especially journalism. They've collaborated with Ethereum Attestation Service to develop a system where journalists and content creators can securely publish their work to censorship-resistant storage layers. This method not only ensures the longevity of the content but also opens up possibilities for content authentication, enabling verification of the author's identity and more. This approach aims to make the publishing process straightforward, cost-effective, and censorship-resistant.
The journey of JournoDAO has been characterized by a substantial amount of thinking, ideation, and analysis about how this technology can address the challenges faced by the journalism industry.
On Future of DAOs
When asked about Spencer's views on future of DAOs, he feels optimistic, recognizing their unique characteristics, emphasizing the potential of blockchain technology to bring transparency and decentralization to industries like journalism. In his view, DAOs represent a motivated community, resilient even in bear market conditions, working to address fundamental coordination problems. This optimism extends to exploring innovative use cases for DAOs, such as the concept of a blockchain-based Chamber of Commerce. His perspective aligns with the belief that DAOs have the potential to reshape organizational structures and promote transparency across various domains, reflecting the broader sentiment within the DAO ecosystem.
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