A beginner’s guide to DAOs

Linda Xie:

A decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) is a group organized around a mission that coordinates through a shared set of rules enforced on a blockchain.

One of the main benefits of a DAO is that they are more transparent than traditional companies since all actions and funding in the DAO are viewable by anyone. This significantly reduces the risk of corruption and censorship. Publicly traded companies must provide independently audited financial statements, but shareholders only get to see the financial health of the organization at a snapshot in time. Since a DAO’s balance sheet exists on a public blockchain, it is completely transparent at all times, down to every single transaction.

DAOs typically are more globally accessible and have lower barriers to entry than companies. Given the transparency and lower barriers to entry, there will likely be lower switching costs for DAO members who don’t agree with the rules and actions. DAOs sharing a similar mission might need to compete for members and are incentivized to be as transparent as possible and not extract too much rent from the group so that they are able to attract top members. DAOs might also need to quickly evolve to meet the members’ needs.