On coordination, corruption and real-world things that simply need our help right now
Allow me to start this article by saying, I am a hard believer in the potential of DAOs as coordination machines. I love teamwork. When teamwork scales up, I feel fulfilled. When the teams that I am involved in become well-oiled, interdisciplinary machines, I’m up in the clouds.
That’s the thing about DAOs that appeals to me the most. The possibility to have infinitely scalable, well-coordinated, multi-cultural and transparent organizations. Organizations that transcend backgrounds, that gather around a mutual goal. Organizations that defy borders, and above all, organizations that bring structure and reduce corruption to a bare minimum in the real world.
In Buenos Aires, where I was born and lived for 26 years, back alley side deals reign supreme.
I’ll start by a practical example that’s deeply rooted in my family’s origins — my parents are both physicians. My father has turned more into private health and research with big pharma, while, my mother has been working in a reputable public hospital in what’s recognized as the best Dermatology team in the country. Yes, this department runs in a public hospital, the Dr. Cosme Argerich, in one of the poorest neighborhoods (and most dangerous) of Buenos Aires.
**** end of kin virtue signaling *** it’s her credit and not mine ***
Let’s say you want an appointment at a public hospital — Argentinian public health quality is AMAZING in terms of medical expertise, as it is “more honorable” for the top-notch medical professionals to allocate at least half of their working hours to public hospitals. So, you have a serious degenerative autoimmune disease, as for instance Psoriatic Arthritis. The public hospital is the place for you to go.
So, you need an appointment. You have no idea what’s going on with your joints or with your skin. Let’s say, you cannot afford private insurance — which is totally fine in Argentina, because (oddly) public health care is incredibly good. For instance, in the unfortunate event someone has a bad accident, the best thing that can happen to them, is ending up in an emergency room of a public hospital, in possibly the worst and darkest corner of Buenos Aires.
Upon trying to make an appointment with this prolific team, you realize that there is a 4+ month waitlist to see them. This is understandable. In Argentina we say “Dios Atiende Sólo en Buenos Aires” meaning “God only takes care of you in Buenos Aires” — so people from all over this 42 million people country, head over to the metropolis for public healthcare.
This is all very reasonable, provided these people, after the wait will get top-notch care, these professionals will get into the case, will interact with international teams and if you stick with them you will get better.
I WISH IT WAS THAT EASY.
But this is how it really works: the professionals are there (severely underpaid and having to jump through bureaucratic hoops to even get a minimum wage, but that’s another topic). But the Vice-Governors 7th cousin 3rd removed has a zit. And suddenly because we have a lot of people working in government, with friends and family having zits, your appointment gets postponed. The physicians can’t do anything about it and by God, the Vice-Governor’s 7th cousin 3rd removed zit is a top priority now! Your psoriatic arthritis can wait because after all, it’s degenerative and there is nothing you can do to absolutely nuke it.
Finally, you get to your appointment. The physicians are ready to look after what they really prioritize. But there are no supplies to examine you. Why is that? Because this dodgy dude at another governmental office decided to sell supplies in the black market, send over expired meds he got for cheap and keep the change, or just not buy them all to build a house at a country club. And don’t get me started about that time a minister screwed up all oncologic medicaments in the whole country — for years.
So all the beauty behind the Argentinian public health care system is screwed. Even though physicians bring their own supplies or spend most of their days talking to big Pharma for free samples, nothing is ever enough to fight the dude that decided to build a mansion in the country club or send his annoying daughter to Miami every second week.
After this explanation — don’t you really think the Argentinian health system could really use a DAO with supply chain tracking features?
But to go macro (it is a big system, after all) we first need to go micro — to show the viability of our technology and what it enables. Enter ROSCAs, and other informal credit/savings association which are, to my view, the first groups that can see the implementation of DAOs plausible. In Argentina, we also have Asociaciones Mutuales (these are non-profit associations, usually) that operate in areas in a state of sanitary emergency, or that have been left out by the government.
Some Asociaciones Mutuales can actually be DAOfied. We have smartphones, we have wi-fi. We have the will of people to improve the lives of others. Actually, Asociaciones Mutuales and small medical practices are often featured in the media because a celeb doing Dancing with The Stars is doing so to buy a new tomograph (or so they say — you can’t trust media either — and sometimes the tomograph just goes MIA).
Asociaciones Mutuales are cooperative non-profit associations, they don’t have a wide scaling potential, but sometimes, some of them are helped out by the church (that of course — as well doesn’t practice what it preaches), others by celebrities, others simply try to survive.
I have quoted so many middlemen by now, this article will get boring.
Asociaciones Mutuales, as well as for-profit associations such as ROSCAs, Kenyan Chamas, or any kind of co-op go through dozens of middlemen, inside fraud, fund mismanagement, and other major coordination and transparency fails. If these people are smart and their will is strong enough to navigate all of this and still be there for the unprivileged, do you really think that — given we (the blockchain moonies) develop the infrastructure THEY NEED, and not the one WE need — will not be at least interested to explore what we do?
The informal financial and non-financial organizations I have listed above, have the potential to improve substantially by progressively digitalizing towards a DAO. Some of them probably are digitalized(eg. use task managers as Trello, accounting software, online banking, any kind of data management software, voting apps — some of them could be using SAP for all we know) but this information can still be tampered with — in the decentralized ecosystem we know how frequent are events associated with data misuse, loss, or tamper. Introducing a DAO layer would eliminate all of this — at least in the digital world. Most specifically, it would almost erase the corruption and mismanagement of funds. Of course, in the real world, anything can happen. We cannot prevent back-alley deals, but we can improve our tools and their usability, to make it easy for the people behind these organizations to prevent them almost completely.
In conclusion: we have very real use-cases here. Connect with your local non-profits or co-ops, find their needs and ailments, and build based on that. If you need help, feel free to reach out. And if you are curious, dig into the research.
A bit of a shill: In the past two weeks, I have been doing exactly this, with the Akropolis team, as a side project. I would really like your feedback. We put an Aragon Flock proposal up for this particular use-case and to help Aragon scale where it’s needed the most, in our opinion. We need to help build infrastructure and apps for the real world.