Feedback requested -- proposal for a DAO for global software development

Hi everyone,

First off, if a moderator wants to move this to another category, please do.

As founder of Resonate, the streaming music coop, I’ve long thought about interoperability among coops but also the need for more technical collaboration across coops as perhaps the only way to counter the nearly endless resources that the silicon valley goliaths enjoy. So that’s a hard nut I’ve been trying to crack for years now.

2021 seems to be the year that blockchain related tech has finally started cracking into the mainstream in meaningful ways beyond simple asset ownership. One aspect of this explosion of interest in blockchain is DAOs. Typically referred to as Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, but in the co-op context, the A should be Accountable. (Kudos to Austin Robey for that language hack.)

So the notion occurred to me… why not create a DAO for software producing coops? And so, here’s a VERY rough draft on this idea:

Since CoTech is really the closest existing entity that has similar aims, it seems like this might be the best place to get feedback before starting to share it more widely.

Thanks for reading!

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Hi Peter,

Thanks for this. The fragmentation of the cooperative movement is definitely something we’re interested in. I don’t have much relevant experience, but my concern is that I’m not sure that the problems that get in the way of international intercooperation are technical. It doesn’t take any special technology to make an organisation that isn’t a legal entity, and I’m not sure that securing the decision making history and efficiently tracking contributions are particularly large issues compared to the organisational and human problems of federating organisations that live in separate contexts and speak different languages.

In terms of answers to that organisational question, CoTech has been discussing having a person whose job is to facilitate internal intercooperation. If you haven’t seen it I think the latest on that is here but I don’t know where it’s gone. We’re also building one example of a common tool like you describe, a cooperative hosting provider. Around here there seem to be a lot of discussions about policies to prefer buying from other coops first, which feels relevant too as a material way to build intercooperation.

Does Resonate currently have close connections with surrounding coops?


Thank you @asa for surfacing all of my doubts quite eloquently. When in conversation with someone about this, all of those same issues surfaced. A lot of it centers on weighing the benefits vs risks of moving into the DAO space. There is certainly a lot of appeal (moving money is crazy efficient) and there’s something really powerful about decisions instantly unlocking treasuries. On the other side, the risk arises in moving too fast and thereby blowing past a lot of cooperative values in the process.

One notion is to try to replicate some of the benefits of DAOs, but do so “off chain” so we can move slower and make sure everyone is accounted for. Resonate actually started a project (now called the “coop passport”) that takes a similar approach. Uses cryptography and the notion of a personal wallet for data storage, but without being on chain, which has its own set of risks.

To answer the question about Resonate and co-ops, would say “yes and no”. The passport concept is one where that’s playing out a bit. (The aforementioned passport project, found here:

In summary I’ll say this… my proposal is certainly NOT about the means, but totally about the ends. I believe the co-op world needs to produce a HUGE amount of software to replicate what’s happening in the corporate space and its a moral imperative of the highest order. (Won’t expand on why or this post will go on forever LOL.) So maybe taking a step back, a better question might be… what other kinds of discussions are taking place that are similar and where are those discussions happening? Certainly here at CoTech, although it sounds like maybe not as specifically oriented (i.e. get all the devs in one space and coordinate common development). Would you agree?

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