Karim Valimohamed

May 10, 2022 9 min read

The Social BEES University DAO and the Web3 Economy

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“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success” — Edward Everett Hale


What will it take to become a preeminent organization empowering global projects in a Web3 economy? The Social BEES (BEES) have responded to this challenge by establishing a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) of globally active and talented people, with the aim of sustainably innovating and collaborating in the Web3 world. This article introduces some foundational aspects of the emerging Web3 economy and DAOs, with specific reference to the BEES purpose statement. Subsequent articles will explore related topics such as decentralized finance (DeFi), non-fungible tokens (NFTs), governance, tokenomics and ,more with examples drawn from the BEES DAO and other projects.

Introducing the Social Experiment

Who are the Social BEES? Why do they need a Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAO)? Why now? DAOs are a relatively new concept and very much a “Social Experiment” — we are learning as we go. The BEES are embarking on a journey that will have significant consequences regarding governance of the organization, and the way collaboration and innovation will unfold in a Web3 creative / community economy¹.

This article is the foundation in a thread aiming to: (i) explore various aspects of DAOs as it manifests with the Social BEES University (SBU), offering insights on the motivation for adopting a DAO structure; and, (ii) articulating the implications of the change and relevance to existing members and those considering joining the SBU. The approach taken herein, is to offer the reader a synthesis from findings and research of use cases, coupled with a discussion how it applies to SBU.

Coming together and keeping together — “Enough is Enough” and the “Wild Wild West”

During the “summer of DeFi” in 2020, a motley crew of several dozen individuals, determined to reclaim power from the centralized institutions that were exploiting and monetizing them, declared that “enough is enough”. Using blockchain technology that enable them to develop decentralized finance (DeFi) applications facilitating the creation of generational wealth opportunities for like-minded individuals willing to take a similar stance. That was the tip of the iceberg. What lies beneath the surface?

While the desires to “change the world” and “empower the bankless” resonated with this author, there were many projects espousing such clichés. Simultaneously on social media, were narratives playing on our fear of missing out (FOMO) featuring phenomenal returns of crypto investments, juxtaposed with fear from uncertainty and doubt (FUD) in the crypto landscape, painted as the “wild wild west” bereft of regulation and replete with crooks and their get-rich-quick scams.

In crypto vernacular, the initial coin offering (ICO) craze of 2019 was about “pump and dump” schemes and “rug pulls”. All you needed was a token (fyi — that could be generated in in less than an hour), a white paper, and the promise of a grand strategic roadmap to follow on the path to financial freedom.

Meanwhile, conventional wisdom on the best way to learn was to “get some skin in the game” while “doing your own research” (DYOR), as nobody was offering financial advice nor guiding you on best practices. So, who could you trust? What was the best way to get involved without getting “rekt” (wrecked) and what was this talk of “hodling”, going “to the moon” and “lambos”?

My personal experience and faith in the BEES evolved from the genuine and authentic approach to my onboarding experience, helping me learn how to navigate the space and best practices about creating a non-custodial wallet, moving funds and staking in liquidity pools and yield farming. It was about crypto education with the sincere aim of promoting adoption through safe and comfortable experience. I have witnessed countless examples of how community members have virtually, held the hand of strangers, to get them into the crypto space. Resulting in a camaraderie comparable to a strong sense of trust in family.

I would come to learn the BEES ethos of “putting principles before profits” and “being good stewards of information” while “having fun”. Fundamental to their approach was the notion of empowerment and investing in human capital, i.e. “we” are where the value is at.

In time, the Social BEES have grown significantly as they have supported: (i) a variety of DeFi and yield farming projects on the BEES Social Exchange; (ii) the establishment of “M2 cash” a decentralized central bank; (iii) the introduction of asset-backed NFTs and (iv) supported alpha testing of OPES blockchain that will go live in 2022.

From humble origins of “misfits informally organized”, the community has grown, leading to the mint of the Social BEES University (SBU) NFT collection On this journey, the BEES have developed significant expertise in community management with a global reach. Organizing conferences, establishing and maintaining Discord and YouTube channels, and hosting variety of themed twitter spaces². The BEES are adept at swarming to make their presence felt in support of various endeavors.

To date, BEES have been generously volunteered their time and knowledge for the benefit of the community; an operating style that is not sustainable on the path to becoming a global preeminent destination for supporting community collaboration and innovation. This requires a transformation to an entity that respects the underlying ethos while offering global scalability and sustainability. Is a DAO an appropriate solution? Will it facilitate opportunities to exploit the salient features of a Web3 economy on a trajectory towards a BHAG of billion-dollar market cap? Let’s start with what is Web3, and why is it so exciting?

Working together — Welcome to the community-based economy

Li Jin’s interview on the Bankless podcast¹ and article about the Web 3 Renaissance³ offers fascinating perspectives on the transformation that is about to unfold for the creator economy. This section draws heavily from her work.

Her article on the Golden Age for Content³ begins with the premise Bill Gates made in his 1996 titled “Content is King”, followed by observations on the dynamics of creator- and ownership- economies have unfolded. She concludes that Web3 enables artists to co-create with their communities in a manner that generates value while maintaining ownership of the content. In her words:

“… new generation of technologies is emerging with the promise to change the balance of power in the creator economy. If the pre-internet/web1 era favored publishers, and the web2 era favored the platforms, the next generation of innovations — collectively known as web3 — is all about tilting the scales of power and ownership back toward creators and users” — Li Jin

Lin argues that content ownership is the root of wealth creation as it drives incentives and opportunities. Until recently, the monetization of content has been controlled by a handful of centralized technology platforms through mechanisms of distribution, establishment of end-user relationships, and the relevant data that is collected and exploited.

Lin identifies four contributing factors that will enable the transformation concerning ownership, and my thoughts in parenthesis, namely:

  • digital scarcity that alters the pricing dynamics (think fungible and non-fungible tokens, and, tokenomics);
  • moving beyond the perception of simple patronage to investment that support creatives (think collaboration to co-create);
  • new models to distribute wealth (think DeFi and DAOs); and
  • opportunities for creatives to own the underlying platforms that support the content (think foundations of generational wealth creation).

What does success look like? Enter the DAO

The aim of this section is to start the conversation about DAOs. Much has been written, so I shall attempt to synthesize key points and reference articles.

Vitalik Buterin introduced the notion of DAO in a 2014 blog⁴, where he started with the definition of a smart contract and worked his way through taxonomy of autonomous agents (AA), decentralized apps (DA), decentralized organizations (DO), and concluding with Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) — noting that the Decentralized Autonomous Corporation (DAC) is a subclass of a DAO.

DAOs are characterized by automation, prominently featured at the center, while humans play a supporting role, wherein, the value of internal capital (i.e. property) is used to reward certain activities. Instead of a hierarchical structure managed by a set of humans interacting in person and controlling property via the legal system, a decentralized organization involves a set of humans interacting with each other according to a protocol specified in code, that is enforced on the blockchain.

In the words of others⁵, the DAO is described as “new species of organization” facilitated by technological advancements, where trust is alienated from the organization by virtue of encoding it into “smart contracts” i.e. computer logic.

In a podcast entitled “DAOs explained”, Tracheopteryx⁶ argues that the DAO is a developmental leap in the evolution of corporate structures. He suggests that we are witnessing the “end of the epoch” that started with establishment of the Dutch East India Company, aka VOC, in the 17th century, leading to the likes of Apple Inc, an example of a modern-day incarnation of that evolution. While corporations are not going away, DAOs offers several competitive advantages. We are in the early stages of DAO development and the analogy of VOC-to-Apple applies here — who know what will emerge in the future?

A DAO is a “Decentralized network of autonomous agents, coordinating shared resources with cryptographic fidelity.” — Tracheopteryx

The DAO thrives with sovereign human beings taking full responsibilities for feeling and taking actions, in contrast to a corporate context, where that responsibility is “outsourced” to leadership. It is incumbent for each person in a DAO to sense and respond to environment, not sitting behind the veil of a “rigid corporate mask”. While hierarchies may exist and should be acknowledged, it manifests in a fluid form rather than rigidly where a few have the dominion over others such as in a corporate setting. It reflects a new paradigm of decision-making of how power made and negotiated.

In the short time that DAOs have been in existence, we have seen variations from corporation put on the blockchain to fan communities on the blockchain. To date we have examples of protocol, service and Social DAOS.

DAOs are a work in progress with a plethora of issues to be addressed, including: membership, community building, governance, management, idea formation and proposal discussion, and the legality of smart contracts. I shall aim to address and exploring the relative merits and challenges in subsequent articles. Until that time, consider visiting Linda Xie’s website offering a comprehensive explanation on DAOs⁷

Concluding remarks — the future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades”⁸

Blockchain technology is creating opportunities for wealth generation through innovation in finance, disrupting approaches to create, own and distribute intellectual property, and introducing novel organizational structures for community management.

The Social BEES have developed and strengthened their skills at Web3 community management and supporting a variety of DeFi and Blockchain projects over the past two years. Future growth and success are inextricably linked to sustainably supporting and empowering communities in collaborative and innovative projects. The BEES experience at community management can be leveraged by creatives, who can direct their energies on generating value associated with their ideas. To this end, a sophisticated and enabling DAO structure will pave the path into the realm of the Web3 economy and the promise of what it has to offer.

The imminent launch of BHNY (“Bee Honey”), a community token and the transactional currency of the SBU DAO, will invariably generate curiosity for those seeking to understand the nuances of governance, tokenomics, treasury management, and operational mechanics — including the novel adaptation of a Token Curated Registry. The answers can be found in the documentation at the SBU site⁹ and subsequent articles in this thread will explore the details.

Disclosure / disclaimer

The author is a holder of the Social BEES University NFTs and an active BEES member. The information herein is not financial advice, it is merely for entertainment purposes only.


[1] Bankless podcast. Episode 101 Featuring Ji Lin, “How To Own The Internet”, YouTube video aired Jan 17, 2022

[2] The Social BEES University Website has links to various social media channels. Over 600 hours of content on YouTube BEESSocialTV. Dedicated twitter spaces hosted by the BEES include FOMOHeadGeezers in Crypto, Kingfisher Poker, SBU Social Hour (bilingual), Women of Crypto, NFT Screwballs, MoFo Goats, Talent Collab, Honey Radio, and Wings of Wisdom.

[3] Ji Lin The Web3 Renaissance: A Golden Age for Content Dec 20, 2021.

[4] Vitalik Buterin, DAOs, DACs, DAs and More: An Incomplete Terminology Guide Blog Post May 6, 2014.

[5] R Morison, N Mazey and S Wingreen The DAO Controversy: The Case for a New Species of Corporate Governance? POLICY AND PRACTICE REVIEWS article Frontiers in Blockchain, 27 May 2020.

[6] Means of Creation Podcast DAOs Explained ft. Tracheopteryx, YouTube video aired Mar 22, 2022.

[7] Linda Xie, A beginner’s guide to DAOs March 12, 2021.

[8] Lyric from self titled song by Timbuk 3, 1986.

[9] Social BEES University DAO, April 2022 SocialBEES.io Docs Hyperlink