Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO): The case of MakerDAO

Eleunthia Wong Ellinger, Tobias Mini, Robert Wayne Gregory, Alexander Dietz

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The global adoption and diffusion of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies has given rise to a new form of organizing referred to as decentralized autonomous organizations (DAO). Many DAOs sit at the intersection between decentralized blockchain technologies and finance, so-called decentralized finance (DeFi). This teaching case focuses on one of the most prominent and established DeFi DAOs, MakerDAO, a community-driven initiative that leverages blockchain technology to create a stablecoin pegged to the US Dollar as a basis for decentralized financial services such as lending and yield generation. The case describes the delicate balancing act between centralization and decentralization in the evolution of MakerDAO. It can be used in graduate business programs to achieve the following learning objectives: (1) Understand the concept of decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) as a new form of organizing in which communities leverage blockchain technologies and community-based principles to work jointly on a common goal, (2) Be able to assess the benefits and risks of novel decentralized finance (DeFi) models, such as MakerDAO, which offer alternative financial tools and resources that are not controlled by traditional financial institutions, (3) Evaluate the potential and pathway for disruptive innovation in the era of blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and Web3, where decentralized applications (dapps) on blockchain networks enable decentralized and trustless transactions and interactions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Information Technology Teaching Cases
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Blockchain
  • cryptocurrencies
  • decentralized autonomous organizations
  • decentralized finance
  • decentralized governance
  • teaching cases


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