Understanding DAOStack and joining a DAO

5 min readNov 24, 2020

What is a DAO?

DAO stands for Decentralised Autonomous Organisation and with the invention of blockchain technology, in a nut shell, has allowed a group of people to make decisions where trust is placed within the technology and the blockchain network.

What is DAOStack?

From their whitepaper, DAOstack defines themselves as “an operating system for DAOs”. From their website, “DAOstack is an open source project advancing the technology and adoption of decentralized governance.

Both these definitions don’t mean much to beginner so to explain it another way, DAOstack is a “stack” or a group of technologies that has been invented using smart contracts and blockchain technologies to allow the easy creation of DAOs or Distributed Autonomous Organisations.

A more detailed article here goes into much more depth for those inclined.


What is Alchemy?

Alchemy is a nice user friendly interface for creating DAOs because let’s face it, this technology is complicated enough without having to do everything in a command line terminal!

On https://daostack.io/ you can “Explore DAO’s in Alchemy” which takes you to https://alchemy.daostack.io/


What is xDAI chain?

“xDai Chain is a stable payments blockchain designed for fast and inexpensive stable transactions.” ie it is another blockchain network and you can read all about them at: https://www.xdaichain.com/

On this blockchain, (technically a side chain for Ethereum), there is something called xDai which is a stable coin pegged at 1USD. It can be exchanged 1:1 for DAI which is the stable coin from MakerDAO. Confused? It gets worse. xDai chain has a second token (yep, another token), called xDai STAKE and this is the token that has moonshot (and returned to Earth) in recent months.

Anyway, DAOs that are created need to be linked to a blockchain. Here, we are going to create a DAO on the xDAI blockchain.

Remember the alchemy site from above? You have to “Switch to xDAI” first and you’ll also need MetaMask to interact with DAO.

What is MetaMask?

MetaMask is a browser plugin that allows anyone to connect to the Ethereum, or Ethereum based blockchains.

To install MetaMask in Chrome for instance, visit: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/metamask/nkbihfbeogaeaoehlefnkodbefgpgknn?hl=en

Installing MetaMask

You’ll also have to set up MetaMask. Step by step instructions can be found here. Once you have installed MetaMask, it will appear in the top right along with any other plugins you may have. (Pin it for it to permanently show).

Connecting MetaMask to xDai chain

Once you have done this, you’ll have to connect MetaMask to the xDai chain. Steps for this can be found at: https://www.xdaichain.com/for-users/wallets/metamask/metamask-setup

Getting your xDai address

To get your xDai address to share with others, just click on the “Account 2” link. This will probably say “Account 1” in most cases because you can create as many accounts, aka “bank accounts” as I like to call it, as required.

Getting xDai

Now you need some xDai (a cryptocurrency) in order to pay for transactions. Don’t worry, $1 will go a long way because each transaction or “vote” or “interaction” with the DAO is very cheap. 0.000426 xDai in fact. (aka $0.0004).

You’ll need to buy some ETH first and then convert it to DAI. You can do this on Uniswap which is a decentralised exchange where you can swap one type of Ethereum token for another.

Once you have DAI, then go to https://xdai.io/, connect MetaMask and do the swap into xDAI.

If this all sounds overwhelming, an easier option is to find a friend with xDai and ask nicely for some :)

The next step?

Now you can either create a DAO and experiment or join a DAO by visiting https://alchemy-xdai.herokuapp.com/ and logging in with MetaMask.

If someone you know has already created a DAO, then provide your address to that person so they can add you to their DAO allowing you to participate in decision making.

For example, here is a basic KiaOraDAO with 2 members and no open proposals.


So why did we go through all this effort and what did we achieve? We have used blockchain technology to enable a group of people, a method of creating decisions by voting.

There are other features that we did not yet explore such as giving each votes different weights or “reputation” which I’ll explain in a future article.

Yes there were many steps, and it might feel slow and cumbersome but this is true with any new technology.

The potential of these new ideas maybe confusing to grasps initially but are fascinating and one of the best ways of learning about it is to…


Also, shout out to Daniel Bar from bitfwd for contributing to this article!