Happy Birthday Bankless DAO 🥳
A recap of Bankless DAO's progress and the dawn of a community-owned ConsenSys
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Dear Bankless Nation,
A year ago today Bankless became more than a podcast and newsletter…
It became a movement.
Happy 1st birthday, Bankless DAO. 🥳
The debate around DAOs are often cast in black and white shades.
“DAOs can work without leaders.”
“DAOs won’t work because organizations need a leader’s direction.”
Both are wrong…and also right. The truth lies somewhere in between.
The most successful organizations have genius management teams, but their genius is nothing without a motivated community behind them.
The question for DAOs is not whether leaders are needed, but how organizations can better unlock the talents of a decentralized community through better incentive alignment.
That is exactly what blockchains are enabling through token ownership.
Today, BanklessDAO is an autonomous community of hundreds of crypto-savvy contributors, a product catalog spanning 20+ products, and an assortment of exciting ways to grow its treasury.
BanklessDAO has taken Bankless values and spun it off into a decentralized organization that we couldn’t have conceived of ourselves.
Give a community ownership, and watch a thousand flowers bloom.
Here’s what BanklessDAO has been up to over the past 12 months.
Bankless Editor: Lucas Campbell, Editor for Bankless & Genesis Member of Bankless DAO
Building A Community-Owned ConsenSys
A Social Club…
A DeFi Community…
A Media Entity…
Bankless DAO has been called a lot of different things since it first launched a year ago. But what exactly is it?
Bankless DAO (bDAO for short) was originally launched to empower the Bankless community to become stewards of the Bankless movement, brand, and values. Bankless HQ is just one media entity under this umbrella with a mission to bring crypto to the masses.
But we realized we couldn’t do it alone. We needed help to scale our message to the world.
So last year, BanklessHQ threw its support behind Bankless DAO to provide the community with a web3-native tool to encourage more meaningful engagement. Rather than having an idle group consuming content behind screens, Bankless DAO provides the option to actively contribute to our mission of onboarding the world to crypto.
We never expected what unfolded. The Bankless DAO community is working in a million directions, covering a wide range of areas within the crypto economy — well beyond just media.
Given all of the activity, it can be hard to pin down exactly what Bankless DAO is.
But after a year of working alongside this community, the best answer that I’ve come to is: Bankless DAO is like a community-owned ConsenSys, building products, services, and resources to drive crypto adoption.
Let’s unpack this.
From developer tools to enterprise solutions, ConsenSys is building Ethereum blockchain infrastructure and applications for new economic systems that are more open, efficient, and secure.
ConsenSys was originally founded in 2014 following the publication of the Ethereum whitepaper.
The goal was to create a development and venture studio focused on driving the adoption of Ethereum. This included creating vital infrastructure for the network, like Infura and Truffle, allowing people to run nodes and build applications more easily, building an intuitive wallet like Metamask for people to interact with the platform, CodeFi to facilitate crypto commerce, and investment funds focused on allocating capital towards Ethereum-based projects.
There’s really nothing ConsenSys doesn’t do (or hasn’t done) for Ethereum.
It has been a key driver behind where Ethereum is today.
However, it wasn’t always straightforward.
For the few first years, it seemingly felt like ConsenSys threw money at anything that was relatively aligned and valuable for Ethereum. Put simply, there were a lot of failed ventures. This was apparent after a report came where the company was on track for a $100M burn rate back in 2019 - due to $150M in annualized expenses and only $50M in revenue.
It was the early days for ConsenSys, and they needed to find the bread and butter that helped achieve their mission. Fast forward to today, and the Ethereum venture studio has restructured and focused on a handful of core products: Metamask, Infura, Truffle, CodeFi, Quorum, and Diligence.
The company recently raised $450M at a $7B valuation after its flagship products have been dominating the market in their respective sectors.
While ConsenSys isn’t perfect, it has certainly succeeded in private markets. The downside is that it’s exactly that — it’s private. The value created from ConsenSys has accrued to insiders and investors, like most things in web2, and it feels like they’re on track for an IPO given the recent valuation.
ConsenSys built a massively successful incubator on web2 rails.
What if we built one on web3?
Enter Bankless DAO
Similar to ConsenSys, Bankless DAO is on a mission to help drive the adoption of crypto. The community is building a suite of products and services, ranging from media outlets to DeFi products to DAO infrastructure to everything in between.
As eluded to above, the big difference is the nature of how these companies are built. ConsenSys is a web2 company building in web3, using a top-down approach. Bankless DAO is a web3 company (hence a DAO) using a bottom-up approach - it’s all in the hands of the community to direct the future of the organization.
Each approach has its own tradeoffs (top-down vs. bottom-up). Strong leadership and direction is one benefit of the web2 approach.
But there’s an insane amount of potential that’s unlocked in a bottom-up approach when a decentralized community is empowered to build and take over.
ConsenSys is almost 8 years old and built a multi-billion dollar company on the back of invaluable infrastructure for Ethereum.
Today, Bankless DAO is celebrating its 1st birthday.
And while what ConsenSys has built shouldn’t be understated, what has been accomplished from this community in its first year shouldn’t be slept on either.
Don’t believe me?
Here’s a non-exhaustive recap of Bankless DAO’s progress.
Education is the backbone of Bankless DAO. The community has focused on different products with the goal of educating the world on crypto and creating intuitive products for newcomers and veterans alike.
Bankless Academy aims to become the best onboarding platforms to get your friends and family up to speed on the world of crypto. Users can explore quests to create their first crypto wallet, lend their first tokens on Aave, and more. The product released its beta back in January and is continuing to work on more lessons, features, and incentives.
KPIs & Growth: To date, Academy has seen 7,000 wallets interact with the site and distributed over 6,400 POAP badges to those who’ve completed lessons. The team has released a detailed roadmap, outlining its path towards incentives, white labels, skill trees, and more.
In partnership with the Index Coop, Bankless Indexes are meant to act as an easy, one-click solution for anyone to invest into crypto in a safe manner. This has culminated in the BED index (BTC, ETH, and DPI) along with the most recent launch of GMI, a DeFi 2.0 index.
KPIs & Growth: Over 1,350 wallets hold Bankless Indexes which combine for $4M in market capitalization. Bankless Indexes and Index Coop have also integrated on Argent zkSync, received support from BitGo, and launched GMI Hot Tub—a Rari Fuse pool adding utility to the index’s underlying assets.
Bankless Consulting is a web3-native approach to consulting and advisory, helping crypto projects tackle some of the hardest problems in the space today. This is the newest major project out of Bankless DAO, getting its official start in early 2022 and already cementing itself as a leading web3 service provider.
KPIs & Growth: Secured over $300K in client services in 10 weeks while working with 12+ projects including Fei Protocol, MortgageDAO, ReFi Podcast, Iota Foundation, Egos NFTs, Climate DAO, and more.
Media is another one Bankless DAO’s core product offerings. The community has built a suite of different media outlets, ranging from newsletters covering different sectors of the crypto economy to satire crypto news to a podcast incubator for up and coming podcasts.
The Bankless DAO Writer’s Guild is becoming one of the leading publishers in crypto, hosting 4 recurring newsletters: The Weekly Rollup (internal DAO affairs), State of the DAOs (DAOs), Decentralized Arts (NFTs), and Decentralized Law (Legal). The team behind these newsletters in the midst of launching the 5th newsletter focused on covering DeFi in the coming weeks.
KPIs & Growth: Over 12,000 subscribers averaging a 45% open rate, growing at 20% per quarter. The team is on track to generate nearly $20K in quarterly sponsorship revenue as of last quarter!
The Bankless Community produces a lot of content. But almost all of it is written in English. The goal of the IMN is to translate this content and propagate it across the world and build satellite communities. As it stands, there are 16 active media nodes translating content across the globe.
KPIs & Growth: Translating 250+ articles per month. The total IMN audience has grown 52% in the last quarter, reaching a total audience of 40,000 people across the world.
A mostly credible crypto publication, The Rug is about creating satirical content around the world of crypto. The publication is taking a web3 native route by selling its editions on Mirror as NFTs.
KPIs & Growth: Published 6 editions of The Rug newspaper on Mirror, selling over 225+ NFTs across all editions. The team is now in the process of building a website and podcast to pair with the funniest publication in crypto.
Vitalik said it best: “Even a billion dollars of capital can’t compete with a project having a soul.” This starts with building culture, and crypto is nothing without it.
Bankless DAO is looking to push crypto culture to the world.
In partnership with MetaFactory, Bankless DAO releases limited-edition merchandise. The Bankless Collection has been one of the OG projects out of Bankless DAO, starting with the infamous Wells Fargo Box Tee. Since then, the merch team has released dozens of more drops. If you’ve ever been to a crypto conference, you know what we’re talking about.
KPIs & Growth: Bankless DAO has become the top seller on MetaFactory over 12+ merch drops in the past year, selling hundreds of editions and generating over six figures in revenue across all drops.
In addition to MetaFactory’s Limited Edition merch, Ultra Sound Merch has built another storefront from the ground up, looking to create evergreen clothing from bDAO-native designers.
KPIs & Growth: Ultra Sound Merch built a web3-native shopify, enabling a new feature “Bankless Checkout” for direct DAI, ETH, and BANK purchases. Since its launch, USM has launched nearly a dozen shirt designs from the bankless community!
Originally spawned from Bankless DAO’s NFT Showcases, DAO Punks is a full PFP collection and a tribute to the transition from Corporate work to full-time DAO. The team pioneered 1 of 1 redeemable t-shirts with your unique DAOPunk for all owners and distributing grants to help those go full-time DAO.
KPIs & Growth: DAOPunks sold out in the pre-sale and have generated over $500K in secondary sales since launch. The focus is now to distribute grants to individuals looking to go full-time DAO. Interested? You can apply here.
Bankless DAO quickly became a community with thousands of members at genesis. Moreover, DAOs and community tokens were in their nascency. There was a lot of infrastructure lacking to help DAOs scale to their full potential.
The good news here is that the community was bursting with talent in the Developer’s Guild. So they built the tools to solve DAOs biggest needs, starting with our own.
Everybody loves POAPs. But distributing them to hundreds and thousands of people on a recurring basis can be a hassle for DAO operators. Degen automates this entirely and allows operators to automatically distribute POAPs to DAO members on Discord, Twitter, and other platforms.
KPIs & Growth: Degen has been one of the DAOs most successful products, integrated into 90+ Discord communities, managed 110+ events, and distributed 30,000+ POAPs in total. Degen 3.0 was recently released with new features to help scale the product to more communities.
DAOs need labor and bounties are a popular way for DAOs to offer up paid tasks to members. Bounty Board was a product built out of Bankless DAO to facilitate work, allowing anyone to post a bounty with a task and automatically distribute the payment out when the task was completed.
KPIs & Growth: Bounty Board has focused on its product by testing within Bankless DAO, facilitating over 500K BANK in bounties to date. The platform has also been integrated in 5+ DAOs partner organizations including Shapeshift, CityDAO, and others to help with feedback and build a better product.
Governator is a new software solution from bDAO to implement automated secret polling to secure gated votes in an auditable, but private manner. All of this will faciliate better, more secure Discord polls and elections. Long term, Governator will integrate with Web3, automatically run elections, handle role transitions, and route funding from votes.
KPIs & Growth: This is a new project out of Bankless DAO, so the team is still heads down building the product. You can find the MVP demo here if you’re interested in checking in on the progress!
Why projects are good for Bankless DAO
ConsenSys built a suite of products, all of them which generated revenue for the parent company or created an immense amount of value for its native asset, ETH. Given the company holds a material amount of ETH, creating value for it was a positive ROI on the company’s balance sheet. That was the goal of ConsenSys at genesis.
But ConsenSys was built on web2 infrastructure.
Bankless DAO is built on web3.
All of these projects within Bankless DAO are growing in their own respect. All of them add value back to the DAO in their own ways too.
So what’s the bull case?
There are 3 avenues where Bankless DAO grows.
Bankless DAO is a hub for opportunity. You can work on anything, whether it’s an existing project looking for talent, or a new idea that you think would be value-additive.
At its core, Bankless DAO acts as a tokenized startup incubator. If you have an idea, you can go to bDAO to build it. Moreover, if there are up-and-coming projects in Bankless DAO, people will want to contribute to them.
But in order to become a member and access these opportunities, users need to hold BANK and become a member. This was the base utility for the token at genesis.
As the number of members increases, more BANK is locked by members in order to access the Discord and the earning opportunities it holds. This has grown steadily over the past year as more people onboard into the DAO.
Most of the projects listed above generate revenue from their product or service. Generally, they’re on a path to self-sustainability that share their profits with the DAO treasury, in return for some additional grants in BANK or as a tithe for providing a platform and community for their project to succeed.
In the broad scheme of things, revenue-generation is critical for the long-term viability and sustainability of the DAO. It needs to build recurring revenue streams that can be used to pay contributors and anything else that the DAO may need in the future.
You can see a quick summary of bDAOs revenue activities in this income statement below from the recent Investment Report.
While Q1 activities aren’t included, Bankless DAO revenue increased 115% from Q3 to Q4 of 2021—a strong sign of the growth that’s to come as the DAO continues to scale its existing products and services, as well as create new ones.
Bankless DAO’s native token is the backbone of the DAO. Without it, none of the projects or contributors would be actively involved.
One thing that is continuously being explored, especially for non-revenue generating projects, is integrating BANK into the product to unlock premium features or special perks.
This was originally pioneered with DAOPunks, where they opened up the pre-sale and mint list to anyone who held 35,000 BANK (bDAO membership).
As it stands, this is one of the more actively explored areas in the DAO right now: How can projects add more utility to its native asset, beyond just membership access.
What if DEGEN required holding BANK to unlock more POAP distributions?
Or Bankless Academy integrated BANK to access the advanced modules, live workshop, and bonus badges?
Or if Bankless HQ started providing web3-native premium memberships? 🧐
Community Ownership is Unstoppable
ConsenSys focused heavily on building infrastructure. But the infrastructure is already built. Now we need people. That’s what Bankless DAO is focused on.
After building for 8 years and some of the most successful infrastructure products in crypto, ConsenSys is a nearly $10B company.
It took a lot of trials and tribulations for this Ethereum venture studio to get to where it is today.
Today, Bankless DAO celebrates its 1st birthday with an impressive list of work.
Wonder what it will look like after its 8th…
Give community ownership and it becomes unstoppable.
🏴 Join Bankless DAO
🙏Thanks to our sponsor
Polygon Studios is on a mission to help build digital culture, play-to-earn gaming, NFTs, and the Metaverse ecosystem on Polygon. Some of the key projects supported by Polygon Studios include The Sandbox, Skyweaver, Big Time, Crypto Unicorns, and Decentraland—among others. Polygon Studios also helps fundraising & onboarding. Check it out here.
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Not financial or tax advice. This newsletter is strictly educational and is not investment advice or a solicitation to buy or sell any assets or to make any financial decisions. This newsletter is not tax advice. Talk to your accountant. Do your own research.
Disclosure. From time-to-time I may add links in this newsletter to products I use. I may receive commission if you make a purchase through one of these links. Additionally, the Bankless writers hold crypto assets. See our investment disclosures here.