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Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAO), sometimes known as decentralized autonomous corporations (DAC), are organizations that are governed by rules encoded in computer code that are transparent, controlled by the members, and not influenced by a central government. A DAO’s financial transaction record and program rules are stored on a blockchain. It’s unclear exactly what type of legal status this type of business organization has.
A well-known example, intended for venture capital funding, was The DAO, which amassed $150 million in crowdfunding in May 2016, and was hacked and drained of US$50 million in cryptocurrency weeks later. A hard fork of the Ethereum blockchain restored the money after the hack was reversed. Since the new fork, Ethereum clients and miners have switched to Ethereum Classic.
Vitalik Buterin proposed that after a DAO is launched, it might be organized to run without human managerial interactivity. When a Turing-complete platform supports smart contracts. Ethereum, whose blockchain was launched in 2015, has been described as meeting that Turing threshold, therefore enabling DAOs. Decentralized autonomous organizations aim to be open platforms through which individuals control their identities and their personal data.
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