How to choose the right blockchain for your DAO

We'll explore the blockchains available in the Aragon App and describe the pros and cons of each.

What is a blockchain?

A blockchain is a distributed ledger that anyone in the world can write on, but no one can alter the previous records of. Think of it like an immutable spreadsheet. You’ll use a blockchain to record votes, execute decisions, make transactions, and even build applications.

Blockchains are secure and universally-verifiable, meaning anyone can read what they say. However, once something is implemented, it cannot be reverted. This makes blockchains great for storing the results of a vote or sending monetary transactions, but not great for personal information or executing actions that might need to be reverted.

Why does my DAO need to be on a blockchain?

DAOs are organizations run with smart contracts on a public blockchain. DAOs vote onchain, meaning they sign and record votes on the blockchain. They also use cryptocurrencies to participate in governance, distribute ownership, send and withdraw funds, and more. Cryptocurrencies exist on the blockchain and require onchain actions, such as signing transactions, to be moved.

Being deployed on a blockchain is a key feature of what makes an organization a DAO.
A DAO can’t be decentralized or autonomous until it’s onchain.

Comparing the blockchain options for your DAO

There are four blockchain options in the Aragon App:

  • Ethereum
  • Polygon
  • Arbitrum
  • Base

Ethereum blockchain

Ethereum is an L1 (layer 1) open-source, distributed computing network that enables the creation of decentralized applications (dApps).

Some advantages of deploying on Ethereum include:

  • High security.
  • More reliability in transactions (fewer unexpected errors than other chains).

However, there are some drawbacks:

  • More expensive transactions than other chains (because it's so popular, there's a high volume of transactions).
  • Slower transactions

Layer 2s

Layer 2 blockchains are secondary blockchains built on top of another one. Layer 2s help the main blockchain scale, because they move some of the transactions onto their network.

There are multiple Layer 2s available on the App: Polygon, Arbitrum, and Base. Layer 2s are great options for saving gas fees, because they are all significantly cheaper than Ethereum Layer 1.

Keep in mind that if you choose a Layer 2 network for deploying your DAO, all your assets (minted token, treasury vault, etc.) are stored on that network.

Polygon blockchain

Polygon is a blockchain scalability platform that runs in parallel to the Ethereum Blockchain as an L2 (layer 2).

There are many advantages of using Polygon, including:

  • Very low cost transactions. Deploying a DAO costs about 50 cents, and creating a proposal and voting is one cent or less.
  • Fast transactions. Deploying a DAO creates just seconds, and creating a proposal and voting is even faster.

Arbitrum Blockchain

Arbitrum is the most popular Layer 2 blockchain in the web3 ecosystem today. It has low-cost transactions, fast transaction speeds, and inherits the security of Ethereum. It's also fully EVM-compatible, making it easy for developers to use.

Benefits include:

  • Low-cost transactions
  • Faster transactions
  • Inherits the security of Ethereum

Base blockchain

Base is an Ethereum Layer 2 (L2) network, incubated by Coinbase. It offers a secure, low-cost, and developer-friendly platform to build onchain. It’s built on the open-source OP Stack, making it interoperable with the broader ecosystem.

Some advantages include:

  • Low-cost transactions
  • Secure and interoperable platform built on the popular OP (Optimism) stack

Mainnet or Testnet?

When choosing your blockchain in the Aragon App, you can also decide between mainnet and testnet.

A Mainnet blockchain is a live blockchain that you can use to send and receive cryptocurrency transactions or any other kind of digital data (for example, run a DAO or a decentralized application). Each executed transaction on Mainnet involves gas fees.

In contrast, a testnet is a network with the same functionalities as a mainnet, but used for testing purposes. On this blockchain, the transaction fees are paid with fake coins that are claimable for free. Think of a testnet as a safe sandbox for trying new things.

Each mainnet chain comes with various testnets, so it’s best practice to use the corresponding testnet with the mainnet you plan to deploy on. For example, you could test your DAO on the Sepolia network, then deploy the main DAO on Ethereum.

Which chain is best for my DAO?

The chain you choose depends on the needs of your DAO!

If you have a large treasury of assets stored on the Ethereum blockchain, you may want to deploy your DAO on Ethereum. However, Polygon, Arbitrum, or Base's low cost and fast transactions can make it easier for members to vote and participate in your DAO without cost being a prohibiting factor. You can also deploy multiple DAOs on multiple chains that each do different things for your organization, such as having your treasury in an Ethereum DAO and holding votes in a Polygon or Base DAO.

Start building your DAO today

Get started building your DAO today by opening the Aragon App! You can always test different DAOs on different chains to see what works best for you. Or, read this guide on how to build a DAO on the Aragon App.

Discover the Aragon App, the no-code way to build your DAO.
Get help starting your DAO from a DAO Expert.
Stay up to date with our weekly newsletter.

Explore more guides

Need Help? Find an Expert
Hire the DAO expertise you need and connect with DAO experts to build your DAO, your way.