# Soft DAOs
## Core: Agency vs Determinism
* Power: Speech vs Token (agentic/creative power vs unitized/fungible power)
* Security: observability vs enforcement (internal vs external, wright-bros human steering vs explicit structural steering)
* Change: human-driven accountable state changes, vs Smart Contracts
* Evolution: Alignment & Convergence through Discourse vs Governance through pre-ordained mechanism
## An Introduction
We propose a class of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) that emphasize some of the difficult human interaction and governance processes that traditional DAOs attempt to limit through tokenization and smart contracts. We like to call these “Soft DAOs” because they don’t start from the introduction of code hardened solutions to these difficulties.
If a DAO is a road and the problem space is preventing collisions for cars going opposite directions on the road, Soft DAOs are all those roads which have a line painted down the middle where traditional DAOs are those with concrete barriers. The fundamental difference between these solutions lies in Agency vs Determinism.
Both Soft and Traditional DAOs use Distributed Ledger Technology to achieve their ends, they just do so in different ways. But that core of any system, it’s “DNA” seems to always leave a deep trace on how the system evolves, what it’s capable of, and what it looks like.
Traditional DAOs center the Token. Tokens for membership, governance, incentives, and funding. In contrast, Soft DAOs center Speech. Formally, speech consists of data with context, particularly the context of the agency that produced the data. Where traditional DAOs favor transferring agency into quantized units of power to be processed by deterministic algorithms for action taking, soft DAOs favor centering agency itself by creating spaces for creative agentic speech for action taking. Soft DAOs use DLTs to record these provenanced speech acts, and derive membrane management, social alignment, and sense-making, from these acts.
Traditional DAOs achieve security through enforcement, especially smart contracts. The assurance of coherence is hardened into executable code. Again determinism lies at the core. Soft DAOs achieve security through visibility. The attainment of coherence happens through agentic self-regulation because non-coherence is unquestionably visible. Agency lies at the core.
Traditional DAOs often focus on treasury management, allocation and spending as reward for, or as the actual object of, collective action. Soft DAOs can do treasury management, but favor doing so explicitly as a secondary concern, after social fabric is built.
Traditional DAOs governance is often tokenized and heavily game-theoretic. Soft DAOs governance focuses on recording alignment achieved through conversation. Of course Traditional DAOs also frequently do the same with the actual governance coming down to conversations on Discord or meetings of miner coalitions making decisions in this old-fashioned human way. Soft DAOs simply expect this, but use the DLT to make these forums visible. Soft DAOs may also adopt formal voting or other decision making processes, but they will typically advance the governance “state” as an agentic speech act, not by autonomous smart-contract.
While traditional DAOs focus on explicit governance mechanisms encoded in token voting systems, Soft DAOs look to build social lubrication protocols that create the conditions for implicit alignment, so that such explicit processes aren’t even needed for action to take place.