To understand why people would join a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO), the term “Permissionlessness” is a good place to start. Finding the most appropriate definition of an entry point is a master key to uncharted territory, and I like the following definition of “permissionless”:
A technosocial system is considered permissionless if, by following publicly stated procedures, permission from an authority is not required to participate in the use, development, and governance of the system or infrastructure.
— Kelsie Nabben and Michael Zargham
In my opinion, DAOs are inherently permissionless. Inclusion/Joining the DAO is not an employment decision made by someone to you personally. As Nabben and Zargham say, it’s determined by whether you follow “publicly stated procedures”. When you decide to follow this procedure, you become part of the DAO membership.
The reality is that we are still in the early stages of DAO membership. Today, the onboarding process for most DAOs is fairly straightforward and usually boils down to owning a token. Just like entering the subway system, you just have to show your subway ticket and you’re in. However, this simple, token-based DAO membership is merely a cosmetic phenomenon of joining the DAO by “complying with public procedures.”
The form of integration in the organization of the future will be more permeable than it is today. Like all organizations, DAOs have boundaries, which are used to separate their inner workings from their surroundings. Nabben and Zargham point out that anyone can cross an unauthorized border without the approval of some authority. You can participate as long as you follow the publicly stated procedures.
Generally speaking, a simulator will know if it is moving in the right direction when it has been sufficiently tested with the natural design. “Permissionless” simulates some basic components required by life itself, such as the “permissionless”ization of DAO, much like the permeable boundary-membrane of a biological cell.
Membranes: future forms of integration into tissues
Cells have similarities to participating in the publicly declared procedures used, developed and governed by DAOs. In the image above, a special class of proteins called “transporters” are embedded in the two membranes of the cell. These proteins act as bridges between the inside and the outside of the cell. There are many types of transporters, each designed to move energy and matter across cell membranes in very specific ways. Each type of transporter can be viewed as a specific protocol involved in cell cooperation.
This is how cells maintain boundaries while remaining open to their surroundings. This film is unlicensed. There is no external force to direct traffic, no artificial person in the cell to authorize what can and cannot be entered. Things just need to adhere to the interfaces that these transporters “publicly” expose to join the cell.
Permissionless organizational structures thus penetrate deep into the coding of life. It is an emerging, modular coordinated design. It is also key to the truly massive forms of human cooperation that are now emerging with decentralized autonomous organizations.
How to define membership in a DAO
We can now go back to the question of what it means to cross this membrane and join a DAO.
Membership is defined inconsistently across the DAO universe. For some, just joining a Discord server constitutes a membership, while for others, you need an unforgeable token that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Of course, each DAO should be free to choose how to define membership. But are there some general patterns that illustrate the membership of a DAO?
I believe there is a general narrative of DAO membership that builds on the permissionless concept proposed by Nabben and Zargham. Simply put, membership boils down to “new entrants agree to abide by public statements and participate in the DAO’s procedures”. In other words, membership is a permissionless agreement made by members, that is, abide by the agreement to use, build, and manage the DAO.
DAO Membership and Onboarding
The real question is what exactly this permissionless membership agreement looks like. The onboarding process today tends to be pretty straightforward, often with owning a token or even just agreeing to the community terms and conditions on the Discord server. But the protocol for actually agreeing to use, build, and manage a DAO is more complicated than that. DAOs are complex systems that rely partly on technology, partly on sociology, and even partly on biology.
The procedure for adhering to a DAO is much more nuanced than adhering to the rules of a blockchain protocol. In order to comply with the procedures of these complex socio-technical systems, members need to first understand them. This means that a training and mentoring process is absolutely necessary for newcomers to endorse the DAO’s protocol. The idea of compliance is meaningless without understanding and training in the process of using, building, and managing a DAO.
Onboarding at DAOs is closely linked to the training and mentoring process. Since they are permissionless, the process of these training and mentoring looks very different from that of a traditional business. There is no HR department to check the recruitment process. Anyone who wants to join can join, as long as they agree to abide by the relevant protocols.
Internal Membership Development of the DAO
This new reality of joining an organization requires a rethinking of its training and mentoring process. The DAO will need to clarify for new members what a public commitment is, and what form of contract the community may take. Clarifying these agreements will mean that all DAO members should share with each other in using, contributing to, and managing the organization, and agree on a fundamental level understanding from the outset. This understanding will have to be deepened as member responsibilities increase over time, and greater responsibility requires greater commitment to adherence to the DAO’s protocol.
In the process of members participating in the DAO, the expansion of responsibilities means that the content of the work involved will become more in-depth. It looks more and more like continuous personal professional development. Membership in the DAO begins with a standardized and publicized onboarding protocol, and over time evolves into an increasingly personalized career and personal development journey. At each step, the protocol for using, building, and managing the DAO must be clear, public, and permissionless. It’s not easy, especially as members’ responsibilities deepen, things get more complicated. This is the challenge now before us. Clear role descriptions and community reputation systems are only part of the key to expanding member onboarding and engagement, but they do not meet the development needs of today’s DAOs.
DAO is the embodiment of cybernetics
The DAO serves as a new technological lair for accommodating human communities and jobs. The onboarding process continuously adjusts how individuals use, build, and govern these systems based on the differentiated community values that the DAO has designed at different stages of development. It acts as a technological lair that enables the DAO and the community to function together as a cybernetic entity, partly through people and partly through machines.
Getting new people into a cybernetic system like this sounds a little mysterious today, and that’s because our current attempts are not enough. The blueprint for a business-machine partnership often doesn’t go well for people and the planet from the start.
Membership and Governance of the DAO
The DAO creates an opportunity to transform this partnership by placing the governance of these technical systems firmly in the hands of community members. Both using and contributing to DAOs are important functions, but governance is the specific method of clarifying the mission and operational parameters of these systems. Governance has great power and comes with great responsibility.
The first step in taking responsibility for the governance of a DAO must begin with agreeing to abide by its protocol. To do this, DAO governors need to first understand these protocols. In other words, they need to be positioned, just like other members of the DAO. In fact, directors need more upfront guidance and orientation because their responsibilities are much greater.
If membership is achieved by agreeing to abide by the DAO’s protocol, then the same requirements apply to directors, who by definition cannot truly be a DAO director without being a DAO member at the same time. Both require compliance and understanding of the underlying protocol.
Linking DAO governance to DAO membership is a logical extension of this argument. This is different from how companies are governed by shareholders today. Requiring membership and positioning may prove too burdensome for attracting capital into DAOs. It may also be more seriously questioned because of token-based governance, but these are an important part of how DAOs work today.
There are still many questions worthy of in-depth study regarding the relationship between DAO members and DAO governance. DAOs are an important new form of organization. They hold the future of human communities and human work in their hands. We now have a window to revisit fundamental assumptions about how we work with these systems and maintain oversight. We have reason to respect the way things were done in the past, but we must also create a wider space for the development of these future human cooperative institutions.
Posted by:CoinYuppie，Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/newbies-getting-started-with-daos-starting-with-no-permission/
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