The Institute for Organizational Viability goes SNF!

We’re excited to announce that the Blockchain and DAO team is part of a consortium that secured a Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) project titled “Decentralised Decision-Making in DAOs – Learnings for Digital Democracy”. This project aims at deepening our understanding of decision-making within decentralised autonomous organisations (DAOs) and leverage these insights to advance the concept of digital democracy. Collaborating with the UZH Blockchain Center and the Zentrum für Demokratie Aarau, we will collect data from DAOs to inform the design of voting processes in digital democracies.

DAOs engage members in decision-making across daily operations and structural developments through diverse voting mechanisms, yielding substantial data for research in digital voting and democracy. This aligns with digital democracy principles, emphasizing participation, inclusivity, and discussion, often integrating digital tools for governance. Advanced voting mechanisms within DAOs offer insights with the potential to shape the future of digital democracies. In a typical DAO decision-making process as shown in the figure below, proposals are submitted with abstracts, motivations, and implementation plans, followed by community discussion and final voting stages. Unlike traditional organizations, DAOs enable direct shareholder participation through decentralised voting mechanisms, with proposals and votes recorded on the blockchain. Accepted proposals are executed either automatically on-chain by smart contracts or require off-chain implementation by specific stakeholders.

Project scope

Our interdisciplinary project aims to explore the decision-making dynamics within DAOs, examining how their voting mechanisms pioneer new forms of decision-making relevant to democratic settings. With a diverse team of computer scientists, economists, and democracy researchers, we will gather data from various DAOs and conduct interviews with DAO representatives. Through the analysis of voting dynamics and these interviews, we aim to offer insights and guidelines for designing effective voting systems in digital democracies.

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