Open Letters From Our Astronaut
MoonDAO must create a foundation that can scale to thousands of people working collaboratively on the most pressing technological challenges to accelerate a lunar settlement.
Today, most DAOs, including MoonDAO, are centrally planned, where the whole DAO needs to weigh in on a proposal. This does not scale. We need a new model, a model that rewards people for working quickly and efficiently, and makes space for different solutions and teams to compete towards a problem. The model must be able to reinvest in itself to create an economic flywheel where success reinforces on itself.
What we are describing is collaborative competition. This requires the introduction of a new layer within the DAO. What we're calling the DePrize.
The DePrize aims to solve some of the issues mentioned above by constructing a competition for an objective. It aims to create a flexible framework for people to receive funding for coming up with solutions, letting the community allocate towards promising solutions, and then having the teams compete on the execution of the objective. In return for choosing the correct solutions, funders receive a share in the revenues generated from the resulting product or service. It is inspired by other open-innovation ideas like the X-Prize.
For those that have never heard of these types of prizes, they work something like this:
- You raise money towards an objective from donors.
- An announcement is made that the first to do X wins the money.
- People compete, first to achieve it wins.
These types of prizes have inspired a lot of new technology, however there are a few flaws: They’re operationally difficult to set up, they don’t necessarily produce economic value long term, they’re not trustless, and despite the name they’re not necessarily open to anyone.
What we’re trying to achieve is to take the best from DAOs and the best from the current state of open-innovation and create a protocol that:
- Incentivizes fast capital formation towards a well-scoped objective. Clearly stating the problem that needs to be solved.
- Incentivizes multiple teams to ideate on solutions to those problems and receive funding to work on those solutions.
- Incentivizes teams to compete on executing on those solutions, with the first team to complete the objective winning the rest of the prize pool.
- Incentivize long-term maintenance of the project through revenue distribution to the winning team, those that allocated capital towards that team, and the people who contributed to the prize overall.
Furthermore, this model creates an abstraction layer between the core operating system of the DAO through it's governance and the people that are receiving funds through the DAO. Teams competing within the DAO model do not need to read lengthy documentation, they can plug into the ecosystem and start building.
Through this model we are balancing collaboration towards a shared goal, and competition for those who can achieve it first.
What we’re trying to construct is an economic flywheel where free-energy in the form of labor and capital can be put towards initiatives that get us closer to the Moon, and the benefits of the technology and innovation created create a stable attractor for the DAO. In other words, we fund initiatives, and for each initiative we intend to capture a portion of the created economic value to store a long-term financial and data-generating asset for MoonDAO, this creates an attractor for more members to use the created data for future initiatives, and reinvest the capital towards more initiatives that get more members to want to contribute towards MoonDAO for the long-term growth that this creates.
To be more specific, we’re trying to create a flywheel where we crowdsource towards DAO-identified objectives. The capital will then be used to launch a competition where a portion of the funds will be distributed by the funders directly to the teams that show the most promise towards solving the problem, and the rest of the pool will go towards a competition that is set up where the first to objectively solve the problem gets the prize.
We’re calling that the DePrize. It will use blockchain to create a fund where members get a token in exchange for their contribution. Then the members of the fund can vote with their tokens to allocate towards the teams that have the most appealing solutions to the problem. A portion is left as a competition for the first to complete the requirements as arbitrated by the DAO. Finally, the IP that is generated is co-owned by the community and the winning team, where a portion of the data and income from the IP go towards both the financiers of the IP and back to MoonDAO.
We can use this feedback mechanism from funding of open-source data and technology to allow everyday people to contribute to the most difficult problems that we face towards lunar settlement, and use the cash-inflows to both redistribute capital towards those that helped finance the initiative, and also to fund future missions.
The last component of this is creating a free-market where anyone in the world can create or purchase a space asset within our community. This may seem non-obvious at first, but since we’re cultivating a strong community of space enthusiasts, we can use the attention that this brings to market some of the most exciting opportunities in space. People can use our open-source data to create new markets and then we can use the free-market intelligence of the crowds to get a signal on what products and services create the most value here on Earth.
The marketplace will allow people to purchase things in the native token MOONEY and a portion of the transaction is burnt on each transaction, creating a deflationary mechanic on our supply.
In three steps, the flywheel looks like this:
- We crowdsource towards specific initiatives to set up competitions and fund the companies and individuals that are doing the best work to accelerate our goals. Direct blockchain funding from the people that want to make those goals possible.
- We release open-source data and technology from the companies we fund to allow everyday people to contribute to the most difficult problems those companies are facing.
- We build open markets to allow those companies to directly offer products and services to everyday people that want to propel our goals. Building a feedback cycle to generate revenue for MoonDAO and get direct market feedback on initiatives.
Like I mentioned, the first thing to get right is #1. We’ve been working hard on an open protocol for direct funding of missions from people through blockchain that incorporates a quadratic mechanism to fund multiple companies that compete over a prize pool. We will create multiple prize pools to address critical bottlenecks and technology that must exist to support a settlement.
Technology that gets created from #1 will be open-sourced so that more companies can build upon the foundation that’s created. Data and a portion of the proceeds that are generated from that technology will be re-invested into our community to allow the decentralized science and engineering communities to co-build the future.
The innovation that comes from open-sourcing the technology from #2 can then be re-sold within a marketplace at MoonDAO that fosters a space-based economy where anyone from around the world can participate.
Since I have a “who, what, when, and how” I thought I’d also add a “where” -- in MoonDAO’s case, being a decentralized and nation-agnostic set of coordination tools, maybe a “where” doesn’t even make sense.
However, when dealing with the traditional business and legal word, usually the first piece of definition is “where,” what jurisdiction are you operating within?
For a lot of MoonDAO’s life, we have been “everywhere and nowhere” only using a legal entity for very specific one-time use cases like our Ticket To Space Sweepstakes which was managed out of an entity in Macau for their favorable crypto and sweepstakes laws.
However, to make our legal side more defined and make it a little easier to bridge into the “traditional” world where necessary, one of our projects went out in search of the best jurisdiction that would fit our needs.
We landed on incorporating in the Marshall Islands, a small island nation that has its own seat at the UN and sets its own laws. They have recently created a legal framework to recognize DAOs, and they are a very special nation to incorporate given their history.
The Marshall Islands are the second most utilized nation in the world to register international shipping boats. They have favorable taxes, a favorable business relationship with almost every other nation on Earth, and the protection of the U.S. military when at sea. Historically the Marshall Islands have been an experimental testing ground for the U.S., where they would test nukes near the Bikini Atoll. Today MoonDAO has the opportunity to be an experimental testing ground for how DAOs will play a role in space exploration.
Return to Space
Legal and economic frameworks aside, space should also be about fun, right?
At MoonDAO we’re also about direct experience of the unknown. In 2022 we launched a sweepstakes for our second astronaut to go to space. He was from China, and unfortunately was rejected three times to get a visa to come to the United States.
This was frustrating, and eventually we had to move on to someone else to take the seat. As part of our competition rules we selected 9 other backups, and so we tried reaching out to all of them a year later.
We were shocked when after a month of repeatedly messaging them, none of our backups reached out to us. We even created a bounty in our community if anyone could get ahold of the old backups, to no avail.
Last time we did a sweepstakes like this, we had a bunch of bots that joined. We had the strictest method of KYC asking people for their ID and a live image of themselves that matched it, despite the strict requirements we still had thousands of bots.
This time, we’re limiting access to the sweepstakes to members that join our community through our onboarding verification process. No ID required, just verified as a real human by joining an onboarding call and saying hello to one of our DAO onboarding specialists that will verify that you are indeed a unique person. No biometrics or doxxing. This is a much more difficult problem than you’d think, so doing it manually like this is our last resort.
They will also be required to have a US Visa to be able to travel for Astronaut Training and the flight, and will need to meet all of Blue Origin’s functional requirements to ensure they are able to go to space.
Our initial goal in creating MoonDAO was to send a regular person to space, and through all the trials and tribulations we’ve faced as a community we will re-run this selection, and this time we’ll succeed.
MoonDAO has a roadmap for accelerated Lunar Settlement by 2030. Why 2030? Because we want to push the envelope, and move faster than the timelines other large organizations have, driving them to move faster.
In broad strokes, let me paint a picture of a timeline for what success looks like for MoonDAO. It will not be a straight line. In 2022 we reached a peak of 100M+ in our Treasury, and 10,000+ token holders.
The crypto markets are extremely volatile, so we will require an antifragile system that can take large shocks upwards and downwards, something that we have already proven to have the fitness to mitigate.
While large centralized organizations and exchanges have over-levered and caused cascading liquidation during the market downturn, MoonDAO has been able to maintain a simple and understandable economic model that has been able to scale up and down with the crypto market.
So, with that in mind, here is a timeline for accelerated lunar settlement with key growth milestones that MoonDAO aims to achieve.
None of this is guaranteed to happen as is described here, but at the very least it’s a plan to start moving towards, and as we get better information we’ll adjust.
- 100s of engaged members.
- Announce the flagship DePrize to fund critical technology for the long-term habitation of the Moon, with MoonDAO credibly-neutral technology, evangelizing people from all over the world to collaborate.
- Inception of the MoonDAO Marketplace with flagship products and services listed.
- Select someone from our community to go to space from our community.
- 1,000s of engaged members.
- Open-source collaboration on technology and datasets generated and gifted to the MoonDAO community from partners and organizations working on our first DePrize.
- 10s of products and services listed on our marketplace.
- More DePrizes are set up to address other foundational elements of a lunar settlement and credibly neutral infrastructure.
2025: Seat at the Table
- 10,000s of engaged members.
- Fundraise for the ownership of a Starship or equivalent launch vehicle, and guaranteed refuel missions.
- Multiple data- and income-generating IPs generated for the MoonDAO community.
- Large Scale Coordination through an open-sim of Lunar Settlement, setting up DePrizes for each component required.
- 100s of products and services listed on our marketplace.
2026: Settlement Design Completed
- 100,000s of engaged members.
- Design of major components have been completed, ready for manufacturing on Earth to begin simulations and testing.
2027: Settlement Manufacturing Completed
- 1,000,000s of engaged members.
- Selection of our first group of Moon settlers.
- Manufacturing of key components on Earth with Earth-based simulations. Prototypes built out and ready to test.
- MoonDAO has a manufacturing facility that operates in a decentralized way receiving designs from all over the world.
2028: Components tested and Ready for Launch
- 10,000,000s of engaged members.
- Fast iteration on infrastructure, testing with Earth-based simulation complete.
2029: Minimum Viable Settlement Construction Begins
- Infrastructure is sent to the Moon and the first crew begins construction on the Moon.
2030: New Year’s 2030 - Lunar Party
- The first minimum viable Lunar Settlement is complete and can sustain multiple people for long-term habitation.
- Host a New Year's Eve party on the Moon, inviting nations committed to peaceful activity on the Moon and Earth to celebrate the accomplishment of MoonDAO's first mission.
- Next: Expand Lunar Base footprint, set up infrastructure to extend life to Mars.
We’ll need a lot of help. I’m lucky to call many of the people along this journey with us friends. Ultimately that is the most important part of this all, the relationships we build together that unite us and find kindred spirits.
I am not really worthy to lead a mission of this magnitude, but I’ll try my best. I have faith, and I think that there are forces larger than us that want us to succeed. It’s up to us to try to always do the right thing and be honest and work hard.
Power has a way of corrupting people, and I hope that this does not become me. I think many here so far have seen how hard we’ve been tested as a group and as individuals. I think we are extremely lucky to have found the amazing people we have right now in our organization -- it really is a blessing.
MoonDAO has pushed me to grow tremendously as a person, it’s the most rewarding and difficult thing I’ve ever had to do. It has tested my abilities in all dimensions of life, and sometimes I have tripped, but have always gotten back up and learned from mistakes. I am sure I will have missteps along the way, but I promise to listen to the community, which has a deep wisdom of its own, to help guide us when there is uncertainty, and to help pick us up when spirits are low, or caution when spirits are high.
Like I said, I know that I am not worthy for this grand mission, it would be insane to feel confident that I am the right person for this job, but I will try my best, and all glory if we achieve things should go to the people that have made this possible and the spirit of exploration and awe that inspire us.
I think it’s worth noting why we have decided to have an “Astronaut” or executive branch as a DAO. Some think it is hypocritical or that there is no need within a DAO to have executive office.
We tried running this experiment in headless government for a while, not allocating any funds towards executive operation, and we found that there are basic issues that need constant care and attention, like a gardener that looks over all the growing fruit. The fruit grows on its own and does not need to be commanded to grow, but someone needs to be there to plant the seeds, provide water, and pluck out weeds or harmful pests.
This is the role of the executive branch, it is to give the constant attention to the little things that keep everything functioning. The role is not that of a ruler with an iron fist, but someone that comes in to get their hands dirty tilling the soil and plucking the weeds so that the most fruitful members can focus on what they do best.
The organization is not a pyramid, and it never intends to be one, it is a circle. There is a center and a boundary, and the executive branch creates the center and defines the boundary, but it is only a point, and the majority of the circle is made up of all the Project members within the Senate and Moonsettlers, and vMOONEY token holding Members within the rest of the DAO.
If those members want to point in a different direction, the executive branch will move with the whole, and if the executive branch is no longer serving the rest of the whole, they have it within their power to swap for a different leadership.
There are to be three leaders in the future of MoonDAO that jointly serve as a triumvirate. This, like all our governance, is an experiment. It seems evident to me that not one person can fill this role and have an understanding of all the cultures, technologies, and wisdom required to operate MoonDAO, so three heads that are harmonized will be much better than a single one, and much more difficult to turn tyrannical.
I am the first, and I hope that I will guide things to make way for a second, and a third, as we mature and bring more people on to share the power within the Constitution.
On my end, although I recognize my limited ability compared to the ambition and size of our mission, I pledge to continuously improve and learn so I can best serve the DAO. I pledge to remove vice from my life and refine my virtues so that I can serve the DAO honorably, truthfully, and without force but with persuasion. Having the courage to be firm when necessary to resolve conflict, and the caution and wisdom to avoid unnecessary meddling in things that do not require intervention. I cannot offer that I will be perfect, but I will try to learn quickly from those that know more around me, and to improve every day.
I believe if we continue on our path, we will find success. We just need to continue putting one foot in front of the other and keep working hard day by day.
Thanks if you’ve made it this far.
I hope you help take us further.