TLDR: MetaCartel is evolving into a DAO incubator. We are doubling down to build the future of DAOs and community driven organisations.
Why choose MetaCartel as a DAO incubator? Here are a couple of examples:
- Venture DAO’s successful launch as a legal DAO with~ $500k raised to date
- Launch of RaidGuild — MetaCartel’s co-op dev shop with over 30 members working closely with prominent industry projects.
- Rocket (NFT lending DAO), 50k in DAO membership stakes
- MetaFactory’s Genesis Sale raising 30k among 42 unique buyers
- MetaGame DAO soon to launch its bonding curve with $SEED using $20k in Gitcoin Grant funding
- MetaClan launched an eSports DAO with 50 members in the first month.
- MetaGammeDelta’s sorority DAO launched during ETHDenver and now has 20+ members and a community of 100+ women within the blockchain community.
- 1Up World launching DAO-based gamified reputation
- Orochi DAO launched by Kickback to host top-notch experiences as event afterparties.
- DAOSaka created by KnowOrigin x MetaCartel as an NFT Art Commission DAO.
- Fantastic 12 as a Discord DAO launcher (deployed during the Dragon Quest hackathon)
- DAOHaus + Pokemol as the Moloch ecosystem’s choice of product tooling (over 100+ DAOs created with a MoM growth in DAOs)
- Abridged as the DAO Ops platform, powering DAOs through chatbots and no-code tooling
- DAOSquare as a means to spread the word about DAOs to a global audience
While this looks great on paper, the larger story of how we got here provides a much better context.
Generation 1: Meta Transactions
Before ever lofting out the term DAO, MetaCartel was a technical working group focused on decentralizing meta transactions.
This “Gas Station Network” project created a culture of being user-focused, kickstarting a community of people working on the Ethereum application layer. We conducted workshops (both on and offline), hosted research calls and eventually evolved into the Gas Station Alliance — the group which officially launched the Gas Station Network in May of 2019.
Generation 2: MetaCartel DAO
After proving out the concept of meta transactions, we thought about what else this industry needed. Ultimately, we landed on building more consumer-facing dapps.
In early 2019, no one was building dapps and exploring new crypto use cases.
MetaCartel was working on usability but for what?
Seeing as people blamed Ethereum’s lack of product-market fit on scalability and user experience we thought hey, let’s start a grants program to incentivize and support early-stage dapp teams.
This is when we started a DAO
It was the use of a DAO which allowed MetaCartel to fund these funds and enable their collaboration. In fact, we’d go so far as to see there’s no way this would have been possible without a DAO as it was the common goal to pool funding to better enhance coordination which made this possible.
Four waves of grants later, what’s emerged is a suite of bootstrapped communities lead by quality builders and creators exploring the fringes of web3.
MetaCartel Ecosystem Update 2020
A mere 6 months ago, we had nothing but telegram chats and a DAO that was still in its pre-launch phase:
Over time, these grants saw increasingly more success when focusing on DAO experimentation. This does not go to say that they are analogous, rather that MetaCartel’s incubation of DAO experiments has moved the needle further than other grants.
Seeing as MetaCartel itself is a DAO, this human-centric culture and methodology are subconsciously embedded into everyone we work with. This has blossomed into a Schelling point for DAOs, with MetaCartel becoming a vibrant, ever-connected ecosystem.
This pretty much brings us to where we are today. So, let’s take some time to reflect on our journey so far.
From Gen 1 to Gen 2
Back in early 2019, despite infrastructure advancements, dApps weren’t being built and there weren’t enough experiments around different viable use cases.
We decided to shift MetaCartel’s focus to solving a broader more relevant problem:
Building DApps > Infrastructure
As MetaCartel DAO really started to take form in early May, the narrative within the Ethereum community started to change and evolve.
To what extent MetaCartel helped bring a greater product focus to the community, who knows — but that is largely no longer a problem today.
The Next Flippening: More DAOs than Tokens
DAOs are communities, DAOs are ecosystems, DAOs are investments, there will be more DAOs than tokens.
Now that we’ve seen products pan out well with power users of all shapes and sizes, many are exploring DAOs both as a means to govern protocols (Compound, Kyber, Aave, etc.) and as a model for grassroots crowdfunding.
While this all sounds great on paper, those looking to run a DAO are likely to struggle understanding what it takes to be effective.
We’ve got a pretty solid idea of how to go about building a community and socially decentralizing important ecosystem decisions.
We’ve naturally further and further ventured deeper into DAOs. In hindsight, it makes sense as our culture lends itself better towards something more human-centered vs. technology-heavy.
Perhaps what’s more important to note is that while many of our DAOs share some overlaps, virtually all of them have spawned their own unique communities, many of which have never actually heard of MetaCartel or DAOs prior to these experiments.
So, what is MetaCartel becoming?
Generation 3: DAO Incubation
Today, we are happy to announce a new focus for MetaCartel, namely as a:
- Collective of DAO practitioners providing education and knowledge on best practices.
- Specialized organization for DAO strategy and development
- Scout and shaper for DAO curation and distribution.
MetaCartel has amassed dozens of case studies around our experimentation with DAOs. We’ve gathered shared learnings and problems facing DAOs and leveraged those to create new initiatives like Summoners Monthly — a place for DAO creators to come together and talk about problems only other summoners would know.
When it comes to education, projects working with MetaCartel DAO can expect to receive guides on community governance and human coordination — ultimately focusing on how to effectively leverage community aligned crowds for product and marketing.
Before diving into anything, we want to start by helping teams understand whether they should launch a DAO or not.
While this is likely to be highly unique to each project, this allows us to explore the right time to explore a DAO model including the introduction of grassroots fundraising and community governance.
If it’s not the time to DAO, we’ll help projects understand how to prepare and invest in the DAO pathway.
When it does come to launch, MetaCartel is there to help guide a launch to have as net positive effects as possible.
More than anything, we want to help teams match the expectations and realities of a DAO. Many will need to understand the commitment to community building and receive tailored plans of action on how to execute.
More than just ideas, MetaCartel is chock-full of individuals who helped teams structure & design their token projects for years. This may include but is not limited to:
- Token Design
- DAO Strategy
- Full-Stack Development
- Community Building
- Social Signal
- DAO Operations
The most important thing to keep in mind here is that MetaCartel will set rigorous ethical guidelines around DAO fundraising by only working with projects which receive a stamp of approval and trust from MetaCartel.
By aggregating and curating high-quality DAOs, we can create an ecosystem of value-added projects all centered around the common theme of human-first coordination.
This evolution comes at a crucial time for MetaCartel as a DAO itself. While grants have been fantastic for getting this off the ground, now is the time to explore the path to sustainability.
Even if it means MetaCartel itself spending $1 to get 10 cents, we need to start thinking about sustainability.
To this end, we need to set up a community process to enable the great war DAO machine to roar.
This means paid roles and new branches of MetaCartel which shape a vibrant, sustainable ecosystem.
But how do we measure these new experiments?
No mission would be complete without the proper ways of monitoring our impact. Off the bat, this includes things like:
- What percentage of the DAOs that we work with successfully launch a highly engaged community and complete a bootstrapped community crowdfund?
- Total Unique DAO Members (TUDM) across all the DAOs within the MetaCartel ecosystem
- Funds pledged back into MetaCartel from on-going revenue and successful fundraising from other DAOs we work with
As for the individual experiments themselves, it’s likely that we will monitor:
- Monthly active contributors (MAC)
- Total Revenue & Pledges
- Amount of funding deployed
The important takeaway here is these metrics don’t define success, they help indicate it.
The Big Picture
To summarize, MetaCartel is here to build real communities.
Let’s shift the narrative away from communities motivated by bag holding and instead focus on those eager to help shape the products of tomorrow.
By creating pathways for projects to kickstart themselves through grassroots funding, we expect communities to be further aligned and quickly become power users willing to advocate for their future success.
If nothing else, we’re thrilled by the notion of helping others build community and look forward to seeing if we’re able to be half as effective as we think we are.
If you or your project are keen to get involved with MetaCartel and our DAO incubator, get in touch!
If you want to go fast — go alone.
If you want to go far — go together
Special thanks to Peter ‘pet3rpan’ for leading this narrative