A vision of IOTA´s future ecosystem — The DAO-landscape | by Linus Naumann | Nov, 2021

Some say they are the next step in the evolution of society and business: The Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs). Groups of people from all over the world are starting to organize themselves using distributed ledger technologies (DLT), such as blockchains, DAGs and smart contracts, in order to start decentralized businesses, investment groups, charity movements or social clubs.

DAOs come in all shapes and forms and they differ widely in their goals, inner structures and legal frameworks. However, they all share a promise to combine individual freedom and economic opportunities with community and a sense shared values. Modern DLTs enable DAOs to transparently manage shared crypto-wallets and to perform democratic votes — even in permissionless, highly fluctuating and often times anonymous groups of people.

Currently, most DAOs run on blockchains like Ethereum or xDAI. But now a new platform is entering the conversation: IOTA with its new IOTA smart contracts.

How could the future of IOTAs DAO-ecosystem look like?

Vision I: The DAO-landscape will be pluralistic

People will organize themselves to accomplish many different kinds of tasks — from business and investments to charity and social activities. They will vary greatly in structure, size and goals and therefore there will not be “one DAO to rule them all”. Let´s first have a look into what kinds of DAOs already exist in other ecosystems as of today — and exchange some ideas on how equivalents in IOTAs ecosystem could look like. This is by no means intended to be a exhaustive review of the vast DAO-landscapes out there, but rather a gentle primer to start to get into the topic.

Types of DAOs — an overview (find a more complete discussion here)

Service DAOs

Service DAOs can range from collectives of freelancers to fully decentralized companies that offer services against payments.

Examples: Legal advice (Lex DAO) Ideas: IOTA developers DAO, Decentralized social media (Society2)

Funding DAOs

Funding DAOs aim to further some agreed-upon cause by giving money to promising projects and ventures.

Examples: Uniswap grants, AAVE grants Ideas: Charity DAOs, IOTA research grants, IOTA content creator fund

Investment DAOs

Investment DAOs aim at investing money for future returns. Investments can go into start-ups, stocks, digital assets or anything else that is seen as promising to return increased monetary value.

Examples: Meta Cartel, The LAO Ideas: IOTA start-up funding, Crypto-ETFs

Social DAOs

Social DAOs use decentralized governance structures in order to organize communities (and shared funds).

Examples: Seed club, Friends-with-benefits Ideas: #Spec DAO, Political parties, gaming guilds

Protocol DAOs

Protocol DAOs decentralize code development, introduce voting into coding decisions and help financing open-source technology.

Examples: Sushi, Gitcoin Ideas: IOTA Foundation as a DAO


A DAO that mainly funds other DAOs. Can have a very broad vision, with its details expressed in sub-DAOs (each with smaller, but more specialized and dedicated communities).

Ideas: IOTA Treasury DAO, Community-housing DAO

Vision II: DAOs will interact with one another

DAOs can feel like little universes on their own with lively discussions, their own tokenomics, governance structures, voting systems,developments and plans for the future.

Yet, DAOs will not be isolated islands. As the ecosystem matures we will see fluid and complex interactions between all kinds of DAOs. An investment DAO for example might pay developers from a service DAO in order to implement new features. At the same time it might manage funds from several other DAOs that want to diversify their own holdings. And if it has a social component in its vision, it might even pay some of its profits back to environmental or charity DAOs too.

Figure 1: DAOs will interact with one another. Here, a super-DAO interacts with all kinds of different DAOs in order to buy services, fund developments and to diversify its own funds.

Vision III: DAOs will interact with the non-DAO world

As we can see, a fully grown DAO ecosystem already gives room for quite complex economic and social landscapes. However, the decentralized world will not live in a vacuum. Not all social and economic activities can be implemented online in the form of DAOs and so even in the furthest vision of a future decentralized society, there will still be plenty of non-DAO entities around, that will also interact with DAOs. These entities too will buy services, invest, donate and fund all kinds of decentralized organizations.

Figure 2: All kinds of DAOs interact with the outside, non-DAO world in one way or another, be it through providing paid services, funds that want to be invested or by social activities.

Vision IV: Interactions will be fluid, democratic and follow free-market principles

Just like, and possibly even more so than, current economies, the DAO eco-system will not create static and ever-repeating forms of interactions. Instead, a free market of ideas and services will flourish, with changing opinions, majorities and needs and therefore always changing connections and new areas of growth.

Figure 3: An attempt to visualize the full picture. All DAOs and the outside world will show highly fluent interactions with one another, always driven by free-market mechanisms and democratic change in opinions.

Cambrian explosion of IOTA DAOs soon

With the start of IOTA smart contracts on the IOTA mainnet in probably a few months the community will experience a large burst in ecosystem development including the emergence of a plethora of DAOs. In fact, even as of today first pioneers in the IOTA ecosystem connect with each other in order to conceptualize and even build the first DAOs of this new era. It is on us, the community, to shape this next level of the IOTA ecosystem in ways that we seem fit. For this, we need to share our ideas, connect with each other and educate ourselves about available technologies and possibilities.

Let´s build some DAOs together!

If you want to learn more about DAOs I recommend to you joining the IOTA DAO-pioneers on the IOTA Discord. They share a large and well organized collection of learning materials and hold regular meetings for connection and discussion with others. See you there!

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