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MIDAO Customer Spotlight: MoonDAO


Leo Henkels

May 29, 2024

MoonDAO, to the Moon!

MoonDAO is one of over a hundred DAOs that recently chose to domicile in the Marshall Islands to help them achieve their goals. Read up on what MoonDAO is and why they chose the Marshall Islands. This is part 3 of a series telling our customer's stories. 

MoonDAO: The Internet’s Space Program


MoonDAO started with the simple goal of sending someone to space through the crowd-sourced power of the internet, fueled by the ability to donate using ETH, the Ethereum Network’s native currency. 


Literally, within a one lunar cycle campaign (one month) in January 2022, MoonDAO had raised 2,612 ETH with over 2,000 people contributing $8.3 million equivalent at the time. Shortly after that initial raise, they purchased two seats on a Blue Origin rocket (founded by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos), and by August 2022, only eight months after MoonDAO began, they sent their first astronaut to space through a democratic vote by MoonDAO members.

First astronauts selected

The MoonDAO community voted to send one random person and one content creator to space. The content creator was chosen by a vote among token-holders and was ultimately won by Dude Perfect, one of YouTube's largest channels. Dude Perfect held an internal competition launching model rockets to decide which of them would go, with Coby Cotton winning by having his rocket reach the highest altitude. Coby flew aboard Blue Origin’s NS-22 New Shepard launch in August of 2022. The video of his launch has been viewed more than 37 million times on YouTube. 


MoonDAO randomly selected the person for their second seat with a free NFT sweepstakes to send a regular, everyday person to space. The winner was Yan Kejun, a father of three from Beijing. But after multiple attempts and more than a year of fighting to get him a travel visa, he was ultimately not able to come to the United States for astronaut training and was not able to fly due to these geopolitical complications. 

With that unfortunate news, the MoonDAO community voted to run a new selection process to fill the seat for their second suborbital launch. Through another random on-chain NFT selection of MoonDAO members, Dr. Eiman Jahangir was the grand prize winner. Jahangir was born in Tehran, Iran, and moved to Nashville, Tennessee, at age four. His childhood fascination with space led him to pursue a career in medicine and space exploration. 

Jahangir has been an active member of MoonDAO since the beginning and pursued his interest in human space flight for over 15 years, including two finalist interviews for NASA's Astronaut Candidate program. He has received training in various aspects of space exploration and served as the medical officer for the Inclusion 1 mission at Biosphere2's Space Analog for the Moon and Mars (SAM). 

He has long dreamed about going to space, and thanks to MoonDAO, he will get the chance to do so on an upcoming Blue Origin New Shepard launch. 

Why set up a DAO?


Once the sole domain of state-backed explorations, the private sector has become a major player in recent years thanks to the growth of the commercial space industry. Now, the masses can fund space missions through MoonDAO.


MoonDAO’s mission required a Decentralized Autonomous Organisation (DAO) to create an international, borderless space movement and to handle its transparent use of finances. All funds within MoonDAO are recorded on the blockchain, making the DAO’s finances fully visible.


Decentralization means that collaboration can be organized through a democratic process, such as their collective decisions regarding who they would send to space. The DAO has allowed for a rules-based process with the creation of the MoonDAO constitution to guide governance processes, as well as the “projects system” where anyone can submit a proposal and seek funding.


MoonDAO founder Pablo Moncada-Larrotiz argues that a DAO is the best way to coordinate our expansion beyond Earth because: “In the quest for multi-planetary exploration, traditional structures no longer suffice. DAOs represent a new paradigm, transcending borders and uniting diverse individuals toward a common goal. Just as corporations facilitated the exploration of the New World, DAOs empower humanity to navigate the uncharted territories of space.”

Fittingly, MoonDAO is sending a private key to the Moon, which will store some of its governance token, $MOONEY, as a bounty for humanity’s return to the Moon!

Sustained Presence on the Moon


With that initial goal of sending someone to space complete, MoonDAO’s next goals are much more ambitious and include funding space research and further space expeditions.


The ultimate goal is to support the first sustained presence on another celestial body. The mission is to accelerate the development of a self-sustaining, self-governing settlement on the Moon to act as a launch point for humanity to explore the cosmos. They aim to facilitate this ambitious goal for humanity through novel funding and collaboration mechanisms that blockchain and crypto technology can enable.

Notably, the DAO structure allows for members to allocate funds to innovative projects related to space that advance MoonDAO’s mission, outreach, and ultimate goal, including:

1. Research funding


MoonDAO funded research fellows at the Open Lunar Foundation, including Phil Linden, who is studying lunar timekeeping protocols (think: GPS-like satellites for positioning and timekeeping on the moon, and timekeeping is relative thanks to weaker gravitational pull, as a result, time moves slightly faster on the Moon). Following his fellowship, Linden continued working on his research, and MoonDAO put together a team to apply to DARPA’s LunA-10 Grant Program. For which the team was shortlisted to the final round. MoonDAO is supporting Linden’s work to establish an initial pilot project at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York.


2. Lifeship: DNA to the moon


MoonDAO’s first actual mission to the Moon will be as part of a LifeShip DNA capsule on Firefly Aerospace’s Blue Ghost lander, set to launch in October 2024. DAO members have included DNA saliva samples in the LifeShip capsule, preserved in amber alongside their story, to serve as a genetic record of Earth on the Moon. This is part of a bigger vision to preserve our planet's incredible biodiversity for future generations and expand life to the stars. These DNA samples will also be accompanied by digital documents, such as the MoonDAO constitution, serving as a symbolic first small step on the Moon. 

3. ZeroG with NASA Astronauts


MoonDAO chartered an entire ZeroG flight alongside Space for a Better World, which took flight in early 2024 and allowed guests to experience the sensation of lunar and microgravity, such as that felt on the International Space Station. Former NASA astronauts Nicole Stott, Doug Hurley, and Apollo 16 Moonwalker Charlie Duke were along for the ride. Charlie is 88 years old and one of only four surviving moonwalkers. Zero gravity tips and tricks were provided by these real-life astronauts, and it was an amazing chance to get people together in person who are excited about what MoonDAO is trying to accomplish and supporting our efforts to make space accessible to more regular people. They plan to do future zero gravity flights to increase the number of people who have the opportunity to prepare for the near future when space travel will be more accessible.


Why the Marshall Islands?


The structure and mission of MoonDAO made the decision to establish itself in the Marshall Islands easy, according to Moncada-Larrotiz: 

"Choosing to incorporate as a non-profit in the Marshall Islands was a strategic decision for MoonDAO, leveraging the nation's pioneering legal framework for DAOs. With benefits like limited liability, corporate personhood, and privacy for members, it aligns perfectly with our vision of decentralized, transparent governance in our quest for multiplanetary exploration."

"Working with MIDAO to incorporate in the Marshall Islands streamlined the process, providing seamless navigation through the legal intricacies. Adam's expertise has been invaluable, offering guidance beyond incorporation and helping to influence our understanding of DAO dynamics as we interact IRL, and allowing us to focus on our mission to accelerate space exploration."

As shown below: MoonDAO is setting up a bank account using their MIDAO DAO LLC!