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The Girlfriend DAO Experiment Kicks Off

Our first call and the questions that followed

In some ways, crypto moves fast, like the overnight sensation of Farcaster Frames. In other ways, it moves incredibly slowly, like…well, us. And that’s the way I expected it to be!

Our first call was helpful to understand where everyone stands, and what everyone’s availability is. Amazingly enough, I feel like we’ve taken two steps back after having our first call, but that’s because there are so many things I (we) hadn’t considered.

Preparing for the call

Before the call, I assembled a notes document to outline a rough 2024 timeline, quarterly objectives, and an agenda for the kick-off call. No one contributed to the notes, but there was no expectation for anyone to do so.

Which brings me to a critical point for anyone interested in launching a DAO: nothing will ever be perfectly decentralized when it comes to running a DAO.

Much like what we discovered with Des Femmes, there will always be one or two people taking on the majority of responsibility, especially if no one is employed by the DAO. (One of the many reasons why so many DAOs have fundraised or launched a token…)

As the one who initiated the Girlfriend DAO experiment, I choose to take on most operational responsibility. 

Introductions and Organizing Ourselves

Something I really love about this particular group of women is that none of us work in crypto or web3 full-time.

In the context of this article, I use crypto to refer to decentralized finance (DeFi), and I use web3 to refer to blockchain-based products that revolve around online activity (i.e. gaming, social media, fashion).

As we introduced ourselves, one member identified herself moreso as a web3/metaverse person instead of a crypto person. Another stated that she believes she’s the least crypto knowledgeable of the group, to which everyone else responded that they aren’t particularly knowledgeable either.

We all agreed that, whether we’re more interested in crypto or web3, we all want to see better tools.

We also quickly agreed that we want this to be as frictionless as possible, so we will use Telegram for communication, and Google docs for documentation. We also decided to research and test various products as a way to improve existing solutions.

Ultimately, while putting everything on-chain may follow the strict ethos of being a DAO, we decided against it for now.

When it comes to managing funds, we understand why some decision-making processes and conversations should be public and onchain, but it’s also understandable as to why some things should remain off-chain. However, we don’t have much activity that would really require transparency—especially in a DAO of three people.

Furthermore, we also agreed that the Safe Wallet was a good multisig option, but then came our first problem: what crypto do we use?

I had initially proposed DAI for two reasons. First, it’s a trusted stablecoin. Second, it’s the only stablecoin I’ve ever really used.

Stablecoins often peg their value to a fiat currency or asset, like the US dollar or gold.

However, one member pointed out that the transaction fees are rather burdensome, and we should consider using one that’s less expensive.

As for the goal setting aspect, a member proposed a question: maybe we should consider what percentage we put towards a common goal, and what percentage we put towards personal goals.

On that note, we left (or at least I left) feeling motivated to get ideas moving.

Next Steps to Establish the Girlfriend DAO Experiment

We left the call with two due outs: research and choose a crypto for the treasury, and decide what our personal and common goals are.

Choosing a crypto for the treasury

Our treasury will not be large to begin with, and there currently isn’t a business model for growing the funds—let alone a plan for how to spend the funds.

I envisioned using a crypto that we can actually spend for real-world, “go touch grass” kind of things. And stablecoins (like DAI or USDC) or bitcoin tend to be more widely accepted by people who offer crypto services. It’s also easier to convert into fiat because the price is less volatile.

However, stablecoins are not the only way to pay folks, and transaction fees are not the only factor for choosing a crypto. There may also be great projects in certain ecosystems that further our own crypto education.

After researching different chains and their transaction costs, projects, communities, and tools…I feel completely frozen in making a decision. I'm currently mulling over Optimism, Polygon, and Base because those are supported by Paragraph (this publishing platform) 🤷‍♀

This process has illustrated the huge difference between trying to create an organization the web2 way (which would only use dollars or euros) and the web3 way (which can really be anywhere with anything).

Deciding on Allocation to Personal and Common Goals

Whatever percentage we decide on, I believe more funds should be allocated to group goals because that’s the purpose of combining funds. With a treasury, we can afford things to enjoy or benefit from together—things that may be unattainable or impossible if we do them alone.

Currently, I’m marinating on an idea for Girlfriend DAO to co-organize a consumer product hackathon. The key, however, would be that at least half of the judges wouldn’t be crypto folks. Just normal people with a pain point to solve.

I’ve seen repeated calls for more and better consumer crypto products. Variant included the category in their 2024 request for startups. Seed Club announced the next cohort of their consumer crypto accelerator. I also see a plethora of protocols saying they’re democratizing investment, or onboarding the next million crypto users.

But are those tools getting into the hands of enthusiastic, non-crypto native users on an active daily basis?

I’d like to see Girlfriend DAO help the crypto and web3 ecosystems create widely used products within and outside of our bubbles for a sustainably long time. Part of that will come from experimenting with DAO tools, but it can also take the form of active participation in the industry.

All that being said, I also want members to think about how to spend money on themselves in non-crypto related ways. Women are shamed more often than men for spending “frivolously”, yet women’s spending habits and decisions are huge drivers of the economy and culture. You could even argue that same shame gave rise to the glorious Girl Math movement.

Maybe this particular Girlfriend DAO experiment won’t focus as much on personal spending, but it is an essential element to the Girlfriend DAO ethos.

Are We a DAO Yet?

As we experiment, it’s becoming clear that this is not as much a DAO as it is a group for organizing thoughts and ideas around how to achieve a common goal…oh, wait. That is a DAO, isn’t it?

I keep thinking to myself, “Why doesn’t this feel like a DAO?” Is it the lack of degeneracy? The lack of business model? The lack of a token or onchain governance? Our small member size? A well-established treasury?

Whatever it is, I don’t know if this feeling will ever go away. But I’ll keep you updated.

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