DAOs & qDAUs: A Match Made Onchain

This article is written by @rileybeans_eth in collaboration with @contentguildxyz.

Quality Matters

Coordination, permissonlessness, and narrative, these are a few of our favorite things. A collective needs a set of norms to guide contributors and allow narratives to flow freely.

One of the more emergent vessels for DAOs is the decentralized social protocol Farcaster and its native application, Warpcast. While Farcaster uses the OP Mainnet as a base layer and the popularity of Base, much of the activities users interact with are offchain, both allowing for scalability while keeping the decentralized ethos alive and well.

Anyone with enough resources and know-how can build their own front-end client for the protocol and plug it into the Farcaster social graph, which has the incredible power to proliferate a brand, community, or, in the case of a DAO, governance and collective funding mechanisms.

Here we’ll discuss how DAOs are utilizing Farcaster, a new iteration of the Open Graph called Frames as mini apps, and how governance could very well be implemented in-feed in the near future.

Farcaster has an entire glossary of nascent terms blossoming every day. One of these terms is qDAU or quality Daily Active User, and it can be confusing if you’re not deep into the world of social networks. While qDAU doesn’t necessarily have a standard, singular definition, it can be boiled down to the need for an exponential increase in quality conversations contributing to the overall health and capabilities of a culture or wider social network.

Combined with governance solutions, this is the decentralized Town Square in its next evolution.

To Have Our Discourse and Eat It Too

Communication and coordination are two of the most important vehicles for driving engagement in any community, with each doubly required for DAOs to operate effectively. For many years now, communication in DAOs has been deeply fragmented between hundreds of links to Notion docs, forums, Discord, Twitter/X, and Telegram.

Challenges that keep other communities from fully embracing Farcaster are prior home bases on Discord, a mainstay for web3. As Toady Hawk explains, “It’s going to be tough to bring a community like Pudgy Penguins en masse onto the platform because of their reliance on Discord and Twitter.”

How could we ever expect a generation burdened by an attention economy to keep up with such “decentralization,” leading to confusion and frustration, even among experienced contributors? These are questions to ask ourselves as community builders and marketers. Are we asking too much of our members’ cognitive abilities by flinging them in all directions in order to keep up?

Enter Farcaster, which acts as an embodiment of meme-fueled, developer, and founder-fueled communication in this next evolution of the web. A web that enables the ethos of Read, Write, Own to drive creativity in all its forms.

Since its inception, Farcaster-native DAOs have taken advantage of social graphs, feeds, and now channels that act almost as subreddits to speak with their communities and reel in new contributors. Many such DAOs have made early progress due to the developer-centric environment.

In this recent conversation with Toady Hawk of The Noun Square and the Yellow Collective about the current trends and future of DAOs on Farcaster, he explained these use cases as great for “having our discourse and eating it too.”

How DAOs Currently Use Farcaster

When Nouns DAO found itself without a home base Discord for communication and friendship-making more than a year ago, this liminal space offered an easy-in for protocols like Farcaster. It’s for this reason that Nouns and other Farcaster DAOs like Purple and Builder DAO have started utilizing Frames for displaying current bids on membership auctions.

Toady Hawk explains how “Nouns DAO and Nouns offshoot projects like The Yellow Collective on Base currently use Farcaster and Frames in many ways, including bots, weekly retro funding rounds, and displaying current daily auction bids.”

To further explain Frames, these Open Graph links appear in-feed and connect links to actions on up to 4 buttons that alter images, onchain transactions, and even commercial experiences. Frames enable ephemeral, novel experiences for DAOs of today and tomorrow.

Recently, Seneca, one of the Nouns founding members, began enabling community participation in weekly retro rounds of 5ETH and 3ETH, allowing comments on a post to nominate folks who’ve provided value to others. Some nominations included folks who are bringing folks in and helping people acclimate to the protocol, while other nominations have been for product builders or podcast hosts. This works by tallying and distributing funds simply based on likes to a comment nomination. Reducing friction and effortlessly increasing participation while visitors to the thread gain visibility on what members are up to.

Farcaster Frames also enables flipping through a series of daily auctions the community might find interesting. Giving greater insight into daily happenings and entry into a wider ecosystem. The builders of this Frame seen here are Paperclip Labs, producers of many such Frames that set conditions for interaction, including actions taken with AI, riddles, games, and more.

At this time, bids must be placed outside of the Warpcast application. However, as we’ll see later, this may be a thing of the past in the near future as further protocol upgrades are made. The name of the game here is in-feed actions to make interacting with a community as easy as possible.

On The Horizon for Farcaster-Native DAOs

As Farcaster users, one of the challenges we face is sensing what could possibly come next for the way we use the protocol and adapting to said uses. Due to the high number of developers populating the network, iteration comes very quickly, as some of the most creative Frames were built only days after release. These have included commerce Frames for buying Girl Scout cookies, generative art Frames, and a game of Pokemon or Doom built right into the feed. And now we see Frames using text input to alter the output or sign up for newsletters.

This gives us an idea of the way forward. If we are dreaming of DAO engagement and governance, let’s take a look at what could be on the horizon.

The behaviors we see today and into tomorrow indicate that while users still love a group chat, as seen by the dozens many of us are part of, we also favor staying within our social feeds where onchain safety is prioritized. One overlooked option for DAOs is token-gated group chats on Warpcast. Many DAOs have started as group chats, and there’s no reason why you can’t test the waters of coordination with a group chat here and move on to a public channel for greater engagement and action items.

Due to the still prevalent scams and takeovers of Discord accounts that result in lost funds, there’s a sense of ease with Warpcast since the number of security vectors on the Farcaster protocol is greatly reduced.

Oh, and the folks at Tally, led by Dennison Bertram, are leading a new proposal for complete DAO Governance using Frames called DelegateKit. You can check out the full proposal here.

What Are Users Asking For?

The duty of a DAO is to ensure not just the safety but engagement of members when casting governance votes, and if they can do this onchain in the Warpcast app in the future, well, that’s a win for everyone. These features may very well be on the immediate horizon now that transaction support for Frames is confirmed. This may change how DAOs operate for the foreseeable future. At least partly away from governance forums, allowing for more open, iterative conversations and perhaps governance that doesn’t take months to complete, which would be a relief for everyone.

If Frames took web3 by storm, implementing transaction support would be the tsunami that brings in exponentially more users.

So far, we’ve witnessed a revealed preference for folks who want to stay on the Warpcast feed rather than being pushed out to another website. The difference here between Warpcast and Twitter is that the algorithm doesn’t punish links in posts, offering equal distribution to all.

For Nouns DAO, staying inside a Nouns-branded Farcaster client is a priority, with a Nouns x Farcaster Prop approved to provide 300k USD to up to 3 developer teams or individuals. This future mobile app would envision an onchain social client enabling the various Nouns collectives to gather together, bid on proposals in-feed, nominate members to roles, and distribute Prop and Rounds funds, all without having to connect a wallet, leave the app or concern with wallet safety due to bootstrapping the Farcaster ecosystem.

Since Farcaster is built on Layer2 protocols, gas fees are very low (and are even lower thanks to EIP-4884), making DAO governance accessible for new DAOs to blossom. This has led to many DAOs actually moving to Optimism or Base, reducing costs for both entry and voting.

In Conclusion

The combination of DAOs and qDAUs that frequent Warpcast and the Farcaster protocol via secondary clients is a fascinating development in the decentralized social landscape.

If you’re considering creating a new DAO or moving an existing DAO from Discord to Farcaster, here are some quick suggestions to get you started:

  • Use Tally to build a plug-and-play DAO or Nouns Builder for a more Farcaster-native experience

  • New DAO tokens auctioned daily to onboard members individually

  • Farcaster Frames allow DAOs greater space for creativity to emerge, measuring impact and engagement through airdropped or minted NFTs

  • Frames allow DAOs to pin new auctions, grant Rounds, and in the future, governance to Channels

  • Channels are your wide look into the world of decentralized networking, complete with community management tools and a whole culture of their own

While Farcaster and DAOs, in general, are both largely still in experimental phases in their respective developments, it sure is a lot of fun getting involved. And you never know; this pairing could turn into a new love for you. The possibilities are endless with emergent technology. With your creativity combined with those you gather in co-creation, the blockchain presents limitless metaversal fun.

This article is written by @rileybeans_eth in collaboration with @contentguildxyz.

To learn more about Tally visit tally.xyz or DM us @tallyxyz.

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