Last month, Web 3 venture studio Decent Labs launched Fractal, a developer framework to help companies scale their operations as a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO). It turns out Fractal was the first project from Decent DAO, a new project formally announced on Wednesday with a $10 million on-chain investment at a $56 million valuation from top names in crypto investing.
Crypto native firms BlockTower Capital and GSR led the investment with participation from Cumberland DRW, Digital Currency Group and 1kx, among others (Digital Currency Group also owns CoinDesk as an independent subsidiary).
“We didn’t raise from traditional Silicon Valley or New York venture capital funds. We raised from funds that were started and grown in the crypto industry. That’s something that’s really important to us,” Decent Labs co-founder and CEO Parker McCurley told CoinDesk in an interview.
A venture studio builds companies rather than offering up a passive investment, a tactic that McCurley thinks has lost its competitive edge. Decent DAO is a shared decentralized studio for venture funds, builders and others to come together and build protocols.
Decent Labs has five years of experience developing decentralized finance (DeFi) solutions on Ethereum. Decent DAO has only the broad mission of supporting open-source decentralized systems that involve tokenization as an economic driver.
“The good news is that we can actually remain nimble and flexible and build things as they’re needed,” said McCurley.
How does Decent DAO choose the projects that receive capital and development resources?
“We will basically have a biannual cohort that allows proposed projects to be voted on and determined,” said McCurley. The projects will be “envisioned, tested, researched and determined by Decent DAO members.”
Decent DAO will staff each new project with core contributors in the areas of development, design, product and marketing to get it started.
The definition of a DAO, like Web 3, differs depending on who is using the term. At heart, a DAO is simply a collection of people working toward a shared goal with some type of token ownership involved.
Decent DAO will initially look more like “autonomous clusters of people that are working toward various parts of a shared mission,” said McCurley. The tight-knit community of experts also means that a decision can be made without consulting with the entire DAO first.
The DAO is fully remote and doesn’t employ full-time contributors for the projects. Interested contributors can either receive a set payment for a single defined task, or receive an income of sorts through a non-transferable NFT, which contains their job responsibilities and the ability to receive tokens on a regular basis.
“The number one goal I have is to make [Decent DAO] the most contributor-friendly organization in the world,” said McCurley.
McCurley sees existing venture studios such as Atomic and Betaworks as having a three-legged approach: a high-risk, high-reward venture studio that’s building and funding projects; an accelerator that provides smaller amounts of funding to a larger group of founder-driven projects; and the relatively lower-risk, lower-reward passive funding model.
Decent Labs has experience on the accelerator front, and a number of Decent DAO members are venture funds. Decent DAO is focused for now on launching the studio side of the organization, but accelerator and venture funds could be launched as sub-DAOs in the future.
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