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The COOP Initiative


DAOs are significantly similar to cooperatives (COOPs) by their democratic decision-making, shared ownership and economic benefits. The COOP Initiative is a project promoted by JupiterBlock aiming to explore how DAOs and COOPs can learn from each other, starting with a study of DAOs.

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to The COOP Initiative!

This is a stand-alone project promoted by JupiterBlock.

We are working on a survey of DAOs and would appreciate your help! In exchange for completing the survey (no personal data needed!), you will receive access to our final report and any additional research, via NFT drop!

The COOP Initiative 


01 Rationale

The cooperative structure has a relatively long history and is close enough to the nascent Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) that exploring potential synergies between DAOs and Cooperatives (COOPs) makes sense.

02 DAO Study

The first step is naturally to take inventory of what is, in terms of DAO projects, including their values, areas of operations, size and complexity, community-building, governance and conflict-resolution.

To our knowledge, there are several studies on DAOs but very few exploring the intersection between DAOs and cooperatives, despite the fact that there are clear overlaps.

The Need for Human-centric Approaches to Cryptoeconomics and Token Engineering

Human Touch.png

The Need to Create Based on What Works

Both Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) and Cooperatives (COOPs) are organizational structures that emphasize community-building, collaboration, and democratic decision-making.


DAOs should be understood as digital entities that are governed by a set of rules encoded as computer programs (smart contracts) on a blockchain network. They are characterized by decentralization, autonomy, and transparency. However, many DAOs are yet "uncooked" and need additional work. Principles of community building in DAOs include: decentralization, transparency, consensus, inclusivity, and collaboration. In particular, DAOs are open to anyone with an internet connection, making them accessible to a global audience.

Are you a DAO-COOP?

Many DAOs are actually cooperatives, or rather platform cooperatives.

If this is you, we'd LOVE to feature you in our report!

Minimum Viable Commons

Michael Zargham, the founder of BlockScience and a well-known expert in the field of complex systems and decentralized governance, introduced the concept of "minimum viable commons" (MVC), based on the idea that communities create shared resources, or commons (knowledge, infrastructure, or financial resources), that are collectively owned and managed for the benefit of all members. The MVC is the smallest possible set of shared resources that is necessary for a community to function and thrive.


One of the goals of The COOP Initiative is to determine, based on the study of DAOs but also COOPs, what would be the MVC for certain operations/areas of activity. This is tied into resilience and sustainability.

Statistical Relevance

The second goal of The COOP Initiative is to reach statistical relevance by surveying the largest number of DAOs possible, with a goal of later on establishing an association of DAOs to promote building and spreading knowledge. By federating a large number of projects, as well as learning from COOPs and interacting with COOP associations which have been confronted with similar problems, our goal is to identify transposable knowledge and build a comprehensive toolbox for risk management and governance in the various DAO models. DAOs have an increasing diversity of purpose, geography, and business models, so that it would be impossible to determine a single DAO operating system (SO), but any work carried out under The COOP Initiative would certain benefit DAOs generally, as well as any DAO service providers.


Join the Club

Join our email list and get access to the DAO survey results and all the COOP research!

Thanks for submitting!

DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations)

Both DAOs and COOPs are models for organizing groups of people to achieve a common goal. DAOs are emerging out of new technological developments related to blockchain, smart contracts, cryptoeconomics and AI, and they differ in their approach to decision-making, governance, and ownership due to the integral part such technologies play in the governance architecture. DAOs have the potential of being almost fully automated, efficient and transparent, however they are still building and learning.


The rules governing a DAO can be programmed to execute specific actions based on the consensus of the network's participants, and they can be used for a variety of purposes. The emergence of DAOs has been driven by a desire for increased decentralization and transparency in organizational structures, as well as a growing interest in blockchain technology and its potential applications.


However, DAOs are still a relatively new concept, and there are many challenges that must be addressed in order to ensure their long-term viability. For example, there are questions around legal and regulatory frameworks, as well as issues around governance and decision-making.


We believe that learning from COOPs would help DAOs evolve in a direction which is human-centric, pragmatic and useful for real world issues.

COOPs (Cooperatives)

DAOs can learn from COOPs in several ways, because they share common goals, such as the desire to promote fairness, transparency, and democratic decision-making. COOPs already have a long history of promoting member engagement and common good and providing benefits to their members. Finally, COOPs have a long history of navigating complex legal and regulatory frameworks, and studying the successes and failures of COOPs in this area can help navigate the challenges of building decentralized and autonomous organizations.


A few studies have already examined this. For example, the Platform Cooperativism Consortium (PCC) is a hub for research, community building, and advocacy for co-ops that make the digital transition. They have considered DAOs in 2022, with a focus on fundamental components and design patterns, as well as steps needed to transform DAOs into COOPs. They have determined 5 essential elements for a DAO: clear objectives, token allocation and capital expenditure, participation and dispute resolution mechanisms, and communication/coordination processes. In a second analysis, they have examined the relationship between DAOs and COOPs through the lens of the International Cooperative Association (ICA)’s Seven Cooperative Principles: voluntary and open membership, democratic member control, member economic participation, autonomy and independence, education, training, and information, cooperation among cooperatives, and concern for community.


We propose to continue and deepen this analysis.

Want to meet?

This is a research project promoted by JupiterBlock. We're happy to talk any time about DAOs, Risk & Governance, and Blockchain Projects more generally.

More Thoughts about COOPs and Web3/DAOs

The Platform Cooperative Consortium Conference, 2021, included a research sprint exploring cooperative approaches to data ownership and governance, which was led by Harvard University’s Berkman Klein and The New School, and resulted in a formal study:


Nabben, Kelsie and Puspasari, Novita and Kelleher, Megan and Sanjay, Sadhana, Grounding Decentralised Technologies in Cooperative Principles: What Can 'Decentralised Autonomous Organisations' (DAOs) and Platform Cooperatives Learn from Each Other? (December 6, 2021). Available at SSRN: or


This study focused on what DAOs could learn from COOPs, with respect to participatory data governance and coordination frameworks. It found that DAOs shared a lot of similar challenges to platform COOPs and could borrow from cooperative principles to strengthen governance design and inter-institutional relationships. The study also highlighted the need for further investigation of how novel technical governance mechanisms in DAOs may be used by platform COOPs to help them scale efficiently, while simultaneously retaining the practices of democratic governance.


Platform COOPs are fundamentally cooperatives facilitated by digital platforms, with shared ownership and democratic control over the platform.

COOPs have the same issues:
scalability, participation, & free riding

COOPs have already invented scalable governance structures, via creating specialized committees or delegating decision-making authority to specific individuals or groups within the cooperative. Alternatively, some COOPs create network structures that allow for the existence of sub-cooperatives or decentralized units that can operate independently while still maintaining a shared vision and mission.


The DAO approach means experimenting with different voting mechanisms, such as quadratic voting or token-weighted voting, to give more weight to the opinions of active and engaged participants. Additionally, some DAOs are exploring the use of prediction markets or delegated decision-making to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of decision-making processes.


Free riding in DAOs can be addressed via mechanisms such as token-weighted voting or reputation-based systems to incentivize active participation and discourage free riding, while COOPs have traditionally used mechanisms such as profit-sharing or equity ownership to encourage active participation and contribution.


Governance is broader than just voting, and for DAOs governance is broader than just technology. The learnings of COOPs can be used to design better systems, and COOPs themselves can use DAO-technology.

Would you like to know more?

We are planning a Discord soon, as well, make sure to sign up for more information if you'd like to receive an invite!



01 Classic COOPs

Work done by the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) with seven principles: voluntary and open membership, democratic member control, member economic participation, autonomy and independence, education, training, and information, cooperation among cooperatives, and concern for community.

02 Platform COOPs

Principles developed by Trebor Scholz, scholar and activist in the field of platform cooperativism, which is a movement focused on building digital platforms that are owned and controlled by their users or workers. Scholz directs the Platform Cooperativism Consortium and the Institute for the Cooperative Digital Economy.

  1. democratic control: members of the platform cooperative actively participate in setting policies and making decisions

  2. distribution of surplus: surplus is distributed equitably among members, reinvested in the cooperative, or used to benefit the wider community

  3. social and environmental responsibility: mindful of the social and environmental impacts of activities and strive to minimize harm

  4. openness and transparency: open and transparent about operations, finances, and decision-making processes

  5. user data rights: respect the rights of users over their data and ensure privacy and security

  6. interoperability and modularity: prioritize interoperability and modularity, enabling easy integration with other platforms and technologies

  7. cooperation among cooperatives: work together and support each other to build a strong and sustainable cooperative economy

  8. solidarity economy: prioritize solidarity and mutual aid, particularly in support of marginalized groups

  9. collective ownership: collectively owned and controlled by their members

  10. ethical finance: ethical and sustainable financial practices, such as community investment and alternative currencies

Scholz, T. (2016), Platform Cooperativism: Challenging the Corporate Sharing Economy. (Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung)



A large DAO study is a massive undertaking, and JupiterBlock would not be able to carry this out single-handedly. We will be asking for help and support from DAO communities, as well as grants when applicable. The COOP Initiative can be a sub-set working group of an existing DAO, or a meta-DAO itself.

Identifying key partnerships


Reaching out to DAOs to participate in our survey is the next step.

If you know anyone interested, please send them our way!

Working Group

Once we have sufficient answers, we'll set up a small working group and start publishing results and additional research.


Once the initial study is completed, a Cayman foundation or another structure can be set up, as most beneficial for The COOP Initiative.


DAOs will be beneficiaries for any income-generating activities or grants.

Join Us

The COOP Initiative

promoted by JupiterBlock

Discord Coming Soon!

Thanks for submitting!

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