The total value of assets under management held by decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) has fallen by $3.1 billion in the past month—with more than a third of that sum in just the past week.
According to DeepDAO, which tracks 4,228 DAOs, the current value of treasuries held by DAOs stands at $7.6 billion, down $1.1 billion over the past week. That corresponds with a slump in the crypto market that’s seen the total market cap of all cryptocurrencies slump from over $2 trillion to just over $1.7 trillion in the past seven days, per CoinMarketCap. During the same time period, the price of Ethereum has tumbled from a high of $3,180 to around $2,650—nearly 10%.
Decentralized finance (DeFi) project BitDAO tops the rankings, with a treasury of $2.1 billion, closely followed by decentralized exchange (DEX) Uniswap, with assets under management of $1.5 billion.
The rise of DAOs
The novel tokenized communities had a breakout year in 2021, while DAOs secured legal status after the state of Wyoming officially recognized them as a new type of limited liability company. DAOs have sprung up around projects ranging from stablecoin governance to investing in NFTs to a doomed attempt to buy a copy of the U.S. Constitution.
User engagement appears to be increasing—over the past month, the number of governance token holders tracked by DeepDAO has swollen by over 156,000, to 1.7 million—and more DAOs are springing up every day. Last month, the “all-in-one” project Superdao raised $10.5 million in a funding round to build a platform that makes it easier to launch DAOs.
But it hasn’t been all good news. Late last year, a DAO was assembled to buy a copy of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s “Dune” script at auction, apparently under the mistaken belief that it included the IP rights. Another DAO, after announcing plans to launch a series of NFTs based on Magic: The Gathering, was threatened with a lawsuit alleging copyright infringement by the publishers of the popular card game. And NFT project Solana Monkey Business is currently locked in a dispute with its own community, MonkeDAO, over royalties and funding, as the members consider a fork of the project.