Decentralized Autonomous Federation (DAF)
In 2008, I read The Starfish & The Spider, which explores the contrast between centralized and decentralized organizational structures. In the most beautiful way, it felt like my head was being hacked to upload a new operating system. I’ve never been the same and these ideas continue to inspire my thinking.
That same year Satoshi Nakamoto invented the blockchain to serve as the public transaction ledger of the cryptocurrency bitcoin. What makes this cryptographic protocol so transformative is its design, which eliminates the need for a central authority to certify a transaction. The implications of such a technological framework is transformative for society in ways that we’re just beginning to see. The advent of cryptocurrencies is just scratching the surface of what’s possible.
As such, the blockchain has given birth to decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), which encode the organization’s rules into a transparent ledger which is controlled by the organization members and not influenced by a central government. A DAO structure offers a conceptual framework that can be applied to any group of individuals seeking to collaborate in an autonomous yet interdependent manner around a shared vision and towards a common goal.
Zooming out a bit…the blockchain holds the potential to autonomously manage any and all resources without the need for centralized governance or an intermediary, thus redistributing power directly back into the hands of the people. Not only is this technologically-enhanced method of managing resources hyper-efficient, effective and adaptive, it has the potential to completely disrupt the current world order, which has a tendency towards centralized control. The implications are massive.
The natural progression is towards a decentralized autonomous federation (DAF), whereby a society of DAOs and their component members congeal around a unified vision for autonomy and interdependence that promotes a shared set of values. These ideas are not new, yet the technological framework that underpins such an operating system to manage a territorial domain’s resources in a completely transparent and integral manner is very new.
Throughout history we have witnessed the rise of various federations, which through a set of agreements grant specific sovereign power to a territory. The United States, India, Brazil, Switzerland and Australia are just a few examples, but so are Native American Nations within the United States as well as intentional communities such as Damanhur in Italy. Each, in varying degrees, have earned autonomous rule through a series of treaties and agreements that protect their rights. Here is a full list of autonomous zones by country. This history sets precedent for the formation of DAFs.
In a world where change has become constant, the systems that currently govern societies and manage the world’s resources have proven to be increasingly unsuitable. These systems, whether governments, banking, corporations or education, are failing to evolve at the pace of change. The reasons are many, but primarily boil down to the protection of entrenched interests and a fear of the unknown.
More and more people are waking up to this reality, moving beyond fear and stepping out of suffering. They are taking action and creating lives that nourish them. They are beginning to realize that instead of focusing on attempts to transform our current systems, it would be more efficient and effective to focus our attention on creating new systems that make the old obsolete. History is on our side here once again. It’s time to build anew.
Imagine a decentralized network of autonomous territories (DAF) around the globe that function as radical political experiments to design entirely new systems of governance that distribute power equitably across society and thus inherently promote a common good for all. These free innovation zones also become sandboxes to create and experiment with decentralized autonomous organizational structures to manage capital and resources.
Let your mind run wild and try not to understand how it’s all going to happen. It’s already happening; we cannot stop it. These kinds of ideas are of their time to emerge into formation. Many others are thinking and implementing along this stream of consciousness as I write. Here are just a few from the past decades, but the one’s emerging today tend to be way more integrated into our mainstream social fabric. The modern coliving movement is one such expression, which is primarily an entrepreneurial approach to building communities with the intention of becoming more equitable living environments that promote quality of life.
I would argue that the future of the human race depends upon radical experimentation that propels innovation. This will require autonomy, accountability and the equitable distribution of power across stakeholders in a transparent manner. We now have the technological framework, organizational design models and legal precedent to make this vision a reality.
We are being called to rise to this grand occasion and step fully into our power as sovern, yet interdependent, beings.
If this vision resonates and you have capacity to move this vision forward, we would love to speak with you. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.