Popular DAO Voting Platform Snapshot Labs Raises $4M

Snapshot will use the funds to expand the reach of its DAO governance tools.

Nov 19, 2021 at 5:06 p.m. UTC
Updated Nov 19, 2021 at 5:28 p.m. UTC

Andrew Thurman is a tech reporter at CoinDesk with a focus on DeFi.

Snapshot, a key piece of tooling for decentralized autonomous organizations (DAO), has taken a step forward today, raising $4 million to expand operations.

The DAO voting portal announced the funding round on Friday. It was led by investment fund 1kx and included participation from The LAO, MetaCartel Ventures, Gnosis, StarkWare, Coinbase Ventures, BoostVC, Scalar Capital, Fire Eyes DAO, LongHash Ventures and Coopérative Kleros, according to a press release provided to CoinDesk.

The raise is a significant step forward for a project that previously relied on Gitcoin community-funded grants and comes at a time when both the size and responsibility managed by DAOs – including an ever-growing portion of the $250 billion decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem – is constantly ballooning. A DAO is a group of people on the internet using various tools to exercise governance decisions relating to blockchain protocols, pooled investments or any number of other experiments.

Pseudonymous project founder “Fabien” told CoinDesk that Snapshot was initially started as a side project when he was working for automated market maker Balancer. The goal was to create a “simple voting portal,” and Fabien realized his gas-efficient implementation could be used by other projects.

After open-sourcing an early version of Snapshot, it was quickly adopted by early yield farming projects like Yam and Yearn, and has since taken over the governance landscape: among the 2,000 token communities currently using the service are many of the top 10 DeFi protocols, including Aave, Uniswap and Sushi.

The code has been forked multiple times as well – which Fabien encourages – and is increasingly used on the back end for projects with more elaborate interfaces than what Snapshot offers.

Ethereum Name Service (ENS), for example, used Snapshot during its token airdrop, which required users to vote on articles of the project’s founding document before claiming their coins.

A portion of the funds raised by Snapshot will be spent on making these types of background integrations easier, including allowing the platform to be included in various DAO development kits like DeepDAO and Boardroom, as well as scaling the project. Fabien said the ENS drop in particular made the team realize it needs to be preparing for “hundreds of thousands of users.”

Given the community-focused nature of the project, Fabien did hint that Snapshot may tokenize with an airdrop of its own in the future, but that it’s not on the immediate horizon.

“We’re interested in making Snapshot community-owned, so a token may happen, but it’s not yet a priority. Our focus is on solving voting,” Fabien said.

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Andrew Thurman is a tech reporter at CoinDesk with a focus on DeFi.

Andrew Thurman is a tech reporter at CoinDesk with a focus on DeFi.

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