Blockchain@Columbia's Lion DAO
How a student-led organization launched a DAO to grow and organize
Blockchain @ Columbia is a student-led blockchain technology organization at Columbia University. The organization brings people together to learn about distributed ledger technology through speakers, events, academic research, distribution of content, and more.
This summer, B@C launched Lion DAO and raised 32.25 ETH (~$111,000) to further support the organization's growth and mission.
I spoke to the president of B@C, Alex Toberoff, to learn more about Lion DAO and B@C.
B@C decided to launch the DAO because Columbia only provides B@C a budget of $600 per semester. The funds from the DAO will allow B@C to scale up their operations with larger events and the ability to award grants to students focused on distributed ledger technologies.
The Lion Token will give members and alumni the ability to vote on B@C matters. Also, the token serves as a way to grant members access to events, organize members and alumni, and give ownership to members and alumni.
Alex and I chatted about Lion DAO and how launching a DAO was an effective strategy for a student organization. B@C was able to quickly raise over $100k to support the organization. As a blockchain organization, a crypto-native approach landed well with the community, and it was a huge success.
It's important to note that the Lion DAO tokens are not liquid, and holders of the tokens do not necessarily expect asset appreciation of the token.
So, while the DAO was a creative way to raise money for the organization, the tokens serve more as a way to organize members and alumni of the organization rather than providing a financial incentive to participate (as noted in my previous post).
On the funding side, many of the contributors to the DAO were alumni and supporters of the organization. Most are not looking for a return on the investment but found the DAO crowdfund as a way to support the organization and the space.
In short, the DAO launch was a perfect use case for a student-run organization to raise funds and organize their internal operations. For a for-profit educational institution, raising money through a DAO is likely not the best option.
On the token side, the tokens are an interesting experiment to run with further organizing members of the community. The organizational benefits of allowing token holders to vote and gain access to events is helpful. Also, even if there isn't a strong financial incentive to own the token, providing ownership through a token could increase the ties to the organization.
In summary, Blockchain @ Columbia used it’s Lion DAO launch to further grow and organize the organization. This crypto-native approach worked for B@C. Any organization could benefit from creating native tokens to support their community, but the crowdfunding approach may not always be the best option to raise capital.