I’ve got some thoughts on PubDAO’s eventual revenue model and token utility, which will obviously be important for the DAO to scale. PubDAO is at its core a collective of creatives of different disciplines, but most notably writers. This collective is formed as a DAO with strong connections to publications.
Both of these points are products and can be monetized, as it’s already planned for it to be. I’m not clear on the current plans for this monetization and how it’ll be structured, but in my opinion I think it’s important that PubDAO builds a treasury that it can wield to fund itself and its projects to grow further. In my opinion, it’s crucial for PubDAO to have revenues flowing through it and for a treasury to be formed.
Any commissioned work that flows through PubDAO could have a structure akin to the following: most of the fee is paid to creative(s), and the rest of the fee is paid to PubDAO. At least to begin when this would be the only way for creative compensation, the majority of fees should be paid to those working on the commission, but a small to moderate fee would IMO need to go to PubDAO itself. The reason for this is multifold, but an example would be that if PubDAO acquires enough funds in its treasury, then it could have “salaried” writing staff paid in non-dilutive assets, i.e. anything but PUB tokens, e.g. ETH, USDC, etc. This opens up many opportunities, some of which are products and token use cases of their own (expanded further below in this post).
The distribution of funds from commissioned work could work in many ways if PubDAO has its own treasury. For example, if there were “salaried” creatives (using quote signs as this would not be salary, per-say) then PubDAO could take on the majority if not all of the fees from commissioned work, with proceeds distributed to creatives through this salary based model as opposed to on the basis of whoever did it gets that fee. There could also be a hybrid, which is likely better, where a portion of the fee goes to the creative(s) to incentivize them to work on that specific piece, and then the rest goes to PubDAO (and thereby back to the creatives again).
For clarity, by “salary”, I’m referring to creatives in the DAO being paid a set or variable rate based on their contributions. Currently this is done in PUB tokens, but after the initial stages and in order to prevent high dilution through requiring emitting tokens to pay DAO contributors, changing this to being paid in other assets accumulated into the DAO’s treasury through its products and revenue models could be a good move.
Either way, PubDAO should look to generate revenues and grow the treasury which token holders can then direct towards initiatives which then helps the DAO grow further. To start, the clear ways for PubDAO to make money is through commissioned work, and through the planned crypto PR wire. Ideas for potential revenue models for both of these can be found outlined below.
The bulk of commission work PubDAO is likely to take on resides in writing tasks. Any type of written content could likely be requested, but some likely categories of content would be:
- Press releases
- White papers
- Yellow papers
This would have a fee payable based on the scope of the content, such as its word count, technicality (and thereby the type and seniority of writer(s)/editor(s) allocated), etcetera. This fee would be paid based on a structure decided by the DAO, which I touched upon further above this post. Either way, it’d generate funds for PubDAO’s treasury.
In addition to writing work, in theory, PubDAO could also take on other types of tasks which are in the wheelhouse of the creatives within the DAO, such as design. In this case, PubDAO could potentially take on commissioned work tasks for items such as:
- Brand books
Same as with written content, this would have a fee payable based on its scope. This type of service will likely not be a focus for the DAO to begin considering the focus on writing, however I thought it’d be interesting to mention.
Decentralized Crypto Wire
The PubDAO crypto wire’s revenue model could work in several different ways. However before exploring this, I think there’s a need to define what the wire would be at its core as it could be several things – now, as a disclaimer, I don’t know what the existing plans for this product are, but these are my thoughts.
For example, the wire could simply be an “RSS”-type feed wherein publishers opt-in to receive high-quality content flowing through PubDAO onto their publication. This would not be sponsored posts, but organically sourced, written and edited content from the DAO. Once PubDAO is up and running fully and has A-tier content being produced, this could be a paid model wherein the publishers would pay for this content to emphasized textbe made available for them. Alternatively, other ways of monetizing the content post-placement could be explored, but a pay-for-feed-access setup would be a simple solution. It’s important to consider the fact that having the content in this feed behind a paywall (for publishers, not for readers) could decrease adoption among publications as opposed to if it were free, but I think it’s an important discussion to think about the benefit to PubDAO for creating the content in the first place, and getting paid for this work would be a clear benefit that could be achieved (only implemented once the quality of content produced by PubDAO would be clear to all, and therefore the access to which would be sought out by publications).
Either instead of or in addition to the above (or not at all, these are just thoughts), the wire could also offer sponsored article placement to participating publications. There’s a few different ways this could work based on participating publications. For example, there could be tiers. In this case, a tier such as bronze could be basic-tier where the content submitted by a buyer would be syndicated across certain participating publications for a fixed fee, without as much editorial input. The participating/syndicated publications in this case would likely not be the A-tiers of publications as this would likely often include things such as shill PR, approved provided they adhere to looser standards. Higher and more pricey tiers, however, such as gold, could have stricter requirements and therefore higher publication tiers it’d get syndicated to (ensuring that these PR feed participating publications would only get high-quality content). Additionally, these higher tiers could include writing and editorial support from members of PubDAO, both further ensuring high quality content but also providing a more comprehensive service offering to drive funds into the treasury.
Product and Utility Ideas
Beyond the initial products of commission work and the decentralized crypto wire, there are many things that PubDAO could offer and do once it grows. If the treasury grew as outlined at the start of this post, then that can fuel some interesting things such as the below.
If enough “salaried” creatives are acquired into PubDAO, this would allow for the DAO to direct its own resources towards itself. The resources available to PubDAO could work to generate further funds for the DAO. An example of this would be a Messari or The Block type publication, owned by PubDAO, with subscription fees for accessing content paid directly into the PubDAO treasury to fuel the content being created for the publication, as well as to fund “public good” research projects and similar important content. In terms of products, a PubDAO-owned publication is just one example of a way the DAO could generate revenue for itself using the resources at its disposal, and I’m certain there are other good solutions the DAO could offer like this as well that doesn’t require content to be requested by a third-party and then created, but rather that is created by the DAO, for the DAO, in order to generate further funds and then more content etcetera – making for a flywheel effect.
Philanthropy / Token-Directed Projects
In the prior example I mentioned “public good” projects. This is a possibility that could spawn from a PubDAO treasury and having “salaried” members of the DAO. Anyone could propose topics for the members of the DAO to work on. This wouldn’t be a story request, but a bigger deal and scope, with more resources put into these. PUB token holders could then vote on these projects to determine whether they deserve funding, and if so, how much (proportionate to votes if a set amount is allocated for grants like these per cycle/season). Those who would work on these projects would be financially incentivized to do so through the aforementioned “salary”. Examples of situations where this could be helpful would be for someone to propose a specific research project that would be beneficial not only to a specific project, but for all of crypto. This could then be voted on; both for whether it’d be allocated a grant, and for the size of this grant. The more votes, the higher the grant would be (i.e. the larger number of resources/time would be able to be invested into the topic).
An add-on to this could even be that these grants could be listed in a Gitcoin-type model wherein the grants are not immediately allocated, but are structured in a contribution-match system. A working example of this would be that research topic A is proposed and receives 500 votes out of 5000 total, giving it 10% of the total grant allocated for that round of research projects. This is then available for the public again for donations wherein if you donate $1 towards this research topic, for example, then PubDAO will match with $X, up to the max amount which would be the total grant allocated for the round. This would further incentivize and drive funds into important research topics. Alternatively, the total grant could be allocated directly for work to begin, and there’d be no need for the add-on public funding model. This general type of model/structure would not need to be limited to research, it could also span things such as tutorials, but also other aspects of writing such as important journalism detailing structural human rights abuses and other critical topics which need highlighting.
An initiative such as this would not generate revenues for PubDAO, but it would provide significant voting rights benefits to token holders due to the ability to direct funds to topics which that token holder believes in, or would benefit from.
Motivation for Post
Why have I created this post? Well, clearly, none of these things can happen overnight. My motivation for writing this post is to start a DAO-wide conversation about the future of PubDAO and how its revenue model and products could function and be structured. In my opinion, and as I hope I’ve explained thoroughly enough in this post, PubDAO should look to accumulate funds in a DAO-owned and operated treasury. This treasury would be the bedrock and foundational element in allowing countless products to be created and potential models for the DAO and its members to be structured.