Aragon is an open source, subjective governance layer built on Ethereum to enable the creation and management of organizations. The team intends to build a toolkit that any organization can use for self-organization, whether that entity is centralized, decentralized, a startup, corporation, non-profit, DAO, or beyond. Aragon’s goal is to act as a digital jurisdiction wherein individuals are enabled to organize freely, securely and transparently, with the fewest possible dependencies on legacy institutions. The Aragon network itself intends to eventually become a fully autonomous organization, where community members holding ANT tokens may vote on virtually every aspect of network functioning, from token minting mechanics to development grant funding through their Aragon Nest program. Additionally, they propose a 4 step plan to transfer as many powers and permissions held by their Estonian Foundation to the Aragon Network over time.
Aragon is in the early stages of realizing their vision. It is likely that niche, specific use cases, such as fundraising, simple payments to organization members in digital assets, and initiating simple blockchain-based votes will come online first, followed by more complex use cases later. Aragon Core v.05, a smart contract development framework, was released on March 29 2018 and codenamed “The Architect”. It is currently operational on Ethereum’s Rinkeby testnet, accessible via a user interface that connects to the Ethereum blockchain by the Metamask browser extension. AragonOS can be used independently of tokens and the organization vows that it will remain free.
Long term, Aragon intends to provide a robust and turnkey toolkit for creating and maintaining DAOs. This will include Aragon Agreements, which are put forth as a better alternative to Ethereum smart contracts by being human readable documents that are cryptographically signed. Aragon agreements will include responsibilities of each party, liabilities in the form of staked collateral, and a pre-established enforcement mechanism in the case of a dispute. They imagine eventually building a decentralized court system as the default enforcement mechanism.
Aragon launched a successful token sale in May 2017 for their ERC-20 compatible ANT token, where $24 million was raised in fifteen minutes. The project intends for ANT tokens to be managed by an algorithmic monetary policy that keeps its price relatively stable, so that ANT can be used as an ideal way to collateralize Aragon Agreements. The algorithmic monetary policy would draw from what they refer to as a “Stability Reserve” to maintain ANT at a given price target. Though Aragon does not classify their token as a stable coin, the monetary policy that they describe falls under a stablecoin category called “seigniorage shares”, named after an October 2014 Robert Sams' article, which Smith + Crown examined in a previous piece.