The way our society works today, in regards to technology and progress, is mostly in the hands of the large companies. Corporations decide what will be the big push for the future. Inside of these monoliths are hundreds or thousands of workers who, through monetary incentive, are striving for the vision laid out by their leaders. The people at the top make all of the calls and receive most of the profit, much like it has been for many years. DAO’s want to change that.
What is a DAO? It stands for Decentralized Autonomous Organization, but that might sounds a bit confusing to most people. Chase Chapman, DAO contributor and entrepreneur, has an easier to understand corollary for the rest of us.
“A DAO is basically a group of people who have some sort of more formal ownership over something that they’re working on,” says Chapman. “A really good example of this from the gaming world that a lot of the ecosystem has actually borrowed from is guilds. Guilds of players who come together who come together and are working towards some sort of shared goal and often share value they create together.”
Our new world
The push for DAOs utilizing Web3 is largely about public ownership. As described earlier, a corporation has very few people making the decisions for most. With a DAO, the contributors own their value and are the stewards of their part of the world.
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“How can we create a foundation upon which anyone can build,” asks Chapman. “That’s really important, and something the internet has already brought. The challenge is that it has never been easy to monetize or transact a value across, and give value to the people who were actually creating it. DAO’s allow us to do essentially that. It doesn’t matter if it manifests as NFTs or tokens, what’s much more important is that we’re creating a container for people to build this world around. When you think about DAOs and what they do uniquely that helps that happen is that people own parts of the value they are creating. By allowing people to own this value, they have the right incentives to go and create.”
What about corporations?
While the world of Web3 and the open internet is exciting, we still have these large companies that will want to be involved. What kind of roll could a bigger development house or publisher take in the overall structure of the future of the web?
“Often when we think about tokens, NFTs, and Web3, it’s very binary,” says Chapman. “It’s you either do it or you don’t. That’s not the best framing. I think one of the most interesting ways to explore this is thinking about communities and creating containers for those communities to build is an opportunity for unlimited upside. As an institution, studio, or publisher you’re kind of limited to the amount of work you can put out.”
For many, the standard model of consumption is the norm. Most of us live in a world based on supply and demand, one in which we give our talents for currency to exchange for our needs. This inevitably leads to a system where the wealthy businesspeople make all the decisions and reap most of the reward. Ryan Gill, founder of Open Meta DAO, believes in the power of the community and the people that make it up.
“For years I’ve been working around this idea of the open metaverse,” says Gill. “I’ve seen a lot of the corporate approaches of what the metaverse might become. I come from a place where I think its dangerous to just give it away. With Web3 the communities are the frontrunners. The institutions are trying to catch up. For us to have a closed metaverse, we’d have to give it away.”
Life on the web
Having a community in control of large parts of the metaverse is the goal for many who support the open metaverse idea. For others, the question is why do we want to shake all of this up? Sarah Austin, cofounder of QGlobe, has an answer for that.
“This is a lifestyle,” says Austin. “We are already so immersed into social media and games, but in the old way we’re used to centralized organizations being in charge. We’re not participating in the ways we could be truly contributing in a meaningful way. We’re spending our money and time, giving it all to centralized organizations that take that and do whatever they want with our data. They can censor us. Cancel culture is becoming accepted across the world. This is a way we can say we don’t accept that. The open source movement is going towards a new way, lifestyle, and ethos in the metaverse.”
“Adding on to that, one of the most interesting aspects of this entire experiment is that a lot of it is ultimately about trust,” adds Chapman. “Even if you’re fine with a centralized institution having control over what can and can’t be built, people who are developing and building value in those ecosystems have to trust that the time and energy they put into that are going to be respected.”
Where do we go from here?
For Ryan Gill and Open Meta the new web will be a force of good for the community. The large companies can have their share and will continue on, but the people can have a much larger say this time around.
“No matter how big the corporation or opponent force, you can’t stop open source software,” says Gill. “You can’t stop these communities from doing what we’re going to do. I think at this point, there’s a right and wrong side of history.”
No matter how you look at it, the next phase for our connected global network is going to be an interesting one. For more information on DAOs and other interesting facets of this topic, check out more of this talk in the GamesBeat Summit: Into the Metaverse 2!