💭 Idea: Membership as a form of Sustainability?

Hi everyone,

There are a few threads around talking about the DAO funding model and profitability which bring to mind thoughts of ICOs, VCs, etc… But there’s another avenue I haven’t seen discussion about: subscription-based membership. Think along the lines of the EFF or the ACLU. These organizations keep a large membership base through recurring membership dues, dues which afford minimal benefits (monthly newsletters, laptop stickers, participation in member surveys). I’m wondering if there’s a place in the DAO ecosystem for something similar?

Playing it out in my head, it may look something like a Moloch DAO, where there’s a board that has been voted in and has leveraged voting rights. In addition to this, there could be a public-tier subscription membership, where any member of the community could pay a minor fee and be granted commensurate privileges–this membership level would provide a frictionless on-ramp to onboarding an invested community. The dues would bolster the DAO’s funds, the membership would be temporary (say 0.05 Eth for a 1-month membership), and the fee would be lost to the member (i.e. a donation, not a stake).

In return, this membership class could represent a larger community of parties with less financial capacity, who still align with the DAO’s purposes (funding, social justice, political action, or whatever else it may be). The membership may not have direct voting power in the traditional DAO sense, but the board would be incentivized to vote in their members’ interests in order to ensure the continued recurring funding from the membership.

[Alternatively, the public membership could have a weighted vote, carrying a % of the entire voting power (say membership has a 10% stake, the board has a 90% stake). I haven’t fleshed this out fully–there might be a way for a monied party to game the system by buying up a lot of memberships.]

Technically, this could be implemented with a NFT representing a membership card. When dues are paid, the card is issued with an expiration date based on the amount paid (0.05 Eth = 1 month, 0.6 Eth = 1 year). Subsequent payments of dues would bump the expiration date further back (you wouldn’t collect multiple cards), and if the membership expired, renewing would give you a fresh start.

This idea is half-baked right now. I’m hoping that someone else here can help me iron our the details a bit more. Maybe this already exists, in which case I’d be happy if someone can give me an example of this in practice.

Cheers

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I think this is really cool!! It almost reminds me of Unions and Workers Associations. I’ve been thinking about how labor groups are going to continue to exist given the future of work evolving into a sort of gig/passion economy based work. Will YouTubers have a DAO that they subscribe into that gives them some benefits?

Another abstract idea I’ve been playing around with is income share agreements as membership. That is, gaining membership by paying some basis point(s) of your income - like a church tithe. In such a structure the DAO maximizes its own financial return through optimizing its value add to its membership. Another real life parallel of such a structure is government in general - something I talk about briefly here: https://medium.com/heroic-finance/heroic-radical-markets-for-human-potential-7d8333ad7bbb.

I’m doing a lot of thinking into the future of communities and self governance. Happy to discuss further!

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Unions for Youtubers, Solo musicians, and Uber drivers? Taxes for decentralized governments? Very interesting thoughts; I’ll need to mull this over a bit.

I read through your blog post and wanted to mention that there are companies that perform profit-sharing with their consumers. These are mostly B2B platforms that share in ad revenue, but per-service agreements like $0.01/1000 emails would presumably fall into that rough category too. Along those lines, PaaS offerings where you pay per gigabyte or per second of utilization would qualify, since as a business you’re using those services to earn money. Similarly, the banking industry has the prime interest rate, which allows banks to profit-share with the government on loans they service.

In your vision–where community members offer up a percentage of future income to build infrastructure and services–isn’t that already the model for getting things done? A community wants to build a hospital, so the town/city proposes a bond package to borrow with future taxes paying the principal + interest. The community votes on it, and if it passes pays for it with their property taxes. I’m interested in understanding the difference you see there.

Thanks for the response. I like this topic and probably have some more questions for you after thinking about it a bit more.

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Great thoughts so far, I do believe there is a place in the ecosystem for something like this.

We will likely be doing something similar for MetaGame.
There would be a monthly subscription you are free to either pay or work out through the inside ecosystem bounties.
My thinking on it so far is that there would be a negative staking mechanism; you need to buy X amount of tokens to be a member for a month, and by the end of the month it burns out.

As for MetaCartel, I think the simplest way given the current setup would be to just come up with recurring proposals for standard ops and template of proposals for things like “need merch for a conference”.
The tasks could then be fulfilled for cheaper by non-dao members for them to earn their stay :man_shrugging:

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Neat I didn’t know there were such platforms! I guess it makes sense in B2B contexts - would be cool to see people aligned like that as well, especially given that the future of work seems to be the person becoming the business. I’m not sure I understand the analogy of prime interest rate, would you mind explaining that a bit more?

It is basically how its done! Just with the government acting as the middleman. In the world painted by that article, the community, however its defined, could directly pay the service provider. Regardless of how town hall works or how other voters feel about it. But ultimately the initial product we built to see that vision to fruition failed.

In San Francisco, theres a movement going on where a portion of a city/neighborhood’s budget is set aside for people to vote on how to spend it. Known as participatory budgeting. Seems super similar to DAOs!

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