GnosisDAO Manifest

Simple Summary

We should come up with a set of guidelines, values, and goals as a backbone of the GnosisDAO, informing major decisions, giving direction and identity to the GnosisDAO, and allowing to create a mission for a community to rally behind. This thread should serve as an initial foundation for a future formal GIP to establish a manifest for the GnosisDAO.

Motivation

Based on this comment by VirtuousCycle as well as discussions in GIP-1 and GIP-2, it already becomes evident, that the GnosisDAO requires an identity. A vision and mission, as well as values. A set of rules to guide discussions on (funding) decisions as well as allowing the GNO community to rally around a unified cause. Furthermore, a GnosisDAO manifest can achieve one of the most crucial levers when it comes to human coordination: focus.

Similar examples from other DAOs:

Specification

The proposed process to establish and maintain the GnosisDAO manifest:

  1. Use this thread to brainstorm initial ideas around the content and medium of a GnosisDAO manifest
  2. If possible, form a working group to create an initial draft or even multiple alternatives
  3. Open a GIP in Phase 2 in order to get further community feedback and refine the GnosisDAO manifest
  4. Formal voting on a GnosisDAO manifest (Phase 3 of the GIP process)
  5. If required, iterate on manifest over time through subsequent GIPs

Rationale

At its inception, the GnosisDAO was equipped with some crucial assets:

  • Effective control over 150k ETH
  • Existing community of GNO holders as DAO participants, with a big share of the GNO distribution still to be decided on to grow the community further
  • Gnosis as an established and reputable company in the Ethereum space to support initiatives by the GnosisDAO
  • Foundational governance tools such as this forum, a Snapshot space and the Gnosis Impact prediction market plugin

Yet, the GnosisDAO was established without clearly defined goals. While there are some aspects of an initial identity of the GnosisDAO mentioned in the announcement post, such as an ambition to “successfully steward the Gnosis ecosystem through futarchy”, it is left to the GnosisDAO community to define this mission further such as:

  • What constitutes the Gnosis ecosystem?
  • What does success mean for the GnosisDAO?
  • What role does futarchy have?

This thread was started with the intent to start discussions around these and more definitions. There can, of course, also be meta-discussion around whether a GnosisDAO manifest is required in the first place or if “manifest” is the best term to describe those sets of values and guidelines.

The initial post will be updated over time to reflect themes that might emerge in the discussion.

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Here’s some questions to get the discussion started:

  • Should the main goal of the GnosisDAO be maximizing the GNO value? Or should increasing the value of GNO be a means to an end (e.g. as it allows to raise more funding through its GNO reserve in order to achieve a higher-level goal)?
  • What should be the time-horizon that the GnosisDAO should operate on?
  • Should there be any restrictions on activities the GnosisDAO should be involved in, maybe because moral, ethical, legal reasons or even just to improve focus?
  • Who should be involved in the GnosisDAO?
  • How does the GnosisDAO relate to other DAOs / the wider Ethereum ecosystem or even society in general?
  • What should the GnosisDAO look like in 5-10 years?
  • Why is the GnosisDAO needed?
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The reason why I am excited about GnosisDAO is that I think that futarchy is likely to be a valuable new decision making technology. There are good reasons to believe that prediction markets yield judgements that are as good as or better than consulting multiple experts, and market driven decision making is much more generalisable than expert consultation. At this point, no-one knows how to turn repeatably better judgement into a successful organisation.

What I hope to see from GnosisDAO is proof that futarchy can produce repeatably excellent judgements and that repeatably excellent judgement can create a lot of value.

I think that a rising price of GNO has to be one of the goals of GnosisDAO. Pragmatically, this is likely to be what a lot of GNO holders want, and it is an indication that GnosisDAO is outperforming expectations in terms of creating and capturing value. I think it may take several years to develop sound futarchy governance and collect evidence of its soundness, so in light of that I might guess that GNO price in 3-5 years is an important metric.

I would also hope to see some evidence of success of GnosisDAO governance in around 12 months, but I am not sure how strongly we should expect that to be reflected in the GNO price. I’m not sure as I write this what else could be looked at on this timescale.

In general, I think “What should we aim for?” is a big question worthy of deep consideration and ongoing attention.

I think we should recognise the importance of an open-minded attitude towards “what we actually do”. It is important to have concrete projects, and I think others might have a better idea than me about what these should be. At the same time, the most valuable things GnosisDAO can do may well be things no-one has thought of yet. I hope that GnosisDAO can build a futarchy that is exceptionally good at recognising high value opportunities, but to take full advantage of this it is important to have a culture that is open-minded enough to allow the best opportunities to be considered in the first place.

I also want GnosisDAO to generally try to avoid harming people. For example, I would be inclined to re-evaluate my aims if I learned that GnosisDAO’s use of prediction markets was causing many people’s gambling problems to worsen. I also don’t want to operate scams or engage in criminal activities.

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I love this post @lukas_gnosis as I think some structure is necessary for decision making. I’d like to see a traditional approach along the lines of:

  1. Mission statement
  2. Objectives
  3. Strategy
  4. Proposals

I worry that in the absence of such a structure the proposal process might end up being somewhat chaotic. I’d like to be part of the working group if one is formed and in the meantime I will start a document with my own ideas to contribute to the discussion.

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Some thoughts from my side.

I personally see the purpose of the GnosisDAO to accelerate the adoption of the “Internet of Value” / web3 / Ethereum / DeFi, whatever you want to call it.

It does that by:

  • Kickstarting, funding and/or governing infrastructure projects
  • Treasury management to increase the financial resources which allow it to operate sustainably and invest in more projects
  • Creating a community of builders and thought-leaders

Building essential infrastructure has always been part of the Gnosis mission statement and is also reflected in the current projects run by Gnosis. Partly, GnosisDAO already benefits from the success of these projects as this facilitates the adoption of Ethereum and therefore increases the value of ETH which the GnosisDAO controls a lot of. However, some projects might also require a more direct way to capture value such as described here.

Bringing value to the GNO Token is essential to achieve this mission, as GNO essentially represents a funding tool:

  • Reward GNO Tokens as grants or investments
  • Distribute GNO Tokens in return for other assets (e.g. ETH) to increase reserves

In this sense, the Gnosis company becomes a service provider for the GnosisDAO to execute on infrastructure or other projects. However, there might be other companies forming to compete with the Gnosis company for GnosisDAO projects, which is what will make GnosisDAO able to scale.

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I think the correct approach looks like this (not the answer but the question to ask),

Where do the stakeholders in the GnosisDAO have a sustainable edge? What areas of expertise do we have and also want to further develop where we will sustain that edge in the market with the capital and assets that we have?

Keywords that pop up, where I would say stakeholders have superior knowledge:

Ethereum
Ethreum Infrastructure
Ethereum Ecosystem
Prediction Markets
Futarchy
DEX
DeFi
Ethereum Wallets
DeFi Investing
Economic Markets

So, I think that we should pick something within that range.
Ethereum is the thing that stands out there, where we probably have the strongest edge.

The only real variants we’re likely to find are

  1. Investment DAO in Ethereum Infrastructure (not sure why we would have an edge over Consensys or ETH Foundation, or what our role would entail, but we can do it (VC DAO basically).
  2. Hedge Fund (We manage the capital that we have across DeFi with our superior knoweldge and voting capacity for a return, no need for products at all, can still have them. We just farm our capital, and work heavily in conjunction with DXdao to provide liquidity or commission DeFi protocols, etc…
  3. Products. We use our engineering expertise and infrastructure to sustain an edge in commissioning and building products for the Ethereum ecosystem, take a part of them, and govern them. GNO becomes a Membership token + Utility token + Governance token.
  • This one is awkward considering the DXdao already governs Omen and Mesa.
  • What separates the Safe from Omen / Mesa? If GnosisDAO keep the Safe, it would make sense to build a theme off that separation.

Notes:

  • Where does Futarchy shine and produce the biggest edges? Probably want quicker iteration cycles, as people don’t want to lock up their money for 2-4 years to see if they guessed right (??).

  • Should we optimize for GNO price? Yeah…sounds right. Except GNO is currently a governance token, so it’s priced at the value to get a piece of GnosisDAO governance, which isn’t distributed enough for governance to matter. As an example, if GNO is a governance investment DAO token, would it even go up if the projects that we invest in are successful? Whats the point of owning it, to govern the DAO, but there isn’t much utiliity, so I’m not even sure that GNO price would go up in that sense. Our treasury would go up, if we make good decisions, and aquire valuable infrastructure assets, but would GNO price go up?

    • Thinking about it that way, I’m not sure that GNO price is the best thing to optimize for. That’s part of the problem with Futarchy, everytime you optimize for one metric, it ceases to be a good metric.

    • Total asset value under control of the GnosisDAO seems like a better metric to optimize for in that sense (without having much time to really think about it), if the GNO token is only the governance token to the DAO, the total asset value seems more indicative of success.

  • Personally, I always start my plans with the end in mind. Where do we want to be in the future? Being rich is probably going to be the easiest thing for a conglomerate of people to come up with here. I just feel like other metrics are going to break down into tribes of some 40/30/20/5/5 distributions, people all pretty much like money though. So, I’m not sure why even spend the time to try to come up with something other mission here, I would be super curious to see if :eyes: something happens like that develops and that direction that gains traction.

Token models that work:

  1. Governance (Maker)
  2. Utility (BAT)
  3. Membership (Binance)
  4. Work (Aragon Court)
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I’m not sure that GNO price is the best thing to optimize for. That’s part of the problem with Futarchy, everytime you optimize for one metric, it ceases to be a good metric

I am also feeling not very comfortable with predicting how GNO price would change to DAI. If GNO should govern the ecosystem, I think it would be better to optimize against the “parent” ecosystem token, which is ETH. If GNO value grows to ETH, then the GnosisDAO ecosystem provides more “value” in comparison to the global Ethereum ecosystem, which means that it is efficient.

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Thank you Lucas for the much needed thread!

I think most DAOs are built around a product, uniswap / Uma / compound / yfi are all good examples and most of the mission/values of these DAOs are derived from the product’s mission/values. Personally, I like this approach.

Though, for the GnosisDAO, the situation is a little bit different, as Gnosis Ltd was supporting different avenues on growing the eco-system with many different products: Conditional token framework, Safe, DEXes, and OpenEthereum, and other altruistic deeds.

Given this history and the available funding, I think the best option is focusing on

Enable decentralized platforms with diverse communities: The GnosisDao would strive to support early startup teams building on decentralized platforms and enable them to build great communities for these platforms.

The DAO can help these projects by providing infrastructure, provide a decentralized hosting, decentralized governing from day 1, provide connections, provide legal advice, and get early market validations and of course funding.

The current products from Gnosis would have a good place in this vision: Each current product can leverage the facilities of the GnosisDAO and could split eventually into an own community with an own token, just as the safe is currently proposing it. For products that are shared with the other communities, the fact that they are shared should, of course, be considered during the token initiation event.

In comparison to other Venture funds, the DAO would have very particular benefits:

  • Early involvement from the community
  • Being decentralized governing by GNO holders from the early start until an own community is formed
  • Decentralized responsibility and hosting from day 1
  • Easier decentralization process, as GnosisDAO is already decentralized

but of course also significant disadvantages:

  • great ideas need to be made public from day 1, and others could copy the proposal.
  • more traditional VCs might be better at giving focused feedback
  • involvement of a bigger community from the start can be quite inefficient

Disclaimer: I am not aware of legal consequences for startups/teams being promoted by the GnosisDAO, this is definitively an interesting topic to explore.

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I agree that GnosisDAO should probably be distanced by regular “protocol” DAOs. The DAO stakeholders cannot make efficient judgments over a broad range of initiatives and protocols the same way Uniswap governance can make educated decisions over the Uniswap protocol. Being a multi-protocol DAO, would not scale well because the stakeholders could not build up sufficient expertise across all protocols (or only at a high level). Therefore the focus / expertise of the GnosisDAO should be somewhere else, where it could scale much better.

For example:

  • Investments - This is very scalable and also works with the GnosisDAO at some point overlooking dozens if not hundreds of initiatives / projects / investments
  • Protocol spin-off factory: This would require some lower-level involvement at the beginning, but after spinning off a protocol into its own community the GnosisDAO would take more of a shareholder role, participating in high-level topics of the governance of the protocol but not necessarily being involved in all details of the protocol governance
  • Providing basic initial decentralized governance for new (third-party) communities / protocols where there is not yet sufficient decentralization in the community / token itself. Basically “DeGov-as-a-Service”.
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Thanks for starting this thread, @lukas_gnosis. I had a hand in writing the clr.fund constitution that serves a very similar purpose to what you are suggesting and could be used as a template.

Nitpicking, I’d suggest that “manifest” is the wrong word. “Manifesto”, or perhaps “constitution”, “mission statement”, or “principles” would be more appropriate.

A foundational part of this document is a succinct, high-level, statement describing the goal of the organisation. Perhaps taking some stabs at this is a good starting point.
Some examples:

Here is a quick first try at it.

The GnosisDAO seeks to use blockchain-based decision-making technologies to manage and allocate its treasury and assets for the benefit of GNO stakeholders, along with the broader Ethereum Ecosystem, without causing Material Harm to humanity or the environment.

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This is one of the reasons that I fell in love with Colony’s domain structure. Within one Colony, you can create an arbitrarily complex structure of domains to separate budgeting, work, expertise, reputation, etc.

For example, the colony domain structure for the GnosisDAO you described above might look something like this.

GnosisDAO
  ↳ Investments
    ↳ DeFi
    ↳ VC
  ↳ Protocols and Products
    ↳Safe
    ↳Gnosis Protocol
    ↳Conditional Tokens
    ↳Open Ethereum
  ↳ Governance-as-a-service
    ↳ Community/protocol A
    ↳ Community/protocol B

When you earn reputation in a subdomain (by being paid in the colony’s native token, probably GNO in this case), you also earn it in all of its parent domains. For example, if you were paid GNO in the “Safe” domain, you would earn reputation in the “Safe”, “Protocols and Products”, and “GnosisDAO” (root) domain. Each domain can have distinct decision making mechanisms (futarchy, token/reputation weighted voting, direct permissions, etc).

This structure allows for the kind of nuanced decision making made by delegated responsible parties in a traditional hierarchical firm, along with the broader strategic decision making that is required at the root level of any organisation. The latter of which is what most other DAOs and DAO frameworks solve for.

To address your point (“The DAO stakeholders cannot make efficient judgments over a broad range of initiatives”), this is really an organisation design problem. If the organisation is well designed, most stakeholders need not make judgments over the vast majority of the DAO’s activities, they should be primarily concerned with both high-level decisions of the organisation and the decisions/activities in which they are directly involved or have immediately relevant expertise or interest.


Perhaps this should be spun out into a separate organisation design topic?

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I am a member of 1Hive DAO, the one that does Honeyswap on xdai network and is working on celeste right now for DAO governance. I’m interested in helping with the community building side for Gnosis as well as GnosisDAO.

I would like to add our “community covenant” over at 1Hive to the reference list https://about.1hive.org/docs/dao/Participation/community-covenant/

While it is working for us over there, there is something I’d like to address in this early stage for GnosisDAO. I would like to avoid a lot of rules about our conduct and professionalism. Remember what matters most is building and spreading the best prediction market that has ever existed on Planet Earth! We don’t want to get bogged down with courts enforcing various harrassment issues, if you don’t like someone and feel harassed you are free to block them!

That being said I’d have no problem with a general statement of some kind that outright obscene behavior is not permitted.

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Thanks for sharing! 1Hive’s community covenant is a great resource. We have something similar on the forum already, although it’s just boilerplate text that comes with Discourse, over on the FAQ page.

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How tied is Gnosis to the GNO - OWL token economics ?

Is it not tied at all in the sense that Gnosis has absolutely no risk or liability adhering to it as a means of contributing value to the GNO token.

Or is it tightly tied to it in the sense that deviation from this token model leads to significant risk to Gnosis?

Answering this would help assess if the GnosisDAO creates value to GNO holders by building protocols that require OWL as a fee token or if it can deviate to something whereby GNO represents a proportion of treasury and requires DAO holders to guide transactions which max treasury value over time ala VC DAO.

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