CurateDAO: Curate to Earn
A way to earn by curating information people find useful.
CurateDAO is a community curated blockchain database. Imagine trying to organize the world’s information through a series of Pinterest boards and being compensated if someone finds value in the board. This is what CurateDAO calls curate-to-earn.
Their mission is to democratize and moderate the exchange of information via ‘cryptoeconomic games’ and describe themselves as a community curated blockchain-based database for Web3 applications.
Several days ago I had the chance to speak with Michael Fischer, the founder of CurateDAO.
Before he got into the web3 space, Michael was busy getting his PhD at Stanford where he was studying natural language processing. His focus: what if you didn’t need to learn to program to actually program? You tell a computer what you wanted to do and it would turn that into code through AI. Using AI to compile code basically vs doing it yourself.
Towards the end of his PhD program, he worked as a Stanford Law TA for a California Supreme Court judge’s AI Regulation class. It was then that he started thinking about the intersection between law and technology.
Given his technical background and interest in the legal system, he was curious to explore how one could go about creating laws from the bottom-up, at least for information and data curation.
One way, according to Michael, through building a protocol. After all, at its core, a protocol is a set of rules.
A database could be an interesting thing for a community to manage. Essentially, all apps we use are databases controlled by a centralized entity. What would it look like if it was controlled by a community?
Cut to graduation, Dr. Michael started CurateDAO which went on to raise a seed round of $6.85M led by Polychain Capital.
So what is…CurateDAO?
At a fundamental level, CurateDAO is a set of databases curated by community members to organize information.
Here’s how it works essentially.
A Curator mints a database and defines the rules for what sort of information should exist in the database.
Once a database has been minted, a group of Scouts go find the information for the database using the guidelines set forth by the Curator. They also help decide what gets added to a database.
After the database has been curated, Viewers can then pay tokens to view the content. These tokens are split between the Curator, Scouts, and network (CurateDAO’s protocol).
So basically, people curate a bunch of stuff and then get paid in tokens.
In a way, it’s sort of like creating a Pinterest board and getting paid if people view your board.
Tell me more
To ensure the database criteria set by the curator is being followed, scouts have to stake one token when they submit data to a specific database. If it gets accepted by the curator, the scout gets their staked token back. If it gets rejected, the token goes into the DAO treasury.
Adding and removing entries to the database is very much like a game that has a purpose of ensuring that meaningful content is rewarded while spam is penalized. And what’s considered meaningful vs spam is determined by a community of humans rather than AI.
One thing you might be wondering (or maybe just me because I got my mind on my money and my money on my mind): why in the world would someone spend their time being a scout?
Viewers pay tokens to view the content of a database. 70% of the amount goes to the scouts, 20% goes to the curator and 10% goes to the network.
Imagine being paid for every person that views your Pinterest board? Pretty, pretty, pretty good.
The following diagram outlines how CurateDAO’s protocol works if you want more details.
What’s the purpose of this?
The core idea behind CurateDAO is, how do you create a decentralized database that incentivizes people to curate ‘good’ content and how do you manage that content?
According to Michael, as consumption of digital information becomes more globally dispersed, there’s a need for democratization and protection of expression.
He believes that isn’t possible in the current system.
Existing centralized platforms that support content have generic, one-size-fits-all terms of service that don’t have any place in a read-write-own future.
Michael believes specific communities should have their own terms of service so as to maintain quality, freedom of expression and protection from censorship or loss. In this spirit, each DAO (each database can be thought of as a DAO) in the network should be able to set up its own set of rules on how on-chain data should be included or excluded.
He likens this to how every state in the US has its own set of laws and rules, and based on how ‘good’ they are, they are able to attract/retain residents.
Makes sense at a high level. Think of all the people that left San Francisco because of the incompetence of elected leaders and their policies 🤷.
To enforce such a system, CurateDAO has an incentive mechanism where curators could set their own rules as they curate quality content and information.
There’s a lot more punishment than reward on existing social media platforms - you can get penalized or banned for saying something that outrages a group of people but not rewarded for supporting someone or saying something that has a net positive effect.
Speaking of rewards, for most people, that means more engagement on their post. But who does that engagement really serve? You or the social media platform monetizing off people’s attention to your post?
*insert Chris Dixon post about value proposition of web3*
CurateDAO’s purpose is to change that i.e. economically incentivize value added behavior as defined by a community.
So what makes this a DAO 🧐?
Each of the databases on CurateDAO can be thought of as a DAO. Each database has a purpose and a set of rules that community members abide by to add content. So it’s essentially several DAOs within a DAO.
Scouts and curators work together to build and deliver specific content across various niches. And important decisions are made as consensus is achieved within the community.
Okay, this article is getting a bit long now. If you want to explore CurateDAO, head over to their website to get involved with the community. Maybe you have an idea for a database you’d like to mint? Maybe you see a database you’d like to contribute to?
Here’s an idea for a database you can curate given some of the criticism against web3 these days: List of web3 companies with real life use cases.
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