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The commons is the cultural and natural resources accessible to all members of a society, including natural materials such as air, water, and a habitable earth. These resources are held in common, not owned privately. Commons can also be understood as natural resources that groups of people (communities, user groups) manage for individual and collective benefit. Characteristically, this involves a variety of informal norms and values (social practice) employed for a governance mechanism. [source]


A community is a small or large social unit (a group of living things) that has something in common, such as norms, religion, values, or identity. Communities often share a sense of place that is situated in a given geographical area (e.g. a country, village, town, or neighborhood) or in virtual space through communication platforms. [source]

In Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft (1887), German sociologist Ferdinand Tönnies described two types of human association: Gemeinschaft (usually translated as "community") and Gesellschaft ("society" or "association"). Tönnies proposed the Gemeinschaft–Gesellschaft dichotomy as a way to think about social ties. No group is exclusively one or the other. Gemeinschaft stress personal social interactions, and the roles, values, and beliefs based on such interactions. Gesellschaft stress indirect interactions, impersonal roles, formal values, and beliefs based on such interactions.[6]


Wood’s definition of governance as “[that which] changes a multi-party system into a moral person.” [source]

Zamfir: Decisions, decision-making processes, norms, and other institutions for coordination that we use to determine the future of our shared resources. [source]

Governance is the process by which we attempt to establish (and maintain/revoke) the legitimacy of decisions, decision making process, and related governance norms/expectations. (Vlad Zamfir, twitter)

Who makes the decision and how they make them (Hudson Jameson).

Distributed Governance

Distributed governance is the specification of principles and methods which enable scalable coordination for forming consensus and to legitimate decisions. In such systems, all participants are treated equally without the presence of a central actor of hierarchy. They are scalable, so efficiency is not reduced but steady or increased by an increasing number of participants. [source]

On-chain Governance


A collection of normative beliefs and values that an individual or group holds for other than purely epistemic reasons.[1]


Organization is an entity comprising multiple people, such as an institution or an association, that has a particular purpose. There are a variety of legal types of organisations, including corporations, governments, non-governmental organisations, political organisations, international organisations, armed forces, charities, not-for-profit corporations, partnerships, cooperatives, and educational institutions. [source]


A cooperative (also known as co-operative, co-op, or coop) is "an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise".[1] Cooperatives may include:

  • businesses owned and managed by the people who use their services (a consumer cooperative)
  • organizations managed by the people who work there (worker cooperatives)
  • multi-stakeholder or hybrid cooperatives that share ownership between different stakeholder groups. For example, care cooperatives where ownership is shared between both care-givers and receivers. Stakeholders might also include non-profits or investors.
  • second- and third-tier cooperatives whose members are other cooperatives
  • platform cooperatives that use a cooperatively owned and governed website, mobile app or a protocol to facilitate the sale of goods and services.

DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization)

DAO is an entity that lives on the internet and exists autonomously, but also heavily relies on hiring individuals to perform certain tasks that the automaton itself cannot do [Vitalik Buterin].

DAO means ownership + DGov system. (Matan Field, in COALA conversations)

DAO is corporation running on the digital jurisdiction. (Yalda, EthCC presentation)

A DAO can be seen as the most complex form of a smart contract, where the bylaws of the decentralized organization are embedded into the code of the smart contract, using complex token governance rules. (Blockchain Hub)

The DAO was an organization that was designed to be automated and decentralized. (Investopedia)

DAO is a fancy way of saying a digital system living on Ethereum. (Richard Burton, Balance)

DAO is a composition of smart contracts running on the underlying permissionless blockchain (e.g. Ethereum) to form an organisation infrastructure. (Tim Bansemer)


Decentralized autonomous corporations/companies are a smaller topic, because they are basically a subclass of DAOs, but they are worth mentioning. Since the main exponent of DAC as terminology is Daniel Larimer, we will borrow as a definition the point that he himself consistently promotes: a DAC pays dividends [source].

Firm, Business, Enterprise

A firm is a business organization, such as a corporation, limited liability company or partnership, that sells goods or services to make a profit. [source]


Type of organization focused on connecting members for collaboration, opportunities exchange (projects, sales), hiring etc.

Personal Networks – e.g., alumni, professional, social and affinity groups — these allow you to meet a diverse group of like-minded professionals. Good for career moves, and to link you to new kinds of networks for your current work when opportunities emerge there. [source]


A Platform is a strategy, run by a shaper, to mobilize and help an ecosystem in creating value, with the aim of capturing part of this value. [source]

Social movement

A large, sometimes informal, groupings of individuals or organizations which focus on specific political or social issues. [source]

Loosely organized but sustained campaign in support of a social goal, typically either the implementation or the prevention of a change in society’s structure or values. Collective behaviour in crowds, panics, and elementary forms (milling, etc.) are of brief duration or episodic and are guided largely by impulse. When short-lived impulses give way to long-term aims, and when sustained association takes the place of situational groupings of people, the result is a social movement. [source]

Movement is a network of informal interactions between a plurality of individuals, groups and/or organizations, engaged in a political or cultural conflict, on the basis of a shared collective identity. [source]


Stakeholder is a member of the "groups without whose support the organization would cease to exist".[1] A corporate stakeholder can affect or be affected by the actions of a business as a whole. [source]

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