Why did we put together a list of every tool you need to build a DAO on your own even though we at Origami are in the business of building and growing DAOs?
Because when we talked with DAO creators who applied to work with us we noticed that some aren't ready for our enterprise-level solution. Still, we want to bring the power of DAOs to as many communities as possible. So, if we're not the right solution for you, we created this toolbox to give you everything you need to build a DAO on your own. Of course, if you think we can help your community form and grow a DAO, do contact us.
Your DAO only needs 3 things: Community, Consensus & Capital. That’s it. Everything else gives it a superpower or makes it more fun or otherwise adds to its mission.
Let’s look at the tools you can use to do all three.
Essential 1: Community
This is simply the way your members can communicate with each other and access their private content.
Your community needs a way to communicate with each other. If you’re reading this, you probably know what chat software you’ll use, so feel free to skip this section.
Discord has every feature your members need — and, frankly, a lot of excess features that will get in their way. It’s popular because it allows conversations to be broken up into channels & enables you to grant channel access based on your member’s roles. For DAOs that plan to grow big, there’s no better choice.
A good example of how it’s used is PubDAO, which loads different channels based on member interests.
Telegram is the choice for the OGs, “Older Generation,” of crypto. But it’s still worth considering for others because it’s clean and simple. Everything happens in one channel, so it’s easy to navigate. If you show it to someone new, they can understand it within a day. The downside is that, as your community grows and has multiple conversations, important conversations can get lost because they’ll all be combined in a single channel.
WhatsApp isn’t really a good choice, but it’s here because some DAOs started as WhatsApp groups and never migrated away. Its big limitation is that it doesn’t integrate well with gatekeeping software, as you’ll see in the next section.
Discourse has one big advantage. It’s easily accessible on the web. Each of the other chat apps pushes viewers to create a username or download software. Discourse is easily available on the Web, each message is Google-able and open to anyone who wants to click on it.
A good example of Uniswap’s DAO governance, where you can easily see what’s been discussed.
This software keeps the wrong people out and allows the right people into your community. It also manages what aspects of your community your members can access, like its tasks and documentation.
Collab.Land is the most dependable and popular gatekeeper.
It plugs into your Discord or Telegram community and acts as a verification mechanism. After your members connect their wallets to it, Collab.Land will make sure they have the token or NFT your DAO requires. If they do, they’ll be granted access to your community.
Since it’s the most popular identity verification service in the DAO world, your members are more likely to have connected their wallets to Collab.Land than any other service, which adds a layer of trust and reduces friction.
If your members sell or otherwise give up their tokens or NFTs, Collab.Land instantly boots them from your chat.
Simple. Efficient. Dependable.
Guild takes single token gating further and allows you to set up more complex membership structures to manage access to more of your DAO's software from a single interface.
Requirements are composable and can include assets on close to 20 chains, custom contracts like POAPs or Disco verifiable credentials, as well as social traits from Twitter, GitHub, and Steam.
Guild plugs into Telegram and Discord but also connects to Google Workspace and GitHub. With the SDK it can be used to establish membership-gated areas on websites and in applications too.
Essential 2: Consensus
To achieve its mission, your DAO needs a way of coming to an agreement on what it should do and how it should be led. That’s where consensus tools come in.
Discord Emojis are a surprisingly effective way for DAOs to achieve consensus, even at DAOs with sophisticated legal structures, like VC3, the venture capital DAO. Emoji voting happens in a chat room where a question is put up for a vote and members often have one of three emojis to pick from yes, no, or abstain.
jokedao offers a more sophisticated decision-making process, with easy voting mechanics. jokedao allows multi-step voting. Members can open up a topic that needs a decision. Then, they can add their proposals for that topic. Finally, they can vote on the proposal that they want to support.
DAOs use jokedao because it’s inexpensive (costs a fraction of a US penny per transaction), decentralized (lets communities share ideas), on-chain (enabling better oversight and rewards), gamified (creates governance strategy games), and has good configuration for complex governance options.
Snapshot is an off-chain voting mechanism. That means voting is feeless. It also means that the results of a vote aren’t automatic. That allows a DAO to protect itself against nefarious or unfriendly voters, like someone who gains 51% of the DAO’s voting power and votes to have the DAO send them the full contents of its treasury.
Essential 3: Capital
A DAO needs capital to execute the community’s objectives. Without a growing treasury, a DAO might as well be a Facebook group. These are the tools for managing a DAO’s treasury.
These tools help a DAO raise money.
Juicebox is an easy way for a DAO to crowdfund and manage its treasury. It enables on-chain configuration of the rules for receiving and making payments, allocating reserves, and minting tokens, which can be used to grant governance rights, community access, and perks.
Y33T allows money to automatically go to the DAO’s treasury and gives non-voting shares back. Members of the DAO can withdraw their portion of the remaining funds at any time by ragequitting.
These tools help ensure your DAOs assets don’t get looted or lost.
Gnosis Safe is where the DAO’s money is held. It’s like a wallet whose content can’t be used until a predefined number of people sign off on it. It prevents a single person from controlling the DAO’s treasury.
The side effect is that the people with sign-off power can disregard what the DAO votes on because they have ultimate control over what happens with the multisig wallet. Some DAOs prefer this because they want a human barrier to votes that are inconsistent with its values.
DAOHaus enables a community to manage its collective funds without trusting a subset of members to do so on their behalf. If members vote using DAOHaus’ voting mechanism, what members vote on gets enacted automatically, without having a small subset of wallet holders needing to ok it.
Governor is similar to DAOhaus in that it allows trustless execution. What the DAO votes to do with its treasury automatically gets enacted. Unlike DAOHaus it uses tokens for voting. Its drawback is that it can lead DAOs to fall victim to plutocracy, where members with the most coins control the DAO, or voting attacks, in which a member could buy or borrow enough tokens to control the DAO’s treasury.
Remox is a simplified and collaborative treasury management tool for DAOs. It offers a 9-in-1 platform for DAOs to manage multi-wallets, run payroll, onboard contributors, do budgeting & reporting, bookkeeping & accounting, and make investments in DeFi, while mitigating risks with dynamic risk assessments.
Creating a legal entity protects DAO members from being personally liable for the DAO’s debts, obligations, and other liabilities. It also enables the DAO to hold assets, protect intellectual property and enter into contracts (especially with exchanges). These organizations can set up your entity.
MIDAO sets up Limited Liability Companies in the Marshall Islands. By incorporating in the Marshall Islands, DAOs get the legal support of a country that formally recognizes DAOs and has the full strategic backing of the United States, without putting the DAO under US jurisdiction. Setting up an LLC in the Marshall Islands also allows most of a DAO’s members to remain anonymous, an option that’s not available in many other jurisdictions.
Walkers is an international law firm that can set a DAO up with a Cayman Island entity known as a “foundation company.” As in a typical company, a foundation can enter into contracts and is managed by directors. Unlike a company, the foundation doesn’t need shareholders. It can be as ownerless as the DAO it represents.
Once your DAO is in place, these tools will help you manage it and give benefits to your members.
CharmVerse is a Notion-like app that allows DAOs to publish docs, create tasks for members and offer bounties and facilitate voting. It is also a place to manage your members. For DAOs on Notion, it has an import feature to transfer your info in a few clicks.
Dework offers Web3 project management software that lets DAOs pay their contributors with their DAO’s tokens.
Coordinape enables DAOs to compensate members for what it considers valuable.
Utopia helps manage expenses and payroll. It empowers contributors with frictionless expense and reimbursement requests. And it offers recurring payments to team members and core contributors in USD or token values.
Clarity offers documentation and task organization. It makes member onboarding and work coordination easier.
Opolis is a payroll and benefits provider. It’s compliant, semi-monthly payroll is paid in US Dollars, and allows for a portion of paychecks to be paid in digital currencies. Its benefits include health, dental and vision insurance. It also offers Flexible Spending (FSA) and Health Savings (HSA), as well as retirement plans.
Karma provides DAOs with analytics tools to strengthen DAO governance. It tracks and analyzes governance contributions and helps DAOs get visibility into their contributors, increase engagement and improve accountability.
This guide was created by Andrew Warner and Zeugh, Origami’s community lead, using the framework in David Phelps’ Twitter thread.
It was written with help from Spencer of DAOHaus, who made sure it represented the ethos of trusting communities.
John and Erin of List of DAOs helped round out the tools included here.
JohnSmith.eth proofread this document and caught some embarrassing typos.
⚠️ Did we miss anything worth adding? Tell us: Andrew@joinOrigami.com
Aragon DAO talks with Origami about the recent attack on its treasury funding and what other DAOs can learn from it.
An open discussion with people building real estate DAOs
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