Blockchain and cryptocurrency basics

DAO – Decentralized Autonomous Organization

What is DAO or DAC?

decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), sometimes called a decentralized autonomous corporation (DAC), is an organization constructed by rules encoded as a computer program that is often transparent, controlled by the organization’s members and not influenced by a central government. In general terms, DAOs are member-owned communities without centralized leadership. A DAO’s financial transaction records and program rules are maintained on a blockchain. The precise legal status of this type of business organization is unclear.

A well-known example, intended for venture capital funding, was The DAO, which amassed 3.6 million ether (ETH) – Ethereum’s mining reward – then worth more than US$70 million in May 2016, and was hacked and drained of US$50 million in cryptocurrency weeks later. The hack was reversed in the following weeks, and the money restored, via a hard fork of the Ethereum blockchain. Most Ethereum miners and clients switched to the new fork while the original chain became Ethereum Classic.

Name Token Use cases Network Launch Status
The DAO DAO Venture capital Ethereum April 2016 Defunct late 2016 due to hack
ConstitutionDAO PEOPLE Purchasing an original copy of the Constitution of the United States Ethereum November 2021 Defunct
PleasrDAO PEEPS A group of art collectors who own the sole copy of a Wu Tang Clan album Ethereum April 2021 Operational
FreeRossDAO FREE Clemency for Ross Ulbricht, criminal justice reform advocacy organization Ethereum December 2021 Operational
AssangeDAO JUSTICE Purchased Clock, an NFT artwork by Pak, to fund legal defense of WikiLeaks‘ founder Julian Assange Ethereum February 2022 Operational
MakerDAO MKR Lender, stablecoin creator Ethereum December 2017 Operational
MoonDAO MOONEY Purchased tickets to send members to space on flights NS-22 and NS-24 Ethereum November 2021 Operational
Uniswap UNI Exchange, Automated Market Making Ethereum & Celo November 2018 Operational




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