MakerDAO Constitution Would Fund Sustainability Efforts With 20K MKR Tokens From Reserves, Emissions

With “scientific sustainability” as a core principle, an early draft of the proposed Maker constitution would, if approved, play an active role in combating climate change by allocating $14 million worth of MKR tokens to its Scientific Sustainability Fund.

AccessTimeIconFeb 3, 2023 at 8:14 p.m. UTC
Updated May 9, 2023 at 4:07 a.m. UTC

An early draft of MakerDAO's proposed governance constitution would have the DAI stablecoin issuer join the fight against climate change with 20,000 MKR tokens (around $14 million) to fund sustainability campaigns through 2040.

Written by the crypto group’s founder Rune Christensen, the wide-ranging document identifies “scientific sustainability” as a core principle worth incorporating into Maker’s politics and operations. The proposed fund represents one of the strongest statements on climate change to come from a decentralized autonomous organization. "The details about this fund will be revealed at a later date," said a MakerDAO representative.

The climate call-out adds a new angle to MakerDAO’s hopes of disrupting the status quo financial infrastructure – as most every crypto project seeks to do. According to Christensen, who has long advocated for climate action, MakerDAO has a responsibility to act.

“At the time of the Maker Constitution the world is headed off a cliff with runaway greenhouse gas pollution pushing the biosphere past critical climate tipping points that will cause disasters for centuries to come. Immediate action is required,” the preliminary draft of the Maker constitution says.

Through the Scientific Sustainability Fund, MakerDAO will use MKR reserves and initial MKR token emissions to fund awareness campaigns geared toward combating misinformation as well as promoting "energy solutions that have proven, real life track records of achieving scalable decarbonization," according to the draft.

The constitution states that direct funding of coal energy will not be allowed.

The proposal has been viewed over 500 times, with 10 replies and 24 likes in the discussion forum since it was created three days ago. Most of the replies did not touch on the subject of climate change.

However, a member of Maker’s governance core unit team, LongForWisdom, expressed his disapproval about Christensen’s usage of the words “immediate action is required.” LongForWisdom said, “This is great in a speech, or if you’re trying to convince someone to approve this as a proposal. Ultimately, though, it creates ambiguity that weakens the document as what is essentially part of a legal code.”

On Twitter, in response to the 20,000 MKR being allocated to fight climate change, Moneysupply.eth, a risk analyst and governance contributor for several decentralized protocols, including MakerDAO, wrote, “So here’s a contrarian take: I am not convinced this specific initiative is the best path forward but [decentralized finance] desperately needs to start winning the battle for public opinion, the alternative is all of us in jail and the rest of the world buying their bug rations with cbdc [central bank digital currencies].”

Although Christenson published his climate-forward draft Constitution for MakerDAO this week, the concept of sustainability can be traced back to the first-ever public MKR vote in September 2018, a vote on guiding principles.

One of the principles was sustainable finance. “This means that Maker will be biased towards, for example, renewable energy that provides a long-term global benefit, while being biased against funding fossil fuels and other assets that create long-term risk, said a Maker blog post from August 2018 related to the first vote.

Moreover, Christensen discussed climate change in “The Case for Clean Money” in 2021, well before this attempt to codify the principles for the DAO.

“By tapping into the fundamental features of blockchain we can develop verifiable processes to ensure all Maker collateral is in sustainable and climate-aligned assets that consider the long term impacts of financial activity on the environment,” Christensen wrote at the time.

The proposal indicated the draft of the Maker constitution is a work in progress and will continuously be updated and modified. In order to be enacted, the proposal needs to move past the request for comments (RFC) phase, which is where the proposal sits currently. The community is still reviewing the document and the writer is redrafting based on community comments.The RFC phase has a minimum duration of four months. Afterwards, Christensen can submit the proposal to the governance cycle where people can evaluate and vote on the proposal.

Rune Christensen did not return a request to comment by press time.

UPDATE: (Feb. 3, 2023, 20:23:23 UTC): Added comment from MakerDAO representative


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Sage D. Young is a tech protocol reporter at CoinDesk. He owns a few NFTs, gold and silver, as well as BTC, ETH, LINK, AAVE, ARB, PEOPLE, DOGE, OS, and HTR.

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