Step 5: Minimum Viable Accountability

One of the great things about a collaborative funding process run on Alchemy is that funding proposals is easy and fun when compared to more traditional funding mechanisms. The step after that - delivering real work and being accountable - is a much bigger challenge for DAOs. While small communities can heavily rely on interpersonal ties and trust to create accountability, DAOs need such systems that do not rely on people knowing each other.

Technical features that help guarantee accountability in DAOs are still quite underdeveloped. Therefore it is important that when starting a DAO, you think about how your community is going to ensure that value is being delivered in exchange for the funds people receive.

Here are some very early stage experiments and methods for how DAOs can deal with accountability.

Tactics and Methods

On-chain

  • Attestation: Holding back part of all funds in an escrow account, until (part of) the work has been delivered. “Validate” that the deliverable is sufficient with a new proposal on Alchemy

  • Technical integration with an arbitration platform like Kiva. If there is no agreement, use the Kiva platform for arbitration.

  • A dashboard that automatically shows the status of proposals (a more extensive version of Alchemy Explorer)

  • Automatic rewards (bounties) for proposers when they share updates about their work

  • NFTs as badges

Off-chain

Until we have developed solid on-chain accountability systems, we need to rely on simple off-chain accountability methods. Some of these are:

  • Ask proposers to create a channel for each new passed proposal where they can share regular updates.

  • Have a time-slot within a weekly DAO member call, where proposers are invited to share updates in real-time. This creates a strong feeling of accountability to the group.

  • Create bounties to reward proposers when they share updates about their work.

  • Fund a team to manually follow up on the status of proposals and flag to the group if a proposal is late or not being delivered.

While effective and more “human”, the drawback of these off-chain methods is that they are labor intensive and do not scale well. They also are less decentralized and potentially give too much power to the group carrying out the accountability measures.