With the community approval of the Aragon Network Charter, Aragon has started the process of shedding its corporate structure and transforming into a fully decentralized organization, owned and managed by $ANT holders: the Aragon Network DAO (AN DAO). This is an experimental process, technologically and socially, but the Charter can be amended by proposals so will be able to adapt to changing circumstances as the community decides.
Aragon Network DAO Structure
The AN DAO is not a legal entity but a decentralized, autonomous coordination mechanism for sovereign individuals to collaborate on shared goals. It consists of a Main DAO and several sub-DAOs, all built on Aragon Govern, as well as various discussion forums such as Discord and Twitter (not mandated by the Charter). The Aragon Association will oversee elections and the transfer of funds to the AN DAO but will be dissolved once the entire treasury has been transferred. $300k in seed funding has already been approved and will be transferred to the AN DAO's Investment and Operations Vaults in tranches. And finally, the entire structure has recourse to Aragon Court for last-resort dispute resolution.
Aragon Govern enables a system of Optimistic Governance in which DAOs write their own founding documents called DAO Agreements that act like constitutions and are recognized by Aragon Court in the case of any disputes. For the AN DAO, our Agreement is called the Aragon Network DAO Charter.
At any time, any $ANT holder can deposit 50 $ANT as collateral and schedule a transaction from the Treasury. Importantly, all Aragon Govern transactions are delayed by a period of time set by the DAO called the Dispute Time Delay. Optimistic Governance assumes that all actions are legitimate unless proven otherwise so during this time delay an action can be challenged in Aragon Court. A challenge can be raised for any reason but is only likely to be successful if the transaction is found to violate the DAO Agreement. Upon a successful challenge, the original transaction collateral will be forfeited to the challenger.
A fuller explanation of Aragon Govern and where it sits in the Aragon OpenStack can be found in The Optimistic DAO.
Legislative Branch: Aragon Voice + social channels
The core of the AN DAO is its legislative branch - responsible for generating proposals to put forward for the consideration of $ANT holders in formal votes. The ideas for projects and activities of the AN DAO are likely to be born in 'soft-governance' channels such as Discord, Twitter and the Aragon Forum. These are the DAO's 'coffee houses' where discussions can take place and ideas can be refined before being submitted as formal proposals on signaling platforms. At present, the Charter stipulates that transactions from the Main DAO must be preceded by a successful vote on Aragon Voice, but that could be amended to include other platforms in the future.
Executive Branch: Main DAO
The Main DAO embodies and empowers all $ANT holders in a framework of direct democracy: once a vote has been decided in favor of a proposal on Aragon Voice, any $ANT holder may execute the actions required by the vote, which will usually mean scheduling an on-chain transaction or operation.
There are three types of proposals that may be submitted to the Main DAO:
Financial, which involve the transfer of any asset with monetary value from the Main DAO or any Sub-DAO;
Elections, which assign or remove wallet permissions from the sub-DAOs;
Others, which invoke changes to metagovernance, code, parameters, etc.
A proposal to the Main DAO has a minimum turnaround of 19 days, beginning with a post on the Aragon Forum of between 7-10 days to allow adequate time for edits and improvements. This may be accompanied by campaigning on behalf of the proposal on any other social channels. After the 7 days have elapsed, a vote may be held on Aragon Voice for a minimum of 7 days, during which $ANT holders may formally signal their opinions to the extent of their $ANT holdings. Any vote requires a minimum quorum of 5k $ANT to be considered valid. If the vote passes, the accompanying transaction must be scheduled in Aragon Govern with the delay of 5 days to allow for any challenges via Aragon Court.
Because of the scrutiny that this process affords, it is only likely to be appropriate for significant proposals, akin to parliamentary legislation. Smaller proposals can be executed more swiftly by the Executive Sub-DAO, to be discussed shortly.
Aragon Court is the default arbitration platform for the AN DAO, as stipulated by the Charter. Any scheduled transaction may be challenged in Aragon Court by any $ANT holder, directly from the Aragon Govern interface.
Sub-DAOs are subordinate to the Main DAO and dependent on it for their funding. They are bound firstly by the Charter, and secondly by their own Agreements. New sub-DAOs can be created or existing ones dissolved by a vote of $ANT holders on Aragon Voice, executed by the Main DAO.
At launch, the AN DAO will have two sub-DAOs to control various elements of administration as well as a Tech Committee to oversee code audits. Each sub-DAO will be staffed by a committee of three members. In the first year, two of these will be elected by the Aragon Association and one through an election proposal in the Main DAO. In the second year, this process will be reversed so that the Aragon Association will elect one member and two through the Main DAO. In year three, all members will be elected through the Main DAO.
The Executive Sub-DAO will act as a decentralized finance director, responsible for the management of funds in the Operations Vault - used for operational and strategic investments and grants. It can request additional funding from the Main DAO's Investment Vault or directly from the Aragon Association.
The Executive Sub-DAO is designed to make small, quick decisions in a process called 'Lazy Consensus'. This means that any Executive Sub-DAO Committee member can schedule a proposal that will pass unless any of the other Committee members dispute it. A dispute may take the form of a discussion, resulting in the cancellation of the scheduled action or a vote on Aragon Voice of between 4-14 days.
The Compliance Sub-DAO is a facilitator for conversations around ethics, sustainability and risk, and the protector of last resort for the AN DAO. The sub-DAO has the power to veto any actions or proposals that clearly breach the Charter or could otherwise harm the Aragon Network (except for proposals to add or remove wallet addresses from the Compliance Sub-DAO itself). Importantly, members of the Compliance Committee assume legal responsibility for the approval of any illegal, unlawful, criminal or fraudulent proposals.
The Tech Committee is not technically a DAO, but an off-chain committee charged with auditing and deploying any new code required by proposals, as well as managing the access to the necessary Web2 platforms (such as Github) to perform these tasks.
Our Vision for the AN DAO
The vision of the AN DAO is to be a highly scalable ecosystem of entrepreneurial teams that will be a source of perpetual innovation, without a single point of failure. The Optimistic nature of proposals and voting creates an Idea Meritocracy where the ideas of any $ANT holder can be listened to and considered by the community. This creates a level of engagement and dynamism that is rarely achievable in legacy organizations. Indeed, in only a few days we have begun to see the emergence of working guilds for content production, DAO education and community management that may soon evolve into their own sub-DAOs. Like the first corals on a shipwreck, these are signs of a more hopeful future and the kind of low-risk governance experimentation that Aragon was founded to support.