Decentralized Autonomous Organizations: Financial Guide
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 9 min read


  1. What are Decentralized Autonomous Organizations?
  2. How do Decentralized Autonomous Organizations work?
  3. Financial structure of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations
  4. How to invest in Decentralized Autonomous Organizations
  5. Risks and benefits of investing in Decentralized Autonomous Organizations
  6. Case studies of successful Decentralized Autonomous Organizations
  7. Future potential of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations
  8. How to start your own Decentralized Autonomous Organization

Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) are shaking up the financial world—and for good reason. Understanding the financial implications of DAOs is like finding a new route in a familiar neighborhood: you discover shortcuts and pitfalls that can change your journey entirely. This guide will give you the inside scoop on the financial structure, risks, benefits, and case studies of successful DAOs. Plus, we'll touch on the future potential of DAOs and how you might start your own. So, buckle up and let's get started.

What are Decentralized Autonomous Organizations?

At the most basic level, DAOs are organizations run by rules encoded as computer programs called smart contracts. Sounds a bit like sci-fi, right? Well, the future is now. Imagine a business without a traditional management structure, where decisions are made by a community of stakeholders. That's a DAO for you.

DAOs operate on blockchain technology, the same tech that powers cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. The major difference, however, is that DAOs are not just about trading digital coins. They're about making decisions, managing resources, and governing an organization—all done in a decentralized manner. In other words, power is spread out, not concentrated at the top.

Here's a breakdown of the main features of DAOs:

  • Decentralization: No single person or group holds all the authority. Rather, control is spread out among members. Imagine a board meeting where everyone has an equal say—that's decentralization in action.
  • Autonomy: DAOs operate independently and are not controlled by a central authority. Think of it like a self-driving car—it knows the rules and follows them without needing a driver.
  • Blockchain-based: All the transactions and decisions in a DAO are stored on a blockchain. It's like a public ledger that everyone can see, but no one can tamper with.

Now that we've covered what DAOs are, it's time for the exciting part: understanding the financial implications of DAOs. This knowledge can open up new opportunities for investment and potentially even starting your own DAO. So, let's dive in.

How do Decentralized Autonomous Organizations work?

Now let's talk about how DAOs actually work. Understanding this will give us a solid foundation to explore their financial implications. Buckle up, it's going to be a fun ride!

At the heart of every DAO is a set of rules, known as a protocol. These rules are coded into smart contracts. Think of these contracts as kind of like the DNA of the DAO— they define how it functions and behaves.

Here's a simplified step-by-step process of how DAOs work:

  1. Formulating the Rules: The first thing that happens when a DAO is created is that the founders define the rules of the DAO. These rules are then coded into a smart contract. For example, the rules might outline how decisions are made, how funds are allocated, and what happens if there's a dispute.
  2. Deploying the DAO: The smart contract is then deployed on a blockchain. This is like planting a seed in the ground. The DAO is now live, but it's just the beginning of its life.
  3. Funding the DAO: Next, the DAO needs resources to operate. These resources are usually in the form of a cryptocurrency, like Ethereum. The founders might put in some initial funds, but usually, anyone can contribute. In return, contributors receive tokens, which represent their stake in the DAO.
  4. Governing the DAO: Now, the DAO is up and running. It's time for the stakeholders (the token holders) to start making decisions. They propose and vote on proposals according to the rules set out in the smart contract. The more tokens a member has, the more weight their vote carries.
  5. Implementing Decisions: Once a decision is made, the smart contract automatically executes it. This could be anything from allocating funds to a project, to making changes to the DAO's rules. It all happens automatically and transparently, thanks to the magic of smart contracts!

What's really revolutionary about DAOs is how they handle decision-making. Traditional organizations have managers and executives who make decisions. But in a DAO, everyone has a say. This can lead to more democratic and fair outcomes. But it also presents its own challenges, which we'll discuss in a later section.

Now that you understand how DAOs work, let's get into the meat of this guide—the financial implications of DAOs. Ready?

Financial Structure of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations

So, you know how DAOs operate. Now, let's dig deeper into their financial structure. By understanding this, you'll be better equipped to grasp the financial implications of DAOs.

DAOs, like traditional companies, have a financial structure. But there are some key differences that make DAOs unique in their own right. Let's break down the financial structure of DAOs:

  1. Capital: DAOs are usually self-funded. Remember those tokens we mentioned earlier? They play a pivotal role here. When you contribute funds to a DAO, you receive tokens in return. These tokens represent your stake in the DAO and your voting power. The funds contributed become the capital that the DAO uses to execute its projects.
  2. Revenue: DAOs can generate revenue in several ways. They might charge fees for services, earn interest on investments, or benefit from the appreciation of assets they hold. Unlike traditional companies, DAOs don't have CEOs or shareholders to pay. So, all profits can be reinvested back into the DAO, distributed to token holders, or used in any way the members decide.
  3. Expenditure: DAOs also have expenses. These could be costs related to projects they're funding, operational costs, or even transaction fees on the blockchain. The key difference here is that the spending decisions are made collectively by the DAO members, not a select few individuals.

Now, here's where things get a little different. In a traditional company, you'd have a finance department managing all this. But in a DAO, it's all handled by smart contracts and the collective decision-making of the members. It's like having a communal wallet that everyone has a say in how it's used.

One more thing worth noting is that all financial transactions in a DAO are transparent and traceable. This is one of the many financial implications of DAOs that we'll explore in the next sections.

With this understanding of the financial structure of DAOs, you're now ready to explore how to invest in them. Excited? You should be!

How to Invest in Decentralized Autonomous Organizations

It's time to venture into the world of DAO investments. Investing in DAOs is quite different from buying shares in a company or adding a new stock to your portfolio. Instead, you're basically buying a piece of the decision-making process within a DAO. Remember, every token you hold gives you a say in the DAO's future decisions.

So, how do you get started? Here are the steps:

  1. Research: Just like any investment, you need to do your homework. Look into different DAOs, their missions, past projects, and financial health. Check out their governance model and make sure you're comfortable with it. Remember, once you invest, you're part of that governance structure.
  2. Buy Tokens: Once you've picked a DAO, you'll need to buy its tokens. These are usually bought with Ethereum (ETH), but some DAOs may accept other cryptocurrencies. So, make sure you've got your crypto wallet ready.
  3. Participate: After buying tokens, you're officially a member of the DAO. Now, you can participate in decision-making, propose new projects, and even stand for leadership roles within the DAO. The more active you are, the more influence you'll have.

Keep in mind that investing in DAOs isn't just about making a quick buck. It's about being part of a community and shaping the future of a project or even an industry. So, choose a DAO that aligns with your interests and values.

Remember, just like any investment, putting your money in DAOs carries risks. We'll talk about those risks—and the potential benefits—in the next section. Stay tuned!

Risks and Benefits of Investing in Decentralized Autonomous Organizations

Investing in DAOs, like any other type of investment, comes with its own set of risks and rewards. Let's take a look at both sides of the coin to give you a well-rounded view of the financial implications of DAOs.


  • Democratic Decision Making: DAOs operate on a principle of collective decision-making. This means you get a say in the projects or initiatives the DAO undertakes. Your voice matters.
  • Transparency: With everything recorded on the blockchain, there's a level of transparency that's hard to find in traditional organizations. You can see where funds are going and how decisions are made.
  • Potential for High Returns: If the DAO is successful in its projects, the value of your tokens could increase significantly. Some DAOs also distribute profits among token holders.


  • Regulatory Uncertainty: DAOs are a relatively new concept and regulations around them are still developing. This can lead to legal uncertainties and potential risks.
  • Dependence on Smart Contracts: DAOs rely heavily on smart contracts, which are automated contracts on the blockchain. If there's a bug in the contract, it can lead to significant losses.
  • Volatility: The value of DAO tokens can fluctuate wildly, just like any cryptocurrency. This means your investment value can go up and down in a short span of time.

As you can see, investing in DAOs can be both exciting and nerve-racking. It's essential to balance the potential high returns with the inherent risks. And as always, never invest more than you can afford to lose.

Case Studies of Successful Decentralized Autonomous Organizations

Now that we've covered the financial implications of DAOs, let's peek into some real-world examples of successful Decentralized Autonomous Organizations. These case studies will certainly help you understand the potential and the practical application of DAOs.

1. The DAO: Despite its infamous hack, The DAO is a prime example of the potential of DAOs. It raised over $150 million in a crowd sale, making it one of the largest crowdfunding campaigns in history. Although a security flaw led to the loss of a significant portion of funds, it served as a crucial learning experience for future DAOs.

2. MakerDAO: MakerDAO has been a flagship project in the DeFi (Decentralized Finance) space. It allows users to create and manage a cryptocurrency (DAI) that is pegged to the US dollar, providing stability in the otherwise volatile crypto market.

3. Aragon: Aragon is a platform that allows anyone to create and manage a DAO. They have helped launch thousands of DAOs, demonstrating the increasing interest in this decentralized form of organization.

4. MolochDAO: MolochDAO is a grant-making DAO focused on funding Ethereum projects. It was designed with simplicity and security in mind, using a minimum viable DAO framework.

These case studies highlight the diversity and potential of DAOs. From crowdfunding to stablecoins, and grant-making, DAOs are reshaping the landscape of organizational structure and investment opportunities in the blockchain world.

Future Potential of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations

Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, or DAOs as they're better known, are still in their infancy, but boy, do they have potential! Imagine a world where traditional businesses are replaced by DAOs. This isn't some far-off fantasy — it's the direction we're heading in.

The financial implications of DAOs are transformative. They could redefine how we work, invest, and make decisions. DAOs are bringing power back to the people — but how exactly?

1. Democratizing Decision-Making: In a DAO, everyone has a say. They are governed by their members, which means decisions are made collectively. This could lead to more equitable outcomes and a shift away from top-heavy decision-making.

2. Reducing Corruption: The transparent nature of DAOs could help reduce corruption. All transactions and decisions are recorded on the blockchain, making it harder for unscrupulous activities to go unnoticed.

3. Fostering Innovation: DAOs are ideal for funding new projects. They provide a platform for innovators to pitch their ideas directly to potential investors. This could lead to a surge in creativity and disruptive ideas.

4. Improving Efficiency: DAOs operate on smart contracts, automating many administrative tasks. This could drastically reduce overhead costs and improve efficiency.

While the promise of DAOs is exciting, it's not without its challenges. Issues around regulation, security, and governance still need to be addressed. But one thing's for sure — DAOs are here to stay, and they're set to shake up the financial world as we know it.

How to Start Your Own Decentralized Autonomous Organization

Starting your own Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) might sound like a daunting task, but it's not as complicated as you might think. Let's break down the process into bite-sized steps, much like how you'd approach a jigsaw puzzle.

1. Idea Formation: First things first, you need a solid idea. What will your DAO do? How will it benefit members? Take some time to brainstorm, and once you're confident in your idea, you're ready for the next step.

2. Community Building: DAOs thrive on community. Start engaging with like-minded individuals who share your vision. You can use social media platforms, forums, or networking events to build your community.

3. Drafting the Rules: Your DAO needs a set of rules. These are the guidelines that will determine how decisions are made and how the DAO operates. It's crucial that these rules are clear and agreed upon by all members.

4. Development: Now, you need to develop the smart contracts that will power your DAO. This will require some coding skills or the help of a developer. The contracts should be thoroughly tested to ensure they function correctly.

5. Launch: Once everything is in place, you're ready to launch your DAO. Congratulations! But remember, this is just the beginning. A DAO is a living organism that needs care and attention to grow.

The financial implications of DAOs are profound and starting your own DAO can be an exciting journey. Just remember, with great power comes great responsibility. Good luck!

If you found the topic of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations intriguing and want to explore more about the financial side of the digital art world, we recommend checking out the workshop 'Intro to NFTs' by Andrea Orejarena. This workshop will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of NFTs and their role in the creative economy, which can be beneficial when diving into the world of decentralized finance.