2021 has been a blockbuster year for many of us in the MonkeDAO. Personally, it’s been one hell of a roller coaster ride; switched careers a few times, giving up a job that I really loved with an amazing venture capital fund to work with a consulting firm just to fulfill my scholarship bond. Three months into that, I realized it wasn’t for me and that I had also found my passion and interest in the Web 3.0 space — ignited by the monkes. That was when I knew I had to make one of the biggest decisions in my life — defaulting on the scholarship bond fulfillment and paying a 6-figure penalty to be in the frontier of Web3.0.
Has it been worth it thus far? Hell. Yes.
Everyday check monkes, more beautiful monkes, trade monkes.
Getting into SOL NFTs
Having dabbled in some NFTs on ETH and even BSC, it was always the user experience or high gas fees that made the whole process feel like a chore. I found Solana NFTs just when I was doing some research on my small SOL holdings and was fortunate enough to find out the Solana Monkey Business (SMB) project was about to launch in two days time. Having been a big fan of “Paul Frank” from a young age, these monkes sparked something within me — I knew I had to try to be involved. I read up on Phantom, prepared my wallets and minted a handful of them as a relative newcomer to the space. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect. While the mint didn’t exactly take off as planned, and most of the monkes had to be manually sent out to users with as long as a 24 hour delay, what happened after was what laid the foundation for SMBs — the birth of the OTC channels, which gave rise to countless opportunities to interact and build relationships with other SMB holders navigating the new Solana ecosystem.
Needless to say, I started spending more time on Discord — particularly the SMB discord, more than my day job. Everyday check monkes, more beautiful monkes, trade monkes. However, after a week or so, the vibes in the Discord started to change. The community was getting impatient, and started asking “Can devs do something?”, especially with the delayed launch of its marketplace at that time. It was rough spending the whole day on Discord in that environment. Given that the entire space was so early then, I also wanted a space for us to share alpha — chat freely about upcoming opportunities in a “not-so-degenerate” approach where we can collectively deliberate on projects together.
With that, we decided to put together our first ever v0 of what we now know as the MonkeDAO — the “Monkey Minters” Discord group.
The whole idea of this was simple. We wanted to:
- Share alpha
- Keep it positive and free from toxicity and FUDDING
- Have civil discussions
- Maintain a gated community among individuals whom we knew were genuine and trusted and interested in building a close-knit family
- Develop a community-first approach where every member felt special
These were the key guiding principles from day one and still embody the values of the MonkeDAO to this day.
Recapping 2021 — Achievements & Milestones of MonkeDAO
Birth of MonkeDAO — After the rise of Monkey Minters, we saw it growing from 10, 20, 30, 40 members very quickly — what was amazing throughout that early period of growth was that everyone knew each other. These early 40 members or so came together to forge a strong camaraderie that served as the foundation of what we have today. And with that, word travelled quickly, and we were soon receiving lots of requests to join. We knew then that we had to find a way to grow and accommodate other fellow monkes. That’s when we decided to transition from Monkey Minters into MonkeDAO. In order to maintain the integrity of a gated community, we implemented manual verification — if you own a monke, you were invited to join. In those days you had to fill out a form, share your wallet address and your Discord ID. mLuda, an early OG member of MonkeDAO and myself, spent at least 2 days, going on just 2–3 hours of sleep, in order to get all 700 requests processed. Was it the best method? Definitely not, but we wanted to move fast, so there were definitely some tradeoffs we had to make.
GRAPE Implementation — MonkeDAO was one of the first few communities that was fortunate enough to work with GRAPE to transition from our manual verification process of going through NFTEyez, matching wallets, and squinting our eyes to find proof of ownership of SMBs in each wallet, to a full on-chain solution verification. Instead of us verifying and tagging individual users, the monkes are now seamlessly verified via GRAPE with a role automatically tagged. This was instrumental in securing our community while freeing us up to work on other aspects of DAO building.
Launch of our Socials and Webpage — As we started to scale and grow, we knew we had something unique in our community, and we wanted to have it built to last — for the foreseeable future and beyond. Our early members came together to help establish our website www.monkedao.io as well as our Twitter page of @MonkeDAO. Both the website and Twitter have seen some notable transitions from the initial version to what we have today. We continue to build our brand and have been actively working towards creating an instantly recognizable identity. This helps further cement SMBs and the MonkeDAO as the blue-chip NFT community.
Launch of Town Hall — While our weekly Town Hall, hosted on Twitter Spaces, is a staple of our community engagement activities, it was originally developed as an off the cuff impromptu decision to help update monkes on DAO wide activities. The Town Hall continues to serve as the platform enabling fellow monkes to connect with each other and the wider Solana community. One most memorable session was the Town Hall where the Skeleton King was bought for 13,000 SOL! Let’s just say we were overwhelmed with joy and excitement.
Launch of DAO Treasury — Although to date we’ve been self-funded, we’ve had a steady supply of requests from fellow monkes looking to generously contribute to our initiatives, and outside projects looking to gift NFTs to the MonkeDAO. Because of that, we launched our DAO treasury, which enabled us to pursue the different opportunities together as a DAO. While it is not currently at the gold-standard that we aim to achieve, we are making steady progress towards it.
Launch of Monke Board — The Monke Board is a board of 16 members. This was one of the first initiatives the DAO launched to begin operating like a true DAO. The 16 members were nominated across 8 different specialties including regulations, marketing, governance, strategic investments, design, developers, community management and project management.
The first epoch has been a huge success. It has significantly reduced the number of idle members and the accountability of each board member has helped increase our overall productivity. The Monke Board is not only a voluntary, non-paid role, it also requires significant commitment from the individuals. Board members are required to attend weekly huddles where we share our current work progress, brainstorm on topics, and identify new opportunities the DAO can pursue.
Shoutout to the following individuals who have consistently made an effort to actively participate throughout the first epoch of the Monke Board: Diggy, CyeMouri, Nano, TWX, M3Y, Primitive Money, CryptoG, Wilbrow, Borkono, tradefortendies, Arpee, Nom
Launch of MonkeDAO Validator & daoSOL Stake Pool: As part of our commitment to the Solana ecosystem, MonkeDAO launched a validator and then a month later a stake pool to help the decentralization of the network and generate revenue for the treasury. The stake pool we have set up is the first pool to allocate directly to other DAOs who operate validators. Our goal is to help other DAOs reach breakeven, increase the diversity of staking opportunities and improve liquidity options for investors.
While the last four months have been insanely magical, there have also been many valuable lessons learned.
Degenerate Mints — The very early mints on Solana saw lots of money chasing a limited number of viable projects. Any project that launched was most likely to sell-out. This could also have been attributed to the highly degenerate minting environment in the early stages. Many of us would just gather for any random launch and hope for insane returns with the hope that they would all become blue chips together one day — wishful thinking. As more and more developers became aware of the liquidity in the market, it created a rapid influx of project launches, sometimes at unreasonably high prices, which still sold out. This was clearly not sustainable — it cost a lot of us some time and SOL to see that. For many of us, this meant that we now also have lots of ancient relics in our wallets. NFTs that used to be worth something are now worth next to nothing.
Developing a Thesis — After noticing how the space has evolved over the few months, and that it was no longer sustainable to simply be degen-minting any and every project, we started to see the importance of investing through the guidance of a thesis; what is this product that is being built, how different are they from existing ones, any proven track record that can be used as a reference, how much of a potential R-R profile is this that we are talking about, how heavy a position should we be attempting to take. While these are not exhaustive and definitive, they help to serve as guiding principles as we dive deeper into each opportunity that comes by instead of simply aping into them.
Power of Community — The biggest takeaway of 2021 for me has been the power of community. MonkeDAO is a perfect example of how much communities can achieve when they come together. It’s the idea that the success of any given project is build best by the hive mind instead of a small select group of individuals. Members of the community are empowered to contribute, step up, and leverage on each other’s expertise to achieve collective success together. As long as you’re passionate and want to contribute and grow, you can. Even if it means the creation of memes, it’s a way to rally the community together.
It is now the time to start normalizing the idea of community members being core contributors and pillars of the success of any given organization instead of looking up to a singular group alone.
While it is cliche to say that “the journey has just begun”, it is in fact the case for us. What we’ve achieved over the last few months is a testament to the power of community and what collective success can look like in our new Web3.0 world. The sky’s the limit as to what MonkeDAO can eventually grow to become. As long as the community comes together, and has enough interest for a particular idea/direction for the DAO, we can embark on it, in a phased out approach.
Within the immediate term, we are committed to continue growing MonkeDAO as the premier country club and community. We will be actively stepping up and tightening up our branding approach to cement our position further. We’ve also laid out a few key deliverables for 2022 that we believe will be disruptive and innovative. Many of these have already been actively communicated across to community members on multiple occasions as well.
We envision a future where MonkeDAO becomes a community that lives in both the virtual and real world —every member of the DAO should have the ability to make a significant impact and contribution. Not just in the crypto world but also bridging the gap between non-crypto native users to the crypto world in different ways. Local communities have already been formed across places like San Francisco, London, Singapore and many more. These local communities that originated from the Web3.0 space — MonkeDAO, can also be empowered to conduct charity and outreach initiatives. Together, we can onboard the next billion users into crypto and Solana.
Thank you for the magical first 4 months that we’ve had. Although it’s never an easy journey, and often an uphill battle for many of the “industry-first” initiatives we are embarking on, we will continue to break through barriers and obstacles together and show the world that it is time for collective action, collective contribution and collective success to prevail.
Wishing us all a blessed 2022 ahead and an amazing holiday with our loved ones who have also contributed by being understanding partners, parents, wives, husbands and children.