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Breakpoint 2023: Validated Podcast - Conversation with Rune from MakerDAO

An in-depth conversation with Rune Christensen about MakerDAO's journey, its ambitious endgame vision, and the future of blockchain governance.

The notes below are AI generated and may not be 100% accurate. Watch the video to be sure!


During the Breakpoint 2023 conference, Rune Christensen, co-founder of MakerDAO, appeared on the Validated Podcast to discuss the evolution of MakerDAO and his vision for the future of decentralized governance. He delved into the challenges of scaling the human element of a DAO, introduced the concept of sub-DAOs, and explained the role of tokenomics and yield farming to engage community members. Moreover, he touched upon the potential integration of AI to streamline governance processes and MakerDAO's consideration of utilizing Solana's tech stack for backend infrastructure to advance their governance model.

Key Points:

MakerDAO's Growth and Governance Challenges

Rune Christensen highlighted the exponential growth of MakerDAO, pointing out the need to scale not just the technology but also the human governance element of their DAO. With over $5.4 billion in circulation, the Maker stablecoin has revealed the complexity of managing a sizable decentralized business entity. The development and eventual dissolution of a foundation posed the usual challenge of transitioning full control to decentralized governance, prompting a need for a more sophisticated approach.

Sub-DAOs as a Solution to Scalability and Engagement

Rune Christensen introduced his vision for the future governance of MakerDAO through the formation of sub-DAOs. These sub-DAOs, with their own tokens, aim to parallelize governance and infuse resilience into the system. They will stimulate growth through yield farming incentives, giving end-users a fun and engaging experience while contributing to micro governance through their choices. This approach attempts to reshape the engagement from merely speculative to transformative, with the potential to attract more individuals to the blockchain space.

MakerDAO's Backend Architecture and Solana Interest

Discussing the infrastructure of MakerDAO's future system, Christensen explained that the current Ethereum-based solution might not be sufficient for their advanced tokenomics needs. They considered Solana's tech stack due to its low transaction costs and high-efficiency potential. However, he emphasized that they are not abandoning Ethereum but simply exploring alternatives for their backend needs, which was initially miscommunicated and misunderstood by the crypto community.

Facts + Figures

  • MakerDAO has $5.4 billion worth of its stablecoin, DAI, in circulation.
  • Rune Christensen compared the elements of DAO governance to political science with checks and balances.
  • The idea of sub-DAOs is presented as a means to tackle scalability issues, with independent tokens for each sub-DAO to carry specific governance functions and responsibilities.
  • Yield farming is highlighted as an essential tool to make participation engaging and draw community members into governance.
  • The integration of AI into governance is seen as a future development to help with the efficiency of processes.
  • MakerDAO is considering forking Solana for their new backend architecture but is committed to remaining on Ethereum for user-facing functionality.

Top quotes

  • "So basically the endgame plan is the realization that, yeah, you can't just expect like the free market to figure it out."
  • "And that's ultimately what the entire endgame plan does in a series of very long-term steps over a very long period of time because this is a huge challenge."
  • "Because what that means is now you have a method to draw in a lot of people, right?"
  • "But the highest level is the level of simply entering the ecosystem, you know, farming the subdows, right?"
  • "So what we realize is, I mean, the reality is most people just don't, like most people, they want, you know, they want to buy some coins and buy an end and that's about it, right?"
  • "We're definitely absolutely not leaving Ethereum. Of course."

Questions Answered

What is the endgame plan for MakerDAO?

The endgame plan for MakerDAO is a strategic approach to creating a more resilient and scalable DAO by establishing sub-DAOs with individual tokens, reducing the necessity of human decision-making, and implementing mechanisms to enhance the system's reliability. The idea is to simplify governance for stability through advanced tokenomics and to encourage broader community engagement through yield farming incentives.

How do sub-DAOs contribute to MakerDAO's governance?

Sub-DAOs within MakerDAO will create smaller, nested structures that make individual decisions to prevent the larger organization from becoming cumbersome. They will hold independent tokens for risk-taking and decision-making while drawing on yield farming to attract participants. This way, sub-DAOs are intended to support both growth and resilience.

Why is MakerDAO considering a new backend architecture?

MakerDAO is considering a new backend architecture to support their advanced tokenomics and governance models, which require low transaction costs, high transaction processing speed, and the ability to recapture any system costs for optimal performance. Solana's tech stack is being evaluated as a potential option for providing these capabilities.

Will MakerDAO leave Ethereum for Solana?

No, MakerDAO does not plan to leave Ethereum. While the organization is exploring Solana's tech stack for potential backend infrastructure improvements, the goal is not to abandon Ethereum but to enhance MakerDAO's system. User-facing functionalities will remain on Ethereum, given its significant user base and network effects.

What is the role of AI in MakerDAO's future governance model?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is seen as a pivotal component of MakerDAO's future governance model. AI could automate mundane tasks, streamline complex processes, and assist in optimizing governance activities. AI technology, like language models, may be used to handle repetitive paperwork and facilitate more effortless coordination within the DAO.