Deciding You Need a DAO Council

Deciding You Need a DAO Council

July 5, 2023
5 min read

Part I: How it went down 

A few weeks after launching My First DAO and hosting several events, we started receiving feedback from our members expressing their desire for more hands-on learning experiences and a perceived lack of value. To ensure we addressed these concerns effectively, we conducted due diligence by reaching out to trusted community members and friends, to gauge their thoughts and gather additional feedback. Once we validated the feedback, we discussed the issues within the My First DAO Committee. The My First DAO Committee consists of Upstream team members who launched the project: Jacky, Monica and Alex. 

To ensure transparency and effective communication, the My First DAO Committee meets weekly to summarize the previous week's activities and discuss any feedback received from DAO members.  Listening to the community and addressing potential problems early, is crucial and more so  in DAOs, where community members want their voices to be heard. Creating a DAO Council would provide an opportunity to empower community members and encourages a sense of ownership. 

Upon deliberation, the committee agreed to take action and began brainstorming potential solutions. Initially, the committee considered the idea of having members create proposals to enhance hands-on learning experiences.  Due to logistical challenges, such as managing numerous proposals and tracking their content, we discarded that idea.

Ultimately, the committee arrived at the concept of establishing a DAO Council. Recognizing that future feedback and the involvement of members with valuable experience in DAOs would be essential, this solution seemed most fitting. Thus, we proceeded with the formation of a DAO council.

How we went about it:

  1. We created a five-question form and shared it with the community .

The form included inquiries about their Discord name, a link to their Twitter/LinkedIn profiles for verification, their motivation for joining the DAO council, and their relevant experience.

  1. We announced the DAO Council Application during our weekly event, where most of our members gather, and shared the application on Discord after the event. We kept the form open for a week.

  2. During the fifth week's event, we will reveal how members can vote anonymously to elect council members on Upstream. The voting proposal will also remain open for a week.

To ensure transparency with the community, we chose to leave the application and voting processes open for one week so that we could accommodate all DAO members and be certain that everyone had a chance to both see the form, or vote, and act on it if they wanted to participate..

Subsequently, we will announce the elected members of the DAO council, share the execution plan for the proposal, and outline the next steps once the council is selected.

Part II: Validation from an outside perspective 

To further validate the importance of forming a DAO Council, we should think about human nature and behavior, absent a structure. Many might now think of unstructured and unmitigated chaos reminiscent of Lord of the Flies, but even then, a “leader” was selected. This human tendency will undoubtedly repeat in a new DAO, just as it has occurred in other DAOs with which we are, or have been, associated. This is despite the promise of a Decentralized Autonomous Organization starting as a group of equal individuals and we would argue precisely because there is no structure amid competing interests, objectives, and personalities.

Adhering, or giving in, to human behavioral tendencies is one thing, but that is not the main reason why a DAO Council is important. Some of the benefits associated with a council are:

  1. Gathering the highest context individuals and empowering them to make decisions to advance objectives and facilitate cross-DAO interactions
  2. Creating a method by which the most experienced individuals can bring their experience to bear and benefit the broader community
  3. Establishing a group that facilitates interactions with legacy institutions or those that require legacy processes
  4. Assigning accountability to the community while empower the community to make changes
  5. Align mission and objectives with membership efforts and desires

In other DAOs where we have been core contributors or members of the team, a council arose in some form. Some examples of why the Council was required, as relates to the above are:

  • In one DAO that was listing a token on an exchange, the exchange wound up conducting due diligence on one solitary member of the DAO. This meant that the individual in question not only handed over their financial information, but they also made representations of liability to the exchange. As any member or a DAO can imagine, having a solitary member be responsible for everyone else, is a bit daunting and makes verification of the intentions of the broader community quite difficult. A Council thus facilitated interactions with legacy institutions, or institutions that require legacy processes, and ensured smoother operations.

  • In another instance, at a DAO whose membership was vast, different Working Groups were working toward their own objectives that were in theory aligned with the broader group’s. While they were using the same guiding principles, interpersonal dynamics were such that the paths began to diverge slightly. The council in that case was formed to align actions of the DAO’s constituent parts with the mission and objectives of the DAO as a whole.

  • Assigning accountability and empowering the community should go hand-in-hand with the formation of a Council. In one DAO, there was no accountability of leadership to the community, nor was the community empowered to change leadership or enact change. In this instance, a properly constituted Council would have enabled the community to be heard and enact changes. This would have likely also prevented the exodus of that DAO’s highest context, and once ardent, supporters.


While there is ample precedent for forming a DAO Council, it is always best when it has community support, as it does in the case of My First DAO.  In our case, the community voiced, organically, the need for one.  This buy-in imbues the DAO Council with legitimacy and a position of authority within the community.  The My First DAO Committee, in true DAO fashion, recognized the needs of the community and immediately took action to correct what could have become a problem down the line.  We look forward to seeing the eventual membership of the DAO Council and working alongside it, and the community to advance the DAO’s best interests.

Next week, we intend to cover topics around voting for a DAO Council, as well as how to constitute one and establish its guiding framework.  This is web3, however, and our best laid plans may change based on community needs.

Disclaimer: The above represent the personal opinions of the authors and should not be ascribed to any affiliations thereof.  Further, the above does not constitute a recommendation or solicitation to purchase or sell any assets that may be referenced herein.  As of the time of this writing, the authors may or may not have positions in any abovementioned assets.