Aragon's transition towards being a DAO

Dear Aragon community,

Soon we will be called to vote on critical decisions regarding the purpose, structure and direction of Aragon. I am supportive of the efforts being made to unify and transition the Aragon teams into a DAO and wanted to share some thoughts for discussion.

The Aragon Manifesto has always been my driving force. Its values are core to the work I continue today with Nation3, building tools to increase freedom. The Aragon values and manifesto unite us and continue to drive the project forward, without direct leadership from either myself or other founding team members.

The vision for Aragon was always to become a decentralized autonomous organization and I trust this community to advance Aragon in a more open, transparent and decentralized way than we ever could. We built the very first DAO tools at a time when DAO wasn’t in our vocabulary or culture, and when the tools at our disposal were centralized and monolithic.

We are proud of what we accomplished, but the work is not done. To achieve our vision, we need to apply our values to the way we work and the way we build our products. I can think of many things I’d change about the past of Aragon, and two of them would be:

  • To start later, since DAOs only gained significant momentum in 2021-2022.
  • To start off as a DAO ourselves. It’s hard, if not impossible, to build tools for an organization structure that we don’t embrace ourselves.

While embracing a DAO structure seems daunting, the tooling has advanced so much that going down this route is a no-brainer. And doing it as soon as possible is paramount. Why?

Well, first and foremost, if Aragon wants to keep building basic infrastructure for DAOs, it just cannot operate like a traditional organization. Dogfooding is paramount to building great products.

Second, but of equal importance, is creating a sense of urgency and flexibility. Something that has been both a blessing and a curse in Aragon’s history has been its funding. Due to being in the right place in the right moment, and due to some savvy treasury management, the Aragon Association received $25m in 2017 but now has over $250m.

Having all those funds managed by a single entity that happens to be a non-profit isn’t ideal. It doesn’t create the sense of urgency that led to some of the most groundbreaking 0 to 1s in tech’s history. And it also often leads to very fixated roadmaps, thinking that there will always be funding to pursue them — instead of having a more active and flexible approach depending on the market’s needs and circumstances.

I have learned a lot after kickstarting the Nation3 DAO a month ago. Mostly, I’ve realized how far we have come when it comes to DAO tooling. I really do think that now is the right time to make such a transition for Aragon.

There are a few significant threats I can think about:

  • We need to make sure that the DAO has checks and balances in place so it doesn’t become a place for people to suck money. Many DAOs fall into this category today.
  • Because of the AL and AA teams already having a strong internal culture, we need to make sure to keep the good things about such culture without intimidating newcomers that might not understand it yet. Said otherwise, we need to be careful about not excluding newcomers.
  • DAOs aren’t magical. They do need tons of facilitation in the beginning. Who will be the facilitators that will project a vision and enable others to pursue it? Even more so knowing that both of the co-founders are not engaged, and while we might help and advise, won’t provide that day-to-day support.
  • The current ANT distribution isn’t ideal to recruit top-notch talent. Do we need to perform a mint? A massive ANT buyback? Probably.

Thank you for the energy and enthusiasm you bring to advancing our shared mission. My sincere wish is for you to continue building on our accomplishments in ways greater than we ever could have imagined.

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very interesting