The Nouns Virtuous Cycle

3 min readAug 19, 2021

Nouns is a protocol for proliferating Nouns.

To understand why this is true, imagine the project without any of the characters we know and love. It would be nothing more than an awkwardly structured hedge fund.

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Conversely, imagine the characters without the DAO or treasury. The art would be delightful, but Nouns would be one among a growing ‘sea’ of avatar projects.

No, the real magic happens when we add these features together. The characters and the cadence create the culture, which benefit the treasury and the DAO.

But this is only half of a virtuous cycle. To complete the cycle, we must feed the treasury back into the culture via the DAO. It is this critical step that can elevate the Nouns project from a fun and exciting experiment, to a virtuous cycle that reaches the world and forever impacts cryptocurrency and governance.

If Nouns is a protocol for proliferating Nouns, how do we use it? How do we leverage the treasury to strengthen awareness and strengthen the culture in such a way that we benefit the treasury and the DAO?

Like Ethereum, Nouns is an open source project and protocol. The code that creates Nouns, and critically, even the art is open source; we put it in the public domain so that anyone can build on the artwork, just like they can build on the codebase.

I propose that we can mimic Ethereum to create a Nouns virtuous cycle. Ethereum is what it is today for many reasons, but we can distill as follows:

  1. a brilliant founding team & base layer tech stack…
  2. attracted smart developers who wanted to build on the protocol…
  3. who in turn made consumer apps that the whole world wants to use

Only time will tell if we’ve already accomplished step 1., but at minimum the state of the Nouns DAO treasury indicates that we are ready to experiment with step 2.

I think we should be bold with the Nouns DAO treasury. We should fund and cultivate a community of builders by experimenting, taking risks, and ultimately funding every high quality proposal that could lead to interesting culture and software (especially ‘middleware’) on the Nouns protocol:

  • Centralized and decentralized APIs (let’s turn Noun o’clock into an internet-wide event)
  • Artwork that adds something new to the cultural conversation
  • Integrations with other Ethereum primitives and dapps
  • iOS and Android apps
  • Hackathons and Documentation
  • Things we’ve never seen before

I think we have a historic opportunity — to be bold, take risks, and ultimately attract the builders who can take the raw ingredients of the Nouns protocol, and turn them into applications that are ready to be consumed by the world. If we can do this, the DAO will attract more capital and higher quality participants, and the virtuous cycle will be complete.

Nouns is a protocol for proliferating Nouns. You can follow the project on Twitter and Discord.