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A cc0 deli operating under 'world's first open source brand'?

Melbourne could soon be home to Nouns Deli, if a proposal by Noun owner BeerNoogles is voted through. BeerNoggles wants to take an existing eatery and give it a complete Nouns-branded makeover. The idea is to keep the deli's current team on board and turn the concept into a franchised sandwich shop that can be easily replicated worldwide.

A quick primer on Nouns: every 24 hours, a new Nouns NFT is randomly generated and auctioned off. The first one was minted in August 2021. All auction proceeds go into a communal treasury that funds projects around the world. At time of publishing, the treasury holds ETH 28,183 (roughly USD 48 million). The Nouns DAO works both as an online community of creative people and as a funding body. It also claims to be the world's first open source brand.

Any Noun owner can contribute proposals for new projects, which are then voted on by other Nouners, with one Noun equalling one vote. Projects range from e-sports sponsorships to beach clean-ups to aid for Ukraine. Nouns Deli would be the DAO's first IRL store. Since Nouns operates under a Creative Commons Zero (cc0) license, everything created in the Nouniverse, including the proposed Nouns Deli, exists in the public domain. 

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Cynics might point out that with a barrier to entry of around USD 150K to buy a Nouns NFT, the DAO is little more than an elaborate game of Monopoly for a small group of wealthy folks. But owners can sponsor project proposals by non-owners, opening funding to a broader community. 

Further widening access, in March 2002 Nouns launched Prop House, which allows anyone with an Ethereum address — costing zero cryptos to open — to submit a proposal for funding, which token holders can then vote on. While the Nouns DAO initiated Prop House, other organizations can use the protocol to set up a house and fund ideas from within their own communities.

Public domain brands, governed and funded by the hivemind of a DAO, present novel ways of creating and capturing value. So: how do existing (pre-blockchain/old school/dinosaur) companies relate to this untethered new way of doing business? Deep-diving into a DAO is a good start. If your brand is open to new ideas from its customers, try setting up your own version of a Prop House. And — if only as a thought exercise — imagine how your brand would evolve if the world at large could freely build on, enhance and reuse it however they saw fit.