What is a DAO and how do I participate?

What is a DAO?

A DAO, or Decentralized Autonomous Organization, is essentially a system in which token holders can collectively decide how their ecosystem evolves. The idea is to create a community-led entity, whether that be for a product or service, that governs as a democracy, using canister smart contracts to create voting power throughout the ecosystem. The smart contracts can establish the foundational framework within which a DAO operates in a highly visible, verifiable, and auditable way.

The tell of a good DAO would be in how it incentivizes its participants to vote and be an active voice in the community; passion about the project is very influential on its success but involvement and consistency keeps it afloat. 


What is SNS?

SNS, or Service Nervous System, refers to the form of DAO that runs on and governs smart contracts on the Internet Computer blockchain. It is modeled after the NNS, the Network Nervous System, that governs the IC, and can be applied to smart contracts and dapps across the blockchain. A dapp controlled by an SNS DAO is governed by SNS token holders submitting and voting on on-chain proposals. This makes it so that instead of one developer or group of people solely controlling the dapp, it is controlled by voting via tokens, promoting decentralization. A developer can turn their dapp into a DAO by handing the control of their dapp over to an SNS DAO.

Since ICP is unique in that it can host fully-on chain dapps (frontend, backend application logic, and data), SNS DAOs are unique in that, through voting, they can completely control every aspect of the dapp. Having fully on-chain DAOs is important because it enables all decisions to execute on the blockchain. This is in contrast to existing DAOs on other blockchains where voting takes place on-chain but the execution of the results are often carried out by developers off-chain. This facilitates true decentralization.


How do I get involved?

At this current moment, you can participate in the Internet Computer's first test DAO by purchasing SNS-1 tokens. You can get SNS-1 tokens a few ways: a decentralization sale, a third-party exchange, or airdrops. Going forward, each SNS will have its own separate token for purchase.

For further information, you can check out our Help Center articles: How do I Buy SNS-1 and How do I Stake SNS-1