How to DAO 101: Choosing a Tech Stack for CabinDAO

Jonathan Hillis
Jonathan Hillis
0xbeC2
August 2nd, 2021

Author: rafa0.eth | Illustrator: melshields.eth

Welcome to the first deep dive on how we are building CabinDAO, a Decentralized Autonomous Organization focused on empowering independent online creators. If you aren’t familiar with the term DAO, take a look at this excellent article first.

CabinDAO operates the Creator Cabins residency. The next cohort will run from August 23rd - September 19th and applications are open through today (August 2nd)!

We always love feedback from the community, whether or not you're a $CABIN hodler. Find us on twitter @creatorcabins or join our token-gated Discord server.


The toolkit available for DAOs is expanding rapidly and it can be overwhelming to determine where to start. As a first stop, we recommend defining the phases of your organization’s work. We had 4 initial phases of work when starting on CabinDAO:

Phase 1: Recruiting the community
Phase 2: Securing initial funds
Phase 3: Communicating with members
Phase 4: Delivering the first objective

During each phase, you can use a combination of different web2 and web3 applications. At CabinDAO we used the following tech stack:

This technology stack was used to drive engagement, then to convert engagement into investment and action:

Let’s dive into each phase and talk through each of the tools.

PHASE 1: Recruit the Community

Funding the organization and creating an engaged community requires broad reach to the right audience. We recommend doing this by clearly defining (and publishing!) your narrative, story, and mission in public and at the right time.

During this initial phase, we spent some time creating a following on Twitter and then published a launch article through the blogging platform Mirror. At its core, Mirror is a publishing platform like Substack or Medium but built with Ethereum. In short, you can “blog on the blockchain”. Unlike other publishing sites, Mirror is a crypto-native solution and combines basic publishing with digital collectible sales, crowdfunds, auctions, splits, and tiered funding (editions).

Having this combined technology was an advantage. It allows publishers to have a single location where the audience could read their content and contribute immediately (read more in Phase 2: Securing Initial Funds). Not anyone can use Mirror. If you’d like to use the platform, you have to be selected in the top 10 of their $WRITE Race, which requires current Mirror members to vote for you.

Our launch article focused on a broader important theme highlighted by the crypto newsletter 1729 earlier that month. The article “Tech stack for decentralized cities”, achieved good traction and was even promoted by the 1729 newsletter. Here’s a snippet of the article:

We are experimenting with this (Decentralized Cities) at Creator Cabins by launching CabinDAO, a token-based governance structure for funding and awarding creator residencies at our cabins. Stay tuned for our $CABIN crowdfund on Mirror later this week!

Community Recruitment Toolkit

Mirror: https://mirror.xyz/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/

PHASE 2: Securing initial funds

Once the narrative was out in public, it was time to gather the funds to support the mission. To raise the funds we needed to complete 2 steps:

  1. Set up the organization’s treasury infrastructure (the “crypto bank account”)
  2. Distribute the membership social tokens via a crowdfund campaign

If you’re unfamiliar with NFTs, membership tokens, and social tokens, you should read more about them here.

We chose Gnosis Safe as our crypto-native treasury platform. Gnosis provided two critical features: The ability to have each distribution of funds approved by multiple team members (a.k.a. Multi-signature), and a central location to preserve a mixture of funds: Ether and the social token.

One common misconception is that DAOs are purely flat hierarchical organizations. This usually isn’t the case. The founders or a few selected individuals are chosen or elected as guardians of the treasury. Over time, DAOs can progressively decentralize into more truly trustless structures.

In our case, CabinDAO assigned 3 executive signatories to the Gnosis Safe account, with a requirement that 2 out of 3 signatories were required for any fund transaction. Each signatory had an individual wallet (Metamask) used to confirm the transaction.

Once the treasury account was in place, we bought an ENS domain and used Mirror to complete the crowdfund campaign. The crowdfund was promoted on Twitter and directly to the audience that had demonstrated interest from the launch article. Maintaining momentum was critical here - the crowdfund was published two days after the launch article to take advantage of the audience engagement.

We want to bring more people out to the cabins to help answer the question, so we're starting a creator residency program. It's an experiment in universal creator income, tech stacks for decentralized cities, and the physical manifestation of DAOs.

For any crowdfund, you will need to make specific choices related to the token supply. We recommend talking through these questions with your founders:

  1. What will be the total initial supply?
  2. Will it be fixed? (e.g. will future token creation be restricted)
  3. What will be the anchor exchange rate with Ethereum?
  4. How much of the supply will be reserved for the DAO treasury?

After reviewing these questions, make sure to check how much flexibility you need from the crowdfunding technology. For CabinDAO we used default Mirror settings: the initial crowdfund participants would receive 1000 $CABIN per 1 ETH, with a fixed total supply. We also chose to allocate 50% of the fund to the CabinDAO treasury. The supply allocated to the treasury would be used to:

  1. Reward members for ongoing work and activities
  2. Enter in inter-DAO partnerships by exchanging tokens
  3. Potentially conduct a second crowdfund
  4. Provide liquidity for the secondary token market if needed (e.g. via Uniswap)

Once the crowdfund was complete, we also airdropped a portion of tokens to earlier supporters of the project prior to its creation. This is important, since many early supporters may be investing time, energy, and resources prior to the DAOs conception.

Funding Toolkit

Metamask: https://metamask.io/

Gnosis Safe: https://gnosis-safe.io/

Mirror: https://mirror.xyz/

ENS Domain: https://app.ens.domains/

PHASE 3: Communication with members

The crowdfund was a success: We were able to secure funds for 3 cohorts of creators! Next, we needed to create an environment where members could work together. As with most DAOs, we chose to use Discord, and installed Collab-Land as an authentication gateway.

Collab-Land is particularly helpful: Once you add the bot to your Discord server, the application will assign roles to the members. Depending on their token (e.g. in our case they would need to have $CABIN tokens) they can join the DAOs’ private communication channels.

For ongoing collaborative work (e.g. writing draft proposals), we created a Roam environment dedicated to the DAO, although most of the time we also used Google Docs.

Collaboration Toolkit

Discord: https://discord.com/

Collab-Land: https://collab.land/

Roam: https://roamresearch.com

PHASE 4: Delivering the first mission

Once members joined the community, we had to deliver the initial mission. This consisted of:

  1. Finalizing the first proposal (allocating funds to the Creator Cabins Grant program)
  2. Approve the proposal

In DAO-speak, this process is called governance. Governance activities are foundational to every DAO: the ability to pitch, finalize, and then take proposals to a community vote.

Our first proposal, after being edited in Google Docs, was published on Mirror and shared via Discord with the community members. The initial proposal was approved via Snapshot, which doesn’t require gas fees because it’s an off-chain application, making sure your funds don’t get spent on basic governance activities. You can read more about Snapshot in this article by Decrypt.

We encountered the first big challenge during this initial vote: How do we mobilize the community for mission-critical activities like voting?

Of the ~100 $CABIN members, 15 members voted. As zakku (@fifthworldzach) mentioned last week, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Participation will often be driven by a selected team, the key here is to ensure the most involved also have the most voice, especially with big milestone votes. If you’re interested in learning more about community design, I’d recommend reading The Art of Community by Charles Vogl.

The voting for the first proposal was fairly simple: a Yes / No vote on the allocation of funds. However, in some cases, such as our second proposal to select the Creator Cabin cohort participants, more complex voting might be required.

Snapshot allows you to set-up different types of voting processes like: approval, quadratic, rank choice, or weighted. Moving forward, CabinDAO proposals will start at the pitch stage and encourage community members to debate and shape the direction of the organization. We created a channel dedicated to idea generation in Discord so that anyone with the $CABIN token can provide input here.

Any idea that generates enough interest (at least 4-5 supporters) would then be taken to the finalization phase: Proposal drafts would be created in Roam or Google Docs, and finally published (permanently!) in Mirror.

Delivery Toolkit

Discord: https://discord.com/

Roam: https://roamresearch.com

Mirror: https://mirror.xyz/

Snapshot: https://snapshot.org/

Some Gaps and Challenges

Although there are many tools available for DAOs, there's still a lot of room for growth. Throughout our work, we’ve encountered four main areas of opportunities:

  1. How do we reliably and effectively community and mobilize the DAO membership?
  2. How do we get work done collaboratively?
  3. How do we broaden our reach and connect with more people interested in our mission?
  4. How do we support delegation of votes (if needed) in the future?

Stay tuned - we will look to dive into each of these in the coming months and will share everything that we learn. If you have recommendations find us on twitter @creatorcabins or… join our Discord server and get in touch.

Additional Resources

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