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What It’s Like Working at a DAO?

Time | Andrew R. Chow | Mar 24, 2022

DAO collaboration - What It’s Like Working at a DAO?In January, many people on Crypto Twitter proclaimed that if 2021 was the year of NFTs, then 2022 would be the year of DAOs. DAOs, or decentralized autonomous organizations, are a new-ish type of organizational structure that have proliferated rapidly in the last couple years as money has poured into the crypto space. They’re an extension of the crypto world’s promise of decentralization: Instead of being owned by one person or controlled by a board, they’re collectively owned by participating members, with decisions being voted upon and rules enforced through smart contracts.

Enthusiasts believe DAOs could eventually replace many traditional companies as sort of new-age co-ops. (Imagine a version of Uber where the drivers collectively own the company, for instance.) But skeptics point out that many DAOs aren’t particularly decentralized and are limited in their ability to navigate the unpredictable complexities of human organizations. “Calling a DAO a revolutionary structure is smoke and mirrors: It’s just voting shares”.

While some DAOs have flamed out spectacularly, there are others that are humming along quietly, offering an alternative model for what a workplace might look like. One of those is dOrg, one of the very first DAOs to be legally recognized as an LLC in the United States. dOrg, which was officially formed in 2019, is a software development company that helps build infrastructure for Web 3 and crypto projects.

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There is no management team, and everyone owns the company

Roles are fluid, with people sliding into different roles depending on each project. Everyone who officially works at the company is a legal owner of its Vermont LLC, with each owner owning one share. Company decisions are voted on using tokens, which accrue as you complete projects for the company.

Developers choose their own projects and control their own budgets

Work hours and locations are flexible and self-driven. The employees I talked to lived in three different countries, and none of them said they worked over 45 hours a week. They also talked about having a large degree of autonomy in finding projects to work on, cultivating relationships with clients, and then forming teams to execute those plans.

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Conflicts are mediated and then voted on.

The company outsources health benefits and salaries are transparent and publicly maintained on the blockchain.

Skill-building is still a work-in-progress.

A hierarchically flat company could theoretically lead to worker stagnation, in which employees feel unmotivated to build skills or advance. To combat this, the dOrg’s handbook places an emphasis on “upskilling” and creating a collaborative structure in which employees with different skills learn from one another.

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