Aragon's Year in Review: Pivoting our products, strategy, and structure


It’s been a busy year! We pivoted to adaptable and modular rather than opinionated products, published our strategy to build the hyperstructure for governance, kicked off our transition into a delegated voting DAO, and made huge strides in ZK research. This year we sunsetted our optimistic DAO governance stack in favor of a lean, adaptable, modular OS, with a frontend on the way in early 2023. 


We learned a lot from our experiments with optimistic governance and are excited to share a more flexible protocol with the ecosystem. The new Aragon protocol puts permission management at the center via our plugin manager. DAOs can grant and revoke permissions to various plugins to make adaptation easy, even while being deployed on an immutable blockchain. Our developer advocate Juliette explained the permission management system in many presentations around the world.The new OS is currently on testnet while being rigorously audited, with mainnet launch coming in a few months. You can join the waitlist to get notified when the products are ready to use!As part of our year of laying foundations, we published a strategy to help guide our direction into the new year as we launch new products and transition into a DAO.Our governance hyperstructure will be a public good for the Ethereum ecosystem. It reconnects us to our original mission to build products that allow anyone to experiment with governance at the speed of software. 


A few highlights of the strategy:A hyperstructure is unstoppable infrastrucuture that runs for free forever, like the internet. We believe the hyperstructure for governance will be a permission management system.We’re building a strategy to serve a two-sided market, developers and no-code DAO builders, so we can start a flywheel effect to further grow the hyperstructure. Our ZK Research team launched a blog with tons of exciting research. They presented their work at conferences and meet-ups such as EthBarcelona, EthGathering BCN, and betahaus in Berlin. Here are a few highlights of their research:Blind OVOTE: off-chain voting with on-chain execution. BatRaVot: batched ratified voting, another off-chain voting with on-chain execution protocol. We’re excited to see what research they publish in the new year!This year we built our new delegated voting DAO, Aragon DAO. This DAO is lightweight, minimal, and lean, so we can weather the changes of the industry and the world as a whole.Our structure puts smart contracts and ANT at the center, pushing human activity to the edges. The governance rules are minimal and managed by smart contracts. The human-layer guidelines and practices are adaptable and flexible. 


Centering what is unstoppable—blockchain technology—will help us stay antifragile as an organization.The DAO will be deployed early in January 2023, so stay tuned to this newsletter for more information on how to wrap your ANT, vote, propose, and delegate!With the creation of the new DAO comes the end of the experimental Aragon Network DAO, in which we tested optimistic governance and a bureaucratic sub-DAO structure. We learned a lot from the AN DAO experiment and have gained clarity on what the delegated voting DAO should look like. Our new DAO will have fewer social layer technicalities and restrictions and focus on aligning incentives with smart contracts to coordinate actors over time.This year we formalized our guilds, hired tons of new talent, and shifted leadership. Our guilds are lean and specialized, focusing on core functions like Product Development, ZK Research, Ecosystem Growth and Operations. Joan Arús, previously co-CEO at Vocdoni, stepped in as the Executive Director of the Aragon Association to accelerate product delivery and oversee the organization’s transition into a delegated voting DAO. 


With the new leadership and structure in place, we’ve made immense progress on both fronts: keeping the teams hyper-focused on shipping the new generation of product, while a cross-functional task force pushed the DAO transition forward.Since the leadership and team refactoring, we’ve had huge gains in product development velocity, as well as gains in ecosystem reach through marketing and communications efforts. The core teams and top token holders are highly aligned and have been working closely on the vision and direction of the project.We launched a partnership program, DAO Experts, to connect DAO builders with industry-leading service providers. We helped DAO builders get answers to their questions and launch their DAOs with more confidence. 


Here are the partners we on-boarded in 2022:Bankless Consulting: web3-native consulting for a decentralized future.Blossom Labs: blockchain infrastructure for online communities.Developer DAO: buidling the future of web3.Exponent: decentralized capital-as-a-service.General Magic: making magic happen for impact DAOs at any stage. IndieDAO: smart designers, smart developers, smart contracts.LexDAO: tech-based solutions for legal problems.Opolis: simplifying payroll, taxes, benefits, and retirement plans for DAO contributors.Otoco: on-chain entity assembly and tooling marketplace for DAOs.Solidity Guild: collective of web3 developers writing smart contracts for NFTs, games, protocols, and more.Twali: the decentralized marketplace of vetted, non-technical freelancers in web3.Weezi: infinitely scale your asset management strategy.


WorkDAO: seamless employment, built for web3.Vocdoni is a digital voting protocol funded by Aragon that provides voting for organizations such as FC Barcelona, city councils, and traditional organizations. They’ve built a secure digital voting protocol that you don’t need web3 knowledge to use. This year they launched a new API and SDK, as well as a brand and website refresh. This helps open up even more access to secure voting on the blockchain. 2022 saw the failure of many centralized exchanges and services, so we’ve taken steps to prioritize education to help new entrants to the space understand the importance of storing assets on-chain and managing them with smart contracts. Our content centered around topics such as why DAOs run on blockchains, how to code a DAO, and how to set governance parameters to prioritize security and safety. 


We want to bring secure governance solutions to the world, and that starts with education.We believe technology can liberate humanity when used correctly. That’s why we partnered with Ukraine DAO and Unchain Fund to sponsor the Kyiv Tech Summit and donate money to humanitarian efforts on the ground. Helping people in humanitarian crises is a powerful application of this technology, and we are hopeful for the positive impact of DAO technology around the world.The Aragon DAO will deploy first thing in the new year. Expect the Aragon DAO Rules to be live on the forum during the first week of January. The Rules replace the function of a charter and describe the technical deployment of the delegated voting DAO in plain english. Upon voting in the Aragon DAO Rules, the AN DAO and its charter will be deprecated. The highlight of the new year will be our new OS mainnet launch.


 This is the base layer of our infrastructure, so we’re excited to launch it to the world and see what you build on top of it! Our protocol is currently in audits, but you can check it out on testnet here. Join the waitlist to hear when the protocol will be released on mainnet:Join the WaitlistWe published some ideas of dApps to build on top:The Aragon App is our frontend for the new OS. The App will be a homebase for everyone in your DAO, allowing it to evolve as your needs change. The powerful updated aragonOS as a base layer lets DAO builders plug in different governance models and external contracts, so they can build and adapt a custom DAO on top of the immutable blockchain.You can sign up for our waitlist to be one of the first to hear about the new App and the new OS launching on mainnet. Join the WaitlistThe heart of the new protocol is the permission management system, which allows DAOs to seamlessly grant and revoke permissions to new plugins. 


The plugin ecosystem makes up all the connections to external contracts that DAO builders will use.Most of this ecosystem is still in experimentation and early days. So, check back to this newsletter for more updates!In the meantime, you can learn how our plugin manager works:Learn about the Roles contract Our ZK Research team has been doing cutting-edge research. They’ve made exciting strides in privacy-preserving research that allows off-chain private voting with on-chain execution. We’re excited to continue expanding and amplifying that research and find ways to apply it to our new products in 2023! Dive into the researchWe’re excited for a year of building, shipping, and iterating. This year we laid new foundations, for 2023 to be an impactful year for the Aragon Project.We had a ton of internal work to do to set ourselves up for success. Maintaining product velocity while restructuring an organization is no easy feat. 


This said, it’s important that we practice what we preach and continue to decentralize the governance of our project as we build decentralized governance products for the world. We can’t wait to launch and kick off the hyperstructure for governance in 2023!See you in the new year!— the Ecosystem and Growth Guild 


Source : [Aragon's Year in Review: Pivoting our products, strategy, and structure]( by Aragon 🦅 - Substack - Start a paid newsletter by Aragon 🦅 / January 30, 2023

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