What are Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAO)?

A Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) is a type of organization that operates on the blockchain and is governed by smart contracts. In a DAO, all members have equal voting rights and can participate in the decision-making process.

The key characteristic of a DAO is its decentralized nature, meaning that it operates on a decentralized network and is not controlled by a single central authority. Instead, it is governed by the rules encoded in its smart contracts, which are automatically executed on the blockchain.

One of the benefits of a DAO is that it allows for more democratic and transparent decision-making, as all members of the network or organization have an equal say in the decision-making process. This can help to reduce the risk of centralization of power and increase accountability.

Another benefit of a DAO is that it can be more resistant to censorship, as there is no central authority that can unilaterally censor transactions or proposals. This can increase the resilience and security of the network or organization.

DAOs can be used for a variety of purposes, including decentralized investment funds, decentralized exchanges, and decentralized marketplaces. In a DAO, members can propose and vote on proposals, and the outcome of these votes is automatically executed through the smart contracts on the blockchain.

Simplified Example

A Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) is like a club that you and your friends started together. In the club, everyone has an equal say in making decisions and everyone's opinions matter. The club is run by a set of rules that you all agreed on and everyone follows, without the need for one leader or boss.

Just like in the club, a DAO is a digital organization that is run by its members using rules encoded as computer programs. Members can participate and vote on decisions, and the rules ensure that the organization runs fairly and transparently. There's no one person in charge, but everyone works together to make decisions and achieve their goals.

History of the Term Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO)

The term "Decentralized Autonomous Organization" (DAO) emerged in the early 1990s within the context of cyberpunk literature and discussions surrounding the future of technology and society.

The concept gained traction in the late 2010s with the rise of Ethereum, a blockchain platform that introduced smart contracts, self-executing contracts that could automate governance and decision-making processes. In 2016, The DAO, the first widely recognized DAO, was launched on the Ethereum blockchain, aiming to operate as a decentralized investment fund. While The DAO was ultimately hacked and its funds dispersed, it sparked a wave of interest in DAOs as a potential model for organizing and managing communities and resources in a decentralized and transparent manner.

Today, the term "DAO" encompasses a diverse range of organizations and applications, exploring the potential of decentralized governance and autonomous operation in various fields, from finance and investment to social networking and governance protocols.


MakerDAO: MakerDAO is a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) that operates on the Ethereum blockchain and provides stablecoin services. It aims to offer a decentralized alternative to traditional centralized stablecoins, providing a stable and predictable value to users despite market fluctuations. MakerDAO operates as a decentralized central bank, issuing a stablecoin called Dai that is pegged to the value of the US dollar. The Dai stablecoin is generated through a combination of smart contracts and collateralized debt positions (CDPs), allowing users to obtain Dai in exchange for providing collateral in the form of Ethereum.

Aragon: Aragon is a DAO platform that allows users to create and manage their own decentralized organizations. It provides a suite of tools and services, including voting systems, dispute resolution mechanisms, and governance tools, that make it easy for users to create and manage their own decentralized organizations. Aragon is built on the Ethereum blockchain and is designed to provide a decentralized alternative to traditional corporate structures, allowing organizations to operate in a transparent and democratic manner.

Gnosis: Gnosis is a prediction market platform that operates as a DAO on the Ethereum blockchain. It allows users to create and trade on prediction markets for a wide range of events, from sports and politics to financial markets and more. Gnosis operates as a decentralized and trustless platform, using smart contracts and a reputation system to ensure the accuracy and transparency of its prediction markets. The platform also allows users to create their own custom prediction markets, providing a versatile and flexible tool for anyone looking to make predictions or trade on outcomes.

These are just a few examples of the many DAOs that have been created on blockchain networks. DAOs provide a decentralized and transparent alternative to traditional corporate structures, allowing organizations to operate in a democratic and trustless manner. As blockchain technology continues to evolve, it's likely that DAOs will become increasingly prevalent and play an increasingly important role in shaping the future of organizations and businesses.

  • Decentralized Exchange (DEX): A decentralized exchange (DEX) is a type of cryptocurrency exchange that operates on a decentralized platform, meaning that it is not controlled by a single entity.

  • Decentralized Application (DApp): A Decentralized Application, or DApp for short, is a special kind of computer program that runs on a decentralized network.