After the ConstitutionDAO saga in November arguably brought DAOs mainstream, more decentralized autonomous organizations are cropping up and quickly raising millions of dollars for real-world causes, from FreeRossDAO to AssangeDAO.
But while the massive amount of money DAOs can generate and the purchases they make are regularly covered, what tends to get overlooked is the technical framework underpinning DAOs. On Thursday at ETHDenver, Moloch DAO announced the launch of the third version of its DAO framework, codenamed Baal.
A DAO's framework consists of the rules established by a core team of community members using smart contracts, the set of laws that a DAO abides by. These rules and standards help make governance possible and accessible to everyone, rather than a select few. The Moloch framework is to DAOs what the ERC-721 standard is to NFTs: not all DAOs use Moloch, but it's the standard that many follow.
"DAOs are coordination tools, and Baal is the ultimate example of coordination,” said Isaac Patka, co-founder and CTO of DAO collective Minty, in a press release. “It was developed by individuals and organizations, each with their motivations, use cases, and without a central source of funding."
One of the original DAO frameworks, Moloch launched on February 14, 2019, and since then, has been forked 697 times by new DAOs using the framework. Among the many DAOs using it are notable names such as MetaCartel Ventures, Meta Gamma Delta, The LAO, Raid Guild, and CyberFM.
Moloch V2 was released about a year later, allowing DAOs to acquire and spend different tokens and introducing Guild Kick and loot shares. V3 will extend the capabilities of what DAOs can do, enabling them to reorganize themselves on the spot and breaking down existing rigid structures so they can flourish as the space continues to mature.
"In the short term, new DAOs will be able to have more confidence in setting up their configuration (proposal period length, etc). With Moloch V3, they can change it later via a proposal," Spencer Graham, DAOhaus project manager, told PubDAO via Telegram.
Graham says one limitation of Moloch V2 is that after a DAO’s initial launch, it cannot change the length of proposal periods and other initial configuration settings. With Moloch V3, DAOs can adjust those over time, as they learn more about what settings are most appropriate or as circumstances and needs change.
Some of the other features in the Baal update to Moloch’s framework include additional logic for reputation, governance power, rage-quitting (yes, that’s a thing in DAO land, just like in the traditional corporate world), minority shareholder protection, cross-chain DAO interactions, transferability of shares, and flexibility around voting and grace periods.
Baal also introduces the concept of "shamans," special contracts that can add to the coordination mechanisms of a DAO.
Patka of Minty credits the “Moloch Mystics,” which includes members of various DAOs that use Moloch, with assembling the particulars of Baal. The collective includes members of DAOHaus, Minty, Reflexer Finance, LexDAO, and contributors from Raid Guild and MetaCartel.
Perhaps the most succinct praise for Moloch’s V3 update comes Ameen Soleimani, a "summoner" in MolochDAO and co-founder of SpankChain. He calls it “a springboard for greater DAO experimentation.”