A conversation with @ZombieShepherd and @Mycaleum from Aavegotchi DAO.
We're always trying to learn about all the interesting things happening in web3. To satiate our curiosity, we host a weekly-ish Twitter Spaces series called Coffee Conversations. What follows is a summary of the second episode.
The barrier to enter the Aavegotchi community is far lower than what it is for other types of DAOs.
The Aavegotchi ecosystem has several different types of tokens, each with some amount of governance power.
The weekend hangouts and the support from the creators of the game led to the proliferation of guilds and groups.
As a result, they have a seamless onboarding flow. Small teams encourage new members to get involved.
Their community is really strong and their members have insane committment. There's an example of someone showing up from the middle of the ocean using a satellite phone!
Most people are attracted by the "play-to-earn" aspect of Aavegotchi, but they end up staying because of the community.
The DAO commissions task forces to study and take action on important issues.
This transcript is edited for brevity and clarity.
Infi: Hey everyone, let's welcome Zombie Sheperd and Mycaleum from the Aavegotchi community!
Zombie is a DAO enthusiast who is involved in the production of different kinds of audiovisual content. Do check out their videos and their music!
Mycaleum is a community manager at Nori and also the co-host of the Gotchi Brothers podcast. The link is in their bio, do check that out as well!
We're so happy to both of you on today. Let's get right into it.
So we have all heard about the Aavegotchi game. There's a lot of information readily available on that. But the inner workings of Aavegotchi and the forum, what is that like?
ZombieShepherd: Well, the forum is really serious. We tend to think a lot about tokens and tokenomics and how things are run. We also think a lot about gaming mechanics and how they affect the tokens, which is interesting, because we think of it as a push-and-pull mechanism within the game.
We want to have fun, and we want to level up and do well in the game. But then also, sometimes people will pay too much attention to the token price and not have enough fun. And so, for me, gaming DAOs, tie a bow on that because all my life, I've thought of money as an abstraction, even when it was just fiat and there was no crypto. So it's a weird dynamic that we haven't seen before.
It's not real, and I have been okay thinking of it as a game that I'm playing, and that's how I get through life. So seeing gaming DAOs come out, I think this will fully change the way people think about money. We'll see businesses rethink their strategies, especially because web3 is more peer-to-peer and less about getting the masses to think the same way.
Infi: Interesting. We've already seen businesses take the leap and jump on the "NFT bandwagon." In fact, we also recently saw Apple validate this. I see Mycaleum unmuted themselves. Would you like to add something?
Mycaleum: Yeah, I'll be quick on it. What Zombie said kind of struck a chord with me. Even in the good old World of Warcraft days, we were essentially market experts. We all became experts at trading ups and downs via gaming assets. Crypto just integrated all of that neatly into one thing.
Infi: But going to back to what was said earlier, sometimes people get too caught up in the token price and don't see the game for what it is. So how do you manage that? Perhaps having some form of memberships might do the trick. It would definitely play a role in shifting the focus back to the community and the game.
So do you have something like that? And if yes, is it based on the amount of native tokens someone holds? Or is it based on the rarity of their NFTs or something else altogether?
Mycaleum: So, each gaming DAO is unique in its approach. With Aavegotchi, we tend to focus on our native game assets.
But we have also expanded to in-game assets to recognize individuals who have contributed to the ecosystem. So we have the Ghost token, which is essentially an ERC20 token. It gives you voting power, where one unit gives you one vote. Then there this is all the people holding land parcels, wearables, and so on.
Interestingly, all of these assets have been assigned certain voting power as well. So a person can have no Ghost tokens yet still have a way to participate in governance.
So, in a way, potential members have many paths they can use to enter the Aavegotchi community. They can either buy an Aavegotchi, rent one, or even just show up at our Saturday hangouts and get some spill-over there and then, you know, participate in the DAO. So there really is no barrier to entry.
Infi: This is what I love the most about the Aavegotchi community. The barrier to entry is so low. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to spend a lot of money or buy some NFT to participate in the community.
This brings me to my next question.
If membership and governance are mediated by the balance of certain tokens, then to what extent can individuals influence these tokens? As in, influence their price or their scarcity.
ZombieShepherd: I've been thinking about this one. They can influence these tokens but only to a certain degree. So, for example, you could argue that there's constant inflation when it comes to the Alchemica and the NFTs. But that's not exactly true for the Ghost token with its bonding curve.
We do think a lot about inflation in the Aavegotchi economy. I don't know how much other gaming DAOs think about that, but we certainly consider it.
Mycaleum: I would add to that by saying that we can play the game, get more assets and increase our voting power. But the community at large that participates in governance can affect the outward availability of tokens.
And so, the governance mechanism ensures that the game essentially remains fair for everyone. For example, recently, votes went up about whether people holding parcels should be assigned voting power. So stuff like that.
Infi: That's a perfect segue into the next question. When you look at a regular DAO, people usually do some work and receive credentials/tokens. Alternatively, they could also buy these tokens. Either way, the tokens are mentally slotted as something that a person has to put effort into acquiring. Effort as in spending their money (which they most probably earned by putting effort in something else), or effort as in controbuting to the community.
So this nudges them to show up in governance and exercise their power.
In the case of gaming DAOs, however, people come with a mindset of "playing a game." So even though they spend their time on the game, which counts as "effort", so to say, in their mind, they don't think of it this way. Does that make them less likely to show up in governance?
Mycaleum: That's a really, really good question there. So right now, we have some very committed members of the DAO – in fact we see six hundred plus votes per typical Snapshot. And that number is always on the rise.
The retail pitch for Aavegotchi is that you play and earn some money. But over time, the ones that play long enough realize the opportunity to take it past just being a gamer to being a gamer-owner. And this is a new thing.
I've never once been asked by EA sports, you know, what I think about the development of the next Call of Duty or anything like that. And so in Aavegotchi, we've got these groups and spin-off projects and so on because people really want to affect the game positively, and so they get in these groups to discuss things or, sometimes, just to create content or do something else that will further the cause of the game.
The incentive to do this in a gaming DAO is much higher since you're also an owner in a way. It's different for other types of gaming communities, like those around traditional video games such as Call of Duty or something else.
Also, these groups or guilds are a great way for newcomers to get involved, so it's a novel dynamic.
Infi: One thing I've noticed is that communities that solve for onboarding usually go on to do really well. Like these guilds or groups you mentioned would be the ideal space a beginner would want to hang out in to learn more and not get overwhelmed. I feel these contribute to the smooth transition from a newcomer to a player to an active participant.
Speaking of active participants, I'm sure you game mechanics in your governance sessions. Because what's ideal for a few thousand players may not be fit for a few hundred thousand players, for example.
How does this meta-governance process, if I may call it that, look like for you?
ZombieShepherd: I think the interesting part with this game specifically is that we are so early in its life that the social layer is the strongest part of this game. As we spoke before, we see people breaking into these gaming guilds, sub-DAOs, media and art groups, etc. And I would say that that really influences the way people think about, you know, the game itself.
When we put up something for a vote, we see a lot of activity on Snapshot and a lot of activity in the forum. A lot of conversation goes on constantly, so we're almost always on the same page about what needs improvement and how we could go about it. And it sometimes gets heated, but everyone, at the end of the day, wants what's best for the community. That's how we do all our proposals.
Mycaleum: I'd follow up by saying that this comes from the top. Dan, Jesse, and the Pixel Craft team have a clear vision for Aavegotchi and their development pipeline.
The ideas that percolate from there turn into signal propositions. Then, if they pass, we make core propositions and bring them into effect. And this works because we have task forces.
We commission them. We issue bounties for hard work. People like Notorious BTC have been instrumental in educating the Gotchi Gang about what we're actually doing.
People like Dr. Wagmi, you know, lead the DTF, the DAO treasury Task Force, issuing bounties to those who do good work and commissioning necessary reports, so we stay informed.
We don't guess at Aavegotchi DAO, we study.
Infi: Wow. That summarises Aavegotchi's approach really well. Even a lot of the older, non-gaming, "serious" DAOs don't have this level of clarity, so this is impressive. And I think this has directly contributed to the success of Aavegotchi.
Earlier today, Jaris was sharing some statistics about Aavegotchi DAO, and I was just amazed. Jaris, please share these facts with everyone. We could then talk a bit more about the Aavegotchi community and the secret sauce that brings it all together.
Jaris: That sounds good. Well, here are the stats. Yesterday, according to Bit Degree, Aavegotchi had over three thousand active users, which is a thousand three hundred more than Axie Infinity.
And it was much more than Decentraland and Sandbox, which surprised me. But I checked again, and I got the following numbers from Dapp Radar which calculates the number of unique active wallets. This metric is slightly different from daily active users.
Still, Aavegotchi, in the past day, had a little under two thousand unique, active wallets. Decentraland and Sandbox were just over seven hundred and under seven hundred, respectively. And the Aavegotchi game isn't even fully developed yet! What's the secret?
Mycaleum: I'm not smart enough to have recognized the potential here from the very get-go. But what I saw very early on that inspired me and convinced me to stay was the consistency of the founding team.
The proximity to coder Dan and everybody at Pixel Craft – I mean, this really is every weekend. The Gotchi Gang weekend is no joke. I'm thrilled when I wake up on Fridays because I know it's Saturday the next day and I have high-quality community content to look forward to.
And the founding team always showing up really brings the community together in a strong, strong way. In these sessions, there's no concern about the price or the markets. We just have fun.
ZombieShepherd: Yeah, I would like to piggyback off of that and say, you know, going back to when I joined, there was just a community call, and then there were the events around rarity farming and other things. But from there, when we started talking about, "Oh, there's gonna be these guild mechanics that are gonna be in the Gotchiverse," instantly, a hundred Discord servers started and grew out of that Saturday hangout. And there are so many of these guilds and so many of us now, and it all just comes from the top.
So I think that's what really brings all of us together. We all have our little pockets of friends, but we're all friends with each other as well. Like there are no strangers in the Aavegotchi community.
Infi: Everybody's so enthusiastic and passionate about the community. It's invigorating to see that. A lot of communities have members that slowly disappear with time. As a result, their collective activity happens in waves. But in Aavegotchi, it happens in layers because people just don't give up or get bored. And it just keeps snowballing from there.
Mycaleum: It's like gravity, like we continue to increase in magnetism. For example, we've had members call in from the middle of the ocean using their satphone on a ship. T-Bird, operating out of Texas, is working hard at his real-life shipping business but is also a community member.
He owns a catamaran, takes shipping tours out into the bay, and offers a 50% discount on his real-life business services to Aavegotchi holders. We've had members devise creative ways to help spread the gospel.
Infi: The commitment's commendable. You have people showing up from the church, the middle of the ocean, and whatnot! This is actually so inspiring. When I hear about these people, I get motivated and want to put in more effort in the communities I am a part of.
Alright, that's a great note to end this Twitter Space on.
It was a pleasure hosting you guys for the second episode of coffee conversations. For those that joined late, we have Zombie Shepherd and Mycaleum, two active members of the Aavegotchi community.
We started by talking a little bit about the key differences between gaming DAOs and other types of DAOs. Then, we spoke about tokens, game mechanics, creating and discussing proposals, and voting on them. We also explored what makes the Aavegotchi community tick.
The short answer is the active involvement of those at the top and all the sub-DAOs and groups that spring out of the weekly hangouts.
Zombie and Mycaleum, thanks once again for joining us today. We appreciate the participation of all those who have been in this space from the beginning.
See you all in the next one! Till then, stay safe and work hard.