DAO Focus or "Moral Innovation"

As our project and community scales we must avoid creating complexity (both at the technological + community layers) if we hope to continue growing and succeeding.

If we try to be all things to all people, we’ll be nothing to anyone. The more we are differentiated on a single axis, the more intensely we will compel the right people to want to join us.

Our friend of the project, Balaji Srinivasan thoughtfully outlines this concept, and expands on how a single moral innovation can act as the seed for new communities and societies, in The One Commandment — a chapter from his new book The Network State (if you haven’t read it, and are reading this, I’d strongly recommend you do so!)

See specific examples of how single moral innovations can act as the seeds of new communities → parallel societies from Balaji: Renewal Culture: the Cancel-Proof Society, Keto Kosher: the Sugar-free Society and Digital Sabbath: the Partially Offline Society.

As the CityCoins community, understanding what we are choosing NOT to do as is as important as understanding our mission. As one example:

  • We are not attempting to replace city government. We believe that municipal government, while large and slow-moving, still provides a lot of value to cities. Even if we did want to replace it, this would be a herculean task!
  • Instead: We seek to complement existing infrastructure in areas where we are can quickly and effectively solve societal problems permissionlessly, as a community.

The Key question: Of the many things our community wants to do, what specific societal problem(s) do we choose to address via an opt-in, community-funded treasury and DAO model? What is the ‘moral innovation’ that our DAO will fund?

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Of the many things our community wants to do, what specific societal problem(s) do we choose to address via an opt-in, community-funded treasury and DAO model?

A few direct thoughts on finding a focused and effective answer to this as a community:

Having been part of the CityCoins community since the start, two values that feel like they have resonated with everybody here are

  1. a desire to help improve their city and;
  2. the general idea that there are permission-less ways to do so.

Thinking about this, plus your point about finding ways to complement muni government VS replace it made me think: What are the atomic units of all cities that individuals and small groups both (a) care most about and have a deep, self-interested incentive in seeing improve and (b) actually have immediate power to impact and improve?

To me, the clear answer is neighbourhoods and their (hyper?) local communities. A city is nothing if not a collection of districts and neighbourhoods, and I’d wager that, generally speaking, people are most familiar with and connected to issues in their immediate local vicinity and have some of their closest geographical relationships in that same, local geographic area.

Contrasted to city-wide issues, which all city residents may be familiar with, but perhaps aren’t directly affected by / less clear how they can actually help (these issue tend to be bigger/more complex).

Can we find a way to tap into the tight-knit community and clear direct incentive to improve neighbourhoods? If every neighbourhood had better tools to organize, fund and improve themselves, and was doing so permissionlessly with no reliance on municipal government, couldn’t that actually look quite extraordinary?

(Finding a way to start at the ground floor, so to speak, could also form the basis of a repeatable bottom-up playbook and user acquisition strategy for our community)


Agreed 100% with this concept. This is also what I have envisioned when I imagine a future where the CityCoins concept has taken hold. I think the key for this is to build the tooling for communities to put CityCoins to work. For example, DAOs that could enable communities to align in a similar manner to HOA’s. Consider if a neighborhood could create a DAO to fund its merchants, schools, or a park. Or they could pool funds to help a family repair a house that caught fire as another example. While these could all be achieved in an off-chain manner today, that doesn’t feel accessible currently, and there is a lot of trust involved in pooling one’s money in a permissioned manner. Building tooling like DAOs and other dApps could help to unlock the ability to organize in a more efficient and scalable manner.