Forum 2: 31st August 2023

Here's the documentation of our second Grassroots Governance Forum. You'll see top-level summaries for each breakout room here, with more detail in the relevant sub-page.

Opening session: What is a DAO?

See Governance Guild slides here , which give our attempt to define a DAO.


  • The definition of a DAO isn’t clear-cut.

  • Organisations sometimes say they are decentralised when they’re not, often because they are plutocratic.

  • Perhaps “autonomous” is about how well the DAO can function without the core leadership stockpiling all the power?

  • Look at the telos of DAOs - what is a DAO for? It’s about capture-resistance. A DAO tries to prevent people from capturing the organisation for their own purposes.

  • It’s not about “top-down” OR “bottom-up” - it’s more about a flattening of the entire hierarchy.


Add your own definition, or join the discussion, in this doc.

Breakout room 1: Photrek, Cardano Governance: From Open Corporation to Digital Nation


  1. See presentation (link coming soon)

  2. DAOs shouldn’t limit themselves to one system - we have tools to do corporate, democratic, AND pluralistic. Different systems for different needs.

  3. Maybe 1-coin-1-vote is fine to approve treasury txs - but there are a lot of other processes in decisionmaking and governance actions that don’t require this restriction.

  4. If wealth is used to influence decisions, it should be done at a fair price.

  5. Influence (the power that you have within the community) is not the same as the number of votes you have.

  6. How can we get the wider population to adopt this approach? Perhaps by starting small, with groups using these approaches in their own teams.


Breakout room 2: Wada, dReps: A critique of representation based on traditional African paradigms


  1. See slides here. (Note: slides are by Felicien Foto Manfo and Mermoz Dzubhang, and are made available under a Creative Commons licence CC BY:NC:ND)

  2. African tradition uses complex, fractal systems (a top-level grouping has a structure which is echoed by the smaller groupings that sit underneath it.)

  3. Decision-makers / representatives can’t be people who know nothing about the issue being decided. Instead, representation is dynamic - decisions are made either based on knowledge (those closer to the criticality of an issue make the decision) or on interest (those who care about the issue decide it).

  4. Your identity and culture are important. You can’t represent a group you don’t belong to; and to be someone’s representative, they have to know who you are. But possibly, a group rather than an individual could be a representative, to avoid individuals being personally exposed.

  5. For decision-making in Cardano, we need to develop a culture of Cardano; but there can be subcultures within this - the fractal structure again. Strong subcultures know who they are and what they need, and can make consensus decisions more easily.

  6. To determine who is knowledgeable,the time someone has committed to learning about an issue is important.

  7. If Africa had continued its traditional decision-making and representation systems, and had not adopted Western norms, things would be better.


Breakout room 3: singularityNET, Governance Challenges and Collaborative Solutions


  1. Decentralising isn’t easy! One person can’t manage it alone; multiple stakeholders makes it complex; people find it hard to give up their power.

  2. It’s not just about tooling - the human and cultural factors are critical

  3. When trying to decentralise, “ask the community!” is a recurring theme

  4. There is a trade-off between the efficiency of centralised decision-making, and the ideal of engaging the community by using decentralised approaches

  5. More learning is needed, always, on how to enable frictionless and accountable decision-making - including learning from how people have attempted it in the past.


Plenary session


  1. Small groups / subcultures / fractals - similar but not identical ideas

  2. Is it about everyone aligning with a core group’s ideas?

  3. Or do the ideas stem from a group’s culture, identity and experiences, their identity, who they are?

  4. What is the distinction between "the group" and "the wider community"? Should there be a division?

  5. Can friction and dissent be positive?


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