UnicornDAO Aims to Subvert Crypto’s Toxic Culture but Only Millionaires Can Be Members
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UnicornDAO Aims to Subvert Crypto’s Toxic Culture but Only Millionaires Can Be Members

The DAO recently raised $4.5M and plans to open membership to the public to promote underrepresented artists.
Neither the author, Tim Fries, nor this website, The Tokenist, provide financial advice. Please consult our website policy prior to making financial decisions.

UnicornDAO, a smart contract treasury similar to a charity fund, announced the opening of its digital doors to the public this week. For that privilege, prospective members would have to dish out 50 ETH (~$98.4k) in return for a 1% interest rate which would also translate to a 1% voting right.

Additionally, only accredited investors are eligible, as defined by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In short, it is a millionaires’ club, as they have to own in excess of $1 million in assets/investments and above $200k yearly income.

Such a requirement fits with the recently raised treasury bar. With the help of Yuga Labs of Otherside/ApeCoin/BAYC fame, ConsenSys Mesh, World of Women, Beeple, MoonPay, and others, UnicornDAO already raised $4.5 million.

What is UnicornDAO?

Like any decentralized autonomous organization, UnicornDAO serves as a tokenized treasury to gather and allocate resources for various projects. Typically, DAOs use governance tokens as voting tools by which members decide the outflow of money. According to DeepDAO aggregator, there are presently 1,078 DAOs holding $10.3 billion in crypto funds, of which 168 (15.5%) DAOs hold over $1 million.

Image credit: DeepDAO.io

UnicornDAO was founded by Nadezhda Tolokonnikova in March 2022 at the South by Southwest conference. This was the 10th anniversary of her arrest and subsequent 2-year jail sentence as a Russian activist/feminist/artist known for her involvement in the Pussy Riot protest group.

John Caldwell of Wave Financial NFT fund is the key co-founder who facilitated  UnicornDAO’s technical creation. Thus far, more notable members include record-selling digital artist Beeple, musicians Grimes and Sia, and Israeli entrepreneur Guy Oseary, known as the talent manager for Madonna and U2.

UnicornDAO runs on the premise that the blockchain sector at large is immersed in “toxic masculinity”, so there needs to be a force to “subvert crypto bro culture“. As such, UnicornDAO employs affirmative action for LGBTQ+ members and female creators, based on the fact that they generated only 16% of NFT sales in 2021.

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UnicornDAO’s Other Side of the Coin

Outside of “subverting bro culture”, which itself could be deemed as toxic, hostile, and in bad faith, UnicornDAO’s primary goal is to “provide historically undervalued and underrepresented groups tools to empower themselves”.

This may seem odd given the fact that UnicornDAO’s talking points can be found within the world’s most powerful financial institutions. To illustrate, both BlackRock ($10 trillion AuM) and the World Economic Forum emphasize “diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility“.

Just these two organizations form a financial web that covers, directly or indirectly, every business on the planet. In fact, under the BlackRock’s ESG (environmental, social, governance) umbrella, the oil/gas giant Exxon can get ahead of Tesla, an electric vehicle company.

With such a default corporate setting, it is then no wonder that UnicornDAO effortlessly became a multi-million dollar fund within a span of two months. The millionaire members then represent filters through which underrepresented artists receive funds.

The problem with this approach is that “underrepresentation” is a rather nebulous concept. In any market, there can never be a situation in which everyone is represented. With the institutional doors already wide open, is UnicornDAO’s approach then a matter of artificially boosting market elements that couldn’t otherwise rise to the top?

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Do you think raised UnicornDAO’s funds could have been put to better use among existing charities? Let us know in the comments below.

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