With a heavy heart, I bear the news that Meta Gamma Delta (MGD) will be winding down its operations. After three years of supporting women building in Web3, and disbursing approximately $100k+ in grants, MGD will be bidding adieu.
In the spirit of being a public goods and grants-giving DAO, MGD’s main priority today is to allocate the remaining $20k+ in the DAO treasury to grants.
There is an official DAOHaus proposal to end operations, so please vote if you are a member. And for those who are members, feel free to pop into the Discord and say hi! The Discord will remain available to members indefinitely to stay connected for years to come.
As the DAO comes to a close, I am excited to share with you this story: a final piece of content to commemorate the trailblazing women of MGD, the impact they made, and the legacy they leave behind.
With the growth of blockchain and cryptocurrency, many "women-in-crypto" groups have emerged to address the industry’s significant under-representation of women. The majority of these groups, however, function solely as social clubs for women to connect and promote industry events.
Meta Gamma Delta (MGD) was created to fill this gaping gap.
With a primary focus on grants-giving, MGD was able to differentiate itself from other female social clubs at the time. MGD’s founders planned from inception to progressively evolve the social club into a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO).
In 2020 –when Internet meme culture was at its peak– the founders of MGD branded themselves as a parody online sorority and took to Twitter to proliferate this meme in hopes of gaining followers and “rushing” new members.
Early on in the history of MGD, there was a lot of cross-pollination between founding MGD members and MetaCartel DAO members. This meant that the women of MGD were already red-pilled on how DAOs were an important component of an internet-native global organization.
With the help of friends at MetaCartel, MGD members were able to successfully transform a social club that started on Twitter and Telegram into a legitimate organization that supports women-led projects building with blockchain technology.
The online parody sorority
Meta Gamma Delta emerged in February 2020, at EthDenver, a popular Ethereum conference, when a group of women decided to start a Telegram chat to connect with other women also attending the conference.
A dedicated Telegram group would help women at ETHDenver “find the others” and give them exclusive access to women-organized side events. This had the potential to fuel social connections with cool, like-minded ladies and open doors for future careers, similar to how professional business sororities function at universities.
Every sorority needs a cheerleader, someone capable of amplifying the group’s message and attracting new members. For Meta Gamma Delta, this individual was Mahoney Turnbull. A tall, blonde hailing from New Zealand, she was gregarious and had an extensive, far-reaching network in the Ethereum ecosystem.
With unwavering determination, Mahoney wasted no time recruiting women and encouraging them to become part of the vibrant Telegram group. Her infectious energy radiated through exchanges within the group, a phenomenon evident in the screenshots below:
Supercharging the social club
Several weeks after the conference, a looming pandemic was creating chaos around the globe.
But the world seemed to be in perfect order for MGD. With stay-at-home orders going into effect, ETHDenver conference attendees had a lot more time on their hands. Many turned to Twitter and chat platforms for a sense of human connection and stability.
An increasing number of women joined the Telegram group, including the likes of Samantha Stein, the founder of Hacktivision and former Director for Special Projects at TechCrunch; Hsin-Ju, a Venture Partner at HackVC and co-founder of Dystopia Labs; Ariana Fowler, a researcher and former Blockchain Strategist at UNICEF; and Meltem Demirors, Chief Strategy Officer at Coinshares.
Men and allies were equally embraced and encouraged to join, a move that attracted prominent members from MetaCartel such as James Waugh, Ven Gist, Pet3r Pan, Alex Masmej, Yalor Moon, and 0xJoshua. These men would later play pivotal roles in the early stages of MGD, offering invaluable mentorship, unwavering support, and helpful resources.
Harnessing this momentum, the group of women wrote a manifesto that breathed life into the essence of MGD- skillfully balancing a serious mission with playfulness.
Creating an early structure
An early structure took shape through grassroots efforts by several women who emerged as the group’s torchbearers. These women orchestrated community calls and created rules and procedures for being part of the organization.
Juliana Passos took the initiative of spreading the word about MGD’s Genesis Community Call, which took place virtually on February 21, 2020. She urged members to whitelist their names on a Google form to preemptively safeguard the event from the disruptive presence of trolls, an unfortunate yet rampant phenomenon during those early pandemic days.
Sydney Lai then jumped in to craft the call’s agenda. Her objectives were to align members on the group’s purpose and establish clear expectations that allowed each individual to make unique, meaningful contributions to MGD.
Launching a DAO
Launching a DAO requires creating smart contracts that enable members to participate in democratic decision-making by creating and voting on proposals. Among the pioneering options available on the Ethereum network was (and still is) DAOHaus, a platform that provides a user-friendly interface and suite of tools to help DAOs manage funds, allocate grants, and conduct voting processes using a framework called Moloch.
Launching the Meta Gamma Delta DAO on DAOHaus was, in hindsight, almost predetermined. Since DAOHaus originated in the MetaCartel universe, a foundation of shared values already existed. Consequently, members of DAOHaus became ardent supporters of MGD and graciously donated their time and energy to assist launching the DAO.
Juliana captured the essence of DAOHaus members support in a blog post:
DAOHaus was of immense help to us. From late Sunday evening calls to quick Telegram channel responses. If it weren’t for Dekan, Ven, James Waughn, Alex Masmej, Pet3r Pan, Yalor, James Dunkan, Burrata, to name a few…we wouldn’t have been where we are today.
In the midst of MGD’s launch as an official DAO on DAOHaus, Sydney was spearheading another crucial endeavor. Recognizing the need to secure sustainable operational capital, she diligently embarked on raising a modest amount of funds by composing a compelling grant proposal on MetaCartel DAO's forum.
Let’s now fast forward three and a half years to 2023 and take a look into how Meta Gamma Delta DAO has evolved.
Since inception, MGD has seen its earliest members, the OGs, soar to new heights in their crypto careers. A prime example is Kseniya Lifanova, who founded Upstate Interactive while contributing to MGD. She is now the VP of Decentralized Strategy & Engineering at Foundry.
Many of these OGs have gracefully transitioned into advisory roles within the DAO. While they are available for support and guidance, they do not participate in day-to-day operational activities. A few exceptions exist, such as Nich Kesonpat, who is now a Researcher at 1kx but continues to contribute her technical skills to MGD.
What remains unchanged within MGD is its unwavering mission and the foundational structure that the OG members established. Every day, diligent MGD members dedicate themselves to empowering and supporting women-led projects building on the Ethereum network. They rely on structures the founding team put in place, which encompass everything from DAOHaus-facilitated on-chain onboarding and governance mechanisms to crafted templates within Google Sheets and channel structures within Discord.
Active members strive to evolve and enhance these structures as the crypto landscape changes. Embodying nimbleness, MGD members consistently seek innovative approaches to advance the DAO’s mission.
In the following quote, Kseniya astutely highlights the inherent flexibility of a DAO:
The beauty of a DAO is that the structure can be evolved or changed at any time as long as the members agree.
The next section will build on this idea of flexibility through consensus, and dive into the new structures that have evolved within MGD.
Note: A structure for dissolving operations is also important for a DAO. At a time of uncertainty and risk, like the one MGD faces today, it becomes wiser to wind down a DAO than to continue operating indefinitely.
Committees and Seasons
At first, MGD operated with a stagnant committee structure. The four committees: grants, fundraising, onboarding, and treasury – were static and had the same Lead who served in the position for an indefinite amount of time.
This led to member burnout.
In the Fall of 2022, MGD started an initiative called MGD Revival to tackle the challenge of burnout, amongst other DAO challenges. Members hoped that the initiative would enable the initial core contributors to take a step back from day-to-day operations, while empowering the next generation of DAO leaders.
As part of MGD Revival, the DAO implemented a dynamic committee structure with cohorts and seasons. Committees ran for one quarter (season), with a Lead who rotated out every three months. Each cohort had a defined scope of work, with clear timelines, and KPIs (key performance indicators).
Meta Gamma Delta strives to empower and enable women from diverse industries to reap economic, financial, and social benefits from Web3 - while contributing their invaluable skills to the DAO.
Despite being highly skilled in their professions, talented women shared during community calls that they needed more guidance to transition to and navigate this new Web3 career path.
In response to members' needs, a group of exceptional core contributors including Ann Willmott, Tess Willmott, Zayi Reyes, Dr. Kelly Page, and LeRae Bigelow, collaborated to address this challenge – a pressing onboarding issue where new members lacked the Web3 knowledge and skills necessary to contribute to the DAO.
Recognizing the urgency and importance of this matter, this exceptional group of women realized that an evolution of the DAO's onboarding structure was critical. The existing structure failed to account for the skill and knowledge gap that new members faced.
As a solution, MGD made the strategic decision to collaborate with ConsenSys, a prominent incubator for Ethereum projects and an early pioneer in the cryptocurrency industry. Together, they embarked on co-creating a Fellowship program specifically designed to equip new members with essential skills before they actively participated in the DAO within a cohort and Season.
The Fellowship Program, which started in September 2022 and spanned three months, offered MGD members the opportunity to undertake one of two educational tracks provided by ConsenSys entirely free of charge. The first track, ConsenSys Blockchain Essentials, emphasized practical applications over technical intricacies for individuals seeking a more foundational understanding. The second track, ConsenSys Developer Bootcamp, offered a more advanced curriculum, which delved into the technical aspects of blockchain development.
Through this partnership with ConsenSys , MGD helped new members prepare to make meaningful contributions to the DAO and to the wider cryptocurrency industry.
[My favorite memory of MGD] has been knowing that they took a chance on the company I work for, and me, by proxy, to help us progress the company’s mission and further me along in my professional journey with a much appreciated financial gift.
-Kori Riddick, 2023 grant recipient
By 2022, Meta Gamma Delta had issued $76k+ of DAI in grants. The following are a few examples of the types of trailblazing projects that were funded:
LYNX Technology — Founders: Alexandra McCarroll & Sarah Hamburg — 14,520 DAI
A backend data management system for real-time biometric user data collected through wearables and interfaces (including brain-computer interfaces [BCIs], fitness trackers and eye-tracking technologies)
ARTVX — Founders: Ava & Tara — 10K DAI
ARTXV started out as the first NFT collective for neurodivergent artists and consequently the first Web3 community for the disabled. It has since become the #1 agency and community, providing neurodivergent artists with everything needed to sell their work on the blockchain.
SHYRO — Founder: Kat Kuzmeskas — 10K DAI
Fitness tracker where anyone in the world can connect and earn for their health and wellness data. Shyro is a web3 application at its core. Shyro memberships, point structure, and profit sharing is managed on-chain automatically via an NFT and smart contract structure.
These women-led projects exemplify the pioneering spirit that MGD wholeheartedly supports. The impact of these grants resonates throughout the ecosystem, helping amplify the voices and achievements of these ladies and inspiring others to forge their own paths of success.
MGD has left its mark on the Web3 ecosystem. Although DAO members have chosen to wind down operations, the community that the DAO created will continue to create ripple effects within the industry.
As this story concludes, let's celebrate the pioneering women of MGD and reminisce about the unforgettable moments and achievements throughout their journey.
I hope you enjoy the below quotes, photos, and, of course, memes!
For me, MGD has always been about giving women funds to go and build our decentralized future.
- Kseniya Lifanova, MGD “OG” member, currently VP of Decentralized Strategy and Engineering at Foundry
I love the irony of calling ourselves a sorority– the juxtaposition between this group of highly educated, motivated, leaders in their fields with a bikini-clad-car-wash crew or whatever you think of when you think of a college sorority.
-Tess Willmott, Operations at MGD
Memes and Photos
Thank you to Zayi for providing guidance and direction throughout my writing process. And for the final copy edits and polishing.
And, of course, thank you to Meta Gamma Delta for your generous grant to write this story.