Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, or DAOs, are all the rage right now. We are seeing explosive growth in this industry as people experiment with building businesses in addition to tokens and smart contracts. And where new types of organization flourish, so does the need for infrastructure.
Utopia Labs is a team of 4 founders who have met on Discord and Twitter over the past few months – a story that is becoming more and more familiar in the crypto-based web3 space where everything is going incredibly fast right now.
The CEO Kaito Cunningham recently worked for crypto company M31 and is part of the On Deck Catalyst program. The co-founders of Utopia Pryce Adabe Yebesi, Alexandre wu and Jason Chong, have also hosted numerous tech builder background gigs, Facebook internships at LunchClub at Microsoft. The collective interest in DAOs, however, was what brought them together to start discussing and ultimately building for the space.
If you’re unfamiliar with the DAO explosion, what we’re seeing is communities coming together around a thesis that in the past might have required an LLC or C-corp structure. to run instead of turning to blockchain solutions. Basically, the business structure is governed by a smart contract instead of legacy legal structures. Some current estimates put the value governed by DAO treasures over $ 6 billion, up from $ 1 billion earlier this year.
If you draw the curve, you will see that the growth potential is quite huge. And with the vast majority of DAOs operating across international borders on a global scale, there is a great need for infrastructure construction that takes over where the contract ends, especially in areas such as payroll, expenses, token distribution and human resource management.
Utopia Labs is building a stack of infrastructure tools for DAOs and they start with the payments bit. They raised $ 1.5 million from a group of investors to start hiring a full stack engineer and front-end engineer.
The round was led by Kindred Ventures who invested in other cutting edge cryptos platforms like Zora and Bitsky. Other participating investors include Syndica DAO, 4th Revolution Capital and angels like Trevor McFedries at Brud, Alex Zhang at Friends With Benefits (another major DAO), Zora’s Tyson Battistella, Anirudh Pai at On Deck, Colin Goltra at Binance, Gabby Dizon from YGG, Jason Choi from Spartan Fund, Jeff Weinstein from Stripe and many more.
If this all sounds incredibly avant-garde, it is. The team literally founded the company earlier in September – yes, the month we’re currently at the end of. They saw the opportunity to build themselves in this space which energized the web3 space and immersed themselves in it.
Many DAOs pay members with their own tokens, thus increasing stakes to provide members with the opportunity to earn greater rewards down the line or immediate cash. Utopia relies on Gnosis SAFE, the financial core of most DAOs. The V1 product focuses on member payments and billing workflows.
The vast majority of DAOs operate token distribution and payments based on raw data dumps. As the saying goes, where you see a CSV, there is a business opportunity.
The team claims to have created invoicing and reimbursement workflows so that DAOs can receive, pay and manage invoices and reimbursement requests. They also created all-in-one transactions to allow DAOs to consolidate payments into a single transaction across multiple people and parts.
Then, financial analysis and accounting to attach labels and metadata to payments to avoid manual accounting through the Etherscan dump.
The forward-looking roadmap includes traditional fiat currency services, cross-chain DAOs, real-world compliance workflows, and DAO ecosystem partnerships.
The world of DAOs is currently on fire, with dozens of viable organizations having significant momentum – but not enough infrastructure to make them truly effective. It’s a really interesting and diverse landscape that has come a long way since DAO nearly derailed Ethereum in 2016. DAOs today are more enterprise-wide than scale. network, but move faster and build cooler things than containers for money.
“Chain payroll makes DAOs truly crypto-native,” says Cooper Turley, co-founder of FWB and full-time CAD explorer. “In a world where dozens of members contribute from all corners of the world, automating salaries, incentives and bonuses is the only way DAOs can evolve. “
In addition to what Utopia Labs does, Multisafe, Commonwealth, Parcel, and Colony are all names to watch out for in the DAO infrastructure space.