What is membership in a DAO?

The DAO operation is compared to a cell, and the internal structure and operation of this emerging organization are explained from the perspective of the public. The author compares the movement of entering and exiting the DAO and the shuttle in the DAO to the fluidity and permeability of the cell. The boundary of the DAO is the cell membrane, which can effectively isolate irrelevant things. Only those who have the corresponding tokens or agree to the relevant regulations can enter it. No permission is convenient for everyone to enter and exit, but compliance with the rules can be retained. How to balance the relationship between DAO and DAO members is the key to the smooth operation of a DAO in the end.

To join a DAO is to agree to the way it works

To understand how people join a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO), the best place to start is to understand the concept of “permissionless”. A good definition is the key to unlocking the power of the mind, and I like this definition:

A technosocial system is considered a “permissionless system” if it is possible to participate in the use, development and governance of a system or infrastructure without requiring authoritative permission by following publicly stated procedures.

── Kelsie Nabben & Michael Zargham

I said DAOs are inherently permissionless. Joining the DAO is not a hiring decision made after someone has a crush on you. As Nabben and Zargham say, it’s up to you to follow “publicly stated procedures”. This is how you become a part (member) of a DAO.

The reality is that we are still in the early stages of understanding DAO membership. Today, the onboarding process for most DAOs is fairly straightforward and usually boils down to owning a token. Just like entering a subway station, you only need to swipe your subway card to get in. However, this simple practice of using tokens as a threshold to obtain DAO membership is only a superficial understanding of “complying with public procedures”.

DAO’s Thin Film

The organizational onboarding process of the future will be far more pervasive than it is today. Like all organizations, DAOs have boundaries that separate their inner workings from their surroundings. Nabben and Zargham point out that crossing a permissionless border is something anyone can do because it does not require prior approval from some authority. You can join as long as you follow the publicly stated procedures.

In general, it’s a no-brainer to imitate those tried and true designs found in nature. Unlicensed imitation is the basic unit that builds life itself. Biological cells, such as DAOs, also have permeable boundaries – what we call membranes.

What is membership in a DAO?

Membrane: The Future of Organizational Onboarding

Cells are also similar to “public declaration procedures”. In the image above, a special protein called a “transporter” is embedded in the double structure of the cell membrane. These proteins are the bridge between the inside and outside of the cell. There are many types of transporters, each used to transfer energy and matter across cell membranes in very specific ways. We can think of each type of transporter as a specific protocol for entry into the cell.

This is how cells maintain a boundary while still remaining open to their surroundings. Cell membranes are permissionless. There is no external force directing traffic, and there are no dwarfs in the cell to control who gets in and who doesn’t. Those that want to add to the cell simply stick to the “open” exposed interface of these transporters.

This is how cells maintain a boundary while still remaining open to their surroundings. Cell membranes are permissionless. There is no external force directing traffic, and there are no dwarfs in the cell to control who gets in and who doesn’t. Those that want to add to the cell simply stick to the “open” exposed interface of these transporters.

Definition of DAO Members

What does it mean to go through this membrane and actually add a DAO? We now come back to this question.

The definition of membership is inconsistent across the DAO universe. Some only require you to join their Discord server to gain some kind of membership, while others may require you to hold an NFT worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to join. Of course, every DAO should be able to define membership as much as it wants. But are there some general patterns in this?

I believe there is a general formulation for membership in a DAO within the permissionless concept proposed by Nabben and Zargham. In short, membership ultimately means that the newcomer agrees to abide by a publicly stated engagement process. Or in other words, membership comes from a license-free agreement “signed” by members, ie, abide by the contract to use, build, and manage the DAO.

DAO Membership and Onboarding Process

The real question is, what exactly is a license-free membership agreement? People tend to simplify the joining process these days—often owning a token, or even just agreeing to the community terms on the Discord server. But a true “protocol to agree to use, build, and govern the DAO” is much more complicated than that. DAOs are complex systems that are part technical, part social, and even part biological.

“Following the DAO’s procedures” is much more nuanced than “following the rules of the blockchain protocol” or something like that. To be able to comply with the procedures of these complex socio-technical systems, members first need to understand them. This means that the education and onboarding process is absolutely necessary for newcomers to be able to reach the DAO agreement. “Compliance” means nothing without understanding and training in the process of using, building, and governing a DAO—and so does membership.

Therefore, joining a DAO is closely linked to the education and onboarding process. Since they are permissionless, these processes also look very different from traditional businesses. There is no HR department to check the recruiting process. Anyone can join as long as they agree to abide by the relevant protocols.

Membership development in DAOs

This new reality of organizational onboarding requires a rethinking of education and onboarding processes. The DAO may need to take the form of a community covenant to develop a public commitment for new members and explain the content to them. It means that all DAO members agree on a preliminary, basic understanding of how to use, contribute, and govern the organization. This understanding will also have to deepen over time as member responsibilities increase. Greater responsibility also requires a greater commitment to complying with the DAO’s protocol.

As members participate in the DAO, the increased responsibilities mean that the integration process never really ends. After the initial phase, the process looks more and more like continuous personal and professional development. Membership in the DAO begins with a standardized, public onboarding protocol, which then evolves into a more personalized journey of career and personal development. At each of these steps, the protocols for using, building, and governing the DAO must follow the principles of clarity, openness, and permissionless. But it’s not easy — especially as responsibility deepens and complexity increases. This is the challenge now before us. Clear identities and community reputation systems are just a few of the key initiatives to expand membership and increase engagement, and if implemented, would be beyond what most DAOs have today.

DAOs as cybernetic entities

As a new technological lair, the DAO houses human communities and jobs. The community value encoded in DAOs is fundamental to the design and implementation of the onboarding process, and it aligns the way people use, build, and govern these systems. This is how DAOs sustain communities. Like a cybernetic entity composed of machines and humans, the DAO becomes a technical home that operates with the community.

Bringing new people into such a cybernetic system sounds a bit dystopian, if so, only because our current attempts are nowhere near their potential. After all, the blueprint for cooperating with machines has so far generally not worked out well, for both humans and our planet.

DAO Membership and Governance

By placing the governance of technical systems firmly in the hands of community members, DAOs create an opportunity to transform this partnership. While the use and contribution to the DAO is important, governance is what sets the parameters for the mission and operation of the system. Governance has great power and comes with great responsibility:

What is membership in a DAO?

The first step in taking on DAO governance responsibilities must begin with agreeing to abide by its protocol. To do this, first the DAO governor needs to understand these protocols. In other words, like other members of the DAO, they also need onboarding coaching. In fact, governance is even more in need of guidance because of their greater responsibilities.

If membership is obtained by agreeing to abide by the DAO’s protocol, then so is the governor. By definition, a true DAO governor must also be a member of the DAO. Both identities need to obey and understand the underlying protocol.

Linking DAO governance to DAO membership may seem like a logical extension of this argument, but it is not only crucial but far reaching. It differs from the way corporate shareholders are governed today. Membership requirements and onboarding may be considered too onerous for attracting capital holders to join the DAO. It could raise serious questions about token-based governance, which is an important part of how DAOs work today. Therefore, we also have good reasons to exercise caution in this area.

Still, it’s worth asking deep questions about the relationship between DAO membership and DAO governance. DAOs are an important new form of organization. They hold the future of human communities and human work. Now we have an opportunity to revisit the underlying assumptions of how to work with these systems and maintain oversight. It makes sense to respect the way things were done in the past, but we must also make room for these future organizations of human cooperation to evolve.

All are welcome to contribute good ideas.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/what-is-membership-in-a-dao/
Coinyuppie is an open information publishing platform, all information provided is not related to the views and positions of coinyuppie, and does not constitute any investment and financial advice. Users are expected to carefully screen and prevent risks.

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