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World's first female-led DAO: it gives everyone a chance to be heard


I bet a thought that your boss is wrong about something has crossed your mind at least once. Women from the world's first female-led decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) believe that eliminating hierarchy could lead the world towards more sustainable and democratic development and empower women on a global scale.

Indian cryptocurrency exchange Zebpay launched the world's first female-led DAO just in time for international women's day this year. Its co-founders are thrilled to get started with this DAO, which eventually, they hope, will empower women globally to take part in the crypto world.

"We want to use the DAO to help marginalized communities through distributed ledger technology," DAO's co-founder Maria Shaikh told CyberNews.

Engaging in social impact projects

DAO is a blockchain-based system that enables people to coordinate and self-govern themselves mediated by a set of self-executing rules deployed on a public blockchain and decentralized governance (i.e., independent from central control). In simpler words, a DAO allows the people to run an organization by ceasing the concentration of power in the hands of the leadership. This is done by giving every employee a voice in the decision-making process and only allowing approval based on a majority vote.

"DAO is exciting because it's in such a nascent stage and has so much potential to change a lot of things for a lot of people. We feel very empowered by the very existence of this DAO, and we hope that eventually, anyone who is a part of this will feel the same," Maria said.

This DAO engages in projects that have a social impact.

"Right now, we are working on a solar pad bitcoin project. We want to help rural Indian women set up these solar panels and help mine bitcoins through that and eventually get their financial independence and empowerment through the project," Maria said.

Kajal Dalai, another founding member of this DAO, said that the female-led DAO would invest in these projects and provide guidance to many Indian women who are not familiar with the crypto world. Right now, the projects that DAO chooses to invest in are funded by Zebpay.

"We believe the current project that we all have picked up by voting on is the one which has the potential to generate revenue for us eventually. That we can eventually use to improve more, to take a step ahead," Kajal said.

At the moment, DAO is closed to new members, but eventually, once it’s developed, it will be opened for everybody else around the globe. Members will be able to propose their ideas and crowdfund them. DAO co-founders hope to eventually raise capital to be able to take on more projects.

"At the end of the day, DAO is a social enterprise, and it's going to remain that way. We will not do a capitalist project," Kajal said.

DAO accepts projects monthly. Each month, members vote for the projects. Voting is hosted on the Aragon platform, where a token represents each member. Anyone can initiate a proposal, put forward a formal vote through one of the femaleDAO members, and the vote will pass if it achieves 60% consensus on the women's DAO. New members can only be admitted into the DAO if a majority of the existing members agree to vote them in.

As mentioned above, the funding comes from Zebpay, but eventually, the DAO should raise its capital and crowdfund the projects as more members join it. DAO uses Ethereum to allocate budget, but it is developing a token that will replace Ethereum in the future.

Hierarchy is dead

What is the point of an organization without any leadership? "In traditional organizations, there's always a hierarchy. We have CEOs, managers, team leads, and, eventually, ground workers. It has some potential flaws, one of them being a single point of failure. It's not always the person who has the most power who is right. Even the people at ground level who are working might have great ideas," Kajal said.

Their goal is to empower women in rural areas in India and around the globe.The most pressing challenge is that women in such communities usually don't even know what blockchain or crypto is, so educating them is also a core DAO's goal.

According to BlockWorks, from November 2020 to March 2021, the number of women in India who own a cryptocurrency on the CoinDCX exchange increased from 15% to 20%, while the male ownership went from 85% to 80%.

"The reason behind the lack of women investors in crypto is due to the lack of awareness and education. Crypto market is so volatile that it scares women," Kajal said. Therefore, she hopes that this initiative will educate women, and success stories of women getting involved in crypto will encourage more female investors to join.

"Women are good investors compared to men. They play on the safer side, and they have good decision-making abilities. It will help in many ways," she said.

DAO members are eager to see what happens when you lock men out of the decision-making and when there's no hierarchy in the organization.

"It's completely democratic. We are trying our best not to create an internal hierarchy which may be discouraging to a lot of women out there," Maria said.


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