To kick off our second season, we have a special conversation with John, the Governance Operator at SafeDAO, interviewed by Renee Davis, the founder of talentDAO. Their discussion covers how SafeDAO was spun out of Gnosis Safe, why it was founded, and how it’s governed. The interview was recorded live on the floor of the Cryptoeconomics and Governance Community Hub in Bogota in October 2022.
GnosisSafe started in 2017, building core infrastructure for Ethereum. Not wanting to go down the same old web2 path, John and his team decided to become a DAO and issue a token. They also set up a Swiss foundation, the Safe Foundation, similar to the Ethereum Foundation, with the goal of shepherding the Safe protocol. At the moment, John is focused on fostering an ecosystem around SafeDAO.
- Look at the North Star. Get the core mission aligned with core participants.
- Don’t jump into initiatives before establishing an operating model.
- Understand the legal and regulatory environment.
SafeDAO wanted to reward those who contributed to its adoption. When the team looked at users of the Safe, they found that DAOs were using it to manage their core contracts and their treasuries. This aligned with the team’s desire to reward entities rather than specific individuals.
Most people know Gnosis Safe for its treasury capabilities, but it’s also a smart contract system and a developer ecosystem. What are some things that smart contracts can do that people might not know about?
One of the most untapped things in web3 is the ability to program a smart contract with flexibility. If an individual owns an NFT, they can now loan it to someone else and that person can attend events or do what the NFT allows its owner to do, for as long as that loan is in existence. Meanwhile, the original owner’s assets are safeguarded as well.
The first thing was getting aligned around a North Star. It would have been better if the whole team had been aligned on the goals and metrics that SafeDAO was designed to resolve. Beyond that, token distribution has to be managed very thoughtfully. Things would have gone more smoothly if SafeDAO had allocated more resources and made time to project manage. Be slow and don’t move fast, don’t break things.
The new space of delegation. SafeDAO initially wanted everyone to be involved in everything, but this isn’t practical. No one can be informed enough to vote on every single proposal. Once we had delegates in place, the excitement shifted to exploring ways to reward them.
People in this space are talking about the role of a “protocol politician.” Is this the best way to describe the future of delegation?
SafeDAO avoids using the word “politician.” There’s a fear that it will turn us into a lobbying industry full of bribery and malpractice. The most vocal people on crypto Twitter are not necessarily the most valuable people. Quiet introverts may add much more value to a project or protocol.
For one, the new space of retroactive funding. SafeDAO is a big fan of exploring different ways to do capital allocation and retroactively rewarding contributions that are made toward public goods.
SafeDAO definitely plans to go down the Guardians route, that is, our retroactive funding for contributions to the Safe ecosystem. SafeDAO is also looking at a grants program for rewarding initiatives for monitoring and milestone-setting.This text will be hidden