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The First DAO-Owned Retail Store

DeStore is launching the first retail store run by a DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization). It’s an experiment in using web3 technology to alter how retail organizations operate.

DeStore is owned and operated entirely by its community, which they plan to open to ~200 people. To become a co-owner in DeStore, you’ll need to purchase one of their NFTs (soon to be released). This NFT is an access token to their mobile app where decisions will be voted on.

Basically, all operations of the store, called Store_0, will be made collectively and democratically by their members. And the more NFTs you have, the more voting power you possess. Some of the decisions owners will vote on include:

  • Choosing what to sell at the store
  • In-store music playlist
  • The staff to hire
  • And what to do with store profits

Store_0 is currently leasing space in Hayes Valley, San Francisco. You can visit it today but won’t find anything to buy yet.

In many ways, I view this as similar to how consignment stores and farmers' markets affect retail by increasing the number of stakeholders and therefore increasing the number of people marketing via word-of-mouth. And it also reminds me of the town that banded together to purchase its own grocery store.

There are other emerging DAO-run real estate ventures, says entrepreneur Vibhu Norby. These include EmpireDAO, a co-working space in New York; and Landmark, which on its website poses the question, “what if travel accommodations could be transformed from an expensive consumable to a smart investment?” Norby’s own startup, Solana Spaces, is a storefront in Hudson Yards for people who want to learn about web3 and the blockchain. – Bloomberg

Realistically, if DeStore can develop software that effectively integrates the DAO voting portals and web3 chat apps with other software needed to run a small business, they might be better off just selling “their recipe” for DAO-led small businesses.

DAOs for Small Business

I see DAOs as an interesting model for bootstrapping side hustles and small businesses. Because DAOs create the opportunity to build something with anyone, no matter where in the world, they allow everyone to pitch in what they can offer. Whether that’s funding, mentorship, or actually putting work in, DAOs make building with a community possible. And this has the potential to accelerate entrepreneurship.

For example, starting a vending machine company would put all the pressure on you to fund the business, acquire vending machines, repair them, convince retail owners to place them in their stores, stock the vending machines, etc. Under the DAO model, many people can lend a helping hand and be equally rewarded for their efforts.

FriesDAO is a great example of this. They are a DAO dedicated to building a fast food franchise empire as a community. Whether you want to contribute capital, scout for franchises to purchase, run a franchise, etc. there’s something for everyone to do. In theory, they should be able to scale their empire faster than if they went at it alone.

This Everydays.WTF note is part of an ongoing series of notes on DAOs: