The Controversy Surrounding Bankless and BanklessDAO: Plans to Separate the Brand
In recent times, the cryptocurrency media company Bankless and its associated decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), BanklessDAO, have been at the center of controversy. As a result, the founders of Bankless, David Hoffman and Ryan Sean Adams, have proposed separating the brand from the DAO. They plan to submit a governance proposal to BanklessDAO to formalize this separation. Additionally, they have announced their intention to burn all of their BanklessDAO (BANK) tokens.
The decision to separate Bankless from BanklessDAO was prompted by community criticism of BanklessDAO’s application for a grant from Arbitrum, a layer 2 scaling project for the Ethereum blockchain. The application, filed on November 20, requested 1.82 million Arbitrum (ARB) tokens, equivalent to around $1.8 million, for content creation. The community expressed concerns about the proposal, questioning the use of the Bankless brand to secure such a substantial grant.
Hoffman explained, “The concern is that BanklessDAO would not be able to make such ambitious proposals without leveraging the weight of the Bankless brand, which they did not produce, is not theirs, and ought not to benefit from.”
Following the criticism, BanklessDAO committed to revising the proposal, reducing the grant duration from one year to three months, and providing clear key performance indicators (KPIs) and milestones. However, the argument between the proposal backers and opponents intensified on social media.
Bitcoin enthusiasts and others accused the Bankless founders of “legitimacy grifting” and questioned their involvement in promoting other projects. Bankless co-founder Adams defended their actions, emphasizing that creators should be compensated for their work and that paid subscribers have always supported Bankless’ mission.
Bankless, founded in 2019, is a crypto media company that advocates for the adoption and awareness of bankless money systems. In May 2021, Bankless launched BanklessDAO, a decentralized community aimed at coordinating and promoting bankless media. The DAO also introduced the BANK token. In April 2023, the founders announced the establishment of a $35 million venture capital fund to invest in seed-stage Web3 companies.