The State of the Nouns DAO

Taking the current pulse of the Nouns.
William M. Peaster William M. Peaster Mar 15, 20245 min read
The State of the Nouns DAO

CryptoPunks is, of course, the most legendary NFT collection on Ethereum. 

But when you measure out across aesthetics, community, cultural potential, and technical quality, one project lords above the rest here, in my opinion, and that’s Nouns DAO.

The Nouns are an onchain collective that fund creative efforts to build up Nouns as a decentralized brand and as a memetic force for good.

All that said, it’s a project worth keeping tabs on, so for today’s post, let’s catch up on the current pulse of the Nouns ecosystem to see where it stands. 

The State of the Nouns

Collection Basics

Since launching on Ethereum in August 2021, the Nouns protocol has generated 1045 Nouns and counting, with the average settling price of the last 10 daily Nouns auctions being 5.7 ETH. 

As for secondary markets, around a dozen Nouns, or ~1% of the entire collection, is currently listed across Blur and OpenSea, with the lowest floor price being 6.9 ETH. 

via OpenSea Pro

Surviving the 1st Nouns Forks

The recent Nouns V3 protocol release introduced the Nouns Fork functionality, the first DAO-native version of forking in the cryptoeconomy.

The Verbs team within Nouns DAO created this system to offer a structured, automated approach for groups to diverge peacefully over differences of vision in the Nouns community. 

This mechanism has been used three times to date, with nearly 600 Nouns NFTs representing 57% of the 1045 Nouns created so far relinquished back to the Nouns treasury in these departures. 

These forks notably offered a release valve for early Nouners looking for liquidity, disillusioned DAO members, and arbitrage traders keen on raiding the DAO’s ETH treasury. 

Now that the dust has settled around these cathartic forks, there has been a return to a “business as usual” vibe in Nouns DAO. The group’s treasury ceded a significant chunk of ETH to the exiters, but its current holdings still stand at ~ $22M, which is plenty for its various ongoing cultural and development efforts. 

via beetle

The Rise of Prop House

Incubated within Nouns DAO, Prop House is a public good designed to help the Nouns or any other NFT communities deploy capital. The system lets groups create funding rounds in which builders propose ideas, and then community members vote on these proposals. The gist here is you can “bid with ideas for ETH,” i.e., the proposals that receive the most votes in a round win ETH. 

As such, Prop House is an excellent open resource for community building, and it demonstrates the kind of tools Nouns DAO can build for the cryptoeconomy. To date, projects using this infra have awarded more than $3M across +8,000 proposals and +300 funding rounds.

via Prop House

Notably, Nouns DAO itself has been increasingly using Prop House to great effect. 

For example, the collective is currently running a Nouns x Farcaster funding round to incentivize the creation of a Nouns-centric Farcaster client, with the top 3 contributing teams earmarked to earn 100,000 USDC each. Accordingly, this system is now a great avenue for the DAO to support creative efforts in a targeted way outside of the main Nouns governance process. 

Propagating the Nounish with Nouns Builder

via Zora Docs

Built and later handed off by the Zora team, Nouns Builder makes it easy for people to create and run Nounish-style, auction-based DAOs on Ethereum, Optimism, Base, or Zora Network. So far, over 200 collectives have been launched with this infra, like Purple, a DAO for expanding the Farcaster protocol, and The Yellow Collective, a DAO for supporting artists on Base. 

The big ideas? This deployer infra has helped further popularize the Nounish approach in the Ethereum ecosystem, and it’s created a flywheel effect, as some of the projects made with Nouns Builder now offer a cut of their earnings as tributes to Nouns DAO. 

If you’re in the market for making your own DAO, then Nouns Builder is now a leading contender here, alongside other deployer solutions like Aragon, Party, and Tally. 

The Nouns Farcaster Revival

The /nouns Warpcast channel

During the recent bear market, Nouns DAO shuttered its Discord server to move away from having a centralized web2 communications channel that it solely controlled. 

Against that backdrop, an interesting new development has been the Nounish community’s passionate embrace of crypto social tech, namely Warpcast, the leading Farcaster client. 

Indeed, the /nouns channel, now one of the largest on Warpcast, has become a de facto crypto-native replacement for the sunsetted Discord and is teeming with Nounish discussions, news, mints, and more. The aforementioned Nouns x Farcaster Prop House round will also undoubtedly produce at least one client that will go on to rival or surpass Warpcast’s Nounish user base. 

All in all, then, this client work, the onchain nature of the Farcaster stack, and the ease of NFT minting via Farcaster Frames make the Farcaster ecosystem an ideal home for everyone Nounish. If you want to stay current with the Nouns, this is the place to be for the foreseeable future. 

Recent Nouns Proposals

“Delivery at Dawn” via Prop 511

When I wrote about the Nouns in August 2023, the DAO had already voted on ~350 proposals through its main governance process. Today, that number stands at over +500. In that span, Nouns has backed a range of efforts, including: 

These projects, while just a sample of the current work around the Nouns ecosystem, demonstrate how the DAO can be a powerful cultural engine and a force for good, both onchain and in real life. In this regard, Nouns DAO is one-of-a-kind in the cryptoeconomy right now and a hub where fun and kindness can mix with crypto in unprecedented ways. 

Zooming Out

Going forward, look for Nouns DAO to continue backing interesting efforts and supporting new resources, like Farcaster clients. Ethereum’s recent Dencun upgrade has also paved the way for the DAO to embrace Layer 2 (L2) voting, so expect some innovation here. 

Lastly, keep an eye out for Nounish content making breakthroughs into the mainstream. For instance, the Nounish Quack account now has 1.6M Instagram followers, and Nouns Esports just signed the #1 Melee player in the world, which makes them instant heavyweights in the competitive Smash Bros scene.

Taken all together, I think right now, no NFT project has the potential to reach more people over the long term than the Nouns, so make sure you’re not sleeping on them!

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William M. Peaster

Written by William M. Peaster

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William M. Peaster, Senior Writer, has been with Bankless since January 2021. Immersed in Ethereum since 2017, he writes the Metaversal newsletter on the onchain frontier, covering everything from AI projects to crypto games, as the team’s lead NFT analyst. With a background in creative writing, he writes fiction and publishes art on Ethereum in his free time. He lives in Washington.

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