It may seem as though the blockchain technology has limitless possibilities due to the continuous innovations it spurs. Smart contracts gave rise to DeFi (Decentralized Finance), which in turn birthed a form of organization in which decisions are made from bottom to top, solely by members leading themselves without a central figure, otherwise known as DAOs or Decentralized Autonomous Organizations.
Since DAOs are an internet-based organization, its members collectively control its direction and resources with the help of rules encoded in its smart contract. Hence the words “decentralized” and “autonomous.” Though DAOs might have had a shaky start when the first ever DAO, Genesis DAO lost around 3.6 million ETH, the equivalent of $70 million a month after its $150M funding, they seem to be gaining more relevance.
The focus of this article is the top DAOs in 2022. But before diving into that, a good understanding of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations is necessary.
What is a DAO?
DAOs (pronounced as dows). In the simplest sense, these are innovative organizations powered by the blockchain technology. They are online communities lacking a central authority, operating only with a set of rules written in a smart contract. DAOs are usually formed with the purpose of pulling funds together, usually cryptocurrencies, with a sole objective. Since they have no authority figure, unlike conventional organizations with CEOs, each member has a say using governance tokens on how the organization is ran. Becoming a member of a DAO is easy. One simply needs to purchase the governance token or in some cases purchase the DAO’s NFT which automatically makes you a member. A few examples include PleasrDAO, BitDAO and MakerDAO.
How Does a DAOs Work?
Smart contracts are the key to everything in the DeFi space. Depending on the DAO and its objectives, specific rules are written into the smart contract of the organization. Members joining the organization agree to these rules, if there’s a violation, funds become inaccessible. Since the main purpose of DAOs is to pull collective funds, DAOs have an in-built vault which stores members’ funds. Anyone can create a DAO in three simple steps: Create a smart contract, Collect member funds, and Launch.
What are the Top 10 DAOs in the DeFi Space?
- Decentraland DAO
Just as communities in real life include homeowners and city planning committees, this virtual community shares the same similarities. Launched in 2020, Decentraland is a virtual world where anyone can enter to purchase real estate assets as NFTs or even enjoy ventures set up by other users, like cinemas and amusement parks. To become a part of the Decentraland DAO, one needs to simply purchase an NFT and hold the native token, $MANA. Its native allows community members make proposals such as adding new locations, or even the creation of the Decentraland mobile app.
- Maker DAO
Maker DAO, launched in 2015 is the first p2p lending platform built on the Ethereum blockchain. MakerDAO also possesses its own governance token, $MKR. Holders of $MKR are responsible for selected decisions on the platform which includes choosing new collateral types for DAI and possible changes to the governance system. $MKR at its core functions to encourage holders to be more responsible. Like in cases where the ETH in Maker’s vaults is small compared to the required amount to cover the DAI in circulation. More $MKR is released and auctioned to raise the needed collateral simply to keep the platform afloat.
Uniswap stands strong as a top dao and one of the most popular decentralized crypto exchanges currently. This DEX (decentralized exchange) introduced its governance token, UNI in Q3 2020. This was influential in reducing its trading fees on certain stablecoins, thereby increasing its popularity and patronage. Although Uniswap seems to be racking up numbers, users seem to be facing increasing impermanent losses in its new V3.
Another top dao on the list is the lending platform Compound. Launched in June of 2020, this DAO similarly runs on the Ethereum network. Compound not only offers lending solutions to users but offers users a means of earning crypto passively through yield farms and staking. Its governance token COMP is used to make decisions on the direction of the platform. Such as determining how much COMP is rewarded for using the network and types of assets being exchanged.
Originally launched as “EthLend” back in 2017, Aave is an open-source DeFi lending platform catering to only those with Ethereum wallets. It also allows users earn passive income through its yield farms. The AAVE token is its governance token which allows token holders to make key decisions such as borrowing limits and liquidation parameters.
Curve Finance is a decentralized exchange that specializes in the exchange of stablecoins such as USDT, USDC, and DAI. Curve dao introduced its native token $CRV on August 14th, 2020, which enabled users to propose and vote on key decisions of the platform via its governance forum; giving all members the opportunity to choose a direction for the platform to follow. Making it a truly decentralized organization.
Aiding the development of Web3, BitDAO is a community driven protocol designed to assist builders of the Web3. Its core objectives are to issue grants for the development of DeFi apps, blockchains and NFTs in the Web3 space. BitDAO was founded by the exchange Bybit in June of 2021. On its launch it raised over $200m. Its native token, $BIT which is based on the Ethereum network, governs the direction of BitDAO.Such as selecting which Web3 projects to fund and general updates to BitDAOs protocol.
As NFTs gained more popularity there was a need to purchase priceless digital art pieces, some of these assets were unobtainable by a single individual hence the need to pull funds together for acquisition. And this is the simple idea that birthed PleasrDAO. This DAO was formed to allow individuals join funds to purchase high value NFTs. PleasrDAO’s governance can be earned through the purchase of its NFTs and communication is done via group chat.
LexDAO is a team of legal engineering professionals who sought to integrate traditional law into smart contracts. Co-founded by Jared Cohen in 2020. The guild’s objective is to legally illuminate the Web3 as there are little to no laws guiding the new internet iteration. Members of LexDAO are called LexScribes and membership is based on qualifications. LexDAO’s governance token, $LXB is a DAI token which is used as a governance token on LexDAO allowing members make requests on its source code.
The last on this list is Decred. This DAO not only doubles as a blockchain but also makes use of both the PoW and PoS consensus mechanisms. Created by Jake Yocom-Piatt in 2016, the main objective of Decred is to solve consensus mechanism issues replete in the DeFi space, hence its hybridization. Its native token $DCR is used for governing the platform, allowing users to propose changes to the platform.
Final Thoughts on DAOs
As interesting as the concept of DAOs may seem, many happen to be springing up, one particularly is the possible evolution of Education Ecosystem to a DAO, this would entail the platform using its native token, $LEDU for governance. But before you go investing in dao tokens just to become a member of the decentralized organization, it is important to understand every DAO has its risks and sometimes they are controlled by only a few individuals with malicious intents. Certain DAO thefts are often reported as hacks but in truth, it’s a few individuals who have made way with the collective’s funds. Therefore, extra caution should be taken before becoming a member of any Decentralized Autonomous Organization.