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DeFi DAOs: How Aspects of DAO Governance Benefit the DeFi Ecosystem



In the DeFi revolution, Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) are redefining the rules of the game. As the backbone of decentralized finance platforms, DAO governance brings transparency, community empowerment, and security to the forefront. 

In this article, we will explore what these terms are, their role in today’s landscape, their key benefits, components, and some more details about DeFi DAOs. 

What is DeFi and what is a DAO? 

DeFi, short for Decentralized Finance, is a revolutionary financial system operating on blockchain technology, mainly Ethereum. It eliminates the need for intermediaries like banks, allowing direct peer-to-peer transactions through smart contracts. 

It also offers services, such as lending, borrowing, trading, and yield farming, accessible to anyone with an internet connection. 

A DAO, or Decentralized Autonomous Organization, is an organizational model that enables decentralized decision-making without a central authority. DAOs use blockchain technology to people together to collectively manage resources and make decisions through smart contracts, which are self-executing programs. 

DAOs distribute power among participants, ensuring transparency and autonomy, while voting mechanisms enabling democratic decision-making. 

Rise of DeFi and Its Impact On the Financial Ecosystem 

The rise of DeFi has been a game-changer in the financial ecosystem. In just a few years, the DeFi sector has witnessed explosive growth, with a total value locked (TVL) exceeding $200 billion, offering a diverse array of services such as lending and borrowing.

This revolutionary movement has the potential to disrupt traditional finance by promoting inclusivity, efficiency, and transparency. DeFi empowers anyone with an internet connection and a compatible wallet to access financial services that were previously out of reach for many. 

However, DeFi also has its challenges and risks. For example, issues like scalability, security vulnerabilities, regulatory compliance, and user education must be addressed carefully to ensure the sustainable growth of DeFi. 

Despite the hurdles, DeFi continues to evolve and experiment with novel models and innovations. From decentralized governance mechanisms to layer 2 solutions, the DeFi space is continuously pushing the boundaries of what's possible in the world of finance.

What role does DAO Governance play in DeFi

DAO governance in DeFi refers to the decision-making process within a DAO. In DeFi, DAOs are entities that operate on blockchain technology and are governed by smart contracts and community voting mechanisms.

Through DAO governance, participants in a DeFi project can collectively influence the project's direction, propose changes or upgrades to the protocol, and vote on important decisions. Each participant in these systems typically have voting power proportional to their ownership of the native tokens associated with the DAO.

Ultimately, DAO governance aims to create a decentralized decision-making structure where the community's voice is heard, and decisions are made transparently.

man works with decentralized finance platform

Examples of DeFi DAO Projects

Here are some examples of prevalent DeFi DAO projects. 


As one of the earliest and most influential DeFi protocols on Ethereum, Maker offers a decentralized stablecoin (DAI) and a lending platform with over $6 billion in TVL and more than $5 billion in DAI supply. 

The introduction of its governance token, MKR, in 2017 allowed holders to vote on critical protocol parameters. Moreover, Maker DAO supports social and environmental causes like donating to UNICEF and offsetting carbon emissions.


A prominent DeFi protocol, Compound, allows users to lend and borrow crypto assets, having over $8 billion in TVL and $1 billion in outstanding loans. Its governance token, COMP, launched in June 2020, allows users to delegate voting rights and propose protocol upgrades.


Gitcoin connects developers with open-source projects, offering funding opportunities through grants, bounties, and hackathons. Its governance token, GTC, introduced in May 2021, empowers the community to govern the platform's treasury, policies, and roadmap.

Key Aspects of DAO Governance 

Below are the key aspects of DAO governance:

Decentralized Decision-Making

DAO governance distributes decision-making power among community members, ensuring that no single entity or central authority holds absolute control. Participants can propose, discuss, and vote on proposals, enabling a more democratic and inclusive decision-making process.

Proposals and Voting

Members of the DAO can submit proposals, which encompass ideas, suggestions, or changes related to the DAO's operations, policies, or goals. Proposals can be initiated by any member meeting the minimum token or NFT threshold. 

The submitted proposals go through a voting period during which other members express their support or opposition. Then, the voting outcome, determined by the majority of votes cast, is automatically executed by the DAO's smart contract.

Transparency and Accountability

DAO governance prioritizes transparency and accountability by ensuring that all transactions within the organization are visible and verifiable by anyone on the blockchain. 

This fosters trust among members, prevents fraud or corruption, and promotes a collaborative environment. Tools such as dashboards, analytics, audits, and oracles enhance transparency and accountability in DAOs.

Governance Tokens or NFTs

DAOs utilize digital assets known as governance tokens or NFTs to grant voting rights and ownership to their members. These tokens can be acquired through purchase, sale, or earned by actively participating in the DAO's activities. 

Consequently, the number of tokens or NFTs members hold determines their influence and voting power within the DAO.

Innovation and Experimentation

DAOs thrive on innovation and experimentation, which enable them to adapt to the evolving needs and preferences of their members and the broader market. Tools like forks, sandboxes, testnets, simulations, and feedback loops facilitate innovation and experimentation in DAO governance.

man working with decentralized finance platform on laptop

Advantages of DAO Governance in DeFi 

DAO governance in DeFi offers several advantages that contribute to the growth and success of decentralized financial ecosystems. Some key advantages include:

Community Empowerment

DAO governance allows users to actively participate in shaping the future of DeFi platforms. It empowers community members to propose changes, upgrades, and new features, enabling the platform to evolve according to the needs and preferences of its users.

Agility and Efficiency 

Decentralized decision-making in DAOs allows quicker responses to changing market conditions and user requirements. Proposals can be voted on and implemented rapidly, making the DeFi ecosystem more agile and efficient than traditional centralized systems.

Incentivization through Governance Tokens

DAOs often issue governance tokens to participants, giving them voting power and influence over the platform's direction. These tokens can also be staked or used for liquidity provision, providing users with additional incentives and rewards for actively engaging in governance.

Resistance to Censorship and Interference

DAO governance ensures that code rather than centralized authorities govern the platform's rules and operations. This makes it resistant to censorship and external interference, promoting a more resilient and trustless financial system.

Summing Up

DAOs and DeFi are two of the most exciting and revolutionary developments in the blockchain space. While they offer a new way of organizing and accessing financial services, they also pose significant challenges and risks. 

The critical thing to understand about DeFi DAOs is that they are still evolving and experimenting with new models and innovations. They certainly have the potential to transform the financial industry, but they also require careful and responsible participation from all stakeholders.

Striking a balance between fostering innovation and addressing risks will be crucial as DeFi redefines the financial landscape for years to come.