What Creators Should Know About Decentralized Governance

Dennison Bertram of Tally shares the importance of quality governance and what creators should know to build a thriving community.

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Listen on: Spotify | Apple Music | Google Podcast

Background

Mint Season 3 episode 4 welcomes Tally’s Founder and CEO Dennison Bertram. Tally is a platform that builds governance infrastructure for decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs).

In this episode, we talk about:

  • 0:00 – Intro
  • 2:24 – Magic Internet Money, Organization, & Society 
  • 9:15 – Creator DAOs and The Value of Decentralized Governance
  • 20:08 – Making DAOs Mainstream
  • 28:20 – National Elections, Radical Transparency & its Pitfalls
  • 35:10 – What are you Excited About in Crypto?
  • 40:03 – Borderless Employment
  • 46:39 – Outro

…and so much more.


Thank you to Season 3’s NFT sponsors!

1. Coinvise – https://coinvise.co/

2. POAP – https://poap.xyz/

3. Socialstack – https://socialstack.co/

Interested in becoming an NFT sponsor? Get in touch here!


Intro

Let’s just jump right in. Who are you, what were you doing before crypto, and what are you doing now? 

There is no before crypto. I was just kidding. So my name is Dennison Bertram. I’m CEO and co-founder of Tally, and we are DAO tooling and a dashboard provider. Basically, our goal is to make on-chain governance. We believe that governance is critical to the future. DAOs are critical to the future, but there’s a lot of tooling necessary to make that work. So we are really building a lot of this tooling, trying to give insight into communities, help people participate, drive participation, help people build functional DAOs, sort of all that. We’re really steep in the DAO. I haven’t always been in DAOs, although I have kind of always been in a crypto. I entered the space in 2011, 2012, actually ran one of the first Bitcoin exchanges in the Czech Republic in 2012, and then did a whole. Sort of slew of things. Those are like the early post-Satoshi crypto days. But the biggest thing I was before full-time, I was a fashion photographer for a very long time and had a creative technology company that really worked on helping fashion brands be more modern and, in some cases, even actually try and sell them on blockchain for supply chain solutions. Although up until the recent history, you sort of mentioned that DAOs are like the hot thing, I think crypto’s the hot thing now. It’s kind of awesome to have been in the space long enough to sort of recognize it’s only been the past couple of years that we weren’t the crazies. Almost all of crypto history, we’re just crazy, and then one day suddenly we weren’t crazy anymore, right? Like Snoop Dogg is buying NFTs, and you just think, wow, all right, that happened. Like, so suddenly you go from a world where everything is crazy that you’re doing. Everything’s magical internet money, magical internet art, selling JPEGs, and then all of a sudden, it’s the future. 

Magic Internet Money, Organization, & Society 

What led that transition of it no longer being the weird kids club to the cool kids club? 

So I think about this a lot, and my sort of philosophy around it, or the way I like to think about, and I talked about this a lot; there was an article a long time ago that said, “you don’t understand Bitcoin because you think money is real.” That is, I think probably the best way to sort of wrap your head around crypto from the beginning anyway, that money is kind of the only human concept that’s not native to the internet. Like I can send you a letter and transmit my love for you. You know, “Dear Adam, how I love you and miss you signed yours forever, Tally.” Right? You’ll get the email, and you’ll feel loved, right? I’ve sent love to you in an email. I can’t send you an email, certainly in 2007, that says, “Hey Adam, here’s a dollar,” right? So money is like the only human concept that really can’t be transmitted natively on the internet, and machines can’t natively transact with one another. So we have this sort of like history of primitives that was necessary. In the very beginning, it was magic internet money, right? Like Bitcoin was magic internet money. And when Bitcoin was created, it was quite literally magic internet money. Years ago, I think the economist, they’re late to the game, but they did a cover about bitcoin and Ethereum, cryptos, unicorns; it’s like magic internet money. But this primitive is a concept, right? The first thing that we had to do, and it took me years to do, was to make magic internet money, a concept that was real. We had to make it real. So once magic internet money was a real idea, then you can start building things on magic internet money. You can build magic internet banks, right? The only thing crazier in 2017 than magic internet money is magic internet banks. Like people can kind of get their head around like monopoly. People can’t really get their head around you going to build a bank, but trades in monopoly money. Like that’s just like, okay, that’s really stupid. If you were to then tell them that they could go take their magic monopoly money, put it in Adam’s monopoly bank, and earn monopoly APY interest on it, you know, at some point, it’s just like stupid. 

But then, if everybody accepts that monopoly money, then we’re golden. 

Well, that’s the thing, right? So, first, we have to make magic internet money a primitive that’s real, right? Once that’s real in people’s heads, then you can build magic internet banks. MakerDAO is a really great example of this. The idea that you could have dollar-denominated monopoly money is stupid until you have real monopoly money, and then suddenly, building a bank on top of the monopoly money is not so crazy anymore. But even when we first had Bitcoin, and once we started to sort of accept that primitive, the magic internet bank was still a leap too far. People had to build that, and that had to work. So you have folks like maker, native magic internet banks. Well, now that you have magic internet banks, you can build magic internet finance. You can build a magic internet financial system. If you said millions of people around the world are going to take monopoly money and quit their jobs to go build monopoly money farms and monopoly money this, it would have just been super, super ludicrous, right? Then you’re just in the absurdist land, but once magic internet banks is real, the magic internet financial system is real. So we had to build these primitives and make these things real in our minds as concepts, and once you got to that point, then we really can start solidifying magic internet organizations. And magic internet organizations actually start earlier. They probably would argue they were around in some shape and form since probably the beginning of the internet, depending on how you define, like what a DAO is. Really what sort of happened, you know, in 2017, you started to see folks really saying, ” no, we can build this magic internet, organizational tool, this magic internet decentralized autonomous organization.” But a little bit early, right? Some people were trying it, and some people were on it. But it wasn’t really high throughput, and there wasn’t that much yet to really govern because it still wasn’t real in people’s minds. Even today, folks really have trouble on Twitter. Some days they love DAOs. Some days they hate DAOs. Some days they love governance; some days they hate governance. They’re like, “ah, governance minimization.” It’s sort of like, “ah, magic money minimization”. It’s sorta like this concept is kind of like a bridge too far. But now it’s becoming real, and we see it becoming real. The steps to getting to these places gets shorter and shorter and shorter, right? Convincing you of DeFi was a lot easier than convincing you of Bitcoin. So these primitives, the time that it takes to become real, gets shorter, shorter, shorter. Now we’re kind of at the phase of magic internet organizations. That’s why it’s kind of the moment because suddenly we have a really big magic internet financial system running. Like DeFi, it’s a huge machine. There’s tons of legal liability. There’s tons of money. There’s tons of individuals. There’s tons of stakeholders. How are we going to balance all these things? You kind of need DAOs to manage all these things, but at the same time, you have something else going on, which is, somewhere on the side path of history, people go magic internet money, well, what do I do with that? And they’re like, well, you know, I guess, buy a JPEG, which was again, the day before the first JPEG was sold, the dumbest shit you ever heard of. Like why would you buy a JPEG? I’ll just go on Tumblr and click it. You know, earlier in the NFT craze, I’m going to say like, you know, a few months back, you saw a lot of people being like, oh, I’m so funny. I’ll just right-click and save your JPEG on Twitter. It was like a meme. You don’t really hear that anymore, right? Like, it’s not that it’s just not funny anymore, but it’s also, yeah, you buy JPEGs. The people who mocked it kind of have to accept the fact that that’s what we do now. So you have this other primitive that’s become real, and sort of what you see now is you see the people who create JPEGs and people who are James from cloud lab put this really well at MCON, even these JPEG groups are kind of a DAO, right? Suddenly you see magic internet organizations for everything. You got Opolis which is doing healthcare for freelancers. You’ve got the graph, which is doing data for blockchains. You’ve got nexus mutual that’s doing insurance for DeFi, and maybe more stuff. So suddenly, oh, magic internet organization, DAOs, this is not just real, but it’s necessary. In my own personal opinion, and in sort of the grand scheme and goal of Tally, the end state is magic internet society. Which, of course, sounds ludicrous, right? Like this is the dumbest thing ever, but you know, probably to, you and me it doesn’t seem so crazy anymore. We get it. Like, yes, it’s going to be hard. Getting there is going to be long. It’s going to be fraught with difficulties, but the leap to accepting Bitcoin was a million times bigger than the leap to accepting this will be all things.

Creator DAOs and The Value of Decentralized Governance

A million times bigger and like 10 million times harder. And as people adopted Bitcoin, then they transitioned into DeFi, and then you were talking about how it was easier to get convinced about DeFi. Now it’s becoming easier to convince them about NFTs. As skeptical as people are about these digital JPEGs, these MP4 files, MP3 files, they’re buying into them. And when I was explaining it to more normies, why is this craze happening? Value is subjective. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and a lot of people see value in different things. Back to this magic internet concept, now we’re diving into magic internet governance. And this is something that you brought up in the beginning. As you were introducing yourself, you’re like governance is critical to the future, and I want to reverse it on you. Why is governance critical to the future? 

Because governance represents participation by the users, and this can look like a lot of different things. From a really practical point of view, governance is critical from the future because we today do not actually know exactly what the future looks like, but we know that we need tools to allow us to adapt to whatever that future is. Folks like to talk about governance, minimization. That’s great, but you don’t know what the future looks like. Imagine if we had created some sort of protocol standard three years ago. Would we still be using it? Even solidity is different today. So from the sort of base case, I think the most convincing reason why we need governance when it comes to the idea of constructing things like protocols is because we don’t know what the future looks like, and we need to leave the optionality to be able to adapt to what that feature may or may not be. From the community side of it, it’s effectively, would you rather join something you’re a part of or join something that… 

Exactly. We’ll just leave it at that. Join something you’re a part of. The way you become a part of it is by buying into it, or like allocating it or earning it. There are different ways, but okay, continue. 

Well, you don’t actually even need to buy into it, right? Like if you think about it, Ethereum is a kind of DAO, right? It’s decentralized, it’s autonomous, I don’t do anything, and it keeps going, other people who do do important things, if they stop, Ethereum would keep going, and it’s kind of an organization, right? Like we believe in Ethereum. We try to get it when it’s cheap, and hopefully, we do something useful with it. When it’s expensive, we cry together when gas is expensive. We send out little tweets, and we’re like, oh shit, gas is cheap. Like we are an organization, it is decentralized. It is more or less autonomous. So how did we get into it? Yeah, I guess you could argue that we bought ether, maybe we’ve earned it or something like that, but maybe that doesn’t have to be a prerequisite. You could gain membership to an organization by virtue of who knows. Maybe you own a punk, and somebody else creates an organization just for punk holders. I guess he bought the punk. I don’t know, membership, I don’t think needs to be a buy-in, but it certainly could be. I mean, it’s certainly the easiest way to get into something is to buy a membership. 

You know, one of the most exciting DAOs for me right now are friends with benefits, forefront, M club, and seed club in general, and a lot more of these creator DAOs that are forming by these individual talented people that just are scattered online that are good with graphic design, creating really cool pieces of art, and rather than for collectors, into more of an intimate type of circle that they’re building. I believe we’re going to increasingly see creators create their own creator DAOs, right? Creators will be forming their creator DAOs. They can call the fan clubs, and they can call them online organizations, group chats, whatever. You want to call them. How far away are we from seeing that? Right now, we saw that with DeFi, everybody’s forming DAOs with DeFi. It’s already been a thing. We’re seeing that more and more with NFT collector groups, like fingerprint or pleaser DAO, et cetera, all these investment collective groups. When are creators going to start forming what we call fan clubs, like their creator DAOs? 

They’re either already here. For example, I worked on a project with a friend of mine called solos a number of months back. It’s an artist, Jeremiah Palecek, based in Prague. He did a line of generative NFTs on his paintings. He’s on Twitch every day, just painting. So he’s interacting with this community, and the users actually earn a governance token for having done an action, which was putting the metadata of their token into Arweave as a permanent hash for the token, and they receive royalties from their Open Sea sales, and that’s what they get to manage. So the users there have the ability to spend money on doing things like putting on exhibitions or hiring somebody to print something. Another great example, a project that I worked on too is the Dope Wars DAO. I always shill this stuff. It’s always a shill to be on television. “Hey mom, how are you”? The dope wars DAO is based on loot. So loot is a really great idea of a creator DAO, really creator at its core, right? Like the NFTs are just ideas, and the creator has to go make it real, and people are going and making it real. 

This is like a TV show, just so you know. A live TV show. I’m just giving you the supplies to build something. 

Do you know what I mean? Like ideas are forming right now. Put a bunch of artists in a house. They got to create it at a T. Whoever has got the most sales on Open Sea. We got like Tyra banks to come in and put them through challenges. “I don’t know your floor price, it’s gotta be over 0.1 or you are cut”. “I really thought my Bored Panda ape crossover would be a hit”.

Which network are we going to get to do that on? 

It is definitely going to be on the history channel since they don’t show shit anymore that has anything to do with anything, right? They released like ancient aliens or whatever that it was just like, alright. I don’t know why I haven’t done those yet. So yeah, the dope wars DAO, right? It’s like loot, except for it’s based around the old calculator game, dope wars, and the community actually built it from scratch. Well, I mean, they actually didn’t build it from scratch. They took the loot contracts and just swapped everything out for stuff like guns and drugs, rather than frail armor or the sword of Damocles. So anyway, it’s dope wars, and again, they are an NFT. What we did was we swapped out the ERC -721 for the nouns DAO, ERC-721, which is checkpointing built-in. So it’s compatible with open zeppelin governor right out of the box. So what that means is you can vote directly using our NFTs. All the dope wars NFT holders have the ability to vote in on-chain governance, and the governance receives 5% of the sales on Open Sea, which today is sort of like somewhere between $400,000 and $500,000. So this community that’s this fan club of this calculator game from the nineties; they’ve come together, they’re building games and a kind of universe altogether, and they’re paying other creative artists that have applied for grant money to do the pixel art. There’s a guy building a Starkware version of the game in collaboration with Starknet. They’re building out all this crazy stuff, and that’s a crater DAO, right? Like, that is just creators. Right now, it’s just creators creating stuff from stuff that other people created. And again, a lot of creators in that line, but what’s kind of amazing and the sort of like unlock that you see here is, you know, if you remember high school, there was always like some kid who was drawing some manga, or like swords of Damocles.

Was that you?

That was definitely not me, and I could not draw at all to save my life. They are going to be stick figures, which would be a great NFT. But, suddenly, these people can start an organization. Thousands of people, millions of dollars doing what they love, doing stuff that other people appreciate, and when you think about where are you better off spending your money? Well, I could give my money to some huge faceless corporation that imports stuff manufactured somewhere far, far away or, “Hey, Adam is drawing these really cool orangutans that look drunk and high most of the time, and I’m into drunk and high orangutans. And oh, by the way, now there’s a lot of us into drunken and stoned orangutans, and now he’s starting a bar, and you can only go to the bar if you haven’t drunk orangutan, and you spend all Saturday on like a discord channel. Like, that is such an incredible, powerful idea because that’s silly. Another example that I pull out a lot is Pizza DAO, and I always get the mechanics of how they did it wrong because it’s kind of crazy, but someone had said, “Hey, let’s raise a bunch of money and on pizza day, give away free pizza around the world.” To fund it, they did NFTs with pizza toppings. This is the part I’m always a little bit fuzzy on. They did like NFTs of pizza toppings, like pepperoni or something like that. And they put out just a spreadsheet being like, “oh, sign up if you want to be into it,” and they raised a million dollars. I think here in New York, and I think they ended up partnering with slice again, maybe the details are wrong. And then they gave away pizza around the world. Which again, sounds like a pretty ludicrous, dumb idea. “Oh, you’re just going to waste all your time and energy, kids, and give away pizza around the world?” But this NFT DAO, what they actually do when you really think about what happened is, they organized individuals globally to raise money, to address food insecurity on a global scale, right? Maybe it’s just giving pizza away. So it’s not actually food insecurity, but that’s the concept that’s being trialed. And they did it at an efficiency rate that’s like a quadrillion million times higher than the US, right? So, this loose-knit organization was able to do something at an efficiency rate, that all those funds that are like asking for your money on TV and showing you pictures of starving people never managed to do. And so there you start to see, as we started talking about how we make magic internet organizations real, you start to see what the power of that might be. My co-founder Raphael Solari is frequently talking about how people might start building these collective fan fiction universes, right? What if Marvel was actually owned by the people who drew the pictures and wrote stories and went to the movies, rather than the people who were just making it for us. I mean, I don’t want to put Marvel on the spot cause, actually I love them. They’re doing great. I watch everything they put out, but let’s say DC and Warner bros-

Making DAOs Mainstream

Whatever it may be. Just that concept of people who contribute, make the vision, the movie, the TV show reality are co-owners in that, but it’s such a different model though because Web 2.0 models are traditional LLC corporate models. There’s the executive team, and then you’re getting a salary. Maybe you get some stock options for making this a reality. Obviously, now that people have tasted the sugar, there’s no going back, and now anybody who is already in the space, they’re going to expect that when they join a project. But there’s millions upon millions of people who are so used to the traditional way. How do we get to a much more mainstream adoption of people understanding that they can not only contribute and do what they love, but also co-own that process at the same time?

So I think that is happening. I think that’s kind of like an invisible hand in the market, just like the evolution of culture, right? Someone told me the other day that 40% of Americans hold crypto, something crazy like that. You look at the success of Robin hood and meme stocks, right? AMC, last quarter announced on their call, the majority of AMC shareholders are just retail. And the retail probably was focused on Robin Hood, who probably goes to the movies, probably goes to AMC, so you had this really weird thing where he was offering to create some sort of shareholder program where if you’re an AMC shareholder, you get free popcorn, and some other benefits. 

They did that.

That is a DAO, right? Like, I mean, that’s a corporation realizing to innovate or die, but at the same time, the idea is reaching back into the regular world, right? It’s like Twitter adding your NFTs for your verified picture on Twitter. That’s the crypto primitives becoming real in the minds of ordinary people. “Oh, would you like to upload this JPEG to Twitter”? Sorry, you didn’t buy that JPEG, so you can’t use that JPEG. 

It’s like identity theft. 

Right. But, the thing of the year is that music corporations were trying to put some sort of weird copyright protection into the software to keep us from playing music. All of a sudden, there’s no JPEG lobby that’s lobbying Congress saying, “Hey, people cannot be allowed to use those JPEGs,” but we have actually shifted the thought process of, “oh, you don’t own that Ape. “Man, that’s pretty lame if you’re trying to pretend like you own that Ape,” and Twitter is like, “yeah, we agree. We think that was lame. So now we’re going to let you verify that you really have the NFT”. I think that mainstream adoption is actually happening. It’s happening in a way that maybe people didn’t expect. I think a lot of people coming out of the magic internet bank imagine or like magic internet financial system primitives are thinking we’re going to onboard the world with 2000000% APY, and what I think they are overlooking is that most people aren’t really motivated by money. People are motivated by money in the sense that they need jobs, and they would like a job that pays more than the last job they had, but people aren’t motivated by money if you say, “take magic potion a, mix it with magic potion b, do all this weird shit with Metamask, and if you fuck up, you lose everything you’ve ever owned, and if you’re lucky and it was audited and doesn’t get hacked, you will have a little bit more magic potion A than when you started. That’s not really incentive, but if you tell them, “Hey, remember how you used to stand in line at like a Supreme drop to get something in the run home on eBay and flip it for three times the price. Remember how you did that”? Well, now you can do that on Open Sea. People are like, “yeah, I was already there earlier this morning,” right? So people are onboarded because also, like when you go through Twitter, “OMG, I just sold my first NFT collection. It all sold out”. There’s this one NFT that somehow always comes up on my thread, and it’s an animated pixel art of these just butt cheeks. It shows up on my feed all the time. Maybe I’m following the crypto butt cheeks NFT crew or something like that, and it sounds crazy, but somebody out there is making a living drawing animated pixel art but cheeks, which probably sounds crazy to everybody outside on the street, but it’s actually really liberating. Because that’s if that person makes it. Grammy award-winning like a musician can make it. People were so pissed when Beeple sold. So angry. They were like, “how dare that guy who committed to something that he had no idea what the outcome would be for years and put in his labor and creativity get rewarded for it”? Meanwhile, you know, some other corporation’s CEO robbed everybody and got like suspended three months, house arrest, and a Cayman island sentence and still got his like bonus payment of a hundred million dollars. But no one really cares about that, and they got to shit on Beeple, the artist in high school, who’s like sketching his notebooks sitting in the hall. And it’s just like of all the people in the world who deserve $60 million, Beeple is just like so much higher than so many people who are ostensibly doing the real work. So what we’re doing is we’re unlocking the power of individuals to care about other individuals, and that is really core to the whole DAO concept, right? Because prior to NFTs, prior to crypto, it was really hard for me to appreciate you, Adam, in a way that you could live off of. I think it’s been a horrible failing of Ethereum so far that somehow they haven’t been able to transition only fans. How that business model hasn’t been able to be disrupted. People can actually reward other people directly. Obviously, only fans is a specific kind of genre, but you know, when you look at NFTs, they are kind of the only fans for everything else, right? If someone had said that Bored Apes would have made a hundred million dollars in one day because they drew a whole bunch of pictures of stoned apes, that would have been crazy, but it’s just as crazy as anything else. Like, Why not, right? We enable so many things. Everything in between, you know, the volume Open Sea does is just insane, right? There’s a world filled with people being artists, making stuff, and other people liking it and then connecting directly over the internet. And now, because of DAOs, they can organize together, do something over the internet. Like they all hold this like text NFT, but now they actually can vote, and their voice matters, and they’re part of it. So when we talk about how we’re going to like, make this mainstream, the option sort of starts to be, when you join a company, you kind of expect that you’re getting screwed somehow, right? You’re definitely not getting paid as much as the guy at the top, and there’s nothing you’re ever going to be able to do at that. And like, best case scenario is, you’re able to go earn marginally more money, getting screwed by somebody else. With DAOs, it is very different. You go in, and the community is like, well, what can you do? And you’d be like, and I can offer the community this. The community can either be like, you know, screw off, we don’t want you, or are they going to be like, all right, join. When you join, you see everything. People are literally saying, Hey, we have a vote on how much to pay you. How much should we pay you? And everyone votes on it. And if you can say, Hey, this is the value I bring, people are like, okay, because they’re all like, well, I’m trying to bring value too, so we should reward it, and there’s no pie to take away from someone, right? Like if you join Facebook, every like, you know, whatever 0.0001% share of Facebook stock you get is like that much less that’s available total percentage to Zuckerberg, but in DAOs, it’s very different, right? Like you can work for, you know, I mean, Uniswap and Sushiswap, maybe no,t because they are a little bit like a classroom community, but really you can work for all the DAOs at one. Like you can work for Compound and AAVE and Uniswap all at the same time, and it’s not a zero-sum game. It’s not like, “oh man, you know, Uniswap has got to destroy Compound. No, actually, you’re working for both of them to go up, and you see people on Twitter. They’re like, oh yeah, my comp is going up, or my uni is going up, and it becomes more collaborative. It’s just a different way of working, but we need a lot of tools to make it work better.

National Elections, Radical Transparency & its Pitfalls

We’ll talk about the tools in a minute, but I want to talk to you about the comparison behind structured, closed organizations and radical transparency through decentralized organizations. What’s the downside of radical transparency?

So in college, I was a political science major in, you know, early two thousands. You know, and anarchy was still something that kids were like, yeah, anarchy at school.

By the way, like all these Bitcoin conferences, for example, a lot of the core developers are in our case. They believe that they shouldn’t be reliant on anybody. They should be their own banks. They should have their own financial system. They should have their own, et cetera. So fuck the government. But anyways, okay.

I think that doesn’t rise to true anarchy anarchism, but I’m totally convinced it’ll never work. A thousand percent convinced that will never work. If anyone has ever run a discord room, a discord chat group, you will know you’re a hundred percent convinced anarchy can’t work, right? Like you take any anarchism in the world and be like, all right, run this Discord Chat, man, and by the way, there are 10,000 people in it. It is never going to work. Why do you get to pick the channels, man? That is never going to work. Because he started this discord group, he gets to choose the mods? Never gonna work. So radical transparency isn’t for every organization. And indeed, there’s like a faction in crypto Twitter that’s trying to figure out how to do private voting, which I personally am not yet convinced how well that would work, but are trying to figure out how to do transparency and lack of transparency. I think in crypto, it’s different than transparency. It’s maybe some things need to happen secretly, but they can’t be nefarious. It’s a very strange balance, and I don’t think anyone’s actually gotten it just right. This sort of structure sort of happened naturally, right? There’s an asymmetry between some members of the DAO, like some members that know each other better, we’re able to coordinate better, they have a little bit maybe even greater access to information than other members of the DAO. Also, maybe they’re just more interested in the DAO. Sometimes people like to really crap on some DAOs when they have a small number of people who make all the decisions, and they kind of discount the fact that maybe that small group of people actually just pays attention all the time, whereas everybody else maybe checks in every now and then, or they show up when there’s a big boat, and it’s like, yo, where have you been for four weeks? But the communities end up deciding what the organization looks like in many ways. So I think that people like to attach to the sort of transparency natively to DAOs. I don’t think that those two are actually bonded to one another. I think that they are sort of two concepts that tend to overlap because we are on a blockchain, so we can generally look in and understand what’s happening. That may not always be true in the near future, right? Like a lot of the moon path kind of allows you to prove things about knowing exactly what those things are. So we may be seeing more of that, but I would say something that distinguishes a DAO is not necessarily only like the permissionless ness of the entry and exit, kind of the permissionlessness at the entry and exit. Forgive me for never having bought a Bored Ape, but like today, I could join the Bored Ape club. So you could argue that nobody can stop me from joining theBored Ape club. Of course, I would have to have a lot more money to join, so you can say that’s the barrier to entry. But also, the barrier to entry is like a function of time. Like the day Bored Apes came out, if I had known and gotten into it and believed in it, I could have been a member right away. So yeah, I’m not sure if that answers your question. 

No, that answers my question. I guess I want to get more futuristic now. Let’s say we get to a point where everything is tokenized, and all forms of voting occur on-chain to the extent where now we have either a local election or a national election conducted in token format, where everybody can sign onto their computer, cast their vote on Tally, for example, for the next president of the United States. Do you see that happening? 

I do see that happening. I don’t see that happening in the next election, unfortunately. You know, Joe Biden, give me a call. I don’t imagine that happening anytime soon, like magic internet society, right? That’s still primitive. That’s a bridge too far for most people, right? Like we’re working on magic internet organization, but magic internet society is still a little ways away, but I think we’ll get there. Blockchain does enable us to do better forms of running elections. Of course, DAOs run into the same problems that the federal government does. It’s not the machines that count the ballots that are the problem in the system. So, will we solve that aspect right away? Probably not. I think that we’ll probably end up getting to the future in a way that people don’t expect. People thought self-sovereign money was going to revolutionize the world. It is, but not in the way that people thought. Like people didn’t really care that they could go open a Bitcoin wallet and they would have their own Bitcoin. People started to care when the price went up, but most people still didn’t care just because the price is going up. The price is going up on something all the time, and you’re not freaking out. Holy shit. Beyond meat signed the deal with burger king. It’s going up. Yeah, I don’t really care. So that’s not really what would revolutionize the world. NFTs, I kind of feel like they’re revolutionizing the world. Like NBA top shot, dapper labs just did a deal with NFL. That’s mainstream, and if I was going to be like, “now for the halftime show, we have, I don’t know, crypto punk number 8946, look at those pixels.” Wild, but maybe that’s how we actually get there because that’s how we’re actually getting there right now. So I think when we talk about how we get to voting in your local elections, I think something’s going to happen differently before that. I think somehow the politicians are gonna raise money with crypto, or the politicians are going to get elected talking about crypto. Or crypto is going to solve some sort of major problem, or eventually, the fed is going to be forced to tokenize the dollar, and then it’ll just be this weird flip over where it’s just suddenly how it is. Of course, behind the scenes, there will just be countless innovators and entrepreneurs trying to build things to make these things sort of work, but you think of how at one point in time, you had to go sign some shit with a notary. You’re like, oh yeah, I’m doing this. I got to go find a notary who is open after five and get them to notarize something. And then, all of a sudden, you were using DocuSign for everything. And now people send me contracts, they’re like, “can you send me a DocuSign? Otherwise, deal’s off”. I’m not opening this PDF shit, downloading Adobe Acrobat, and like signing, you know? So I think the flip is going to happen in a way that we really sort of don’t anticipate, but it’s happening right now.

What are you Excited about in Crypto?

It’s happening right now on a small scale on an inter-DAO level when DAOs like, let’s say FWB, and they’re scaling and growing at a rapid rate. Then being a social DAO, now they’re opening up different chapters in different cities, from what I’m understanding. Now I’m getting DMS from members, “we’re running for governance and operations roles,” and they need to be voted in and elected at those positions. So you see these things happen on a very micro, micro level, and I think that’s just the only way they happen. Right now, the government is still fighting crypto. They’re still fighting blockchain. The people in power that are governing the US they’re anti-crypto, some may be pro, but the ones that really matter are anti, and they’re making all the headlines. So, starting small, experimenting small, building from there, that’s just the way to do it. What are you excited about right now in crypto that’s happening around the world of governance? And this could be within Tally, but preferably outside of Tally. What are you starting to see that’s like, wow, this is super cool, I’m fired up, et cetera? 

For me to not say NFTs and DAOs, I mean, that is, what’s really exciting right now. 

The formation of DAOs via non fungible tokens.

Yes. For me, that just is wild. 

And is that from the point of view of collector DAOs? Like fingerprint or Pleaser DAO, or like NFT artists who sold open editions to collectors forming DAOs? Like, how do you define that?

I would say more of that, right? Like, yeah. Okay. Let’s all get together and invest in NFTs together. Sure. Okay. Got it. I’m going to go draw some pictures, I’m going to make like 10,000 iterations of them and sell them, and then we’re going to all vote on how to spend that money. And maybe, we’ll just do crazy burning man out in the forest and all take our Bored Apes with us. Wow. That’s pretty cool, right? I keep on DM-ing Open Sea, so I hope they write me back one day, but like when you combine the fact that you can create an NFT, which sort of self-selects for a community that cares, and then you can fund it by the sales between one another, suddenly, you have this incredible vehicle, right? If you look at nouns DAO, which they don’t really trade the token on like Open Sea, although I guess they could, they’ve amassed, I dunno, like 7,008, some crazy amount of ETH, and the sort of opportunity for them to use that is sky-high. It’s one thing to create a DAO around like, oh, we’re going to pool our money, and we’re going to buy stuff that’s going to go up. It’s another thing to say, like, oh, we’re going to start a doubt. We’re going to make something that people care about, and the velocity of people caring about it, moving in and out of our organization is going to actually power our organization’s ability to move forward. The idea that you can raise capital via creating artwork is just really fascinating, and it’s going to come down to some legal showdown at some point, right? Someone the other day said, all NFTs are equity, and I think in some ways they’re right. I countered that all NFTs are free speech, which I also think is right. Like, there should be no limit in these great United States for me to draw a picture of a stone ape and sell it to you for $5 million. There’s no reason why I should not be allowed to do that, and people are doing that. Maybe not apes or punks, but people are doing that. Right now, the thing that gets me really excited is that we can mix the NFTs with DAOs. So the NFTs represent your membership in this community, and the DAO represents your community’s collective ability to take action. That’s what gets me really excited.

So, you’re saying like, NFTs are the top funnel layer of issuing membership, right? And then it kinda comes in like that a little bit.

Yeah. Because you could do it for anything. I’m sure you went to high school, and if you were in some sort of sports or track. In my high school, before we would do track events or whatever, we would do a spaghetti dinner, and, you know, a bunch of kids would just cook a metric ton of spaghetti and sell it to parents for like 50 bucks a pop to raise enough money to pay for a bus, to drive the track team to like state or nationals or something like that. Because school wasn’t going like pay this shit. Let me just say that. But suddenly, you can do that for any idea you want, right? Like you could say, Hey, let’s make a nudist cabin retreat in Saskatchewan, and we’re gonna all draw pictures of naked people and sell them, and if you own it, you’re a member, and you can come to take off your clothes, and we’ll take the money from the treasury to build the cabin so we can all hang out here naked every year. And when you’re done being naked, you can sell it on Open Sea, and the proceeds from that go back to the fund cause you got to repaint the cabins every year. 

You must drop your gig at Tally and start consulting nudist groups about their NFT strategy.

I’m going to travel the world, and then I won’t need any of this stuff. It’s like two, three months. Let’s go around.

Think about the money you’ll save. 

Borderless Employment

Totally. But you know, what’s crazy is that that would have been so hard to do two years ago. What are you going to do? Open an LLC and, you know, mail people invites to your naked club in upper Canada? It’d be like, “Hey, send me 20 bucks.” But it could be anything, right? Like you can feed Peeps around the world. You could do Bored Apes, so they go build a club or bar or whatever cool thing that they’re going to try and do now. People are trying to NFT buildings. So you’re going to see Tik TOK houses that are like an NFT house, right? Like buy this NFT, We build something, a percentage of whatever you build goes back to the house so that the house can continue on as this autonomous organization. And as we start to wrap DAOs and legal entities, we can say, oh yeah, this Bored Ape guy actually owns the building. And this building is owned by this corporation, which is represented by the NFT token holders, but that audience could always be changing. So suddenly, you can create things that you could never have created before. And that means there’s really not a limit to what people might do with this. Like clubs, organizations are everywhere you look. Parent teachers association, block associations, those addicted to something or whatever you’re trying to get off. Like there’s everything. And all of that is so highly frictioned by setting up an LLC. You know, one example that I haven’t given yet today, which I think is really critical about DAOs, is that, in the United States, and in most places actually, we don’t even think about this. It’s kind of like a fish don’t know they’re wet type of thing. If you come up with a cool idea, wherever you are, let’s say you’re in Detroit, and you have a really good idea. You’re like, okay, I’m going to go start a company and start an LLC, or start a C Corp. You’re like, all right, I’m going to go hire Adam. It’s pretty easy to hire you, but what happens in that onboarding, hiring process? I mean, if you accept the offer. I have to verify yourUncleoyment eligibility. I have to ask the federal government, please, uncle Sam, may I please hire Adam? And maybe Adam, you are the best person for this job on planet earth, but uncle Sam could be like, “nope.” “Oh yeah, we checked this cryptographer. Yeah, he’s in Somalia. It sucks for you. You can’t have him. But, you know, Apple could, because they’re rich enough to be able to go hire him, or Facebook could cause they’re a global organization with billions of dollars. But oh, you with your idea, wherever your base. No, you’re not allowed to go hire that person because we have rules, right? I think rules are important. I’m really pro-rules. 

But it’s also the point of being borderless, right? It’s also the point of accruing value and contributing, collaborating, no matter where you are in the world.

Yes. If I go hire you in Somalia, and you are contributing to whatever knowledge or application we’re doing, right? What are you actually doing? I call you up and say, Adam, Hey, you know, you’re the best guy in the world for this uncle Sam won’t let me hire you. I just need you to tell me what to do cause you’re a consultant. Uncle Sam says you can’t tell me. Like you can’t share that information with me. You’re forbidden from giving that information to me, and I’m forbidden from compensating you for it. And if you start to think of the level of friction that that actually is on our economy and the level of friction that is on if you start a small business in Detroit, you can’t get access to the best talent in the world. You can go through a green card lottery where we like dangle citizenship like a pinata over people’s heads and be like, you got lucky. But, you can’t go hire someone anywhere in the world who’s the best. And there’s this great term. I bring this up all the time, talent is evenly distributed, but opportunity is not, and I think DAOs can help distribute opportunity more fairly, and that is really important. Because the vast amount of the world, right, we’re watching right now, it’s like Taliban says, oh, women can’t go to the university anymore. Pretty soon, they’ll be like, ah, they can’t even hold money or earn money or do anything like that. So many parts of the world are just not privy to opportunity, and that is because our existing structures are just so ingrained in us that we just accept them as normal. Of course, you can’t hire someone in Somalia. Are you crazy? Who cares if you’re the smartest mathematician, cryptographer on earth, and absolutely perfect for what you’re doing and you pay taxes here in the United States? You can’t hire them period. End of story. I talked to someone before who was like, oh, you can PayPal them, and it’s just like, maybe you could PayPal them. But then, the flip side of that. Let’s say you do hire someone in Somalia, and you do find a way to wire them money. Can you give them equity in your company? Can you give them healthcare benefits? Suddenly, you could build an organization where you say, “Hey, I’m going to start an idea here,” and they don’t do this yet, but I think it’s on the roadmap, and I’m going use Opulus so that all the people who work for us can get health insurance benefits that travel portable with them so that their dependence on being able to stay alive doesn’t depend on me. Like their health benefits come from a collective organization that do collective bargaining on their behalf, and we’re going to get decentralized insurance, and then we are going to issue a token so that they can actually have access to the upside of this idea. It’s incredible, and people don’t appreciate how big a shift that is. Because like, when we started this company, we have team members outside of the United States, we were trying to figure out, “oh, how do we pay them”? And it’s still an ongoing thing where we’re trying to figure out the best thing. But you know, we talked with these PEO firms. They’re like, oh yeah, we can help you hire people in other countries. It’s like, okay, this is great. Sounds good. They’re like, yeah, these people? You don’t owe them shit. We lend them to you. We hire them. We take 20% off the top, but you don’t owe them anything. You don’t have to give them equity. You don’t have to give them health insurance. You don’t have to do any of that, don’t worry. It’s just like, yeah, that’s the future? They’re like rattling off this list, “oh, you know, we work with these VCs, we work with these companies where this is great. Everybody’s doing this. It’s like, that’s the shit we’re done with, right? Like that’s what we’re trying to get rid of. That inefficiency. I’m going to pay you 20%, so we have no obligation to our team members who are helping to build the future? And that’s the fish don’t know water is wet. It’s just so normal that people don’t walk around outside noticing that that’s just like another layer of inequity, and I think that DAOs fix that. 

Outro

I think that’s a perfect place to end off. What a powerful, final statement. Before I let you go, where can we find you? Where can we learn more about yourself, Tally, everything that you guys are up to? Shill. 

 So I am always in this room. You always find me here. You can find me at Tally. So that’s. www.withtally.com. You can find us on Twitter @votewithtally. We have a link to our discord as well. You can also always email me dennison@withtally.com. Maybe I’ll write back. I’ll try. I’ve got a lot of spam. But no, seriously, reach out. If you’re building a DAO and have questions, just email me directly. I love talking to people about how to build DAOs. We really think the future, right now, is currently in NFT DAOs. Like you see what’s happening in DeFi with inflation, a little bit of a chill in the room around that, but, you know, NFTs are freedom of speech. Like it’s your right to draw a picture of a stone ape and sell it to me for a million dollars. That’s your right. So we’re really pushing hard to help people build and deploy these DAOs, so if you have any questions, we are here to answer them. I’m not sure when this is going to go out, but we will be at ETH Lisbon. So we will be at DAOist, and ETH Lisbon. So if you are around, we will be walking around. Feel free to hit us up and buy us a drink.

Love it, man. Thank you for being on. I hope to have you guys on again soon. This was a great conversation. You’re super knowledgeable, and it’s been a pleasure. 

My pleasure as well. Thank you so much.

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