Top 10 DAOs That Matter in 2022
This is an anti-end of year list, not made of white male led projects. You're welcome.
Like NFTs, let’s start by saying what this list is NOT: this is not a definition of DAOs, this is not a list of white-male led groups, this is not the top PFP projects.
It is simply an alphabetical list of the DAOs that care about gathering art communities around real issues and are driven by other goals than just money.
There are obviously a million others but we thought the ones below deserved some writing. Let’s all pitch in to make that list longer.
aGENDAdao is a community of trans and non-binary NFT artists within the metaverse. Providing support and visibility for its members, aGENDAdao was created by Kate ‘the Cursed’ Jesek, Aria Jones, Tara Digital Collecive and Gwyn Williams in August, 2021.
A welcoming cohort, aGENDAdao stands opposed to the isolating and often toxic cultures of the atypical ‘white male bitcoin bro’. Instead, aGENDAdao embraces change, with entry costing nothing and members immediately being able to enrol in the DAO upon receiving $GENDA tokens and being assigned roles to participate in the group’s social events.
aGENDAdao is influential as it signifies the best of community ethos in Web3. Beyond collectible NFTs and bullish behaviour, this DAO is a thriving organisation for making new friends from various different backgrounds and genders. Boasting 125 members at the time of writing, aGENDAdao looks like it will grow larger still in 2022.
CyberBAAT DAO is a collective of 23 emerging artists from African descent on the blockchain, founded by artist, designer and writer, Linda Dounia.
CyberBAAT represents African artists from an array of creative disciplines such digital art, photography, mixed-media, illustration and motion design. The organisation features notable crypto creators such as Isaac Udogwu, Akosua Viktoria and Afroscope in its roster.
Formed in August, 2021, CyberBAAT DAO is influential thanks to its commitment in elevating African art on the blockchain, providing unique opportunities for its creators to auction and exhibit works in a thriving, decentralised marketplace.
CyberBAAT DAO is influential in both physical and digital spaces, too, hosting their inaugural NFT auction and joint exhibition, ‘Distorted Realities’, on Foundation and in Dakar Senegal, September 2021.
DAOWO by Furtherfield
DAOWO Global Initiative was an educational series presented by the Goethe-Institut London, Furtherfield and the Serpentine Galleries exploring the future of the art world and the blockchain, investigating what can be learned from DAO structures and working with others (-’WO’).
Presented by Ruth Catlow (artistic director, Furtherfield), Penny Rafferty (independent writer and researcher) and Ben Vickers (CTO, Serpentine Galleries) with Goethe-Institut, DAOWO was delivered between January 28th - March 4th, 2021, compiling several DAOs created in Berlin, Hong Kong, Johannesburg and Minsk which aimed to hack, deconstruct and reinvent the arts in the emerging crypto space and respond to people and their local contexts.
The DAOWO project is influential thanks to its early recognition of the benefits of decentralisation to local communities through quadratic voting and similar DAO mechanisms. This programme took place prior to the speculative glitch of March 2021, and was progressive in its assembling of cultural practitioners, art+tech organisations, representatives of the arts and crypto enthusiasts in contemplating the future of the arts, society and the blockchain.
Fingerprints DAO is an organisation that collects, curates and produces conceptually driven smart contracts (‘fingerprints’) on the blockchain.
Seeking to assemble the largest collection of smart contracts-cum-artworks, Fingerprints DAO utilises NFTs in new and creative ways. Since its conception in April 2021, the collective operates on the principle that smart contracts themselves are artworks; more so than the non-fungible tokens they govern.
Fingerprints DAO is assembled of six members, who aim to build one of the most valuable, decentralised treasuries over the next decade. Starting by collecting 20 Autoglyphs NFTs by LarvaLabs with rarities from #1 to #7, Fingerprints amounts to 4% of the series’ total supply and is currently the third largest collector of the project in the world.
Fingerprints is influential thanks to its unique commitment to the underlying, decentralised components which make NFTs so popular. By investing in the art of the smart contract, this DAO opens a world of possibility for crypto artists exploring new creative gestures.
Flamingo is an NFT-focused DAO which explores investment opportunities for blockchain-based acquisitions.
Seeking to support, purchase, archive, collect, and tokenise important pieces of the Crypto Art ecosystem, Flamingo uses NFTs as investment opportunities for members. These opportunities can take the form of fractional ownership, combined tokens sets and/or stablecoin protocols, or whatever the DAO collectively decides.
Created in October 2020, Flamingo takes advantage of the ‘hive mind’ of the DAO, giving members the ability to develop and deploy NFT-focused investment strategies. Any purchased NFTs can be lent, held, displayed in a digital art gallery, or used as collateral in other DeFi platforms.
Flamingo is influential as it allows members to democratically fractionalize holdings from NFTs, decide on the future direction of the DAO and develop a strong foothold in the emerging ecosystem of monetised digital and intellectual artworks.
Friends with Benefits DAO
Friends with Benefits DAO is a 'digital cornerstone between technology and culture communities’, formed by a group of like-minded Web3 artists, operators and thinkers.
As ‘new age Medici’s’ pushing for a brighter future, where payments and data are controlled by the creators, Friends with Benefits forms discussions and events related to the blockchain’s ability to shape a fluid and open creative economy for artists.
Friends with Benefits is a private society, united by its own $FWB token. Founded in September 2020, new members of the DAO are required to have a certain amount of $FWB to join, attend in-person events and/or bid on airdrops and artworks within its community. As a part venture capital fund, the equity of $FWB is estimated to be around $10 million USD.
Friends with Benefits is influential as it highlights the liberating powers a DAO can have for artists when met with macro-scaled procedures. Requiring $FWB to access its 2000+ member pool, receive decision-making powers and share parity in its organisation, it looks like Friends with Benefits’ model will encourage a greater creative economy for Crypto Art in 2022 and beyond.
HerStoryDAO is a collective of digital and physical crypto artists dedicated to the preservation of stories and origins from marginalised creators.
Acquiring works from black women and non-binary artists in a predominately white NFT market, HerStoryDAO formed in May, 2020 after collector Cyn Bahati tweeted an open proposal to start a DAO and collect artist Latasha Alcindor’s work (and similar Crypto Art like it in the future). In an interview with Dazed, Bahati quotes that she did not fully understand what a DAO was at the time of her tweet, taking a leap of faith by trusting its unique technology in her mission.
HerStoryDAO is influential as it encompasses productivity between people from all communities and backgrounds. Forcing necessary shifts in Crypto Art culture, this DAO promotes excellent artists such as Linda Dounia, Yatreda and Brittany Pierre, and will certainly see marginalised creators have their say in the new year.
PleasrDAO is an ‘art collecting empire’ made up of DeFi leaders, early NFT collectors and digital artists collecting culturally significant crypto artworks with a ‘charitable’ twist.
Collecting pieces which represent important ideas, movements and causes in the form of NFTs, Pleasr experiments with fractional ownership of artworks within the DAO. Pleasr also buys into and funds NFT initiatives to create something additive to the 'soul' of the works, before returning them to the community.
Pleasr was founded in March 2021, after acquiring Pplpleasr’s genesis artwork on Foundation, ‘x*y=z’ (the highest selling NFT from a female crypto artist at the time). In order to purchase her work, Pleasr had to establish itself as a DAO to be eligible, later deploying $PEEPS tokens and assembling a community of collectors.
PleasrDAO is influential as it governs macro investments from notable figures such as Gmoney, Stani Kulechov and David Hoffman on such a scale that has never been seen before in crypto art (recent acquisitions including Wu-Tang Clan’s ‘Once Upon a Time in Shaolin’ album and the original Doge image).
Protean DAO is a new media art conservation-focused DAO, prioritising the maintenance of museum-standard media art through decentralised stewardship. Protean DAO is created by founders Regina Harsanyi, Kelani Nichole and Sarah Maryam Moosvi.
Protean DAO proposes to start a dialogue between traditional and Crypto Art players to ensure that artwork exchanged in the form of NFTs continue to exist and appreciate in value. This value is determined by artwork’s visual and sonic assets. Protean DAO was created in September, 2021, and has since completed a round of Gitcoin Grant match-funding.
Protean will be an influential DAO for integrations with cultural institutions, as it seeks to address issues related to the maintenance of digital and crypto art in public contexts. A uniform display standard for digital and crypto art has not yet materialised, and so by taking a documented and repeated approach, Protean will no doubt contribute to its creation when it eventually arrives.
Untitled DAO is a group of artists and collectors dedicated to championing thoughtful photographic practice in the NFT space.
Seeking to elevate photography in the Crypto Art space and highlight the best photographers in the Crypto Art space, Untitled DAO collects, curates, onboards and publishes the highest caliber of photographic work from all communities and backgrounds.
Untitled DAO values emotionally complex, formally inventive and conceptually rich photographic practices. Believing in photographers who elevate the medium, this DAO is invested in critical thinking and discussion around image-making through its programming and activities.
Untitled DAO was founded in October, 2021 by notable photographers, artists and collectors such as Alejandro Cartagena, Whale Shark Pro, Laurent Chevalier and Gmoney.