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Reality Intrudes on a Utopian Crypto Vision

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Members of decentralized autonomous organization (DAOs) are clashing with one another about how to balance the need for skilled and experienced managers against the idealistic vision of communal decision-making.

Credit: Scott Gelber

American CryptoFed is a new kind of company spawned by the advent of cryptocurrency — one that claims, in a way, not to be a company at all.

There are no owners, officers or employees, according to its stated plan. Instead, American CryptoFed is a "decentralized autonomous organization" that is supposed to be steered automatically by computer code and governed by a community of users who vote on proposals with crypto tokens.

To their proponents, these types of ventures, known as DAOs, are a new model for commerce, one that could democratize business enterprises and break the hold that Big Tech and other entrenched middlemen have over innovation in the information age. Already, a rapidly growing number of these upstart organizations have emerged online, including financial services operations, news hubs and social clubs.

But they are also coming under fire from multiple angles, reflecting both the disruptive force of the crypto phenomenon and the struggle to prove its practical use beyond financial speculation.

From The New York Times
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