Part 1: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

This is Part 1 of a three part series by our founder Pablo Moncada-Larrotiz on how MoonDAO will get to the Moon. Read Part 2: The Mission or Part 3: The Plan.

MoonDAO has been in operation since late 2021 and it’s been a long time since we’ve had the opportunity to reflect on our journey so far. Now, nearly two years later, it feels like the right time to share some reflections and lessons learned at MoonDAO and some of the big picture developments and trajectory of our organization, especially in light of the passing of the executive branch, a big change in the operational structure of MoonDAO. 

MoonDAO is incredibly lucky to have such a talented and faithful group of people that have been through thick and thin, and I’m honored to be elected the first leader of the DAO. I can look at every individual here and say with confidence that we would not be here today without every single person who has given us a unique perspective and aid in crucial moments. Although I’m honored about the outcome of the election, there are a lot of things on my mind in accepting the position and what it means for MoonDAO. I’d like to paint a picture of where we’ve been, where we are today, and where we’re going together.

My aim is to recount some of the stories, achievements, and lessons we’ve left behind us, and illuminate the path before us to hopefully dispel some of the shadows that cause people uncertainty or worry, and restore the faith that comes with certainty in our Mission and Values.

I try to address all the questions that I get about MoonDAO here, and reading it back now, I think it’s the most important piece of writing I’ve done for MoonDAO, being the culmination of nearly two years of conversations with the community about the path forward for MoonDAO.

The Good

We have survived the crypto downturn. This is no easy task, and required a high level of fitness to ensure we could continue to operate within the volatility of the market. Many other DAOs did not fare well. The DAO herd is very thin from the peak of the crypto cycle, very few have been able to sustain themselves through the downturn.‍

Through a prescient and simple treasury strategy we were able to diversify into stable coins before the downturn took full effect, and conserve a decent portion of the ETH we started with, having ~1/3 of the total ETH still in our treasury, after spending ~1/3 on purchasing our tickets to space and sending someone to space, and using the other ~1/3 to operate for nearly two years and fund a multitude of other initiatives. We’ve been able to operate with a very low burn rate, and as things stabilize in the market we have an opportunity to look further towards the horizon and future.‍

In the depths of a downturn market, we’ve been able to focus on building a foundation that can scale up, but before getting into those plans, let’s look back on our path.‍

In the beginning of 2022, we raised 2,600+ ETH within a month with the dream of sending people to space. With over 2,000 people participating from all over the world, we were able to purchase two seats to go to space and successfully sent the first DAO-voted person into space, a first of its kind internet movement.‍

From that high, we built a strong core group of contributors through a decentralized model for funding projects at MoonDAO, becoming one of the most sophisticated and mature DAO structures using quadratic voting and retroactive reward systems for decentralized compensation to support teams that have pulled us forward across multiple initiatives from our community like our first mission to the Moon, and ZeroG tickets with three astronauts (including a Moonwalker).‍

We launched a new tokenomics and governance model with vMOONEY, provided funding towards nonprofits, and engaged the broader space community with talks at the largest space conferences in the world. This allowed us to not only break into the crypto sector, but also get a seat at the table with some of the biggest players in the space ecosystem.‍

We’ve been able to find alignment through a Constitution and a method of delegating work to core groups through our Project system, all while hosting one of the largest sweepstakes the crypto world has ever seen to send someone into space.

We funded teams working hard to create the platform for us to coordinate on future missions, including a new web application and MoonDAO marketplace, a foundation that will help us scale.‍

We worked hard for over a year to try and get the first Chinese national to participate in the US space program, what would have been a huge win for peace between two superpowers, but ultimately were not able to get him into the USA. Even with that setback, there is opportunity, and we will have the chance to redraw for another winner to go to space.

Today, with all these milestones under our belt, we are one of the leaders in DAOs and DeSci, and the largest space DAO by an order of magnitude with nearly 12,000 token holders, trailblazing forward into green pastures, but also entering a dark forest of novel problems that few other DAOs have solved before us.

The Bad

We have faced a lot as a community. We have faced naysayers, scammers, accusations of being scammers ourselves, and people that don’t take us seriously when they hear that we are going to the Moon.

We do mean it, though. We are going to the Moon. Although this may invite the ridicule of some, I think it’s worth addressing the gravity of the Mission and how seriously we take it.

I’d like to direct my attention briefly towards some of the criticism we’ve faced about our Mission, even if we don’t agree with them here, because they are noisy and fill the ears of some around us, and I hope that this can clear some things up about who we are and what we are doing.

Firstly, there are some people that simply regard the mission as too ambitious and difficult. For them, it’s impossible. They say to us:

“How will you actually go to the Moon? Isn’t that only something governments and billionaires can do? Don’t you need billions of dollars? Technical know-how? Where is that coming from? What does a group of random internet people actually do when it comes to Space? Just talk about how cool the Moon is? What can you do to make this possible? Why are you anything but charlatans trying to pump a crypto token?”

These are the voices that circle around, distracting us and breaking down confidence in ourselves, and we can ignore these voices, but I’d rather face them head on. 

They might go on: “The most likely explanation given they’re in crypto, is that they are nothing more than a scam artists that are trying to steal money from others so that it all goes into their own pocket, misleading people with a mission that is not only impossible, but might be grandiose enough to lead the blind true believers into moving money into their own pocket. Why else would they use crypto, right? Sending money to large organizations simply to send a YouTuber to space? What does that achieve? Nothing. It’s a joke.”

Add on top of these types of naysayers the mass of people that hate space in general, thinking it an escapist fantasy, an ego-driven delusion of grandeur, wanting to win and conquer in their name and leave the rest of us to pay the bill through taxes or climate catastrophe. Maybe space is just an elaborate national propaganda to launder money from the taxpayers and into the pockets of a few defense manufacturers.

So, even if the so-called Mission were possible, then doing so would be at the expense of all of our problems here on Earth — or maybe, the most doomer blackpill of it all, space is just another lie that our government tells us, simply a means of lying to the people, Hollywood creations to deceive the masses into thinking that their money is being put to interesting use and not just funneled to the bankers, politicians, and CEOs in bed with them. A psyop to keep us from the real truth of the world. We’ve become so accustomed to our own government lying to us that space itself comes into question. The Earth? Flat. Space? Fake. Aliens? Hmm.

The Ugly

Those voices exist, but they are usually outside of our organization, however we face another set of criticism from within. Even though they are within our own community, many of the crypto gamblers that initially started with MoonDAO laugh at the lunatics that think they can overcome human nature and escape the gambling and stealing of the hordes of crypto degens. These are the hardest voices to overcome.‍

I will freely admit when MoonDAO started it was lighthearted, we aimed to simply purchase an asteroid or send someone to space, and we had far-off dreams of someday being something much more serious. Today we have achieved those first goals in our roadmap, and it’s time to shift into a more serious organization, and it’s time that we take ourselves seriously too.

There is a problem of faith even within some of the token holders in our organization, that are here to make money from a token rather than here for the Mission. This is the hardest pessimism to overcome, because it is internal. It is a fight for the soul of the organization, are we really going to the Moon, or is this just a pump and dump?

We have dealt with all kinds of scammers and unscrupulous people. We’ve dealt with token pumpers, social engineering hackers, even death threats, and we have actively tried to drive those people out and set up better gatekeeping mechanisms to prevent people from steering MoonDAO towards being the crypto norm. Working in crypto is not for the faint of heart, and just as these tools have immense power to make the world better, they have power to destroy too.

We’ve dealt with all kinds of people that try to manipulate our organization for their financial advantage, and worked hard to root them out. It was not easy though, it seems like it’s an upstream battle to have a totally open and transparent community and not let a few bad apples in that try to wreak havoc.

To address some of these issues we were able to pass a constitution that put voting power into the long-term optimists versus the short-term speculators through our new tokenomics model. We were also recently able to pass the Executive Branch proposal that allows a focused team to work and operate the core functions of the DAO, and although this has centralization risk it is held accountable by the Senate, the leaders of all the diverse projects at MoonDAO, like: Credibly neutral lunar communications, the internationalization and translation team, our first Mission to the Moon with Lifeship, our Marketplace team, our MoonDAO App, and many other great initiatives in the DAO. The leaders of those projects alongside the token holders have the power to keep the executive team in balance as they navigate the way forward.

The most important part when it comes to the executive branch is to move the DAO forward towards the ultimate vision, and to illuminate the path forward towards our Mission. This is what I am attempting to do with this article.

To believe in the Mission of the organization requires a perception shift not just from the outside, but within too, and it’s a difficult one to achieve. Those with the technical know-how of the traditional world outside of crypto often have the perception that crypto is a scam, and those within it have lived to see the scams with their own eyes. There are many that simply want to pull their money out right as the lunacy is at its peak. Who can blame them? There are too many examples of crypto being simply a game of cheating, and why should we be any different? For the crypto degens, despite using the tools of crypto, they do not necessarily share the values. They’d rather use the tools to make money and go back to the current world. In their mind, crypto is nothing more than a fast money making scheme, and the people talking about values are just propaganda on top.

How do we make this perspective change to use crypto as a tool to coordinate towards a shared Mission? How do we restore faith in DAOs? How do we restore faith in the Mission of our organization?


Yes, these are all the criticisms we face as a community, all the reasons why people think we will fail, and now as its leader this weight falls heavily on my shoulders as their so-called king of the lunatics. They want to shame us and to take down what we’ve built, and prevent us from actually believing that we can change things and do something positive.

I’m here to respond to their accusations, and to prove that not only is our Mission possible, but that there is a fear that we might actually prove them wrong and succeed past their wildest imagination.

However, before I discuss where they’re wrong, I’d like to give them credit where they are due, and discuss where they are right. Sometimes the criticisms are not only true, but true within the highest levels of our organization that we’ve trusted to help secure us. There have been many cases where someone claimed to want the best of the community, only to run off when it’s convenient and leave others to pick up the pieces. To cheat and take money. Yes, we have had to deal with multiple people close to us that also believe that we are nothing more than a money moving organization, a pot of gold that should be maximized to go into their own pocket over the next, with little faith that we will achieve our long-term objective.

Sometimes, the criticisms get into the heads of our own leadership, and switch them into a mindset of scarcity, and of maximization for themselves at the expense of the whole. The noise from outside gets into their heads: This will not work, it will not grow, so I need to take it for myself. To be candid, sometimes these doubts have found their way into my own mind, especially when it comes from those close to my ear, and it takes someone to snap you out of it to realize that we are letting the pessimism of the masses corrupt the faith of the organization.

I’m here to restore faith in the organization.

However, we don’t want blind faith, I want to lay out a full vision for how we can actually achieve our mission of reaching towards the stars. A roadmap, an attitude, and an ultimate vision that pushes humanity forward just a little bit more. Again, I’m not asking for blind faith, just an open mind.

There are three things I want to achieve here:

  1. Our Mission is worthwhile.
  2. Our Mission is possible. It’s difficult, but possible.
  3. The Plan.

Continue to Part 2: The Mission