El Puente: an Impact DAO
El Puente DAO coordinates funds and resources to projects owned by, operated by, and supporting indigenous peoples.
What is access and benefit-sharing?
Access and benefit-sharing (ABS) is how people who hold traditional knowledge participate in the upside from natural product development in the biotech industry.
Why is ABS relevant to psychedelics?
Despite the massive influx of capital funding psychedelic drugs, many of the indigenous communities with traditional knowledge about the psychedelic plants from whence those drugs came face poverty. Read more here.
ABS can help solve this inequity but current efforts to promote ABS are fragmented.
Government initiatives like those in Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, and Peru analyzed in this Frontiers in Pharmacology paper have faced difficulties. The underlying international legal framework of the Nagoya Protocol is mired in disputes over interpretation of its key terms.
Where states and international governments falter, grassroots community initiatives can help set the route. And some corporations, like we touched on in the El Puente Reciprocity Policy Paper, e.g. HG&H Pharmaceuticals, which has a benefit-sharing agreement with San representatives for an anti-anxiety drug developed from their traditional plant Kanna.
But reliance on individual corporations who may not have yet shifted from shareholder primacy to stakeholder capitalism to altruistically enter benefit-sharing agreements with indigenous traditional knowledge holders just passes the buck. The buck stops here.
We built El Puente to be a community-owned platform for good actors to coordinate ABS, setting standards for corporations to follow.
Absent community-coordinated efforts, the growth of this sector and the accordant bioprospecting for novel natural products from indigenous pharmacopeia could usher in a new wave of appropriation of indigenous peoples’ property, especially their genetic resources and intellectual property, by bad actors.
In order to best coordinate funds and resources from good actors to reach the right projects, El Puente chose a DAO.
What is a DAO?
Using modern web technologies accessible to anyone with an internet connection, DAOs empower people to work together in an interconnected, collaborative fashion on a planetary scale.
DAOHAUS puts it best:
In its most basic form, a DAO is a magic internet community that allows members to coordinate funds and resources.
DAOs work in service of communities of people…and DAOs give those communities coordination superpowers.
So, when you hear someone say “you should join a DAO” what they mean is that you should join a community, team, or project that is using DAO software to coordinate decisions.
The basic components of a DAO are:
- voting tokens (issued on a blockchain like Ethereum)
- a voting platform (like Snapshot)
- a treasury (like a blockchain bank account)
- a communications channel (like Discord)
With their powers combined, you get a supercharged community.
Hungry to find your online community? Dive into the DAO Gateway.
Check out the (incomplete) landscape of DAOs below, which collectively manage more than $10 billion.
Interested in climate-action DAOs? check out this list of more than 100 DAO communities you can join today.
Porous and radically inclusive like proper Burning Man camps, you can join most of these DAOs just by jumping into their Discords, joining community events, contributing to projects in their working groups, accumulating their tokens, and voting on proposals.
Some say DAOs are the future of work. This New Yorker report in DAOs touches on on their promise, but get it straight from the DAOists who work in DAOs every day in this Coindesk article. Read Woven COO’s thoughts on the intersection of DAOs and psychedelics in Under the Palms here.
The teleological progression of decentralized technology, the dao of DAOs, trends towards empowering sovereign individuals and collectives, echoing a core right of indigenous peoples articulated in Article 4 of the UNDRIP: the right to self-determination.
Why make a DAO for El Puente?
We decided to make a DAO for El Puente in order to empower the El Puente community, an experiment in replacing the zero-sum game of traditional capitalism with the positive-sum Game B of a stakeholder economy.
Projects financed by the El Puente community support indigenous entrepreneurs, lands, cultures, and genetic resources creating more connections between people and planet in order to solve some of the greatest problems of our time (like poverty and threats to biocultural diversity), advancing the UN SDGs and sharing in the benefits of doing so — doing well while doing good.
We designed El Puente DAO with lessons from VitaDAO, where Woven’s Chief Legal Officer is a core contributor, and Molecule, a platform for funding early-stage biopharma research launching NFTs for IP and biotech DAOs.
El Puente DAO’s assets include cash, equity of financed projects, and intellectual property rights in the form of IP-NFTs.
What does El Puente DAO look like?
Council: The Council is empowered as a signatory of the DAO’s multi-signature treasury wallet, giving it veto powers on which projects to fund.
Board: The Board consists of elected representatives who handle core organizational functions such as operations, legal, development, and budget coordination.
Stewards: Stewards handle day-to-day operations within the DAO’s working groups, centered around the four policy solutions proposed in the Reciprocity Policy Paper and expanding into new working groups as needed.
Coalition: The Coalition consists of aligned organizations who partner with us to implement projects.
Community: The Community coordinates via working groups, sources and evaluates projects, and engages with stakeholders and beneficiaries.
Beneficiaries: The Beneficiaries receive grants and investments, track impact KPIs, and report progress to the community.
El Puente has 8 coalition members and 5 council members, more than 300 readers and 20 commenters of the Reciprocity Policy Paper, and has distributed more than $110,000 in grants and investments to 7 beneficiaries. And we are just getting started.
Beneficiaries include BioGnosis, a documentary film preserving ethnobotanical knowledge from the Amazon Rainforest.
And Kene Rao, a Shipibo-Konibo art workshop and IP defense fund in Yarinacocha, Peru.
Incentivizing early community participation, people who attended El Puente community calls and commented on the Reciprocity Policy Paper paper received a POAP NFT designed by the Kene Rao artist in yellow above giving access to a token-gated POAP lounge in the El Puente Discord.
We will have more POAPs for future attendees and commenters on our next paper, so stay tuned for more opportunities for rewards.
To get involved, jump in here.
Look forward to partnerships with other impact DAOs and rewards for the early El Puente community joining before launch, including:
- Early adopters’ NFT drop 👾
- Invite-only events for NFT, POAP, and other El Puente token holders like metaverse ceremonies 🤯, psychedelic workshops 📝, and whitelists+scholarships for in-person sacred plant retreats 🍄
- Physical gift boxes shipped from El Puente beneficiary Kene Rao 🎁
Stay tuned by following Woven Science on twitter @wovenscience
El Puente DAO is co-created by Woven Science’s El Puente Foundation.