My First Noun
Joining Nouns DAO: one of the most interesting experiments in web3
Culture not Finance
It took me some time to realize that culture is a better way to onboard users into web3 than finance.
Coming from a financial background, I assumed financial applications would be the ones that would get us to broad adoption. Crypto allows for the financialization of culture, but alto for the “culturalization” of finance. Crypto has a bigger chance of spreading through culture because more people care about culture than care about finance. And NFTs and DAOs are both essentially cultural movements.
Thanks for reading DT Journal! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
There were a few key moments in this journey down the crypto-cultural rabbit hole. Luckily most of them are documented in this journal, so we can always re-read and learn something about what I was thinking back then — mostly learning from the mistakes.
Buying my first Punk — and then selling it — provided me for the realization that a digital collectible could give you with the same feeling of ownership that you get with a physical collectible. I was hooked.
Buying my first Autoglyph made me realize that this could go beyond collectibles, into the realm of fine art. It also provided the basis of what turned out to be the most intense and crazy experience I had so far in this journey down the rabbit hole: that Autoglyph (and then 19 more Glyphs) became the foundation of Fingerprints DAO.
Yesterday I felt a similar sensation, when I purchased my first Noun. Noun 398, born August 5, 2022. (if you don’t know wtf is a Noun check this)
My preference would be to buy from the daily auction vs. secondary, but I liked the Volcano head of Noun 398 and I thought the price was right — 33.9 ETH. I saw some other sales happening yesterday and decided to pull the trigger. The current floor is ~39 ETH
(I bought it on Blur, a platform I’m proudly a seed investor)
Differently from the Punk or the Glyph purchases, I’m not necessarily buying a Noun because of historical importance or potential price appreciation.
A Noun is an NFT that goes beyond the art or collectible aspect: it’s one of 574 votes (and growing every day) to allocate a treasury currently worth 28k ETH, or $38M (and growing every day).
My intention in buying a Noun then is not only have exposure to this NFT or add it to my collection. It’s to learn and understand more about this experiment, becoming part of the experiment and the community.
I have yet to see an experiment that captures so much the attention of the best builders in the space. Some of the projects I invested and admire like Tessera and PartyDAO built products that are pretty much optimized to be used in Nouns-like experiments.
The quality of the proposals being presented to the DAO is also increasing. Following the interest of the best builders tends to be a good predictor to be early on the next trends. And many of these trends start as toy-like products.
As our investor Chris Dixon says, “What the smartest people do on the weekend is what everyone else will do during the week in ten years”
The stated vision of the Nouns DAO experiment is the following:
Nouns are an experimental attempt to improve the formation of on-chain avatar communities. While projects such as Cryptopunks have attempted to bootstrap digital community and identity, Nouns attempt to bootstrap identity, community, governance, and a treasury that can be used by the community.
CryptoPunks created Identity and community. Nouns took it a step further and developed governance over the very contract that creates the NFTs and controls its treasury. Nouns is the first meta-project.
We’re still in the fun and games part of the development of DAOs. What capture our attention is funny pictures and governance that feels more like a game than government. But that’s how we learn. After all, many new revolutionary organizations start out looking like ultra-niche toy projects. That was the case for eBay, Airbnb, Facebook, etc.
I have a hunch that if we couple these innovations with a clear purpose and a well constructed narrative, it can become a powerful tool for collaboration of capital and people in the network. Out of all experiments happening today, that’s the one that can claim to be testing building blocks that can get us in the direction a true network state. Cloud first, land last.
Instead of providing a conclusion, let me finalize with a short conversation.
So much of this space is born out of well-thought conversations between strangers. Nouns DAO itself was born out a Twitter thread by 4156, the pseudonymous founder. So I’ll conclude with a screenshot of my interaction 2 weeks ago with Farcaster user “@rabbit” — and appropriate name to given that I was going down another rabbit hole.
See you tomorrow!