Decentralised Autonomous Co-Operative’s (DAC) and The Rise Of The New ‘Commons’

Capitalism is dying. And, by Capitalism I mean a group of legal entities whose goal it is to compete for resources and ‘maximise profit’ for it’s shareholders.

Capitalism is dying because the new digital ‘commons’ are now coming alive. Resource scarcity is a myth in the Information Age. We have digital abundance and abundance creates shared commons.

I was spurred to write this off the back of this twitter thread.

To say it has become an obsession of mine is an understatement.


The creation of the first Decentralised Autonomous Co-Operative’s (DAC) will start from nothing. A seed.

They will have incentivised decentralisation built in, and they will control new digital ‘commons’, coded for collective benefit.

It will be the final step before we hand over to the machines and the emergence of the true DAO’s (Decentralised Autonomous Organisation’s).

What Is The “Commons”

The Hulunbuir Grasslands in Inner Mongolia. An archetypal traditional commons.
“The commons is the cultural and natural resources accessible to all members of a society, including natural materials such as air, water, and a habitable earth. These resources are held in common, not owned privately. Commons can also be understood as natural resources that groups of people (communities, user groups) manage for individual and collective benefit. Characteristically, this involves a variety of informal norms and values (social practice) employed for a governance mechanism”.

Source: Wikipedia

The ‘commons’ is for the benefit of all.

However, what happens if as humans, we have mostly already shown ourselves that we cannot manage our resources for the collective benefit of all?

Personally, that’s where I think we have reached. I’m not pointing the finger at any one or thing, but indeed, our invention of capitalism has assisted in speeding us toward this point.

The ‘tragedy of the commons’ is real, and we have largely shown we cannot manage it. We are just too limited, too biased and too greedy.

The Rise Of The New ‘Commons’

So, if there was a better way and if we suspend reality and daydream, what might new digital commons look like?

Firstly, there will be no such thing as ‘seeking’ to be decentralised. The new commons will naturally grow, without human intervention, toward decentralisation. They will be architected as such.

Red Harvester ant colonies operate self perpetuating decentralised commons “all without being directed by a central controller or even another ant” Source: Wikipedia

It could be possible they may need to be guided/bludgeoned there, which will need to be carefully considered in the construction of the Co-Operative’s which I will discuss later.

If they are ‘guided’ there, then there likely will have been beneficiaries or ‘guiding hands’ that may have profited at the expense of the public, which ironically recreates that which we have so often sought/fought to overturn, namely uneven wealth distribution.

Robbing Peter to give all the money to Paul… or worse, creating ‘new’ money to give to me, in greater piles than to Paul, isn’t going to provide us with fair wealth redistribution either.

Reinventing what we already have on top of new rails controlled by others isn’t creating a new paradigm, its just painting our current paradigm a different colour.

A New Paradigm

Creating behaviour feedback and governance loops which protect and incentivise the people to interact with the new commons, which in turn, is inherently built to redistribute fairly and to protect those in need.

That is the new social enterprise. That is the new commons.

However, the commons doesn’t care about ‘profit.’ It cares about returning ‘value’ to those that look after it and those that ‘deserve’ it. The commons will replace the social responsibilities of government.

I believe Jeff Bezos will be known as one of the last great industrialists and he was so very close, maybe only a generation away, from potentially creating a great commons. “Your margin is my opportunity” is the call, the modus operandi, of the new commons.

The difference being that the margin, what should be thought about as the ‘accrual of value,’ will flow back to those that have interacted the most with the commons, grown the commons, protected the commons and (if we get it right) to those that need it most.

Also, ironically, this will erode or completely do away with ‘the founder reward’ or the need for foundations, and in fact, should be built to do so. Because the founder isn’t more important than the masses and the foundation doesn’t need to run something when it efficiently runs itself.

While some fraction of value must flow to those creators and probably rightly so, especially in the coming era of the co-operative, it won’t be anywhere near as unevenly spread as what we have seen in the last 500 years. If it is uneven, it will be forked and forked again until optimal equilibrium is held.

Oh, and FYI… the commons doesn’t need its own token… ffs.

Venture Capitalists will ironically soon begin funding, or have already started funding, the very entities which will ultimately put them out of business. And not just their business, but many of the entities we believe to be optimal will be done away with. Slowly at first and then so rapidly, the speed will be breath-taking. Namely the corporate.

Incentives Drive All Behaviour

The emergence of PoWH3D/FOMO3D has shown the power of human incentive. In their case, it has brilliantly showcased human greed. Bravo to that team. It is a significant breakthrough. They have created, arguably, the first digital commons.

However, the commons they have created amplifies terrible behaviour and only seeks to further distort wealth distribution. If it isn’t a scam, which I don’t think it is, It will be the largest lottery the world has ever seen. Unhinged and untethered from all regulation and government control. There is no off switch. Mind-blowing in its elegance and brilliance.

FOMO3D, courtesy of 😂 (pure genius)

However, also playing to our worst traits. It has created a black hole that erodes value, doesn’t give back fairly and doesn’t provide for its community. It just takes.

They said it best on their website “We simply punish everyone.”

However, what if we didn’t “simply punish everyone.” What if we gave back? And what if we gave back fairly? And what if it was actually in everyone’s benefit to do so? And what if there was no choice but to behave that way? And what if just by doing this, we automatically decentralised control?

I believe we will likely now see the emergence of the Co-Operative. Optimally aligned and incentivised to achieve nominal growth. Perfectly incentivised to decentralise. The final step before we hand over to DAO’s, which I believe will be run by machines, for the benefit of us all.

But not before we experiment and refine.

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Random people holding a plant. I desperately wanted a decent photo to illustrate a co-operative.. and this is as good as it got. You get the idea… 🧐

They will start as a seed, likely in porn or gambling (because that’s where it always starts 😂 🧐 ).

And it will look like a toy.

And it will involve Non-Fungible tokens.

And it will involve autonomous governance systems.

And it will have built in recursive incentives to trigger network effect.

And it will have bonding curves.

And it will have on chain ‘dividend’ payments, or what we often think of as UBI. (They are actually going to be indistinguishable from one another, and neither name will make sense moving forward.)

And it will employ ‘harberger taxes’ and levies for protection.

And it will build commonwealth, in the purest sense of the word. But it wont be political. We will be moving past that.

Commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good. Source: Wikipedia

And it is going to happen. I am beyond convinced.

It is also very very likely that these small seeds will need to be guided by humans; however the successful Co-Operatives will be architected in a way that the ‘guiding hands’ fall away like a parent pushing their child on a bike and then letting them ride for themselves for the first time.

Those are the ones that will win, not the ones that try to keep control.

The ‘benevolent dictators’ schema of crypto 1.1 won’t work this time round.

They might need a bit of help…

The really big battle, however, will probably happen at that time. When we try to handover these DAC’s to the DAO’s, but that is another topic for another time.

We must think very carefully about how to architect these DAC’s to protect ourselves… from ourselves.

We are very limited beings. Not very smart monkeys that dropped out of trees not long ago.

I have always been a fairly aggressive capitalist, and I’ve only realised in the last few days it was ultimately because I didn’t believe there was a better way that could work at scale.

I now do.

Many many thanks to Lawson Baker and Simon de la Rouviere for their input/editing on this… (and mostly for not calling me completely insane)