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Utah Business

These DAOs in Utah want to make the state the hub for all things related to web3 innovation.

These DAOs want to make Utah the place for web3

UtahDAO wants to promote Utah and make it a center for Web3 development. Think of it as taking on the role a traditional chamber of commerce might, promoting what the state has to offer, getting people involved, and providing support to other organizations in the area.

“We are the promoters and the social club to get people funneled in the right way. Say somebody comes in and says ‘I’ve heard of UtahDAO and I have a background in policy, and I’d like to get involved,’ we can funnel them to Utah Policy DAO, or maybe mtnDAO,” UtahDAO core team member Boston McClary says. 

“[These DAOs are] doing some awesome things in terms of creating projects and future pipelines specifically for the Solana ecosystem. But it’s in that same ballpark where there’s going to be sub-DAOs, or sister DAOs, which are going to be accomplishing those specific initiatives—and we’re there for them, and to bring awareness to them.”

DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations) are organizations that run on rules set by a program controlled by the members of that organization. “Think of them like an internet-native business that’s collectively owned and managed by its members,” Ethereum.org states. “They have built-in treasuries that no one has the authority to access without the approval of the group. Decisions are governed by proposals and voting to ensure everyone in the organization has a voice.”

DAOs like UtahDAO have the ability to help everyone, not just tech entrepreneurs, crypto and NFT investors, and web3 believers, McClary says. “Part of the whole mission of UtahDAO is to make the state of Utah, as a whole, a leader,” he says. “And that begins with outreach programs, getting people who have no idea about crypto and saying, ‘Hey, crypto is awesome because it can distribute ownership.’ 

“We want to be doing projects where we can fundraise an NFT project and then donate that to the Utah Food Bank or to Encircle, and really impact the community outside of crypto to where you can see actual good happening out of this and affecting our day-to-day lives. That’s what we want to have happen. That way, it’s not just people in crypto that understand it, and it’s not just those in crypto that benefit from it, but really everybody in Utah.”

UtahDAO’s road map lists five phases: “opening the floodgates” to grow the community, community events and AMAs, an NFT project, governance token drop, and creating sub-DAOs.

Currently, they’re working on the first two of those five phases. Groups have begun to meet up to network, share ideas, and develop plans for the future, from mtnDAO’s Hacker House to Cryptopia.

Getting people involved and excited about the future is just one part of what needs to be done. In the future, the state’s policies will need to adjust to meet the demands of future progress.

Right now, that starts with outreach and education, just like UtahDAO is doing. Utah Policy DAO hosted Representative John Curtiss in February, for example.

“He made this a pretty salient point: there is a pretty big education gap between policymakers and the individuals in web3 building the ecosystem, and that asymmetry is driving a lot of unnecessary division because of a lack of understanding,” Utah Policy DAO founder Sam Mehr says. “So before we can really even do policy or lobby for it, we’re focused on doing a lot of education… but without that education pillar in place, I think the policy would be kind of a long shot.”

Mehr says that everyone he talks to is pretty open when it comes to embracing the future of tech in the state. Some people have concerns, he says, and “crypto and blockchain certainly has its negatives, but as long we’re honest about those negatives, as we talk about the positives, then people are willing to come to the table.”

Utah has all the ingredients to be a web3 leader. It has the workforce, with all the colleges in the valley, it has the entrepreneurial spirit and web3 knowledge, and it has a willingness to learn. 

Mehr, an attorney by trade, says he works with a lot of incorporations done offshore. He references Wyoming becoming the first state to officially recognize DAOs and grant them the same rights as LLCs, beginning in July of last year. In Wyoming, a DAO can be formed online or by mailing in a paper form, “a good start,” Mehr says.

The Motley Fool said Wyoming has “some of the most crypto-friendly regulations in the United States,” from exempting crypto from normal money processing rules to making cryptocurrency transactions state tax-free.

One of the three words in “decentralized autonomous organization,” of course, is decentralized, so it’s important to find a balance between supporting DAOs from a government perspective and keeping them decentralized. Those are among the details that will need to be worked out as DAOs become more mainstream and accepted in the business world.

McClary and Mehr both emphasize the importance of education and getting more people involved. With those developments, Utah can start looking toward legislative progress. It’s only a matter of time. “I don’t think it’s if Utah will be a web3 hub, it’s a matter of when,” Mehr says. “I’m very confident that Utah is going to be a leader in this space, we’re already in the process of becoming that leader. It’s just about bringing everyone together and making sure everyone feels like they have a voice. But I think that’s what I’m excited about.”

Comments (1)

  • Rex D Stock

    Exciting times, to say the least.

    As the author alluded to in this well-written piece, folks need to be cognizant that and mindful this won’t ‘centralize’ something that’s intended for–and functions best–when de-centralized.

    And, as a side-note, DAO’s are NOT require it be administered through Solana, and there are many ways to skin the proverbial cat.

    This is reminiscent of that ol’ Elvis song (by the Jordanaires), “It’s DAO or Never”…

    Projects like this have the ability to attract the attention of older folks like me who know who Elvis was (is?), and young folks doing some kind of dance to the song on Tik Tok.

    Keep up the great work, and thanks for all the work “The Daily” does in helping Utah folks (and those beyond our borders) know about all the unique/fun/meaningful projects that are happening and possible in Utah.

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