Tokenized communities, or DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations), have become increasingly trendy in recent years. These member guilds use social tokens to facilitate collaboration, create trust and autonomy between parties, and dissolve organizational hierarchies. In short, DAOs have the potential to revolutionize the ways we work together, and what we’re working for.
Many of these early communities are paving the way by innovating at the forefront of what's possible with Social Tokens, building new experiences and reinventing how people create and build together. In this third section of Forefront’s Digital Economy Canon, we’re excited to introduce to you our favorite Web3 communities, across a range of different DAO sub-categories.
It hasn't been easy to select only twenty-one communities, as hundreds of great ones work hard every day to push the space forward! We've tried to diversify our selection to reflect the large panel of thriving communities today. We've prioritized communities that are focused on shipping new concepts/products, actively leveraging a Social Token, sending strong social signals, or fostering a strong, tight-knit community with active members and ambitious—even lofty!— goals.
For each community, you'll find a brief summary of their purpose and mission, background on the founder(s), and relevant social links.
For a more in-depth explanation and expansive category list, check out @coopahtroopa’s Mirror post—the inspiration behind this week’s section!
Social DAOs are the very first layer of creating purpose to community: essentially, group chats inspiring both social networking and collaborative, meaningful work. If you're new to the DAO economy, and are simply looking for a place to find your people, these communities may become your tribe: a space to connect over shared interests and values and goals.
Friends with Benefits is the ultimate cultural membership powered by a community of our favorite Web3 artists, operators, and thinkers bound together by shared values and shared incentives ($FWB).
DAO Founding & History: When FWB launched a year ago, it was simply a token-gated group chat on a Discord server. Today, it’s a well-rounded online space for users to socialize and invest their time—something many people were free to do since this was still during the thick of lockdown. As of writing, its private server is home to over 1,500 members. FWB has absolutely paved the way for the growth of the social DAO space and has onboarded hundreds of incredible folks into web3, giving them a community at the intersection of culture x crypto.
Seed Club is a social token incubator. Through their 6 weeks program, they help creators launch and grow social token based projects. Their goal is to be community owned and governed.
DAO Founding & History: Jess Sloss put together an all-star team of social token pros to found Seed Club. Driven by their belief in the creator economy, Seed Club is helping many crypto creators create and utilize social tokens for their fans/communities. Seed Club is a core pillar of the social crypto space, incubating some of the most exciting and impactful projects and bringing web3 to the mainstream creator economy.
Forefront is the leading insight aggregator across the social token landscape. It’s the home of exclusive content on creator economy, a weekly newsletter and profiles for 23+ projects and counting.
DAO Founding & History: In late 2020, Carlos Gomes founded Forefront to be a content and market aggregator for social tokens. Since then, the community has grown to be the “port of entry” for social tokens and web3 more broadly. From the newsletter to token services and events, Forefront is at the cutting-edge of what it means to build a social DAO. We highly suggest you to follow the #curation and #ff-daily channels where community members share the most insightful content there daily, making it the place to go to stay aware of the latest trend in the space.
Bankless DAO is a decentralized community driving adoption and awareness of bankless money systems like Ethereum, Bitcoin, and DeFi through media, culture, and education.
DAO Founding & History: After starting the Bankless podcast and broader movement, David and Ryan decided it was time to form a DAO. They launched the DAO earlier this year as an experiment and it has evolved into one of the quintessential examples of how social DAOs can ship, launching projects like the BED Index, merch lines, and much more.
Songcamp is a DAO that believes the music industry is broken. Instead of trying to fix it, they aim to try something a whole lot different. Songcamp is a community exploring everything Music X Web3. They recently launched a thriving experimentation called Elektra.
DAO Founding & History: Songcamp started as a place to experiment with the new avenues emerging that entirely circumvent the old models in the music industry. They first began with an experiment called “The Unlock” to fund, create and distribute art collectively. They have, since then, created many partnerships and launched new experimentation, making Songcamp one of the most interesting DAOs in the music industry.
Collector DAOs are (you guessed it!) groups of collectors, backing the mainstream adoption of NFTs. If you’re an emerging artist, or an NFT investor, scoping the best people and places to put your money behind these curator communities are the right fit for you.
Fingerprints is a DAO that curates and collects artwork in the form of NFTs that can be fully recreated from their fingerprints on the blockchain. Currently, the DAO has the third largest collection of Autoglyphs and the largest collection of DEAFBEEFs.
DAO Founding & History: The DAO was formed over the course of a few months by a small group of Brazilians led by Luiz and Shira. The collection originally started with 20 Autoglyphs, equivalent to roughly 4% of total supply of all Autoglyph NFTs -- and that was only the beginning.
The SquiggleDAO mission is to support the growth and cultural relevance of generative NFT art. The DAO also acts as a foundry for artists who want to create awesome art, acts as a place for Chromie Squiggles and on-chain generative art education, and drives awareness to both Chromie Squiggles and on-chain generative art through challenges, financing new works, and community.
DAO Founding & History: Mexico City-born generative artist SnowFro released an NFT collection called Chromie Squiggle to demonstrate the power of generative minting. Holders of these rare NFTs came together to form SquiggleDAO as a foundry for new artists in the space. What makes the Chromie Squiggle DAO such an incredible community is its members. They have together created a community-led project and a decentralized art house to push the generative art forward. The vibe there is real.
The Krause House DAO is a community of NBA fanatics looking to establish the first fan-governed NBA team ever. Their underlying mission is to democratize NBA ownership and transfer power from billionaires behind closed doors to a movement of individuals passionate about the sport.
DAO Founding & History: Founded by Flex Chapman and Commodore, Krause House is a childhood dream come true. Like ConstitutionDAO, the community’s aim is to crowdfund the first ever NBA team. While the decentralization structures of a DAO may have limitations in practice—in accordance with NBA guidelines around team ownership—as a vanguard in the space, Krause House is paving the way for structural change.
PleasrDAO is an art collective building a digital art empire. Pleasr is experimenting with novel concepts in the digital art space including fractionalizing ownership of iconic pieces and distributing it to the community.
DAO Founding & History: Emily Yang started PleasrDAO with the intention of dedicating NFTs for the good of society. The DAO has since ballooned to 74 members and it has made headlines across the world for scooping up NFTs from Pussy Riot and Edward Snowden. Most notably, the DAO purchased the original unreleased Wu-Tang Clan album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin from the US government for a whopping $4 million.
Flamingo is an NFT-focused DAO that aims to invest in NFTs and blockchain-based assets including digital art, collectibles, tangible assets, in-game assets, etc.
DAO Founding & History: Similar to Neptune DAO, FlamingoDAO is a spin off started by LAO members who are interested in the NFT space. The goal of this DAO is to ‘apply the hive mind’ of a DAO to the NFT space by acquiring and fractionalizing NFTs, investing in NFT projects, curating art collections, and investing in up-and-coming artists.
Not mutually exclusive to Grants DAOs, but unlike most DAO categories we’re touching on, these communities are profit focused. By allowing members to pool large sums of money together, Investment DAOs reduce the barriers to entry of funding for new projects and early stage ideas. More thoughtfully, Investment DAOs have the potential—and the capacity—to truly disrupt the gatekeeping systems behind the traditional VC/Investment ecosystem.
Global Coin Research is a tokenized, decentralized community of learners and investors in web3. Any wallet with enough $GCR tokens can join the community to get access to investment ideas, deal flow, research materials, and workshops.
DAO Founding & History: Joyce Yang founded GlobalCoinResearch in 2018 following stints as an equity research analyst and a finance/operations director at a high growth startup. Initially GCR was a subscription-based media platform in the crypto space with a focus on Asia, but pivoted into a DAO to become a full fledge community of investors and researchers. They’ve organized many IRL events, invested in many thriving projects and are shipping new projects and products often (we recommend you read their weekly newsletter). Global Coin Research is here to stay!
MetaCartel Ventures is an investment DAO committed to investing in dApps built on the Ethereum blockchain. It has an accompanying broader ecosystem called MetaCartel which is committed to accelerate and drive the mass adoption of Web3 and the open internet of value.
DAO Founding & History: The MetaCartel DAO was formed as a technical working group in 2018 to solve cryptoeconomic problems surrounding transactions on Ethereum but has evolved into a large community of many researchers, builders, and investors. Many of its original founders have deep ties with Ethereum and are some of the foremost leaders in the crypto space.
The LAO is another investment DAO that was founded in the ashes of The DAO. The LAO allows members to contribute capital, participate in the investing process, and share in the eventual returns. Currently, over $69 million in capital has been contributed to the LAO since its founding.
DAO Founding & History: OpenLaw, which is the project behind the LAO, was founded in 2017 by Aaron Wright and David Roon. The LAO made its presence known in 2019 and went live in 2020. Both founders have deep links to the blockchain community and have been active contributors for years.
Neptune is a DAO that invests in liquidity opportunities within the DeFi ecosystem. Through a human-centric approach and a democratic voting procedure, Neptune leverages the need for liquidity pools and liquidity providers to make investments.
DAO Founding & History: NeptuneDAO was spun out of the LAO in early 2021 with the specific goal of providing liquidity to get DeFi projects up and running. Sam Cassatt, former CSO of ConsenSys, leads Alignment Engine, which acts as the DAO’s ‘facilitator’.
Komorebi Collective is a female-led investment DAO that invests exclusively in “exception female and nonbinary crypto founders.” The founders of the DAO noticed only 2.3% of venture funding found its way to women-led startups. Built on the Syndicate protocol, Komorebi is here to change this narrative.
DAO Founding & History: Many of Komorebi’s original founders come from the core She256 and Women in Blockchain teams including Manasi Vora, Eva Wu, Kristie Huang, Medha Kothari, and Kinjal Shah. Currently, there are 36 key signatories of the DAO and it has gained high profile investors such as Kleiner Perkins, Dragonfly Capital, etc.
Service DAOs are a renovated, more sophisticated, Web3 version of Linkedin. These communities operate as talent allocators, funneling human capital within and between DAOs. If you’re a freelancer looking for a space to find creative work, check out one of these spaces, which don’t only connect you with these channels, but give you ownership over the products of your work!
Raidguild is a design and dev agency building the future of web3. The DAO acts as a fellowship of the top builders, programmers, designers, and hustlers in the space committed to helping projects create positive-sum value for the Ethereum ecosystem.
DAO Founding & History: Raidguild is composed of members from MetaCartel, another DAO that is included on this list and are committed to the mantra “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” While Raidguild does collect profits, it uses those profits to fund development of open source tooling and public goods.
MetaFactory is a community owned culture studio focused on creating and selling digi-physical goods that celebrate and further the crypto movement.
DAO Founding & History: Drew Harding and Hammad Jutt co-founded Metafactory to pave the way for NFTs and crypto in the retail branding space. The DAO has already coordinated the release of a few different projects including Vaunker by Van, a project aimed at leveraging digital art to create physical products.
Llama is a DAO that has built a suite of products surrounding treasury management for other DAOs. They currently work with some of the largest DAOs in the space including Aave, Uniswap, Gitcoin, and Friends with Benefits.
DAO Founding & History: Shreyas Narayan founded Llama DAO after being offered money to help projects after ETHOnline’s hackathon support program. He posted the initial proposal in a MetaCartel forum in November of 2020, proving just how powerful the MetaCartel network is.
The Shiny Object Social Club is a DAO that aims to discover, share and help others learn about the most exciting technologies and trends (Web3, social tokens, Metaverse etc..) that are reshaping the world we live in. They also want to build and help others build useful and exciting things with these technologies empowering people along the way. As a Service DAO, the community helps companies create Token Gated Discord, NFTs, Notion Design and Consulting (DAO Specific), Treasury Creation (DAO Specific), Social Token Design, and more.
DAO Founding & History: Bullish about leveraging no-code tools to build apps and automate work—and teaching people to do so—Tom Osman draws on the theory of “Infinitely Scalable Individuals” to shape the community of the Shiny Object Social Club, which is currently in their foundational season of membership.
CabinDAO don themselves a “decentralized city built by creators, for creators.” Exploring a novel mix of IRl and virtual community, previous initiatives have spanned multiple realities, from NFT treasure hunts, to selling a literal cow on-chain (as an NFT), to crowdfunded co-living creator residencies.
DAO Founding & History: An EIR at Reforge and former director of product at Instacart, Jon Hillis has found himself entrenched in the creator ecosystem and its contingents for some time now. Aside from Creator Cabin, Jon’s other projects play around the same theses behind the DAO—capital.community sponsors a Creator Coop and a Creator Fellowship, and the Carrot Angels syndicate cycles reinvestment within the Instacart community.
Many Web3 communities are thriving today, and there are many more being created everyday, each with high-ambition goals and values. We’re highlighting in this section the up and coming DAOs, the ones you should take a closer look at if you haven’t heard of them already.
mCLUB is a grant-giving DAO incubated by Seed Club that recruits, backs, and supports creators onto the Mirror platform while offering learning experiences for those interested in creating and working within a DAO.
DAO Founding & History: mClub was created after Seedclub’s founders noticed a common frustration from their community. Indeed, many members were complaining how hard it is to “break into” existing DAOs. They created mCLUB as an opportunity for Seedclub members to go from 0 to 1 in setting up and operating a DAO and have hands-on experience. If you’re a creative person asking yourself how Web3 communities may add value in your life, mCLUB offers hands-on learning opportunities for newcomers.
Protein is reimagining and redefining a new meaning of growth for this exciting new world. By rebuilding its longtime community from the ground up, Protein seeks to create a place that encourages and nurtures a new definition of growth, based on mutual collaboration, conversation, and the needs of the community
DAO Founding & History: Harry and Fancy have created Protein almost 15 years ago. It's originally an agency based in London, a coworking space, and an event space. The community has always been at the heart of Protein and essentially, about 250 days ago, the community actually minted their $PRTN token to jump into the Web3 revolution. The protein community is a small knit community always shipping new products and sharing the best educational resources regarding Web3. They’ve recently shipped a bot to learn the terms in the crypto space and are growing their core contributors team daily. If you’re looking for a group of people offering education, expertise and funding, search no more.
OlympusDAO is a decentralized reserve currency protocol based on the OHM token. Its goal is to establish a medium-of-exchange currency (similar to how stablecoins operate currently) that is not pegged to fiat currency. The DAO governs and implements monetary policy for the currency.
DAO Founding & History: Olympus was founded by anonymous founders who go by the pseudonyms of Greek Gods led by Zues. Through a novel bonding process, high APY’s for early investors, and the viral (3,3) incentive scheme, Olympus has built a formidable community in the DeFi space and has spawned dozens of forks. The project has pioneered a few concepts in the DeFi space such as Protocol-owned Liquidity and Bonding-as-a-Service.
Vector DAO is a decentralized collective of designers, brand experts, and creatives pioneering a new way of working that tilts the scales back towards builders. The DAO’s mission is to accelerate mainstream adoption of crypto protocols through design and investment.
DAO Founding & History: Jon Yan co-founded Vector DAO as a way to leverage the network of designers working in web3 to incentivize building instead of investing. Vector DAO is meant to incentivize building for wealth creation just as investing does through a few neat tricks: VectorDAO only accepts token equity as payment for its services, the DAO provides members with diversification and ‘carry’ of projects similar to VC firms, and it allows workers to seamlessly enter and exit the system whenever they please.
Prime DAO is a collective focused on researching and building next-gen coordination tools for decentralized organizations. In the view of the organization, while dApps and chains are starting to operate frictionlessly, individuals and resources still don’t have a proper way of coordinating.
DAO Founding & History: Prime DAO was founded with the goal of building quality coordination tools and started as a joint venture between several projects working in the DAO space. Now operating as a full fledged public DAO, it has released three different products surrounding treasury management, risk management, and token swaps.