Love and Money in DAOs
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August 26th, 2021

It’s an absolute lovefest in DAOs. Everyone in a DAO at this moment is in early to something that’s going to be big, big, big. That includes me, since I’m a member of some of them. 

Also, valuations are going nuts. $FWB (Friends with Benefits DAO) tokens are up 700% over the past thirty days. $FF (ForeFront DAO) is up nearly 500%. $Whale (Whale DAO)  is up a mere 200%. And so on. 

The world, starting with the greater crypto community, is starting to catch on to the superpowers of smart, driven people sharing a checking account and a mission. And that amazing reality is an aphrodisiac for those already in. This tweet, from one of my favorite people in the space (though he doesn’t know me), gives you a sense of where we are. 

As a grizzled veteran of the class of 2017, I’ve seen this before. In r/EthTrader, we LOVED EACH OTHER. We fought off Bitcoin maxis and no-coiners, worshiped together at the alter of decentralization and the Unicorn culture of Ethereum. And then, when we started to make some real money, our love blossomed. There is simply nothing like getting rich with those on a shared mission. It’s just a human incentive thing, it’s just the way it goes. And I loved it -- and I loved my brothers and sisters on r/EthTrader. 

This is why I got my family and friends into crypto. I wanted them to see the potential of this stuff, and I also wanted them to make some money and enjoy the freedom that would provide them during their short time on earth. I wanted to share it with them. There is nothing better.

Blockchains are about moving value around. Yes, it’s also based on the shared idea of building a better world. But the nuclear fuel is that we can get rich doing good, as we define it. I have no problem with that. It’s how crypto has grown from zero to more than a trillion dollars in a little over a decade. I dare say, if this were all an open source project with no tokens, I wouldn’t be having this conversation with you. I’d be too busy putting together my TPS reports for tomorrow’s meeting.

My thesis isn’t that the love these DAO prophets are feeling is bad or fake. It’s good and it’s real. But here are a few observations:

Love becomes more complicated in a bear market. Shit gets real. People drop off, trolls appear from nowhere to gloat. It’s like when your literal honeymoon is over and a few months later, as you are slogging away at your job, you notice that your spouse never does the dishes. So you say something, and then you are in a fight, and that leads to several long conversations. In the end, you figure it out and you are good, maybe even better than before, but the euphoric feeling is gone. 

People leave and you’ll miss them. In the Ethereum community circa 2016-2017 many people jumped into other coins and disappeared. I’m still sad that Emin Gun Sirer left to start his own coin, since he was one of my Ethereum heroes (though he was never officially part of the dev team). The same thing will happen with DAOs. Soldiers in one DAO will develop the skills and the incentives to start their own DAOs. One day they will be  gone, and it feels like you lost a family member. Some of these people will turn out to be very big deals in their new communities. You will miss them, and feel nostalgic for when you were all pulling together (and sharing the same wallet, dammit). 

There is nothing like your first love. You don’t need an OG to tell you this. But it won’t always be like this. Right now everyone is chugging along in the same direction, making soon-to-be life changing money and figuring it out together. Then after a while, everyone gets used to the big idea being accepted as conventional wisdom in the mainstream. At this point, it would almost feel like bragging to express how damn happy you are and how much you love everyone traveling with you, considering how right you all were. That’s OK. Trust me, if the DAO CT lovefest continued indefinitely, it’d  become a love cult and we’d scare off the next round of adopters. 

Savor this time, DAO brothers and sisters. You won’t necessarily get jaded, or even fall out of love with one another. But recognize this is the honeymoon, so make it count and make it last. 

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