DAOs have enormous potential to drive decentralized decision-making and collective action. But currently, the contributors who participate in these networks are largely unsupported and ill-equipped to make their greatest contributions.
Onboarding processes are poorly structured, often making it unclear who is responsible for what. Even in the rare cases where roles are clear, there are insufficient mechanisms to provide contributors with the essential information and permissions they need to take action on behalf of the collective.
This is a huge missed opportunity. If we are to truly realize the potential of DAOs, we need to empower the people who make them go.
Working with dozens of DAOs has revealed there are three things your contributors absolutely need in order to do great work: context, authority, and accountability.
Context: Contributors need the right information to get their work done, including what work streams and roles presently exist, who is responsible for what, and what tasks they are personally responsible for.
Authority: Contributors need to be delegated authority to make decisions and take actions on behalf of the collective within a specific domain of work, and provided with access to the workspaces and tools most relevant to that work.
Accountability: Contributors need to know that the other contributors they are relying on are going to show up, stick around, and follow through on their commitments.
With the right context, the necessary authorities, and clear accountabilities, contributors are catalyzed to do their best work.
This is why we’re building Hats, a protocol for roles and authorities in DAOs.
Out of the sea of information that flows through the DAO on any given day (felt most viscerally in the form of endless Discord notifications), contributors need to be able to cut through the noise and get the most important information that’s relevant to their work.
Hats are designed to shape a DAO’s organizational structure in a way that coordinates the information sharing in the DAO to get the right information to the right people based on their specific role. Sense-making tools like Sobol and Nestr are integrating with Hats to help both contributors and DAO operators visualize and better understand the current work structure of a DAO, including both ongoing roles and one-off projects.
Once empowered to advance a scope of work, contributors need the admin rights, read/write permissions, and resources necessary to get things done.
Token-gated apps like Charmverse, Snapshot, and Coordinape as well as token-gating platforms like Guild, Collab.Land, and Lit Protocol work with Hats out-of-the-box (as Hats themselves are ERC-1155-compatible tokens) to give DAOs management of access control for their contributors. Once authorities are associated with a Hat by the DAO, wearing a Hat automatically unlocks the associated resources, authorities, and permissions the individual, team, or guild needs to do the work they take responsibility for.
Nobody needs passwords, and transferring both on-chain and off-chain permissions is a breeze anytime people change roles or new contributors are added. Hats introduce an enabling infrastructure for DAOs, empowering contributors with the authorities they need to get work done.
To incentivize people to follow through and provide checks on power, contributors need to be held accountable to their peers and the agreements they have made. Crucially, this is how DAOs can remain resistant to capture.
Composable data legos like Govrn contributions, Quests NFTs, JokeDAO results, Otterspace badges, and EAS attestations feed into Hats to determine whether someone is eligible for a given role or authority and automate the granting and revoking of Hats accordingly.
If the Hat wearer is not following through on their commitments, accountability mechanisms the DAO has embedded can be manually or automatically triggered. This might include full revocation of the hat, as well as less severe penalties such as slashing DAO shares or tokens, or generating new reputation data.
DAOs don’t have to be messy and chaotic. We believe in a future where DAOs are able to catalyze people from around the world to make their greatest contributions, on behalf of the things they care about.
This is the future we’re excited to build with you. Join us!
To learn more about Hats Protocol, visit hatsprotocol.xyz