Why I’ve Resigned as a Curator of the DAO

Gavin Wood
2 min readMay 13, 2016

It sounds rather stupid to point out so bluntly, but the two critical properties concerning a DAO is that it is decentralised and that it is autonomous. As such it acts for itself; no individual, nor group of individuals have any authority over the organisation over and above the aggregated stakeholders. I hope this post will act as a clear message on the role of those pictured on the DAO website, for it seems there may be some confusion.

The role of the “curators” in slock.it’s DAO design is trivial and entirely algorithmic — no judgement whatsoever is required. They exist purely as a means of identity-verification. They remain in their role only at the sufferance of the DAO stakeholders and may be replaced at any time and for any reason. They have no power of oversight. The “curators” are not founders and being a “curator” should not be taken as an endorsement of the DAO. As a “curator”, I never had any intention of offering advice to users on which projects they fund. Many (myself included) had no role in its creation over and above offering technical insight into Christoph’s whitepaper: I was not involved in the conception or creation of the DAO. I agreed to the role in order to support this exciting project in its early stages in the extremely limited scope of identity verification primarily because it is autonomous: it needs nothing more!

I am happy that slock.it, the DAO’s authors, set out all details very clearly in the official documentation (found in the whitepaper and on the http://daohub.org/ site). Nonetheless, it seems that the use of the term “curator” is rather misleading, suggesting some authority for independent judgement. This is absolutely not the case, and a better term would perhaps have been “identity oracles”.

This tangential identity-oracle “curator” role has unfortunately lead to at least a little confusion over what degree of personal involvement I have in the project, causing me unnecessary faff. To make it as clear as possible that I, and indeed any, individual is irrelevant to the DAO’s operation, I have rescinded my position as “curator”. I urge all those who have placed Ether under the DAO to look beyond the faces and research the structure of the contract and understand properly what agreement your funds are tied to. Obviously, you should seek professional advice before acting. Don’t forget: In this case, it is the code which rules; the faces don’t matter a jot.

I firmly believe that DAOs are one of the most important social experiments of this decade, if not the century. This instance has certainly surpassed my expectations and the stakes for its success are high. Hopefully, as Ethereum’s infrastructure matures, “curators” can be removed entirely from its design, allowing it to become truly autonomous.

I would note that thus far all Ether submitted to the DAO can be refunded from the DAO at no cost. However, once the price starts increasing, Ether entering the DAO cannot be refunded in full.

You have been warned ;-)