DAOs can benefit from Burning Man for wider adoption.

DAOs can benefit from Burning Man for wider adoption.

The Future of DAOs: Drawing Inspiration from Burning Man

Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) have emerged as a promising concept within the blockchain industry. These organizations, built on blockchain technology, aim to revolutionize traditional hierarchical structures by enabling decentralized decision-making and governance. However, despite the presence of successful DAOs like PleasrDAO, Uniswap DAO, Synthetix’s group of DAOs, and Maker DAO, DAOs have not yet reached mainstream recognition. This article explores the reasons behind this and proposes drawing inspiration from Burning Man, a physical-world example of a DAO, to unlock the full potential of DAOs.

The Challenge of Being “Too Crypto”

One of the main reasons DAOs have struggled to achieve broader recognition is their perceived “crypto-focused” nature. While protocol DAOs, like those mentioned earlier, play a crucial role in driving the growth of decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystems, they remain largely within the crypto community. Breaking out of this bubble and transcending the industry requires a new model for DAOs that can resonate with the masses.

To understand this better, let’s take a look at Burning Man, which can be considered a DAO even before DAOs were coined. Burning Man, an annual event that began in 1986 with just 20 participants, has grown into a global phenomenon with around 73,000 attendees. It creates an alternative society where money doesn’t rule, and the spirit of collaboration and sharing prevails. Despite the absence of money as a medium of exchange during the event, Burning Man continues to expand and evolve. This success can serve as an inspiration for DAOs to appeal to a wider audience and foster a sense of community beyond the crypto realm.

Central Planning with Decentralized Governance

The Burning Man model offers valuable lessons for DAO practitioners. Burning Man operates based on a model where a non-profit organization plans the city and manages the festival’s essential aspects, ensuring its overall success. At the same time, individual camps within Burning Man are allowed to offer their services as long as they align with the event’s mission, vision, and values.

Certain DAOs, such as Ukraine DAO and VitaDAO, have already adopted a similar structure. Ukraine DAO operates with an overarching council that makes major decisions, while working groups (or “pods”) below the council are given autonomy to operate independently as long as their activities align with the DAO’s purpose. VitaDAO, on the other hand, has consolidated into three working groups, each with a steward responsible for guiding their activities. These DAOs demonstrate that decentralization doesn’t always have to mean complete autonomy for every participant. A synergy between central planning and decentralized governance can fuel the growth and scalability of DAOs, potentially propelling them beyond the confines of the crypto industry.

Embracing the Concept of Network States

Burning Man can also be seen as a miniaturized version of a “network state.” The concept of a network state refers to a highly aligned online community that crowdsources territory worldwide and seeks diplomatic recognition from existing states. While Burning Man’s influence is primarily physical, its success lies in providing an escape from traditional society and the pressures of everyday life.

If DAOs aspire to become ubiquitous entities, they should learn from Burning Man’s ability to create a sense of belonging and escape. To achieve this, DAOs should consider demystifying the crypto aspects and focusing on their broader impact on society. Instead of solely targeting individuals well-versed in tokenomics and related fields, DAOs should craft manifestos that resonate with a wider audience. Furthermore, physical-world integration through events and festivals can help bridge the gap between the crypto community and the rest of the world.

Unlocking the Potential

Despite their potential, DAOs still face challenges in reaching mainstream adoption. By drawing inspiration from Burning Man, DAOs can transform themselves into inclusive and community-driven organizations that transcend the crypto industry. Collaboration between central planning and decentralized governance, coupled with an emphasis on broader societal impact, can unlock the full potential of DAOs.

Just as Burning Man evolved from a simple vision into a global movement, DAOs have the opportunity to create a lasting impact on the world. By taking cues from Burning Man’s success and incorporating these elements into the blockchain industry, we can build the first truly crypto Burning Man, uniting diverse communities and propelling DAOs into the future.

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