Since beginning its token sale effort on April 30, 2016, the Ethereum DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) has become the world's most successful crowdfunding project, and with nearly two weeks left until the token sale window permanently closes. The DAO is a revolutionary new organizational structure run entirely in the cloud by software based on blockchain technology and smart contracts. Existing across the distributed, decentralized network that is the Ethereum blockchain, the DAO exists both nowhere and everywhere at the same time, disregarding national borders, taxing authorities and state regulators. (For more, see: Is Ethereum More Important Than Bitcoin?)

The Most Successful Crowdfunded Project to Date

Funded entirely by Ether (ETH), the internal digital currency of the Ethereum blockchain, the project has already attracted nearly 11 million ETH. At a current exchange rate of of $12.15 per ETH, that makes the total funds raised equivalent to more than $133,500,000. The previous record holder for this spot was the kickstarter-backed video game "Star Citizen," which has raised just over $113.7 million. Third on the list is Elio Motors, which plans to produce compact electric vehicles with $25.6 million, and fourth is the Pebble smartwatch, having raised just over $20 million. (For more, see also: Crowdfunding Is Changing Financing For Tech Startups.)

The Decentralized Autonomous Organization

Owned entirely by tokenholders (akin to shareholders in a publicly traded company), the DAO has no managers, offices or employees. Rather, the tokenholders can issue forth proposals that are then voted on by the other tokenholders (1 token = 1 vote) in a democratic fashion. Current proposals include a decentralized peer-to-peer method to rent and borrow anything from a rental property to a sharable, driverless electric car. The DAO in its current form can be thought of as a democratized investment fund with which to fund various projects, the profits of which will be distributed via dividends pro rata to tokenholders. (For related reading, see: Why the DAO Ethereum Is Revolutionary.)

The Bottom Line

Blockchain technology and the promise of a purely democratic, decentralized organization is not only a reality, but a well-funded one. Having raised over $133 million, and with almost two weeks left with which to raise funds, it is the largest crowdfunded project ever. This speaks to the perceived value of this technology as being disruptive and revolutionary in the way organizations are formed and do business.

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