On Friday, May 6, 2022, Wharton BDAP and the Swiss law firm MME co-organized a workshop on Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) – Legal and Governance Aspects in Zurich. A growing number of communities and blockchain-based protocols are organizing as decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), where assets and management processes are governed directly by smart contracts. Some attempt to wrap the DAO in an established legal structure, such as an LLC, trust, or foundation. Others proceed on the conviction that “code is law.” A few jurisdictions have created bespoke legal frameworks. With tens of billions of dollars of digital assets already controlled by DAOs, questions of liability, corporate governance, taxation, compensation, and regulatory compliance are increasingly significant. This by-invitation workshop assembled leading experts to examine the legal and regulatory considerations for DAOs from a multi-disciplinary and multi-jurisdictional perspective.

David Gogel (dydx), Michael Egorov (Curve DAO), and Christoph Simmchen (Gnosis) provided an introduction into their specific DAO frameworks and their distinctive governance features. A panel consisting of Nina Siedler (DWF), Thomas Feldkircher (Nägele Attn.), and Andreas Glarner (MME), moderated by Daniel Resas (Bubbles) later tackled legal issues, specifically questions regarding the legal structure of DAOs and different alternatives. The workshop participants engaged in a lively and interactive discussion with a variety of perspectives.

Wharton BDAP is also engaged in a major DAO-related collaboration with the World Economic Forum