From an Idea of a Future Fantasy Novel to a Unique Tool for Creating DAOs: The Story of XDAO

We talked to the founder, administrative director, and CTO of XDAO about the project’s origins, chosen name, and what to do if you’re just dreaming of having your own company in the crypto industry.

Who participated in the conversation:

Vlad Shavlidze, CEO and a key figure behind the XDAO project.
He is responsible for the overall success, developing a long-term strategy, and keeping an eye on the team’s general mood. Vlad’s responsibilities include leading strategy development, creating and implementing the vision and mission, maintaining awareness of the competitive environment and growth opportunities, assessing risks, ensuring their monitoring and optimization, and setting strategic goals.
Vlad has a legal background and has been in the crypto industry since 2018.
Zurab Shavlidze, CAO of the project.
Zurab has a wealth of experience in government agencies and business. He knows how to keep things in order and add strategic vision to day-to-day operations. Zurab’s responsibilities include participating in business and strategic planning, setting and coordinating team tasks, and overseeing resource allocation and budgeting. He has a degree in International Business and Strategy.
Egor Gavrilov, XDAO CTO, is a math major and a scientist.
Egor makes blockchain development videos on YouTube. His primary responsibility is to help the project achieve its financial and marketing goals using an innovative technological approach.
How did you decide and why did you start a project in the field of DAO?
Vlad: I encountered a DAO for the first time in late 2018. Back then, there were very few projects focused on creating a good infrastructure for DAOs. In fact, a DAO is a great start for any beginner and crypto enthusiast. You manage total funds, minimize risk because a multi-signature wallet is protected against fund theft, you make decisions, and learn together. You need skilled DAO developers to get people to start a DAO without coding knowledge. I realized that this is exactly what is going to be popular in the near future.
Zurab: Vlad told me about the project idea. I was getting a lot of work at that time, so I didn’t have any plans to build my own crypto project from scratch. But as time went by, I saw progress and how Vlad attracted the first developers. Then everything became clear to me — it really is possible. I was the first investor at the idea stage.
Egor: I handle unusual and interesting tasks. This project seemed to be exactly that: unconventional and technological. In 2020, there was not as much talk about DAOs as there was about DeFi. What’s more, constructors in Web3 weren’t common compared to those in Web2. I saw it as freedom for technological creativity.
Who was behind the idea of creating XDAO? Was there something or someone that inspired you to take this step?
Zurab: The idea came to Vlad. He had been studying crypto trends for about two years by then. He came to the conclusion that in the near future, it would be important to create prototypes of organizations working purely on blockchain. The concept of a DAO as an organization with self-executing solutions already existed but had not been developed and, to a certain extent, had fallen out of favor after The DAO collapse.

At first, Vlad wrote something like a sci-fi novel about organizations of the future. Later on, we gradually came up with a clear model for our future product.

Vlad: Well, the idea was originally mine. The investment DAO, where I was a member at the time, had a lot of difficulties and limitations when it came to investing in DeFi. That’s when I wondered, “If it’s hard to run a DAO even for a member with a lot of experience in DeFi and knowledge of technology, what about users who are just getting acquainted with Web3?” I was later supported by my brother and now co-founder of the project, Zurab. He was the first to believe in the idea of a convenient and simple DAO constructor and became the first investor.
Tell us, what was your inspiration behind the name?
Vlad: When we met Egor, our CTO, we completely abandoned the old groundwork. Egor had a big input in the project, and we came up with the name together. XDAO sounds succinct and catchy.
Egor: Brainstorming took a long time. There were many non-standard ideas, but our concept is quite to the point, like a banking app. A solid product needs a simple and clear name.
What do you think helps you in your business? Maybe some previous experience, events that made you think about certain things, training?
Vlad: I am a visionary. My intuition and a deep sense of the market help me a lot. If I study a subject, I have to dive into it with all my heart. At the same time, I enjoy working with people. Business is teamwork.
Zurab: You can’t do anything worthwhile on your own. Getting support from your colleagues is the main incentive for the whole team to grow. My previous work experience has helped me to be wiser when it comes to mistakes made by others. I think our team is really friendly thanks to me.
Egor: I’m a man of science and a very quick thinker. Quick intellect helps me process tons of incoming information and propose the best solutions in record time.
Every project has its challenges and unforeseen situations, even referring to recent times and how the world agenda has changed dramatically and affected several countries actively involved in the industry. How do you handle crises in XDAO?
Vlad: I try to do everything to create a comfortable working environment for the team. There is no way to predict what will happen, but every crisis has a solution. The crypto industry is developing rapidly, and we know how to adapt to different circumstances that arise.
Do you have your own team management methods and tried-and-true observations on building relations and setting tasks for a certain department?
Vlad: The team should grow gradually. A common mistake made by startups is to hire people chaotically and to try to involve them in performing tasks that can be handled by existing personnel. Our team has been growing together with the directions currently being developed within XDAO. We don’t split into departments. We run projects, and every team member has access to them. We keep a board, communicate all the time, and have training lectures and weekly meetings.
Egor: I always have everything under control. I don’t like chaos, and I need to know that everyone on the team has tasks. I’m demanding of myself and those around me. If I see that our colleagues have gaps in their product knowledge, we organize internal workshops. The development team under my supervision performs sprints using the Agile methodology. That’s why we are productive and release updates in record time.
What distracts you from your routine, allows you to get your mind off work, and switch to your personal life? How do you recharge after an energy-intensive business process?
Vlad: I’ve been living in Bali for over half a year now, and I’ve been making plans to migrate my whole team here for a long time. It’s a great place to live, work, and rest. There are a lot of practices to restore strength and energy, including yoga, meditations, etc. I like to dilute mental loads with physical ones. I go to the gym or go swimming.
Zurab: I recover when I’m alone.
Egor: In my free time I like to read about new technologies.
What advice would you give to those thinking about launching their own business in the crypto industry, FinTech, and other innovative areas but do not know where to start?
Vlad: You should not be afraid and believe in your project. If you feel that your idea will inspire others — you’re on the right track. Communicate in groups and chats, and attend crypto events. But don’t think too long, otherwise, someone else will come up and implement your idea.
Egor: Look for a good team straight away.
Blitz questions

1. What book or eBook are you reading right now?
2. Give us 3 words to describe XDAO
3. What is your biggest and most audacious goal?

1. I don’t read books.
2. DAO unique constructor.
3. To make XDAO a unicorn company.
1. The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis.
2. XDAO for everyone.
3. To make XDAO the gold standard of DAO construction.
1. How to DeFi by CoinGecko.
2. Multi-chain, versatility, transparency.
3. To bring XDAO to IPO.
DAO is a vast concept. In order to start understanding decentralized autonomous organizations, there are some terms you need to grasp first. We joined up with the XDAO team to prepare a small glossary that will help beginners understand how DAOs work.
Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) — a form of organization where participants' activities are based on rules set in smart contracts, and any decisions are executed only when consensus has been reached.
Governance Token (GT) — a governance or native token that allows its members to create and participate in votes. GT has no economic value, cannot be sent to another wallet like a regular token, and can only be created or sent as a result of voting in a DAO.
Assets Under Management (AUM) — all funds managed by a DAO.
Liquidity Provider Token (LP) — an investment token or liquidity provider token. An ERC-20 standard token, backed by DAO assets and varying in price depending on the total issue of the LP and AUM of a DAO. When an LP token is burned, a holder receives a proportional share of the AUM of a DAO. The total supply of an LP token depends on its economic value.

For example, if 10 LPs were issued and the project's AUM is $1,000, then the value of 1 LP is $100.
Consensus — a principle according to which any transaction, change of the DAO management rules or other actions allowed by the conditions of a particular DAO, is carried out only after creating a vote and reaching a quorum.
Quorum — the number of votes required for a decision to be executed.
On-chain voting — every participant's vote is "recorded" on a blockchain, and the result of the vote is executed automatically after a quorum is reached. This type of voting is characterized by high gas costs.
Off-chain voting — all participants' actions, including the voting result, do not interact with the blockchain. This type of voting is usually used for project community voting, as it does not entail the binding execution of a decision.
Hybrid voting — participants vote off-chain using a unique signature, while the execution of the voting results is done on-chain. This type of voting allows you to significantly reduce gas costs without compromising security.
Absolute majority voting — 50+1% of the votes must be reached to achieve a quorum.
Module — a special smart contract providing some additional function for a DAO.