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November 27, 2023

Bankless Founders Propose Separation from BanklessDAO Amid Controversy


In a significant move within the cryptocurrency media space, the co-founders of Bankless, David Hoffman and Ryan Sean Adams, have proposed to separate their brand from BanklessDAO. This decision comes amid ongoing controversies and community criticisms related to the DAO's activities.

Background of the Controversy

  • Grant Application Criticism: The controversy began with BanklessDAO’s application for a grant from Arbitrum, a layer-2 scaling project for Ethereum. The DAO requested 1.82 million ARB tokens, valued at approximately $1.8 million, which led to community backlash due to the lack of detailed information on fund allocation.
  • Community Response: BanklessDAO members criticized the proposal for its ambitious nature and its perceived reliance on the Bankless brand's reputation. In response, the DAO agreed to revise the proposal, reducing the grant period and adding clear performance indicators.

Proposed Separation

  • Burning BANK Tokens: As part of the separation process, Hoffman and Adams plan to burn all their BanklessDAO (BANK) tokens.
  • Governance Proposal: The co-founders intend to submit a governance proposal to BanklessDAO to formalize the separation of the two entities.

Escalation on Social Media

  • Accusations of 'Legitimacy Grifting': The debate escalated on social media, with some accusing the Bankless founders of using the DAO to enhance their brand without proper contribution.
  • Defense by Bankless Co-Founders: Adams responded to the criticism by stating that calling creators 'grifters' for running ads undermines the value they provide and that their work has always been funded by paid subscribers.

Bankless and BanklessDAO Overview

  • Bankless History: Founded in 2019, Bankless is a crypto media company focused on promoting bankless money systems.
  • Bankless DAO Launch: In May 2021, Bankless launched BanklessDAO with the BANK token to coordinate and promote bankless media.
  • Recent Developments: In April 2023, the Bankless founders announced a $35 million venture capital fund to invest in seed-stage Web3 companies.


The proposed separation of Bankless from BanklessDAO marks a pivotal moment in the crypto media landscape. This development reflects the complexities and challenges of managing decentralized organizations and the importance of clear governance and community alignment in the crypto ecosystem.

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