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Bankless created a DAO that grew its business

Published by
Andrew Warner
November 16, 2022
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Lucas Campbell worked at BanklessHQ, a small blog and podcast company with decent revenue and a big mission: get millions of people into web3.

He pushed the company to create a DAO. This is the story of how they did it and how the DAO helped grow their business and mission.

Read the tightly edited transcript below 👇 or listen to the podcast:

We're on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts

Interviewer: Why did you suggest that Bankless launch a DAO?

Lucas: I was the first employee at BanklessHQ, in June 2020. I took over the newsletter to help it scale, so founders Ryan Sean Adams and David Hoffman could focus on the podcast.

We built a passionate community that loved our content and web3 mission. Hundreds of thousands of people were passively consuming our content. I said, “Can we turn these passive people into active contributors?”

Interviewer: What does BanklessDAO do to BanklessHQ’s mission?

Lucas: It gives us scale.

Interviewer: It also gives you a token, BANK. It’s given to DAO members in return for their contributions and it comes with governance power. What’s an idea the community came up with using that power?

Lucas: BanklessDAO launched 4 or 5 media publications.

Maybe 2 to 4 podcasts.

It’s hard to keep track of everything. But they create lots more content.

They also created novel products, like Bankless Academy, which offers lessons about crypto. It’s absolutely gorgeous.

Another idea worth highlighting is Bankless Consulting. They have tons of clients, including BanklessHQ.

Interviewer: How did you distribute ownership of the DAO?

Lucas: We rewarded two groups:

Premium subscribers. When someone subscribed, we gave them a POAP (Proof of Attendance Protocol). So there was a 2020 badge and a 2021 badge. We gave tokens to those badge holders

Gitcoin Grant contributors. In the early days, BanklessHQ was completely funded by Gitcoin Grants. Anyone who contributed there was airdropped our tokens.

Interviewer: What was BanklessHQ’s revenue before the DAO was created?

Lucas: I’m not sure I could speak to it.

We had 50,000 free subscribers, and maybe 5,000 paid subscribers.

Interviewer: I think you charged $22 per month, so I calculate about $110,000 per month in revenue. Plus advertising.

Where are the numbers now?

Lucas: We saw a massive spike in free signups, paid signups, everything.

Free signups jumped 5X. Paid grew 3X - 5X.

Interviewer: Will BanklessDAO be more valuable than BanklessHQ?

Lucas: That’s the goal. I think at some point the goal is for BanklessDAO to eat HQ. HQ should be a subsidiary of the DAO

The full interview also has:

  • Why BanklessDAO did well when other media DAOs didn’t.
  • What happened to the community when BanklessDAO’s token, BANK, dropped in value.
  • How BanklessHQ is thinking about its next move: software for web3.

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