Random Observation/Comment #749: If DAOs are LLCs then they’ll need to pay taxes. States should jump onboard legalizing these structures to get into the crypto asset class legit.
Why this List?
The old way of launching projects and fundraising are changing quickly and getting much leaner. I’ve seen talented creatives and influencers with large social reach looking to leverage their unfair advantage to launch NFT and DAO-based projects. While I haven’t started my own DAO, I’ve done my fair share of investing and lurking. Here’s the 30 steps for setting up and launching DAOs and Tokens.
- Decide on your mission – Even before you incorporate or create your DAO, write out your mission and vision for the community you hope to grow. It’s important to be explicit with the goals of the funds and outset. This doesn’t need to be a whitepaper (yet).
- Register a company – You need your bank account and mailing address associated with state. KYC checks on the founder roles and then just pay the fee to register. The common states depend on taxes which usually leads you to Delaware, Florida, Colorado, or Wyoming (for DAOs). Overseas banking regulations in Caymans or Gibraltar are not too complicated, but I think it depends on the size of your fund. I think having a new company for these crypto-adjacent efforts are probably a good idea (at least a DBA so you’re protecting your existing company strategy).
- Create a website – Use Squarespace, Wix, or direct WordPress for creating the site. Obviously buy your domain (I use google domains) and assign the DNS once the site is ready. The site should provide some type of sign-up of interest and at minimum describe your mission and host some whitepaper.
- Join FB, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit – Finding a good username handle consistent across these social networks is useful. Organically create a following and get more people interested on your brand and product.
- Decide on your token strategy – A governance token is often created to represent proposals and votes on certain dapp or protocol configurations – for example, you’d create proposals for adding tokens to an index or making decisions on how to move treasury funds. A security token is often created to mimic the cap table of a special purpose vehicle of some sort. This would have separate paths for legal onboarding of the asset and checks on investor status prior to any token drops. A community token might be used for collaboration incentives or gating factors to joining the discord channel. A utility token might be connected to an existing platform and monitor usage/spending for product features and services. The purpose of the token will determine its interactions with different ecosystem participants.
- Create a Discord channel – All the cool kids are using discord these days. It’s the preferred tool over the earlier telegram channels. Make sure you build the necessary split in rooms for your team, news, introductions, random, etc.
- Decide on your token allocations – Your total token supply design is a big part to its valuation token floor price. It’s important to have a diverse allocation that shows support from partnerships (e.g. companies or other DAOs).
- Write a bounties mapping – Community incentives are key to building out activity in the DAO. Some DAOs have used a lightweight tool like trello or just a google spreadsheet to map out the type of work and story points associated to completion. It’s the best way to operationally manage which jobs will need to get done for the success of the community. The completion of the tasks would be reviewed on a recurring basis and lead to some token allocation to the contributors.
- Creation of secure wallet – There will be a company-wide Ethereum address or set of accounts needed to create the DAO itself. It’s a good idea to make a fresh wallet and secure it properly with cold storage.
- Creation of a DAO – Let’s say this DAO represents a subset of equity for a company. The investors that have crypto that want to invest into your company would have its own purchasing flow (e.g. SAFE/SAFT method of fundraising) that effectively helps with creating a crypto-payment gateway for direct DAO token purchasing. Note that the DAO itself may be linked to an LLC (see LAO from FlamingoDAO)
- DAO Tools – At a bare minimum, there are tools for managing the creation of the DAOs like daohaus. You would use said secure wallet. You can then add on plug-ins/minions like a multi-sig wallet for the treasury. Think of the management of your company’s DAO as a method of submitting secretary reports on board meetings. If you’re purely fundraising with the DAO, you can consider using juicebox.
- Buy an ENS for your DAO – Not a bad idea to use some of your DAO funds to claim an appropriate ENS name. This would eventually be added in reference to your company contributions or even directly map all LLC-based activities reflected in DAO proposals
- Create marketing material and buy ads for particular test campaigns – Look at spheres of interest for buyer personas and measure CAGR – How do I reduce the cost for acquiring a customer by working with adjacent users or partners? The size of your initial influencer list brings higher comfort to early stage investors on closing. I would split general sale for fundraising from the tokens that might represent your broader project.
- Create external facing material – Everyone creates an executive summary deck for convincing investors to invest with key messages on user growth.
- Join large events – Consider joining hackathons or applying to places that already have like-minded market participants. If there are the funds, host events and get your name out there.
- Creation of an app on mobile – Website may not be enough if you want to collect more data. You may want to directly write a quick mobile app so people can download it and natively connect to the mobile phone features (e.g. security fingerprint or show a widget). Creating a mobile app with low-code/no-code has never been easier. I personally experimented with Bravo Studio.
- Airdropping tokens or NFTs – We’ve seen existing Web2 platforms use their list of users and activities as a way to determine who to send tokens to. It’s basically a reward for “beta testing” or being an active contributor of the core services. I personally loved the ENS airdrop. Some companies have also airdropped NFTs instead of fungible tokens and used this as a gating mechanism for joining the specialized discord community.
- Incentivizing members to be advocates of the token – Any increase in value of the token is direct increase in value of the company. Not all tokens are made equally like not all websites are coded with such care, so we’ll see a lot of varying levels of customized smart contracts and leveraging of different DAO tools.
- Fundraising through token purchases – Rather than going through IPOs and investment banks, the sale and extension of equity is connected to the token valuation. There’s a lot of Investment DAOs also directly investing into the creation of other DAOs. Direct fundraising and operations of sending tokens is dependent on the type of DAO token you’re launching.
- Bootstrapping capital – Launch of initial tokens to friends and family can be claimed privately through a portal/dashboard through some type of manual airdrop. From there the tokens can be moved to their own wallets for safe keeping. Once this initial supply of tokens is created, there’s often room for Automatic Market Making pools through protocols like uniswap, sushiswap, dinoswap, and balancer. You can coordinate LPs to create these pools and fund them for additional depth in the market. It’s often easier/cheaper to list in an AMM pool rather than a centralized exchange.
- Launch logistics and plan – A full playbook of the tasks needed to perform a successful token or NFT launch is essential. Ideally there’s already automated scripts and notifications to press release organizations.
- Sanity checks – QA of the technology, legal, regulatory, treasury, and documentation can all use additional review before launch. Larger protocols would audit any customized smart contracts.
- Media DAOs – There are many services-based DAOs that act as consulting companies for specialized tasks. Certain media DAOs will pool their resources of influencers to release multiple articles across their sites to get more traction on token launches or airdrops. These might be useful to coordinate for launches.
- Monitoring tools – Your admin and investors will want their own suite of tools to keep track of their tokens and additional involvement after the token is issued. Some are okay with a MetaMask wallet or direct connecting to a dappradar representation of their addresses, but others might need some readout reports or recurring newsletters.
- Dune Analytics – Consider creating a dashboard that monitors the health of your token asset and its traded depth. Since these are published publicly, it sometimes becomes a buying signal or at least an “up and coming” token for further analysis in theri pipeline.
- Physical artwork & Art shows – With the boom of NFTs, we’ve seen an interesting path of creating DAOs exclusively for artist collaborations. The DAO itself would have votes on the subject and medium of the artwork and then once the physical piece is created, the proceeds of the sales can go directly to the DAO or the DAO itself can own the NFT artwork and have the artwork be sold in auction separately.
- Digital artwork in the Metaverse – Creating 3D VR/AR artwork is really cool and likely a big part of supporting the DAO growth. Perhaps the NFTs that were airdropped also map to some avatar that can be seen on decentraland.
- Event-based NFT launches – We’ve seen checks on NFT ownership to join events. There are some registrations to higher tiers of sponsorship through purchasing of limited supply NFTs. This is dependent on how you want to draw in more participants
- Royalty payments for creators – One of the most interesting pieces drawing attention to creators is the ability to create assets that continue to accrue in value. The old days of Stock Photography means the marketplace for buying stock photos would only compound in value as it gets discovered. Imagine just writing or copying a lot of mobile apps games and getting paid for every download and ad revenue associated with individuals playing the game
- NFT integrations and expansion – Design marketplace where designers can help build NFT integration to other products will eventually be a big part of the valuation of NFTs. You can imagine layers added like celebrity signatures on top of NFTs to increase their value.
~See Lemons Join DAOs