Decentralized Autonomous Organization Design for the Commons and the Common Good

28 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2023 Last revised: 19 May 2023

Date Written: April 14, 2023

Abstract

The current internet economy is characterized by a historically unprecedented bundling of private sector power over infrastructures. This situation is harmful for overcoming problems where collective action is needed, such as for governing digital commons. Organizations that run on collectively owned decentralized infrastructure are able to overcome this centralization of power. These common decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) could help in fostering digitally enabled collective action.

However, currently we have no clear view of how a DAO designed for commons governance would operate and be governed. By creating a conceptual prototype of a DAO governing a common, we provide a clear path of how common DAOs should mature and which tools are needed to create them.

In this research, we created a governance framework for common DAO by combining 16 works on technology for commons governance. We provide three results. First, the framework reveals that common DAO governance consists of three areas: 1) Governance structure, 2) Enabling technology, and 3) Community governance.

Second, we provide governance mechanisms that together describe an implementation of Ostrom's common governance principles in a DAO. Third, we bring the commons DAO to life by describing its use in a scenario.

This works is a synthesis of previous research on technology for collective action. The proposed framework aids in standardizing DAO governance for the common good and may contribute to a large scale roll-out of commons DAOs.

Keywords: Decentralized Autonomous Organization, Blockchain, Smart Contracts, Commons Governance

Suggested Citation

van Vulpen, Paul and Jansen, Slinger, Decentralized Autonomous Organization Design for the Commons and the Common Good (April 14, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4418782 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4418782

Paul Van Vulpen (Contact Author)

Utrecht University ( email )

Vredenburg 138
Utrecht, 3511 BG
Netherlands

Slinger Jansen

Utrecht University ( email )

Vredenburg 138
Utrecht, 3511 BG
Netherlands

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