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Pinoy developer team wins prize in International Blockchain Competition

Our startup DAOCre-8 grabbed 4th position at the recent Solana Hyperdrive Hackathon and secured USD 10,000 in prize winnings. We bested 7,000 registrants across 120 countries to rank 4th in the DAOs & Network States category. There were 7 other categories.

Solana is a cutting-edge blockchain platform (a publicly-shared database). Blockchains facilitate and store transactions from financial payments to digital collectibles. Solana held the competition to encourage projects to build on their ecosystem.

Meanwhile, DAO stands for Decentralized Autonomous Organization, member-owned communities without a central leader. DAO voting and finances are handled through a blockchain.

Co-founded by Emmanuel Lorenzo (EL) Bonuan, Theo Roque, and I, DAOCre-8 empowers creators to bring their projects to life by combining traditional crowdfunding with blockchain governance. 

What is DAOCre-8?

Let’s say you want to create custom cakes.

You set up the project details on our platform and backers can contribute funding. In exchange for the funding, you offer rewards such as a strawberry shortcake with a dedication. 

Each project funded through our platform is backed by a DAO. You, the creator, as well as the funders become part of this community. This is where governance comes in.

Project funding is released through milestones. The DAO votes on milestone reports and whether to release the next round of funds or not. Similarly, if there are project changes midway, the DAO decides whether or not this is a good decision. If backers feel that you’re not delivering on your promised milestones, they can pull out their remaining funding. 

Our team dedicates the win to the Philippines as our country continues to make waves in the Web3 and tech scene.

While the win and the prize funds will help us progress with DAOCre-8, our journey is anything but straightforward.

Ups and Downs of a Founder

EL first conceived of a blockchain-based crowdfunding platform in 2021. But as financial markets declined, he decided to pause the idea. Over the next two years he attempted several business ideas and joined competitions, many of which failed to get off the ground.

Theo and I experienced similar trials as EL. We worked late nights and weekends on our startup ideas while maintaining full-time jobs. We even put in two to three side-hustles to make ends meet as our businesses had yet to bear fruit. 

Finally in 2023, DAOCre-8 came to life.

The BLOKC, a business incubator of Web3 talents, separately invited the three of us to join a chat group for Solana Hyperdrive. EL scanned the group for familiar names and reached out to Theo and I.

Up to that time, neither of us had worked together. I had briefly encountered EL through the various blockchain events I attended in Metro Manila.

Call it luck or destiny but the three of us got together.

Within 45 days, DAOCre-8 had gone from idea to a demo site. Creators may now sign-up to the waitlist.

Consistency and Maturity

The DAOCre-8 team attributes its win to consistency and maturity.

We originally consisted of 4 co-founders but one co-founder had to back out due to schedule constraints. Despite this, we continued our journey. 

DAOCre-8 also maximized every session available from our mentors at The BLOKC, a local blockchain incubator and education group.

We attended all the learning sessions and accepted feedback to better our project pitch and story. We also had several mock presentations with The BLOKC.

Beyond The BLOKC, we used our learnings from previous ventures. 

We conducted regular stand-ups (meetings) and assigned clear deliverables to each member. Communication was key. We also had empathy and understanding for each team member.

Unlike many startups, two of the three co-founders were married fathers. We were juggling between DAOCre-8,  full-time jobs, side hustles, and fatherhood. 

I built most of the project from the hospital, while waiting for my newborn baby to be delivered. If anything, family can power you through those sleepless nights. 

A Win for All Filipinos

The DAOCre-8 team wants to prove that Philippine talent can compete on the global stage. 

Filipinos can often be seen as cheap outsourced talent. International companies will offer below market rates – at least compared to their respective domestic rates – to local workers. The Web3 and tech scene offer opportunities to prove otherwise.

Filipinos can learn from the numerous resources online and through organizations such as The BLOKC. In addition, online platforms allow professionals to network with one another. As long as one is willing to put in the time, new skills can be gained.

Technology companies also operate beyond the boundaries of traditional local corporations. A worker based in the country can be hired by a large international Web3 organization and be compensated at foreign rates.

These opportunities were limited a decade ago. Now, we encourage young Filipinos to take advantage.

Looking Ahead

DAOCre-8 will use the funding to build our platform and secure partnerships. The startup invites creators and communities to partner with us. By first quarter 2024, DAOCre-8 will be made available to select creators for closed testing.

The startup aims to make creator-driven projects come to life with our platform. Sufficient funding and support can be difficult to come by. At the same time, not all big ideas come to life. DAOCre-8 achieves this balance through Web3 governance via milestone-based funding and community-led voting – AL with the aim to pioneer a DAO-Powered Renaissance.