"Our heads are round so that our thoughts can change direction." - Francis Picabia
The quote above, from French Dada artist and writer Francis Picabia, celebrates the human capacity to embrace new ways of comprehending the world. Although originating from the early 20th century, its relevance cuts across time and cultures, persisting today as a simple way to navigate the complexity and ambiguity of our current reality: with experimentation and openness to change.
Gnosis Guild embraces Picabia’s approach by developing modular tooling for DAOs (e.g. Zodiac), a needs-driven response to match the fluctuating temporalities and shifting mythologies of our incomprehensible moment. But also emerging within Gnosis Guild is an impulse to build and experiment with new primitives altogether. We believe that explicitly novel technologies have the potential to spawn entirely new ecosystems and cultural patterns that not only wouldn’t exist otherwise, but also couldn’t be anticipated.
Though not mutually exclusive, this interplay between needs and novelty has largely shaped our collective work this year: open-source tools for the DAO ecosystem (Governor Modifier, Roles Modifier), wild art supplies for cryptonetworks (Mech, Tabula).
In this report, we document both the projects we've worked on across two development cycles — what we call Gnostic Cycles — and our growth as an ever-evolving, convivial organization. We truly are attempting to build something different here. And as we move deeper into the uncertainty of abstracted accounts, regenerative multiplayer worlds, and the untamed reaLLMs of electric meat shadowbags, we continue to build both out in the open and beneath the world-bearing night sky. 🌌
"It is important to foster a culture of creativity and experimentation, particularly when it comes to solving complex social and environmental problems." - Elinor Ostrom
Gnosis Guild are core contributors to Zodiac, a composable toolkit for DAOs built according to an open standard. Here are the latest modules added to the Zodiac Safe app.
Soft-released last year but officially announced this year, the Zodiac Roles Modifier allows DAO owners to create and grant permissioned roles to any address, while Zodiac Pilot (a Chrome extension) enables users to simulate, record, and batch dapp transactions on behalf of a DAO. These tools work well independently, but combining them makes them especially powerful. For example, an account with a certain Role permission can use Pilot to interact with dapps like normal, except from the perspective of the DAO or Safe that has granted them permission. When ready, Pilot simulates and verifies the transaction, then routes it through the DAO for signature-less execution. This example pattern is the basis for Karpatkey's brilliant treasury framework for Gnosis, ENS, Balancer, and others, and we think every DAO should leverage these tools to make their lives easier.
Zodiac Pattern: Trustless Delegation With Scoped Permissions
Roles Modifier: https://zodiac.wiki/index.php/Category:Roles_Modifier
Zodiac Pilot: https://zodiac.wiki/index.php/Category:Pilot_Extension
The Governor Module, released just before the start of the year, enables an OpenZeppelin Governor contract as a Safe module. By equipping the most popular onchain governance framework as a module, a multisig can seamlessly transition into a multiplayer DAO with on-chain voting, while still maintaining flexibility and optionality. The mod pairs especially well with Tally — simply add the Governor here, then use it as a frontend for proposals, delegation, and more. This pattern allows any Safe-based DAO to instantly share the same governance framework as Uniswap, ENS, Gitcoin, Nouns, Compound, and more.
Zodiac Pattern: Multi-Decision-Making
Short for Optimistic Snapshot Execution, oSnap enables DAO community members to execute trustless onchain governance decisions without being limited by multisig signers. In addition to granting members the power to execute successful proposals themselves, the module uses UMA's optimistic oracle to verify transaction data, such that treasury proposals on Snapshot will proceed by default unless disputed. Truly decentralized community treasuries are a major step forward for DAOs, and oSnap — like the Reality Mod before it — is nurturing a critical treasury pattern for the ecosystem.
Zodiac Pattern: Holding in Common
"The study of cultural emergence requires a focus on the dynamic and relational nature of culture, and an openness to the novel and unpredictable forms that cultural phenomena can take." - Mark C. Taylor
Gnosis Guild follows a development cycle we call Gnostic Cycles. The start of each cycle is preceded by a Commitment Ceremony, where our team submits and votes on various “prophecies” (development proposals) to work on. The chosen prophecies are then built and shaped within the following eight-week cycle. For Gnostic Cycles #8 and #9 (the latter shortened due to ETHTokyo), our team experimented with quadratic voting.
This prophecy was originally intended to integrate Zodiac into Landscape, Urbit/Tlon's Discord alternative. The idea is to enable groups of Urbit IDs (NFTs) to act as signers on Safes, like a Discord server having a built-in multisig, where anyone with a membership card can manage funds. The prophecy has since evolved into a more generalized yet extremely powerful solution, granting any NFT the abilities of a full smart contract account. What does this 1:1 relationship between an NFT and a vault of assets mean? Treasure chests, threshold-based claims and airdrops, transferrable ownership, and completely reimagined inventory-based relationships. Like Zodiac Pilot, Mech's new form of programmable ownership is set to introduce entirely new cultural patterns that could shake up the ecosystem, and we can’t wait to share it with you all.
This prophecy was created to address two issues related to GnosisDAO governance: (1) poorly formatted or spam-like Snapshot proposals being submitted without going through the rest of the governance process, and (2) the lack of clarity on who are the largest GnosisDAO stakeholders. We are working on several additions to address these issues, like the creation of a delegate program that includes options like fixed terms and delegation caps.
In an effort to increase optionality and modularity in the DAO ecosystem, this prophecy is designed to integrate Zodiac into Nouns Builder, a tool that allows any DAO to form and govern completely onchain. Integrating Zodiac would open up Nouns-based DAOs to a vast ecosystem of Safe-based tooling and Zodiac mods, allowing these organizations to run multiple parallel governance mechanisms, switch easily between governance patterns, and progressively decentralize.
Last year, we announced Tabula: instant web3 publications for writers and DAOs, an open-source product built on the EIP-3722 Poster standard. In contrast to the (wonderful) platform we're using to publish this update, Tabula content is emitted as an onchain event, storage is on IPFS, the application state is constructed using a @graphprotocol subgraph, and perhaps most importantly, any Ethereum-based account can own and publish on Tabula. The prophecy in this cycle is our first update to Tabula since launch, focusing on implementing rich text and redesigning the app to be more intuitive, but also adding inline styling, deterministic avatars, a custom API endpoint, and ENS resolution.
The Roles Mod has been out in the wild since 2022 and was only just announced officially at the start of this year, but we're already working on version 2. This iteration introduces pluggable transaction unwrapping and a whole host of new core functionality. We consider it a complete rewrite that not only addresses general feedback made during Karpatkey's successful ENS bid, but also integrates seamlessly with the aforementioned Mech, whereby enabling a Mech as a role member creates decoupled and programmable membership validation.
This prophecy is tailored to a need from Karpatkey, which wants to use Zodiac Pilot for ENS and Balancer to interact with a couple of apps that use their own version of batched calls. Our solution implements pluggable transaction translations, where recording a transaction matching certain criteria would then translate that transaction into one or multiple new transactions routed through the Roles Modifier.
Hashi is an EVM header oracle aggregator, designed to address bridge-related hacks (four of the top 5 hacks on Rekt are related to bridging). By allowing users to define multiple bridges that must agree on the header for a given block, messages are validated in a more secure way. Our aim was to get Hashi production-ready in this cycle, and we did. We’ll be sharing more about Hashi in our next update. For more on bridge security, read this thread.
We made significant changes to the Roles Module in the last cycle, which changed its interfaces. In this prophecy, we're updating the supporting tooling (Roles SDK, Roles App, and Pilot) to be compatible with Roles Module version 2.
The Siphon Module is a Zodiac mod that exposes a public interface that allows anyone to trigger an avatar or Safe to withdraw from a designated liquidity position to, for example, pay down debt from assets being used elsewhere or to automate debt repayments, among other use cases. In this prophecy, we aim to get the Siphon mod production ready.
A new group within Gnosis is building a crypto-based personal finance product, centering initially on a Visa card that allows people to also easily spend crypto stablecoins. Gnosis Guild is building a registration app to learn about and sign up for cards.
Zodiac Pilot currently doesn't work with CoW Swap and the Roles Modifier. In this prophecy, we are writing a wrapper contract so that we can properly scope roles created in the mod to CoW Swap orders.
"In decentralized systems, we must design for interdependence by creating incentives that align the interests of participants, and by building systems that are modular, flexible, and interoperable. This is how we can create truly decentralized systems that can evolve and adapt over time." - Michael Zargham
With the release of Moloch V3, DAOHaus has adopted the Zodiac standard to enable Moloch DAOs to manage Safes. While Minion contracts allow these DAOs to govern state changes, Zodiac expands their capabilities significantly, enabling a host of governance options (quorums, delegation) and migration paths (decentralized treasuries, easy switching). Read more about the Zodiac integration here.
SZNS is a trading protocol for people to collectively own and manage NFTs. Their upcoming product is called Sails, which is designed for groups to function like DAOs. To facilitate efficient, trustless decision-making with permissioned roles, SZNS created several Zodiac-compliant mods. We will be sharing more about these custom modules soon.
In late December, DSLA protocol announced DSLA v2, an initiative to be among the first projects to pioneer onchain governance on multiple chains using Safe, Zodiac, and Snapshot. The v2 deployment supports onchain proposal executions across Ethereum Mainnet, Arbitrum, Avalanche, and Polygon, with the Zodiac Reality Module being a key component in facilitating true end-to-end decentralization. Read more about our collaboration and the DSLA toolkit here.
Built on top of Safe, Firm is a non-custodial protocol with aims to be the "software core of internet-native companies." The open protocol is largely built according to the Zodiac standard, powering internet-native companies through onchain budgeting, a flexible cap table, and Governor-based voting. Version 1 of the protocol was released in February.
Gnosis Guild proudly supports the #takebackownership movement: a manifesto about self-custody for the wider web3 ecosystem. The initiative was launched by Safe in mid-January and has since amassed a following that includes Karpatkey, Shapeshift, CoW Swap, Superfluid, and Nansen. We at Gnosis Guild believe that efforts to build around self-custody suggests a more decentralized, transparent, and better coordinated ecosystem, and Gnosis Guild commits to continue building inclusive and accessible systems that increase security and privacy, as well as promote education and awareness for self-custody. 🪐
"Without a connection to things that we know, the world becomes a bag of words." - Christopher Alexander
Last year, we announced zodiac.wiki, an open, living resource for DAOs that houses a shared library of reading materials, documentation, stories, and a pattern language describing common problems and offering practical responses for organizations. This year, we have contributions from the likes of Kernel, Floristic, and the folks at the University of Colorado Boulder's Media Enterprise Design Lab (under the direction of Nathan Schneider).
Here is a selection of patterns, reading materials, and stories recently added to the resource:
Treasury Pattern: Trustless Delegation
Sensemaking Pattern: Digital Garden
Library Submission: “Hyperstructures” by Jacob Horne
Organizational Pattern: Measurable Support
On March 2, Gnosis Guild team member Nathan Ginnever held a low-code workshop with Tally on how to upgrade a Safe to a fully onchain Governor DAO using the Zodiac Governor Module and Tally. Participants learned how easy it was to progressively decentralize a Safe into an onchain Governor DAO, controlled fully by tokenholders.
In January, Auryn Macmillan participated in a DaoLens roundtable discussion alongside Isaac Patka (Logos), Daniel Ospina (RnDAO), Meg Lister (Metrics), and more. Titled Insights on DAO Governance, the roundtable discussion addresses community-owned infrastructures, voter apathy, public goods, and much more.
A selection of articles recently published about Gnosis Guild-related projects:
”How Web3 Progressively Decentralizes using OZ Governor” by OpenZeppelin
“Gnosis launches Hashi bridge aggregator to help prevent hacks” by Cointelegraph
”What is Gnosis?” by Decryp
”Study case: Gnosis Guild" by dOrg
Gnosis Guild collaborated with the Allstarz NFT community to create two mixes for their incredible mixtapes series. The first mixtape, titled Boreal Jungle, was created by Colin Spence (@cedricwaxwing), while the second, Allstarz Lullaby Mixtape, comes from Marvin Lin (@eccogrinder). Colin also dropped a Zodiac mix called Zodiac Radio - Solstice, which commemorates the sonic adventures heard in the #zodiac-radio Discord channel.
Boreal Jungle by cedricwaxwing
Allstarz Lullaby Mixtape by eccogrinder
Zodiac Radio - Solstice by cedricwaxwing