DAO and Legal, a blog post series

Hi everyone,

We would like to get started handing in proposals regarding DAOs and law, touching upon some important issues like privacy, identity and regulatory frameworks like the GDPR.
It would be good for the GenesisDAO, DAOs in general and participants of the DAO to have more understanding of their rights, rules and or missing rules in these fields.
Lucie, who just handed in her proposal to join the GenesisDAO will spearhead this in our team at Ape Unit, but before we hand in the proposal, we would like to share with you what we had in mind.

A. Blog post Series
In order to have a first understanding what legal issues are applicable to DAO’s, we would like to start a blog post series in which we will explore the legal landscape touching DAOs. All over the Internet there are snippets regarding DAOs and legal, but with this blog posts, we would like to make a coherent series, which will be beneficiary as a prelude to a legal DAO framework and also will give members of the GenesisDAO a better understanding of important issues like privacy and identity. These discussions are already going on, but by providing basic legal understanding, will increase depth and applicability.

B. A Legal Canvas

As a second step we propose to make a legal canvas, in order for people to have a better overview which laws in their situation are applicable and which are not. Also, for this we would like to have your input, but we will create a separate forum post for that!

Back to the blog: We are setting up a structure with topics, and we would like to know which you think are important, so that we can create a series that is valuable towards the Genesis community.

  1. Privacy related posts

Data Controllers:

  • Who is in charge of privacy compliance of DAOs?
  • Who is accountable for GDPR compliance of DAOs?

Applicability of the GDPR:

  • Is the GDPR applicable to DAOs?
  • No borders DAOs vs the GDPR (about GDPR’s territorial scope)

Data Subjects Rights / Enforcing DPR on the blockchain:

  • The right to be forgotten on the blockchain
  • Data minimisation on the blockchain
  • How to apply Data Protection by Design to DAOs?
  1. Legal vs DAOs
  1. The state of DAO laws in Europe (study of research papers, consultations at the EU level)
  • Are DAOs legal in Europe?
  • Are DAOs legal in specific European countries?
  1. Maltese law about DAO (“technology arrangements”):
  • Creating a DAO in Malta?
  1. Smart contracts and the law (infinite number of topics here!):
  • Are smart contracts legal contracts?
  • The enforceability of smart contracts

Please let us know which topics you think are most interesting! :muscle:


@Jantine Hi Jantine, I feel we should start 1# with a discussion about the term “DAO”. Especially: Do we need the “A” like autonomous? What does it mean? Do we need smart contacts or other automated transactionssystems? I already wrote something about that but it’s in german. I will translate it asap and then you or we can used it as a discussion basis or for the blog. 2#: Is Bisq.network also a part of it? I feel we should integrate the Bitcoin Space. 3#: And we should find a solution for the liability topic. That is the biggest issue for every regulator I think. There is much more in my mind. So let’s start! mb

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Hi Markus,

Thanks for the suggestions and questions! I think you are right about the points you address. Especially ‘easy’ questions like, what is a DAO (or DO), are actually difficult to answer.

With our proposal, that just got approved (Alchemy | DAOstack) we start therefore with looking first at the regulatory frameworks, to see what they say (like the GDPR) and in the meantime we will collect information about very important topics like liability and DAOs and smart contracts and the law.

Regarding your second point, I am not sure if I understand you well. In the blockchain space, there is even a ‘flippening’ mentioned: more DAOs than tokens :slight_smile: For sure we want to have an inclusive approach, but it will be difficult to say something about every DAO. I think that could be covered better in a DAO landscape research, like the one that Grace started for DAOstack.

In the next weeks, we will get more and more legal experts involve (as well for the legal canvas) in order to create a base of knowledge to decide on the second set of topics for the blog post series and to make a good proposal for the legal canvas.
We are looking forward to it and are happy with your input and collaboration!

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Unpopular opinion: the academic taxonomy/definition doesn’t matter at this point as everyone is using DAO as more of a catch-all word for Ethereum native orgs.

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@papa_raw Nice to hear from you! Is this your opinion? This view is not unpopular, but very widespread.This is also comprehensible if you come from the DAOStack space. However, I feel that it limits the scope and further (legal or economic) development of the concept of Decentralized Organizations. That kind of structures existed before the Internet. Moreover: why should an type of an organization be dependent on just one provider or layer? What do we do if Ethereum fails?

@Jantine I understand what you said at the second point. But maybe its helpful if someone compare Bisq with the dxDAO / DutchX. But of course I let it out and do it for my own. I just wanna help not bring too subjective views into your project. I was born in east germany and if I can unite two sides (BTC and ETH), then I have to do it somehow. :wink:

This isn’t true :wink:

Something like the dxDAO, which has 400 people across 6 continents, controls a smart contract protocol, and doesn’t need a bank account to manage its own funds has never existed before. We can try to find organizational-structural analogues but I don’t find most analogues too useful.

Winner-take-all mechanics, mostly; positive externalities due to modular compositibility, network effects, etc… While Polkadot, Cosmos, et al. will exist in tandem with Ethereum, right now it’s the Lego of plastic brick toys.

When Myspace failed people went to Facebook. So I suspect folks would just migrate to another public smart contract ledger.

Ah yes, understood. Also to clarify, we will not have an Ethereum focus, we will research DAOs not being tied to one platform or technology. There are more and more protocols facilitating DAOs, and it would not be wise to leave that out of the scope. However, we will keep a legal focus on the matter.