Making Aragon a dream DAO

In July 2018, I wrote about decentralizing Aragon’s governance. That got people thinking, especially @light, who authored AGP-1.

AGP-1 outlines the governance process that we have been using for more than a year now.

Back in the day, the Aragon client and set of apps weren’t as mature. Therefore AGP-1 was mostly an off-chain governance mechanism with on-chain signalling via the Aragon’s voting app.

However, Aragon has matured so much in the last year. With the current tools we have, we can do much more. It’s time for the Aragon Network DAO to evolve.

Aragon itself should be the best example of how Aragon can be used to govern a community.

Here are some changes I’d like to see.

Sustain: Invest into proposals that make Aragon self-sustainable

The Aragon Manifesto won’t take a couple years to realize itself. We will likely need decades to reach our ambitious goals. The market is still incredibly nascent.

Aragon’s treasury has been shrinking lately. The primary reason has been the brutal bear market, but also the fact that our governance process doesn’t incentivize otherwise. Our current governance process isn’t good for treasury management. It gives agency to ANT holders to make treasury decisions, and it also allows for the Aragon Association to do that. And while the Association could as well do it with its discretionary powers, it could also be perceived as dictatorial. This creates a deadlock, where ANT holders aren’t directly incentivized to grow the treasury (since they don’t have any binding claim on it) and the Association isn’t incentivized to do its job (because it could be perceived as dictatorial).

Our common goal is to spread the Manifesto in the world, but we cannot do that if the project runs out of funds. That’s why I believe that investing the treasury into long-term bets with clear monetization models is what the Aragon Network DAO should optimize for in the short-term. This implies creating sustainable business models for the Aragon Network and frameworks for outside capital and entrepreneurs that are not dependent on treasury funds.

After all, I now see Aragon as a movement embodied as a continuous allocation of capital towards spreading the Manifesto.

Focus: Define key metrics

Right now, AGP-1 is very broad and allows everything that gets us closer to the Aragon Manifesto.

While that’s great, I believe we need metrics to objectively measure how proposals get us closer to spreading the Manifesto in the world.

Since our goal is to make decentralized organizations widespread, an example metric that would make sense is assets under management in those organizations.

It would also align with Aragon Court and Aragon Chain as a business model: more assets in Aragon organizations means more security is needed, which Aragon Court and Aragon Chain provide.

We need to brainstorm and nail down those metrics.

Incentivize: Reward proposals that get us closer

Right now, there’s little incentive to participate in Aragon’s governance. The best incentive I can think of is just trying to maximize the amount of capital one can extract from the treasury, which is quite a perverse incentive. Fortunately we do have a great community and some ANT holders altruistically vote because of their belief in the vision.

But with clear metrics, we can estimate the return on investment that each proposal is likely to have. Moreover, we can retrospectively reward proposers based on how successful their proposals actually were.

Governance isn’t free, and it shouldn’t be. People who create value for the whole community should be rewarded.

Automate: Run as much as possible on-chain

The current AGP process is too heavily reliant upon wet code — meaning that we rely too much on subjective, human-language encoded rules.

We can and should try to rely more on dry code — objective, computer-language encoded rules.

We have tons of Aragon apps out there that we should be using. We can experiment with new governance models, even Futarchy. In theory, we should be able to tie proposals to clearly defined metrics.

Remember, this is what Aragon is all about:

Experiment with governance at the speed of software

We could use sub-DAOs for committees that specialize in different areas.

This would enable more focused discussions, improved scrutiny of proposals and a reduction on the time burden of ANT holders to try to vote on proposals which they may not even fully understand.

The design space is unlimited, thanks to Aragon’s modularity and flexibility.

By implementing this Sustain, Focus, Incentivize and Automate strategy, I’m sure we will come up with an exemplary DAO that will be known by everyone in and outside the Aragon community. I look forward to chatting more with the community so we can collectively discover what’s the best shape our beloved DAO can take!


I absolutely agree.

  • Regarding the “deadlock” between ANT holders and the association: this could maybe be solved by having the association express an opinion before each AGPs, it would then be very likely the ANT holders would follow that opinion given interests are aligned. Vote delegation would facilitate that further.

  • I believe ANT holders want to vote in a way that balances their interests with the interest of the project. While for the association and team members, most proposals consequences on the project might be super clear, it is critical to understand many ANT holders don’t have anywhere close to the same specific knowledge nor do they have anyone to advise them properly, nor can they delegate yet to trusted community members.

  • We indeed need to clarify how and when we’ll be able to balance spending and earnings.

  • I believe earnings should mostly come from a “tax” wherever a gain is made by ANT holders, but I’m curious of other avenues anyone has thought of already. Also we shouldn’t discard other strategic moves, such as having a Melon fund.

Challenging subject but certainly one we must focus on.


How would you approach this?

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I hadn’t really though about how to implement this to be honest, but after thinking a bit about it I would picture it the following way:

First, this suggestion is in part coming from the fact that I love to see when projects leverage each others. It’s really a “sight to behold” when you see Augur leveraging MakerDAO, Aragon Futarchy eventually leveraging Augur, Melon leveraging Aragon, Aragon potentially leveraging Melon, etc. It’s so powerful.

Now, the reasoning for such fund is that we’ve lost a tremendous amount of real-life spending power due to the massive amount of ETH in the reserves. That’s not to say that the team has done anything wrong and the strategy used wasn’t the best at the time it was decided. Rather, that it could be good to examine ways to improve the strategy moving forward.

That said, creating a fund would imply designating a person to manage it. Come to think of it this would add a role to Aragon that doesn’t fit its purpose: maybe not such a great idea.

So, ideally then, we should maybe have shares of a fund that would be low-risk, low-reward but would give us some financial stability when we need it. There’s no such fund today (that I know of) so that’s an opportunity for someone, some entity (could be a trusted Aragon team-member, but not acting as part of Aragon), to create it.

Today we probably don’t want to put too much in such fund since all of us here are (rightly) convinced ETH and ANT are (vastly) undervalued. But maybe it is a good time to put a little bit in one and see how this could work, so the day we feel we’re in a bubble again, we have a way to not suffer its popping.


Luis, I agree that we are still very early. But the early ones often get the highest chance to truly shape the future direction of Aragon. The more mature Aragon becomes, the more difficult it will be for any one person to really get heard or make a measurable difference.

Decentralized governance has to be just about the coolest thing out there. So everyone should get their feet wet now and pave the road for those who come after us!

One idea I had was for Aragon to organize virtual 3D exhibitions and charge exhibitors who want to showcase products and services they offer to DAOs. Exhibition fees could be charged and paid using ANT. And another NFT which serves as a pass or a license to exhibit could be created where exhibitors who have say rented virtual space for a year and only needed it for 6 months could sell their NFT/license to another exhibitor who would be entitled to exhibit for the remaining 6 months.

I have come across so many projects contemplating the creation of DAOS; almost every project is thinking about it if they don’t already have a DAO set up. But many are struggling with the best kind of DAO to create and have insufficient knowledge as to how to go about it.

Would be happy to talk to these projects to better understand their needs and how Aragon might help! What would be the best way to start those conversations? :slight_smile:

That’s easy. I’ll send them over to you. :grin:


Related to my idea of the virtual 3D exhibitions, here is a relatively simple virtual conference set up by Lightning Network. There is no physical onsite component (thus saving a lot of money associated with renting a physical venue, such as rent, insurance, security, staff, and interior decor/signage, etc.). It is purely online:

A few months ago, they held their first virtual conference and they sold 300 tickets. Say at least half bought the entire package at $100 per ticket, and the rest bought at least one session at $10 each, that would be $15,000 + $1500 = $16,500 in tickets sold. These conferences could be held multiple times a year, in different regions or languages, or run continuously year-round with access via time restricted passes. The fancier the conference (such as with 3D exhibition capability), the more you could charge.

You could do a different spin on it. Since DAOs are kind of hot right now, many would pay to attend this virtual conference/online training, complete an online test, and receive a “certified DAO consultant” certificate from Aragon. I think they would pay $100+ for this certification. You could also charge annual membership renewal fees.

There could be an online directory of all these consultants and Aragon could help boost their new careers by offering more educational/training possibilities to them as well as products and services they could sell to their clients. These consultants would also give regular feedback on what features users need in creating their DAO and share successful use cases with Aragon, which could be used in its content marketing efforts to further drive additional monetization opportunities.

Since we are still early in this space, education and events seem to be the most straightforward and clear-cut path to fundraising for Aragon. Pursuing an educational role also gives Aragon the chance to assert itself as a thought leader and influence all future development of DAOs.

With education and events, people pay upfront and the chance of lawsuits is also minimal. Content once created, can be reused over and over again, and only updated when necessary.

Later on, Aragon could also become like the McKinsey of DAO consulting and partner with existing traditional consulting firms who would bill their clients and share fees with Aragon for its leading DAO expertise.

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Hey @Amazongirl,

Sounds this idea would add value to two hot Aragon community topics.

  • AraCon, will not be happening this year. The proposal has been rejected. At least for a physical conference. The virtual conference format could be really interesting to explore. Have you participated to one already? However, let’s continue the discussion on this thread which might be more suited

  • The Aragon Academy. It is a recurring idea that we’ve not had the resources to explore for now. The Aragon Academy could be great for multiple reasons. Educate developers, early users and new contributors and in some places generate revenue like you suggested (for example with consulting). Would that fit what you were thinking about? If you’re willing to think about that further I’m happy to create another thread where we can let our creativity flow :wink:

Don’t hesitate to use the chat if you have questions! @louisgrx

Really cool idea. Technically, however, it’s not something that “Aragon” (technically a network/protocol, not an entity in it’s own right) can take on. That being said, it would be great as a project for an independent DAO on the network. Started a new thread here to explore that :slight_smile:

Again, “Aragon” isn’t suited to do this. But Aragon teams are! A few organizations that might be of interest:

Yes, let’s create a thread for education and events, like the Aragon Academy.

The reason I recommended a “train-the-trainer” program or certifying DAO consultants is that it adds value to the Aragon Network faster.

For instance, approaching a project team to discuss Aragon DAO services adds potentially one DAO. But certifying one consultant to be familiar with Aragon DAOs can add 10, 20, or more DAOS to Aragon.

Also, could you summarize the ways (or provide a link to the info) in which value is added to the Aragon Network, Aragon treasury, and the ANT token? Is there a foundation behind Aragon? When DAI is paid out for work done on proposals, where does this DAI come from? Are these the funds which were raised during the ICO? I read about the financial structure so long ago, and things may have changed since then. :nerd_face: