Co-founders of UkraineDAO and Friends With Benefits DAO talk autonomous organizations at SXSW

Kimbal Musk, Nadya Tolokonnikova and Alex Zhang took to the SXSW stage on Monday to participate in the “Move Over NFTs. Here Come the DAOs” panel at Austin’s Convention Center. Tolokonnikova is a former member of the Russian protest punk rock group Pussy Riot, and the co-founder of UnicornDAO and UkraineDAO. Zhang co-founded the social club, DAO Friends With Benefits, and serves as its mayor, while Musk cofounded the philanthropic Big Green DAO. Journalist Michael Casey moderated.

Throughout the discussion, the panelists described their distinct and contrasting use cases behind their own decentralized autonomous organizations, or DAOs, and came to the conclusion that ownership, transparency and localization are the main principles of a successful DAO.

A self-proclaimed anarchist, Tolokonnikova said that the reason she entered Web3 was “to find better tools for activism” and found that DAOs could provide a “better governance model than a national government.” She stated that UkraineDAO was more than a $7 million fundraising effort that gathered people behind the image of the Ukrainian flag, and is a “big jump for crypto” that even Ethereum’s founder Vitalik Buterin supported.

She added that UkraineDAO broke the perception of nonfungible tokens (NFTs) being “just cartoon images” to show how NFTs can solve local problems. In this case, it was able to “distribute money really quickly” to help provide medical aid to those affected by the Russia-Ukraine conflict. 

Related: Cryptopedia: Learn the basics of DAOs and how they work

On the other hand, Zhang’s Friends With Benefits, or FWB DAO, started as “an online accident” in 2020 and has grown into a community of people with “social and financial alignment.” FWB is made up of 6,000 token holders, including some public figures and celebrities, who work together to launch Web3 products, including the recently announced FWB.Archive tool that archives digital events.

Musk chimed in to expand on the idea of a DAO as a community that “isn’t regulated by America or by any…


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