CityDAO in 2023 - Request for comment

CityDAO in 2023

What’s working well

  • Funding Entrepreneurial teams: CityDAO is finding its stride by funding entrepreneurial teams working on projects. I am really loving seeing all the projects - web3city, t0wn, DAOLabs, Hashland - even a bit of healthily competitive energy within the DAO to build cool things.

What needs improvement

  • Value capture: CityDAO has voted to give away large amounts of money without clear path to return. We are a unique type of entity and I would love to see us not just be totally profit-motivated, but I do think it would be nice to fund things where there is a path to CityDAO recuperating funds. Ideally, CityDAO can fund a couple projects that replenish the treasury, so that it can continue the cycle of funding projects and public goods.
  • Ownership: Most DAO activities can just be projects, but I do think the DAO should establish 3 DAO-wide roles: Finance Lead, Legal Lead, and Operations Lead. Other than that, everything else is a project. For each role, the responsibilities should be super clearly scoped out. This is critical because there is no leader who can fire people. But for example, if the lead is not delivering on their clear responsibility, the DAO can vote to replace them.


Sunsetting guilds. I recommend sunsetting guilds after Q4 and moving all activity to projects. In addition, there can be 3 DAO wide roles: Finance Lead, Legal Lead, and Operations Lead. Other than that, everything else is a project.

Improve governance by passing CIP-126 (CIP-126: Updates to CityDAO Governance - “6 Months In”): This switches CityDAO to one wallet = one vote, streamlines governance, and fixes a potential upcoming quorum deadlock.

Developing a clear framework for what proposals we are excited to fund. For example, specifying we are looking for proposals related to city building or land acquisition with a crypto component, and making it clear these proposals need to contribute to the CityDAO ecosystem. Others may have different opinions (for example: CityDAO should just give all its money away in no-strings attached grants.) Having a framework is important so that we aren’t just taking whatever falls in our lap.

Thoughts? What do you think are the biggest opportunities for improvement?


What is the mechanism for responding to what the citizenship and potential citizens want? Voting on projects is a good start but how does the mission evolve to reflect the community’s wants and needs, as well as their responsibilities?

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Thanks for this @scottfits. Personally, I am all for a focus on returning profits to CityDAO. We don’t have to be a traditional company that only cares about returns, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look out for the long-term health of the DAO.

One thing to add is that the permanent roles might be a bit too lean.

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I agree that projects should be considering how proposals deplete the treasury, instead providing pathways for treasury maintenance and growth. I also agree that our lack of HR functions, including appraisals and consequences, could be improved. To that end, putting a lot of power in the hands of three people seems problematic, unless they are independently appraised and there are consequences.

For sunsetting the guilds, Education & Research may put up a separate CIP at the end of Q4 to continue, as I believe we have been continuing to add value to CityDAO through initiatives including the conference (which has led to CityDAO being invited to various large web3 ed tech conferences), the Inholland University CityDAO studies, the CityDAO University proposal (coming soon), Taptive partnership, Teach Anythings, upcoming courses and potential books. Of course, these can be run as standalone projects, but they all function under Education & Research, so we may try to keep that guild intact.


Initial thoughts: I’m on-board with this. There’s details to sort out, but conceptually I’m in so far :mechanical_arm:

I definitely agree that sunsetting guilds is a good move. I don’t think I agree with the proposed 3 DAO wide rules. I am curious why those specific roles were chosen above other possibilities like a community manager or a communications lead. I would like to see a period with everything aligned to projects (no guilds and no DAO wide leads) to find out what comes about naturally and if it works well.

I agree it is important to have some framework for choosing CityDAO projects, and I think we already have this! I think the key metric of Citizen Time is right on, and we can evaluate proposals on how much potential there is for Citizen Time.

My concern with total project alignment is that it will turn into silos. I get that sense already with the current projects. I think a community feel is something that is lacking in CityDAO, and thus one of the biggest opportunities for improvement.


Excellent comments @melissa! I agree with your points.


Brainstorming on this, key metrics/questions for projects could be:

  • Does the project bring in revenue or fix an existing issue for CityDAO? (achieve one or both)
  • Does the project increase Citizen Time?

I like the concept of Citizen Time a lot because it insinuates building or doing something IRL as well as focusing on and developing community, all in two words, and it can be measured. To me, at these early stages, CityDAO efforts are all about increasing Citizen Time via a blockchain backbone.

That said, a homogenous operational framework continues to be a stick in the mud. We have all these great tools to use, but some are using this one and others are using that one, no one is using this one, etc. I think it’s always good to get back to fundamentals, especially in a time of transition. Guild facilitators/core contributors/CityDAO as a whole should agree on one system to describe, assign teams for, track, and complete all projects and tasks. And then agree to use it routinely. Honestly, I can see this warranting 20 minutes in a community call, or even a non-monetary Snapshot vote. I think it could solve a lot of communication issues or gaps.

So yeah, two biggest things to improve would be establishing community strengthening as a key metric for projects and establishing and agreeing on one system to use for project updating, coordination, and transparency. (This would also make it easier for a Transparency Dashboard to get data feeds from.)


Another point of view ;

I did host some Twitter Spaces for CityDAO. Every time i talked with guests and mentioned about guild structure, every single one admired the idea and thought that is a great wasy to govern. People chosen by community who will help develop DAO. Same thing happened at events that i participated.

I see guilds as an ASSET that we dont use very well. We have to focus on guilds, their works, set KPIs and follow, updates for community and so on… I mean the issue is that we dont actually track their daily, weekly participation. If a guild is not working or not adding a value to DAO, lets change the structure. But if a guild is actually daily working for CityDAO, instead of removing it, we have to encourage their work and actually promote their work.

Guilds are our Assets ! Again

In addition the guilds above, i would say we should continue with community, media and dev also.

If needed i can tell many reasons why

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Developing a clear framework for what proposals we are excited to fund. For example, specifying we are looking for proposals related to city building or land acquisition with a crypto component, and making it clear these proposals need to contribute to the CityDAO ecosystem. Others may have different opinions (for example: CityDAO should just give all its money away in no-strings attached grants.) Having a framework is important so that we aren’t just taking whatever falls in our lap.

I agree on this as a place that needs improvement The latest proposal on Harberger Tax NFT marketplace has put this top of mind for me.

The way CIPs are done now its just sort of first come first serve. So while I might like CIP 129, I might like a different future CIP better, but I can’t see into the future. As a result we may be spending money on something that would be a second choice if all CIPs were voted on together. So, here’s a few ideas on how to fix:

  1. only vote on large value projects (>$100k?) at certain time intervals, say every 3 months. Leading up to the vote, people will post their CIPs and have discussions. Then on the day of the vote, the snapshot will be a multichoice vote. Select as many CIPs as you want to be funded. Or alternatively add some budget component where CityDAO sets some kind of quarterly spend limit, so CIPs will be funded up until the point where the spend limit is reached.

  2. Maybe there is a smaller category of <20k USD proposals where we will fund up to 5 per quarter and that is more on a rolling basis. Every quarter / 6 months we would put out a clear “Request for Applications” about what kind of proposals we want to see, and we could even have an CityDAO team do a preliminary scoring of each proposal when submitted based on predetermined factors. (I.e. Advances CityDAO Citizen Time, likelihood of success, strength of project team, cost, etc.) If the applicant feels that the CityDAO team has mischaracterized the proposal there will be a chance to make updates.

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I agree with the goal of sunsetting guilds, though I will say that the Education and Research Guild has been valuable to me. So hopefully there is a way for that work to continue… maybe just renamed as a Project, or kept as a guild.

I think what is interesting to me is trying to find how we can run CityDAO with the least amount of overhead as possible, and everything else be project or contract based. So what is the bare minimum? Do we need a community lead? Or do we contract out the job of moderating the Discord on 3 month basis. And another contract for writing the weekly newsletter. and another for meet up events? Do we have some type of DAO leadership role that is allowed to create the contract and assign it to someone without everything having to go to a snapshot vote? I think that would be preferable. As a citizen I want the basics of CityDAO to just happen, I don’t want to have to vote on every little thing. But I do want to vote on large projects, and mission and direction.

There will have to be some overhead, which I think is the intent behind having 3 DAO wide roles, but I’d want to know more about what each of those roles would do, so I agree on having these be very well scoped out and some kind of term limit where they can be voted out if necessary.

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I was thinking along the same lines as this too. Moving forward, it would be interesting to divide the Treasury into chunks over -for example-, a 24mth period.

Something like;

  1. One grant per month at $5k x 24mths = $120k
  2. One grant every quarter at $25k over 24mths = $200k
  3. One grant every quarter at $100k over 24mths = $800k
  4. One grant every ____ or ‘special grant’ of over $250k every 6 months over 24mths = $1million

And some of the criteria could be;

  1. Must be related to/connected with CityDAO in some clear way
  2. Must have a consideration for replenishing the CityDAO treasury
  3. Must have a proposal that answers X,Y,Z questions in advance before proposing -TBD-

Just a brainstorm calculation for discussion purposes of course

imho CIP-129 is a cost saver from other existing projects so the net value of it is less that what’s being proposed, and it’s also the only larger project on the table right now, but moving forward if there was a schedule of sorts it could be great for circulating through the ecosystem, driving interest in CityDAO and give us a clear 24mth runway to replenish the treasury

Overall I like your train of thought, and I’d be happy to volunteer as support in coordinating some of these discussions and finding some consensus & process on them

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Ya the ‘which Guilds are necessary’ topic came up in the past with various opinions :sweat_smile:

Everyone kinda agrees that accounting, legal, operations are bare minimum necessities

Then things like Media, Education, Events etc fall into a kind of grey/debatable territory

The more a project/guild is focused on treasury replenishment in some capacity, then the easier it is to justify, although that’s easier said than done in most cases

I like how you broke it down into those four chunks. Something like that could work. And it helps set expectations of how much money we can spend over 24 months. We could have some language that we could fund something outside that window with a 500 vote quoroum and 66% approval rating or something…

The more I think about it, the more I like having a set time for a big projects vote. I think it does a lot of things:

  • It helps people who can’t always keep up with all the CityDAO messages be able to know when they’ll need to focus their attention
  • I also think it would help drum up some media / attention in advance of the big vote.
  • The week or two before we could have dedicated discussion groups, podcasts, etc.

Lots of governments put out grant applications, set criteria, and have an evaluation panel (I’ve done it in my day job), and gitcoin is like the shining star example too.

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Really cool concept the more I think about it too :+1:

I think you’re quite right about that. It’s a specific date with essentially a bottlneck of grants with decisions on all being made at one single time. Very easy to take about that and build public momentum around it

@scottfits curious about your thoughts on some of this as well as everyone else, this is an important DAO topic overall :slight_smile:

I really like the idea of voting in intervals! We could even make an event of it too like maybe an IRL showcase so people feel informed, involved, and invested in CityDAO’s future

I’m not sure that everyone does agree with this. Accounting we need because @alexthims handles all payments and taxes and that’s imperative. The other roles could probably be part-time at most.

We haven’t had an operations lead for a long time, which is why our notion and website still aren’t up to speed, as I saw when I tried to work with Inholland University to study CityDAO. All the students had trouble accessing our information, and every group noted it as a pain point. For CityDAO to move forward, it is important that our information be up to date and easily available. For operations, we probably need to just hire someone outside CityDAO on a project/contract basis to get the work done.

Legal is a critical function, but not necessarily a full-time function, though it’s hard to quantify what that means. I have great respect for @DAOvolution and think he should continue in this role - this is just a reflection on how much legal work we actually have at CityDAO.

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I guess now this means I need to weigh in. :joy: There are no “full time” roles needed at CityDAO based on its recent performance or future roadmap… Other than maybe a good-vibes role (i.e… someone in community to keep things fun and buzzy) CityDAO doesn’t need anyone for more than a few hours per week these days.

Why? The projects coming out of CityDAO are splintering resources and efforts, there is no mandate to use the community of contributors for said projects, and the end result is a cash grab by people who arguably should be focused more on the CityDAO team. Its appalling that the new norm is to now explicitly exclude the community who funds the proposals. Basically CityDAO has become the “take a penny dish”.

I’ll also note that @Da3vid you were the first to have discussed “full time” in terms of legal needs - way back when the bundled guild proposal was getting sorted out. @lyons800 latched onto it during CIP69 and it was used a means to “standardize” pay but was always a misnomer. @Fugyeah astutely pointed out a number of times that what CityDAO needs is a solid, dedicated legal “resource” - not a full time legal person and this has always been my stance as well. So I agree.

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Well said, and it makes a strong case for CityDAO needing a legal resource and getting rid of the notion of “full time” or “part time”.

I would be interested in taking steps toward creating this system. How might blockchain-based tools facilitate?