Crypto Basics Series: 4 Simple Steps To Join a DAO

Easy Participation Know-how From a DAO Talent Coordinator

Article by Samantha Marin | Edited by Hiro Kennelly | Cover by Dippudo

Welcome to Bankless Publishing’s Crypto Basics Series. We’ll be shipping all of our introductory web3 content on Mirror each Monday, enabling users to curate a web3 reference library by minting NFTs on Optimism.

DAO Life

You want to join a DAO. Welcome! You’re in good company. In this article, we’ll outline a few first steps for starting your DAO journey. Then we’ll wrap up with some DAO FAQs and action items to send you on your way into the wild west of decentralized work, profit, and community.

Step 1: Research the DAO ecosystem

There are many types of DAOs, including social DAOs, protocol and project-based DAOs, and even former-companies-turned-DAOs. Since there’s not one repository of all DAO information, you’ll have to comb through the internet to find the DAO that’s right for you. Included below are some resources to help you get started.

Step 2: Pick the DAO that best suits your goals

You won’t be able to pick up on the true vibe or pulse of the DAO until you join. But, if you don’t want to buy the number of governance tokens required for voting, you can likely join without voting powers. Every DAO is different, but many have an option for exploring the scene without purchasing the token.

Most DAOs operate through Discord, so be sure to do your research through Twitter to find out how to join. Additionally, some DAOs have websites or repositories of information that are accessible to the public. For example, the BanklessDAO’s Notion page is the home base for all important resources.

When you join a DAO, the first thing you should assess is the vibe. DAOs are all about community. It’s the people that make DAOs such a wonderful place to work. Unlike a traditional job, there are very few switching costs with hopping from one DAO to another, so be sure to find a place where you fit in with your peers and reflects the values that you hold.

There’s a lot going on in DAOs, and that activity will only increase. We recommend starting with one DAO before you commit to multiple. You may even find yourself working full-time for a DAO, so don’t over-commit too early!

Step 3: Start working

Now you’re in the DAO! Congrats. Your first task is to not get overwhelmed. DAOs are a flurry of activity. It’s tempting to read up on everything you can, but it’s nearly impossible to follow every single workflow. You will get discouraged going this route and eventually burn out.

The best way to get started is to find one specific place where you can add value. Pick one thing to do. Whether it’s taking notes for a meeting or popping into a channel to help some members brainstorm a topic. Keep it small at first, but once you get your feet on the ground, you can build from there.

Attending a meeting is usually the best entry point. It can be tough to get a pulse on what’s happening in the DAO just by reading the Discord text channels. Hearing other members talk is the best way to get to know your DAO co-workers. And it’s easier to introduce yourself there, so your message doesn’t get buried in the channels.

Although it might seem scary, jumping into a project ASAP is important. It can be all too easy to read the channels, listen to a few meetings, and then never make the leap to contributing. Rip the band-aid off early with a low-stakes project. Ask the other DAO members what a good first project is, and get on it! Asking for help and advice as you go is welcome, so you can get up and running quickly.

Step 4: Contribute to governance

At this point, you’re basically a DAO member, now it’s time to partake in governance. To vote, you’ll need to hold a certain number of their governance tokens. You can outright buy the token, often on Uniswap or SushiSwap. But another way to start accumulating it is just to get your hands dirty and get to work. DAO workers often get paid in their DAO’s governance token, so you can work your way up to being a voting member. Nearly everything you do is rewarded with tokens in a DAO, so the more work you put in, the faster you’ll become a voting member.

The types of projects your DAO takes on (and pays you to do) will depend on the DAO that you’re in. For example, in the BanklessDAO, members get paid to write articles, design graphics, work on our inter-DAO products, create videos, and more.


Do you have to pay to join a DAO?

It depends on the DAO. Some DAOs offer unpaid entry into their community. In others, you have to buy the token outright. For example, BanklessDAO has a guest pass system and read-only Discord channels, so potential members can get a feel for the DAO before making a monetary commitment.

Do you need to be a crypto expert or a developer to join a DAO?

No. DAOs need people with just about every skill set and knowledge base. For example, many DAOs have writers, graphic designers, marketers, software developers, translators, artists, videographers, community leads, and more.

How many hours a week do you need to commit to a DAO?

As many as you want — that’s the beauty of open-source projects built through a grassroots community. Instead of a strict, 9–5 work schedule, you can contribute two hours a week and still be a beneficial, helpful DAO member. Or, you can contribute to tons of projects and end up making a full-time salary on-chain. (Quitting your normie job? Yes please.) It’s really that simple!

A version of this article was originally published by Bankless Publishing on June 22, 2022.

Author Bio

Samantha is on the Communications team at Aragon, and is working on transitioning the entire Aragon Network into a DAO. She writes about DAOs in the Quorum Newsletter.

Editor Bio

Hiro Kennelly is a writer, editor, and coordinator at BanklessDAO and the Editor-in-Chief at Good Morning News. He is also an Associate at Bankless Consulting, and is helping to build a grants-focused organization at DAOpunks.

Designer Bio

Dippudo started contributing to BanklessDAO after falling down the crypto rabbit hole in the middle of 2021. Dippudo subsequently won the Fight Club NFT Competition and is now working on numerous other projects within the DAO and The Rug News as a designer. He is now spending time diving deeper into the worlds of economics, computer science, and finance.

BanklessDAO is an education and media engine dedicated to helping individuals achieve financial independence.

Disclaimer: this isn’t investment advice. This article has been written for informational and educational purposes only and it reflects my personal experience and current views, which are subject to change.

Bankless Publishing is always accepting submissions for publication. We’d love to read your work, so please submit your article here!

Other Articles In The Crypto Basics Series

Decentralized Ledger Technology 101 by The Crypto Barista

The 101 on NFTs, A Briefing by Lanz

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