To Turn Valueless Bits Into Valuable Ones: Cabin Core Contributor Dave Merin
March 2nd, 2022

Alchemy was many things, but none as famous as the transmutation of metals. For centuries, smart minds have attempted to turn lead, a nearly valueless metal, into the most valuable one: gold. In the Cabin forum, Dave Merin describes himself as a coin alchemist. Coin refers to tokens, the underlying infrastructure of DAOs. But why alchemist?

“Tokens are not exactly rocket science, but they can be scary to engage with,” Dave says. “I’ve worked full-time in crypto for years, so to me, they’re much less intimidating. What I mean by alchemy is helping the DAO transform what could be a valueless social token into a valuable coordination tool that rewards the participants who make the network more valuable. It’s about turning valueless bits into valuable bits.”

As a part-time core contributor to Cabin, Dave’s day-to-day involvement is of two kinds. The first is managing the ₡ABIN token: structuring the liquidity pools, making sure it does what the community wants it to do. The second is providing advice on financial and legal matters to point other contributors in the right direction. For this, Dave draws from his long experience in the crypto world.

Like many, the path that brought him to Cabin is meandering, with stints in real estate, law school, political internships in Washington D.C., and consulting work in international infrastructure. Unlike some, however, Dave was relatively early to web3. He got interested in it as a hobby around 2015, before getting involved with ConsenSys, the blockchain company that notably develops the MetaMask wallet. He co-founded a platform called Coven, a decentralized app for venture investing within the ConsenSys network. “During the 2018-2019 crypto bear market, it was one of the top twenty dApps. Although that’s not saying much since it only had about 100 users,” Dave says with a laugh. Even though Coven generated profits from some great early investments, the fluctuations of the market eventually forced it to shut down. After that, Dave stayed at ConsenSys, where he now works full-time as Head of Corporate Development.

“Along the way,” he says, “I got interested in the intersection of real estate and crypto, for obvious reasons. I follow most projects pretty closely.” Among various efforts to create what Balaji Srinivasan has called cloud cities, a topic Dave has also written about, he was attracted to Cabin due to its focus on building an intentional community.

Dave has a clear vision of what Cabin could become. To fulfill its mission of building a decentralized city, Cabin will eventually grow beyond the property near Austin, Texas, also known as Node Zero. But how will a multi-node network in various states and countries be structured? This is where tokens come in.

Big real estate operators, such as international hotel chains, don’t typically own land directly in multiple jurisdictions, Dave explains. Instead, local people own the land and make it available to the organization as part of a legal structure. “Imagine that Cabin opens a node in Bali. There’s no reason that people in Texas should be telling the Bali branch of Cabin what to do. The Bali node should be owned and managed by local people, with incentives to ensure some degree of coherence with Austin.” These incentives can be created with clever uses of the ₡ABIN token. For instance, Dave has proposed a mechanism called the Token-Curated Registry, meant to allow new node operators to add their property to the network in a way that aligns them with the existing community and all ₡ABIN token holders.

“This will allow the decentralized city to grow much faster than if we had to figure out how to buy and operate land all over the world,” Dave says. A prosperous, fast-expanding cloud city: that is the Great Work of coin alchemy.

Read Dave’s blog


  • Written by etiennefd
  • Edited by Philippe I.
  • Header image by _marulli

About Cabin

Cabin is a decentralized city built by creators, for creators. Cabin believes in the power of bringing people together IRL, especially for decentralized and distributed teams. We are the DAO to help other DAOs accelerate their work by getting together IRL.

Our mission is to build a decentralized city with nodes all over the world, empower creators to pursue an independent career online, and build the products for creators and DAOs to achieve the first two goals. Our decentralized city is made up of various nodes around the world, starting with Node 0 outside of Austin, Texas.We invite you to follow us on Twitter for updates, check out our blog for information, subscribe to our newsletter, and visit our Discord to take part in our community.

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