Request for Community: HiveDAO

Six months ago, I sought to understand blockchain’s potential as an internet-native platform for new social and financial structures. To continue learning, I am working with friends to launch The HiveMind - a community-run research DAO whose mission is to bring crypto use cases to light and fund projects demonstrating true utility via a grants program.

Over time, the community will create a public library of content that will help our audience understand the true economic and social benefits of web3, DeFi, and the broader crypto ecosystem.

The Crypto Community Needs To Do Better

Over the past year, virtually everyone wanted exposure to BTC, ETH and maybe even a few altcoins. Yet, rather than accumulating these tokens and using them for their intended purposes, most simply wanted to speculate by holding them and hoping to double their investments in the short-term. Why?

Effectively, the financial upside of crypto was mass marketed while crypto’s technical benefits - and what they can unlock for everyone - were much less discussed. As Balaji has mentioned before, many debates surrounding web3 have operated at a 30,000 foot and 280 character level, without enough longer-form discussions about crypto’s true utility in layman’s terms.

Now, as financial markets correct and interest from the broader population dies down, much of the excess liquidity that crypto markets absorbed over the past year has quickly left the ecosystem.

While speculation isn't all bad and in effect acts as a force for technological development, I would argue that had more people better understood the benefits and potential of blockchain, then they might not have sold so quickly once the opportunity for short-term profits evaporated. There’s a reason why memes like these are pretty damn funny and get so much engagement.

Our goal with the first iteration of The HiveMind is clear - to evaluate and articulate both the current use cases and potential of crypto technology, so as to onboard more builders into the space and ignite a virtuous cycle of development that benefits everyone.

A Focused Mission to Assess, Evaluate and Index Crypto Use Cases

It is becoming more clear that crypto is money built natively for the internet age. If designed and executed well, this technology can enable more accessible financial networks with better incentives for everyone. But what exactly do these new networks look like? How do they benefit certain groups? Will there come a time where they benefit virtually everyone? Where do these technologies currently fall short?

The DAO’s research will be focused on answering these questions. See the bottom of this essay for a list of some themes/use cases that are worth exploring in detail.

Season 1 of The Hive Mind

If others have learned anything with DAOs, it's that focus around one measurable objective leads to better chances of success. With that in mind, the DAO’s first project will involve the production of ten research and thought pieces that explore a core segment or theme within the crypto ecosystem. DAO members will be able to pair up or work individually to research and analyze a topic of interest.

Once published as NFTs via Mirror - just like this essay - any content produced by the DAO will be auctioned for proceeds and will become collectible by members of the broader crypto ecosystem. Then, any proceeds received from the sale of the NFTs will be distributed to a community-controlled treasury. At the end of season 1, the treasury will be allocated in the form of a grant to a crypto project demonstrating strong utility.

It’s important to note that while the DAO’s content will become collectible, the articles themselves will always be publicly accessible via the community’s page on Mirror. They’ll just be owned by supporters who wish to contribute to projects that demonstrate true utility and push the ecosystem forward.

Value Accretion to DAO Tokens

Using a valuation framework that Jihad Esmail explains in his latest essay on tokenized communities, we can think of value capture by the DAO’s native token on the following dimensions:

Production Value - this layer captures any value generated by the products, services, and content that the community produces. By publishing articles that explore and assess current crypto use cases, and then listing them for sale as NFTs, any proceeds would flow back to a community-controlled treasury that will be allocated to a project of choice in the form of a grant.

Network Value - this layer captures the value of belonging to a community with a shared mission or “meme”. The HiveMind DAO will be made up of students and young professionals who are determined to make a difference within the broader crypto ecosystem. By combining our knowledge, backgrounds, and networks, we are much stronger than the sum of our individual parts. That is the essence of a "hive mind".

Ownership Value - finally, this layer captures the governance value of the DAO token. As genesis community members, we will all have an equal say in how the DAO treasury is allocated, and what future seasons of The Hive Mind look like.

These elements will comprise the total value of the community’s native token. Each initial member will be allocated the same proportion of tokens.

The Bigger Picture

At the end of the day, building useful products is the key to crypto’s widespread adoption. There’s no arguing that. But in the background, there is a need to discuss and evaluate what can be done with this new technology, so as to direct both social and financial capital towards the right problems and solutions.

On an individual level, by creating content that explores crypto utility, you can play a significant role in onboarding the next users and builders to the ecosystem while also learning a great deal and connecting with others in the process. Aside from collaborating to generate this library of content, the DAO’s community will ideally serve as a sandbox to incubate ideas, get user feedback and generate alpha.

If you are interested in joining the research DAO, you can reach out via Twitter.


Have some questions? See the answers to a few down below.

What does the workflow look like for season 1 of the research DAO?

Workflow for season 1
Workflow for season 1

Do the tokens have a buy-in price?

In exchange for a fixed share of the DAOs tokens, members will invest $100. This shouldn’t necessarily be seen as an upfront “cost” to joining the DAO, as the funds will be pooled into a shared treasury that is owned and controlled by the community.

As much as the community's primary objective is to generate content that helps our audience understand crypto use cases, the longer-term vision for the DAO will ideally include an investing component. By starting with a very small treasury, the community can begin to understand what it is like to invest a shared treasury on-chain.

Who controls the DAOs treasury?

The community does. For changes to take place (making investments, incurring expenses, etc.), they must be pre-approved by a majority of DAO members.

What will the onboarding process look like for members?

For the first season of The HiveMind, membership will be limited to between 10-20 individuals. Rather than creating a waiting list and then onboarding everyone at the same time once the member threshold has been reached, we plan to onboard members gradually. Similar but not identical to what they are doing at Nouns DAO, members will be onboarded gradually over several weeks.

How will the DAO treasury tokens be created and managed?

The DAO will rely on the Syndicate Protocol, a DApp supporting the creation and management of investment clubs. Using the Syndicate platform, members will be able to contribute funds, and track the transactions that are executed by the DAO. Members will also be able to see the value of the DAO's treasury that is attributable to them.

Who will want to purchase the writing pieces? Why would anyone donate funds to our project?

During the first season of The HiveMind, the DAO will effectively operate as a non-profit, redistributing any proceeds that are raised back into the community via a grant. Yet, rather than simply asking for funds from the broader ecosystem, members of the DAO are working for it by publishing content that will help onboard more users into the space. In this way, the grant enables the DAO to apply its research in a real-world setting, as we search for a project that demonstrates strong utility.

On our socials, we will need to growth hack our way to reaching a larger audience, while aiming to target those who are open to supporting new types of grant programs that enable smaller communities to issue micro-grants.

What will season 1 members be responsible for?

  1. Researching a topic of interest
  2. Finding a mentor within the ecosystem for feedback
  3. Writing, publishing and shilling your article

What sort of time commitment will this require?

Ideally, articles will be written and published between the end of September and December 31st on a periodic basis. Each DAO member will work on a topic of their liking, and at the beginning of the period, DAO members will choose an expected delivery date for their piece.

Estimated time to research, discuss, and write an article = 25-30 hours

Will DAO members have a say in how the community operates?

Of course. What you are reading right now is simply a vision for how the first iteration of the community will run. As a small group, we will test out several different ways of going about things to find an optimal approach.

Should we explore the idea of giving donors (NFT owners) a say in where the grant is allocated?

Probably. To be discussed as a group.

What could go wrong? What are some uncertainties and risks that we should consider?

The following risks should be considered and mitigated away:

  • The risk of not finding mentors to review and provide advice over our content
  • The risk of not raising funds from to then allocate via a grant

With a well thought out outreach strategy and value proposition to both mentors and potential donors, these risks can be reduced. Although, we’ll never know what happens until we try.

What is the long-term vision for The HiveMind?

In the long-run, HiveMind will become a venture studio where members can pitch and discuss crypto projects with potential for solving real-world problems. Any ideas that show promise could be pursued by the community or a subset of the community.

What are some examples of topics that could be explored as part of season 1?

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of some themes/use cases that are worth exploring in detail:

  • What does it truly mean for a network to be permissionless? Why does it matter?
  • What are tokens and why do some call them “equity 2.0”? Why should platform users care about tokens?
  • What are the downsides to a project issuing tokens early on? How can they be mitigated? How could this affect users?
  • What happened during the ICO boom in 2018? Was the recent NFT boom much different? How can we do better?
  • What are ZK proofs? How do they help scale blockchains and speed up the adoption of on-chain credentials?
  • How can on-chain credentials / soulbound tokens unlock new opportunities for users to participate in an open internet economy?
  • How are web3 marketplaces different from their web2 counterparts?
  • Are DAOs really the future of remote work? What have been the most successful applications of DAOs so far?
  • Why should we care about DeFi? How is DeFi different from CeFi? How exactly can you earn yield in DeFi?
  • What even is DeSci? How can it democratize and improve access to scientific research and content?
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