UkraineDAO and Friends With Benefits DAO co-founders talk about autonomous organizations at SXSW

Kimbal Musk, Nadya Tolokonnikova and Alex Zhang took to the SXSW stage Monday to participate in the “Move Over NFT’s. Here Come the DAOs” panel at Austin’s Convention Center. Tolokonnikova is a former member of the Russian protest punk rock group Pussy Riot and co-founder of UnicornDAO and UkraineDAO. Zhang co-founded the social club DAO Friends With Benefits and serves as mayor, while Musk co-founded the philanthropic DAO, Big Green DAO. Journalist Michael Casey moderated.

During the discussion, the panelists described their different and contrasting use cases behind their own decentralized autonomous organizations, or DAOs, and concluded that ownership, transparency and localization are the key principles of a successful DAO.

Tolokonnikova, a self-confessed anarchist, said the reason she entered Web3 was “to find better tools for activism” and found that DAOs could provide “a better model of governance than a national government.” She stated that UkraineDAO was more than a $7 million fundraiser that gathered people behind the image of the Ukrainian flag, and is a “big leap for crypto” that even Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin backed.

She added that UkraineDAO broke the perception that NFTs are “just cartoon images” to show how NFTs can solve local problems. In this case, it was able to “distribute money very quickly” that went to provide medical aid to those affected by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Related: Cryptopedia: Learn the Basics of DAOs and How They Work

On the other hand, Zhang’s Friends With Benefits, or FWB DAO, started in 2020 as “an online accident” and has since grown into a community of people with “social and financial alignment”. FWB is made up of 6,000 token holders, including some public figures and celebrities, who are working together to launch Web3 products, including the recently announced FWB.Archive tool that archives digital events.

Musk agreed to expand the idea of ​​a DAO as a community that “is not regulated by America or by any country in the world” and allows its members to take ownership of the value of the organization’s result. He said Big Green DAO wanted to “really experiment with the governance system” of nonprofits by “giving power to a community” over its treasury and the endowment process.

Tolokonnikova added that bureaucracy is a big problem in non-governmental organizations, or NGOs, because there is not that transparency around the treasury or the distribution of funds. DAOs not only avoid bureaucracy and promote transparency, she said, but they could potentially provide a better governance model than nation-states around the world. The co-founder of UkraineDAO, who was imprisoned in Russia for two years for hooliganism, gave her the “best example” of a strange personal limitation: “A chocolate bar can move from one country to another without any problems, but I can’t.”

Related: Russian Protest Group Pussy Riot Trying to Address Gender Inequality in the NFT Space

Musk then thought about the idea of ​​legal protection. As Big Green DAO is concerned about the liabilities of nonprofits, he wondered if Web3 companies operating as DAOs have the potential to go against centralized government justice systems.

According to Zhang, “laws are catching up” and in the meantime “a lot of amazing DAO infrastructure is being built that wants to work in the real world,” which he says is important for a DAO like FWB that hosts physical experiences. When Coin-Crypto asked him to elaborate on this point, he said he hopes DAOs will eventually replace LLCs or C Corporations and “that no one even says DAO anymore” but just organization. Zhang also revealed that FWB is working on automating payroll and issuing W-2 tax forms to its members, who can choose whatever form of currency they want to be paid in.

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