What is Nouns DAO? One Noun, Every Day, Forever
by corporate trash
Nouns DAO is an “infinite work of art” — one Noun every day, auctioned off, forever — and a community-governing body which has innovated public domain in NFTs and the power of community building in web3. It was founded by a powerhouse team of developers and artists in the crypto and NFT space.
The concept seems simple: Every Nouns sale proceeds goes to a community treasury, and every Noun holds one vote to the DAO, deciding how funds that are raised from NFT sales are spent. But the level of creativity unleashed by Noun holders is staggering — and also just beginning.
What is Nouns DAO?
Nouns DAO is a unique Ethereum NFT project which began on August 8, 2021 and has no end date. One unique Nouns NFT is minted every day, and the price is set via a 24-hour auction. The 32×32 pixel art is generative, and entirely on-chain. Every Noun is unique, and every Noun is wearing the iconic Nouns glasses (they even have their own symbol ⌐◨-◨).
There are currently around 400 Nouns NFTs, but a new one will be minted and auctioned off every day forever as long as the Ethereum blockchain exists.
Punk 4156 outlined this idea in June 2021, and launched it a few months later.
The founding team doesn’t take any proceeds from Noun sales (primary or secondary), but they do get 10 percent of the NFT supply for the first five years. Every tenth minted Noun is sent to the founding team’s multisig wallet to be shared between the founding members.
The Nouns website states that “Nouns attempt to bootstrap identity, community, governance, and a treasury that can be used by the community.” Currently, Nouns have a 96 Ethereum floor on the secondary market, and are regularly auctioned off for over 100 Ethereum each.
Holders of Nouns can propose ideas to the DAO for voting (such as funding an eSports podcast), holders can vote once the proposal is formalized, or votes can be delegated to other Nouns holders. By voting on and funding community initiatives, the Nouns brand can be proliferated through popular culture and niche communities by the Nouns community.
Nouns DAO Mechanics
Every 24 hours, a new Noun is minted and the proceeds automatically go to the community treasury. A new auction is then automatically begun after the previous one is settled.
The mobile app on iOS has countdowns and reminders for when the next auction is beginning. This time is widely known as “Noun O’Clock,” and there is a daily community Twitter spaces run 15 minutes before the current auction ends. Holders can even vote on which Noun is minted next.
So every Noun gets a vote in the Nouns DAO. But what about the people who can’t afford a 100 Ethereum entry point? Enter: Sub-DAOs.
Sub-DAOs are DAOs within a DAO, usually more specialized and price-inclusive. Lil Nouns is one of these sub-DAOs for the Nouns community, and explains the purpose behind a sub-DAO in the tweet below.
Essentially, these tap into other subcultures within the Nouns world. SharkDAO is another popular DAO, with many others in existence. Many are derivative projects, and all look to boost the branding and visibility of Nouns.
Nouns Treasury and Proposals
Every Noun is a member of the Nouns DAO with equal voting rights. While voting rights are not transferrable, they are able to be delegated by the owner. Nouns can vote about how the community spends its treasury, which contains around 26,390 Ethereum (currently valued over $46 million USD).
It is a truly community-powered project, with plenty of capital to empower communities and artists and expand the Nouns brand.
The Nouns DAO can discuss ongoing proposals through the Discourse section on the website. This allows open conversation and questions to take place ahead of the vote.
For example, Proposal 83 passed for a Nouns Children’s Book to be published. Many other proposals have been passed as well. The first proposal was to donate 5 Ethereum to each of six charities.
Nouns are CC0 and completely in the public domain. This means that anyone can use an on-chain Noun for commercial purposes, without copyright issues, including sub-DAO communities like Lil Nouns. All of the Nouns IP is completely open-source.
Anyone can download the Nouns DAO iOS app or go on the website to build their own off-chain Noun. By allowing the public to organically grow Nouns, it makes their visibility and branding opportunities limitless.
Nouns DAO Rarity
The Nouns NFTs are pixel art based on people, places, and things. Unlike many PFP collections, there is no IPFS metadata indicating how rare a Noun is. All traits are equally likely to be minted. Currently, Nouns are made of a combination of: 2 Backgrounds, 30 Bodies, 137 Accessories, 234 Heads, and 21 Glasses.
The only indication of rarity is the date the Nouns NFT was minted; the earlier the better. The trademark side-eye glasses have been on every single Noun minted thus far. In fact, they also appeared in a 2022 Super Bowl commercial.
The top four Noun auctions ever have been Noun #1 (613 Ethereum), Noun #69 (313 Ethereum), Noun #47 (269 Ethereum), and Noun #74 (253 Ethereum).
TL;DR Nouns DAO
Each time a new Noun is minted, the supply is increased — but the strength of the community grows, as a new vote enters the ecosystem. This innovative type of distribution encourages unique holders, and grows the treasury with each new Noun.
The ten founders of the project are paid in Nouns NFTs, meaning they are incentivized to keep positive momentum on Nouns and their holders. In a world of endless PFP NFTs, Nouns DAO is a demonstration of a true community-owned project.