The Bisq DAO manifesto

  • Mats-Erik Pistol
  • Jul 20 2017

The Bisq DAO is a DAO that has been carefully designed to be stable against perturbations, such as majority attacks, scams and forks. The aim has been avoid any central points of failure or control and it is thus autonomous. It follows a general idea of DAOs, being based on network effects, modifiable computer programs and economic incentives. The Bisq DAO “controls” Bisq itself which is a p2p trading platform. The Bisq DAO has certain defining characteristics at its beginning, that we describe below:

Privacy: Anyone who owns tokens of the Bisq DAO is a stakeholder. The stakeholders in the Bisq DAO as well as the contributors are anonymous. The traders who use Bisq are as anonymous as possible, though tainted by the banking system. Peers within Bisq DAO communicate over Tor. The Bisq DAO respects the privacy of its actors to a very high degree. We believe people should have a choice in disclosing their actions.

Censorship resistance: The Bisq DAO is open-source, peer-to-peer and highly decentralized, which means that it is very resistant to censorship. This is additionally enforced by the anonymity of all actors in the Bisq DAO. In this respect the Bisq DAO, as well as other DAOs, will induce a slight change in the existing system. Political opinions and regulations will matter less and peoples actions more.

Fees: Most actions in the Bisq DAO cost a fee. This is by design to avoid various types of spam. We have noted that free services, for example e-mail, virtually guarantees that spam will arise. For instance, to vote or to make a proposal to the Bisq DAO will cost a fee. Essentially nothing is this world is really free and we think the cost should be very explicit to avoid externalizing the cost to others.

Transparency: The Bisq DAO is open source and relevant token and bitcoin transactions on Bisq are fully visible. The economic transactions are very transparent in the Bisq DAO in contrast to the situation in most conventional companies. It will thus be far easier to evaluate the value of the Bisq DAO compared with standard organisations, which seldom (never) allow full inspection of their books at all times.

Governance and qualified voting: Stakeholders have voting “rights”. However we do not see voting as a “right” at all. Voting is difficult and should not be taken lightly, certainly not as lightly as is often the case in our society, where voter apathy and random or even malicious voting is very prevalent. Only stakeholders having sufficient stakes can vote on proposals and voting will cost a fee. This will counteract spam voting and encourage very thoughtful voting.

Governance by the people, checks and balances: If a certain change to the Bisq DAO is approved and funded, it will be merged on one repository by the keyholders to this repository. However users are free to use their existing Bisq DAO without upgrading. Thus the users will have a strong say over how the Bisq DAO will evolve. This is a strong protection against incompetent governance. If Bisq has a large set of users, the network effect will make changes to the Bisq-protocol very hard to achieve.

Meritocracy: Meritocracy is a major design element of the Bisq DAO since we believe that meritocracy is better than democracy in many cases. In a later version of the Bisq DAO stakeholders with a reputation will have higher weight in the voting. Reputation will be earned by e. g. by having contributed with work, having stayed with the Bisq DAO for a long time etc. In this sense the workers of the Bisq DAO will be the ones in control, fulfilling an old dream of Friedrich Engels. The workers will, however, be fully free to choose how to vote and to buy/sell tokens. We thus also fulfill the ambitions of Milton Friedman. Contributors that contribute with high quality work will naturally be in a good position to get their future proposals accepted and well funded. We expect very talented people to come forward. The Bisq DAO will unify several political viewpoints. DAOism?

The DAO ecosystem

Since the Bisq DAO is open source, autonomous and censorship resistant we think that it is the start of a new ecosystem with something close to living entities in it. We expect many different DAOs controlling different platforms. These DAOs might start to compete for certain markets. The forking and modifications of old DAOs to make new DAOs can be seen as the production of offspring. The DAOs have different missions, for some it is to make as much money as possible for their owners. Other DAOs may very well be of a cooperative nature where people collaborate via the DAO according to some common interest or goal. The governance can be different for different DAOs and it is possible that they employ anonymous CEOs who do representative voting. Very advanced DAOs might include AI engines to increase their chances of survival in case they compete. It is certainly doable to include a neural net based trading bot into Bisq.

We see DAOs as an inevitable development of p2p software due to the tremendous economic advantage they have over centralized and regulated corporations. The Bisq DAO will certainly have properties that we have not thought about and may even fail. If this is the case we are sure that improved versions will appear solving any failure mode. The Bisq DAO will evolve and it is possible that some of its defining characteristics change over time. DAOs cannot be shut down, unless one shuts down the internet, and have in this respect some similarities to Bittorrent, Bitcoin and other open source p2p systems. If the Bisq DAO works as intended it will show that it is possible to incentivise open source p2p-projects, which is not a small feat by itself.