The History of DAOs

Jan 26, 2023


Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAO) is used to connect like-minded people from around the world working together to reach a common goal. Think of them as a internet based community or organization that is collectively managed and owned by its members. It provides the community the necessary tools to organise people and resources from all over the world, making them available to everyone involved.

Now the question everyone is wondering, where did it all start?


The origin of the DAO

The concept of a DAO has been around from the early 1900’sbut has flourished and gained meaning as of late.


The first recorded references of DAOs emerged in the 1990’s,where it was used to describe multi-agent systems in an Internet of Things(IoT) environment and non-violent decentralised action in the counter-globalization social movements. The contemporary meaning of DAOs appeared almost synonymously with Bitcoin and can be traced back to the concept Decentralised Autonomous Corporation (DAC). In the years that followed, the idea of a decentralized autonomous organization built on top of a blockchain began to evolve.


In 2013, the concept re-emerged in a article written by V. Buterin. He suggested the term Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAO) to describe the ‘holy grail’ of organization types, an ‘entity that lives on the internet and exists autonomously, but also heavily relies on hiring individuals to perform certain tasks that the automaton itself cannot do.’


The most important and basic characteristics of a DAO in this sense were thought to be: “decentralized” and “autonomous”.

  1. ‘’Decentralized’’, reflects a ‘’code is law’’ organization, with the day-to-day operations based on decentralized infrastructure where the community is not controlled by a small group of shareholders or an individual.
  2. ‘’Autonomous’’, is reflected in the fact that its daily operations are programmed and automatically enforced when meeting a specific condition.



Some might argue that Bitcoin was the first DAO, but we can all agree that the term DAO has gone though an evolution and that the concept and understanding has changed significantly. The term today is understood as referring not to a blockchain network in and of itself, but rather a organisation comprised of 1000s of people around the world, working together to change and manage an existing blockchain network as they improve it for future generations.