A decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) called MoonDAO sent someone to space on Thursday, one of the biggest successes yet for such a crypto-crowdfunded project.
The DAO didn’t send just anyone up – Coby Cotton, a member of the viral YouTube trick-shot group Dude Perfect, was chosen in a Discord vote by the DAO’s more than 5,000 members to be its astronaut representative. The DAO’s future ambition includes hosting parties on the Moon.
Crowdfunding DAOs, which are groups of crypto-enthusiasts that come together and purchase a currency or non-fungible token (NFT) to raise funds towards a common goal, have been more prone to failure than success.
The genre was popularized in Nov. 2021 by a group called ConstitutionDAO, which came together to raise $40 million to purchase an original copy of the U.S. Constitution.
Though the group was ultimately outbid at auction by a billionaire hedge fund manager, Ken Griffin, it spawned a number of similarly ambitious attempts to purchase high-priced items, which has included groups trying to buy blimps, Blockbusters and even a golf course.
Dude Perfect’s Cotton made the trip with five other first-time astronauts as part of the Jeff Bezos-backed space tourism program Blue Origin, which has thus far completed six of these missions, each time sending regular people into space for around 12 minutes.
MoonDAO was able to purchase Cotton’s ticket with funds from its crowdfunding campaign that has so far raised more than $8 million. The DAO’s mission is to “decentralize access to space,” with the ultimate goal of creating its own Moon colony, according to its website.
At the helm of MoonDAO is Pablo Moncada-Larrotiz, an original member of ConstitutionDAO now hoping to learn from the DAO’s mistakes in a new venture.
“I'm just kind of in love with the idea of DAOs in general, I think that they have a lot of promise, like a tool set for people to collaborate and coordinate online,” Moncada-Larrotiz told CoinDesk in an interview. “When you buy an NFT, you know, it's pretty abstract. The idea that you could be selected to go into space because of it, now that’s interesting.”
Like ConstitutionDAO’s LINKS token, MoonDAO has MOONEY, a cryptocurrency given out in exchange for work done to support the DAO.
MoonDAO purchased a second Blue Origin seat for a different launch taking place this fall, and will choose one of its members at random to make the second trip. Members of the DAO minted free “Ticket to Space” NFTs in order to be eligible.
Moncada-Larrotiz says the DAO has already chosen the individual who will go to space next, and that he/she has agreed to attempt the mission. The DAO chose the individual, as well as a few alternatives, using an on-chain randomizer from Chainlink to ensure authenticity.
Launching the MOONEY token and sending members to space are phase one and two of the DAO’s mission. The third phase is to raise money for further space research and exploration, with the fourth phase being the creation of its own Moon colony. (The fifth stage is to “have sweet Moon parties.”)
Whether the DAO is able to achieve its future ambitions or not, its accomplishments stand remarkable on their own. It’s estimated that only around 600 people in total have been to space, and by the end of the fall, MoonDAO will have been responsible for two of those experiences.
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