DAO & The future of content

Pando Network, whose long-term objective is to decentralize creation, intends to turn every content into a DAO thanks to a fully decentralized VCS which might extend DAOs possibilities to all contents usually produced by cultural industries.

Thinking about contents as DAOs

The DAO landscape is going through a cambrian-explosion era. Most of the time, we think of DAOs as organizations such as companies, associations, cooperatives but less frequently as contents such as video-games, books, software or songs. A book, for example, requires the coordination of a multiplicity of know-how to reach its final form: proofreader, author, translator, model-maker or illustrator. A group of individuals whose history has so far decided to delegate the coordination to this centralized entity known as a “publisher”. The idea of building a decentralized VCS where each of these skills could be coordinated independently without the need of an editor was born from this observation: it is the book itself that we must turn into a DAO.

That’s why we can easily think of DAOs through the Creative Collaborative Contents paradigm because CCCs are very good example of what a « network of contributors » is and perfectly show the ways in which « crowd intelligence » can produce the modalities of its own governance.

Indeed, unlike conventional corporations, DAOs will also function as contribution aggregators and decisions makers around contents, because wherever we need to coordinate collective intelligence and distribute value for the commons we will need DAOs; whether it is for writing a book with several hundred hands or create a crowdsourced software. That’s why we strongly believe that the future of the DAO landscape will not only be constituted in the form of entities like « companies » but will also drive network effects around what we called content-DAOs.

The ways in which we create are partially determined by the tools at our disposal and there is a lot of reasons to believe that DAOs, as the most flexible organizational tool that humankind has ever encountered, can have a decisive impact on imagination games and collective creations inside every cultural fields.

Fortunately, with the Aragon framework and the possibilities opened by Pando protocol, any content can become a DAO; a collective of people, auto-organized around a repository, who share the ownership of the content and where anyone have right to vote, participate and exit.

Content as bundle of rights

Transforming each content into a DAO also means opening the world of content creation to an infinite number of governance mechanisms. This diversity of governance models is a necessary step forward for the world of cultural creation because we can’t rely on a single governance model for all kinds of projects. Creating a software, a song or a comic strip obviously requires different ways to organize collective intelligence, and the governance models we choose must be customizable to adapt to the scale and desires of the common project we work on. This is why we have created what we call “governance kits”.

Governance kits are voting apps which allow the user to choose the governance model enforced by the DAO on the repository. Indeed, aragonOS allows you to freely define super modular governance process. The long-term objective is to enable everyone to write their own governance kit in order to create a kit library thanks to which, in few clicks, you can choose the governance model you consider to be the most suitable to your project.

There is currently two types of Kit on Pando :

  • DictatorKit

Enforce a maintainer-based GitHub-like-governance

  • VotingKit

Enforce a Native Lineage Token-backed democratic governance where people vote to validate propositions

Regarding the voting kit, the diagram below shows that the Pando protocol will allow each contributor to earn authorship in the form of lineage tokens issued by the repository controlled through a DAO. Here’s what could happen if Alice, who is exhausted of writing alone at home, decides to drop off the first chapter of her book on pando :

This means that any new contribution within a content automatically dilutes the amount of lineage tokens of previous contributors under the agreement negotiated with the new arrivant. The development of the content through contributions thus corresponds to a progressive sharing of the authority over time. By agreeing on this current authority sharing mechanism on Pando, any user owning lineage tokens in a repository is considered as stakeholder of the content and the amount of tokens he owns represents the scale of its voting power over the project.

This distribution of authority within the content-DAO thus technically create a “bundles of rights” inside the content itself. A mechanism which allows us to extend the definition of the common as it was thought by Elinor Ostrom to every kind of creative project:

“A good or resource held collectively by a community that sets the governance rules for it” .

Content governance must remain modular; this is why the members of the project — by virtue of their voting power represented by the lineage tokens they own — will be able to collectively vote to define structuring parameters of the content-DAO. Let’s take two examples.

Quorum ratio :

The quorum i.e. the minimum percentage of votes necessary for a proposal to be validated or not, may be adjusted over time by a collective decision.

This value could be particularly interesting to define the temporalities and the number of contributors on which a project will evolve. Indeed, the lower the percentage is, the less it is necessary to create a consensus between all the members of the project and therefore the more quickly a project can aggregate contributions. Conversely, a higher percentage implies a greater involvement of all DAO members and therefore could lead to slower temporalities but could lead to better decisions for all.

Incomes distribution :

When a content-DAO earns value — in a case of a commercial use for example — community will be able to define the modalities of distributions of the incoming sums inside the content-DAO. It is up to each content-DAO to apply its political economic models as it wishes. A DAO may thus decide to share the sums generated by its content by indexing the distribution to the percentage of lineage held by each. Or, in a more “communist” perspective, it could decide to distribute the income identically among all the members.

From GitHub workflow to Pando workflow

The first use case of the Pando protocol will be for software development. The objective we have set for 2019 is to offer the community a decentralized GitHub, based on IPFS and the ethereum blockchain where each repository is controlled by an Aragon DAO.

One of the main advantages of Pando’s architecture is that it will allow the community to create a multitude of different workflows. This is a response to the current problem of open-source software development and plateforms such as GitHub where you have access to only one mode of governance which is the model of sovereign power: i.e. only a small handful of maintainers and lieutenants have the right to merge a Pull Request. This dictator model has proven its worth on many projects but, like many things since the arrival of blockchain technology, now appears very limited.

In large scale project, as it is impossible to vote directly to take a decision, contributors must enter into a “proceduralization of discussions” in order to clarify as much as possible the intentions and desires of each others, and this, in the hope that, at some point, the will of the contributors will meet that of the maintainer, as benevolent as it may be. Such a centralization of power raisens obvious problems well known to all.

As we saw in the previous diagram, Pando, in its architecture, opens up to governance models that are radically different from the dictatorial GitHub model. The objective we have set ourselves is to build a simple VCS where the governance model is itself decentralized because everyone can build, experiment, and share governance-kit.

Pando’s architecture opens on a particular ethic, the one of disappearance, the pleasure we feel when we see a project escaping from us. We had seen it with Alice’s example: by choosing the voting-kit and opening by this way her project to spontaneous contributions, she gradually diluted her authority by letting her work evolve in its absence. She laid the foundations of a work in which she will not have to recognize herself: the abandonment of the author’s figure leaves a place for community of pollinators. Alice will no longer need to be the person in charge of the development of the work, she will not have to carry on her own shoulders the progress of the project. From her legacy others will decide without her.

Pando workflow may have found its slogan: release the maintainers.