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The DAO Contract: The Identity and Basis of Your Organization

In this section, you will learn about the core functionality of every Aragon OSx DAO.

The DAO contract is the identity and basis of your organization. It is the address carrying the DAO’s ENS name, metadata, and holding the funds. Furthermore, it has six base functionalities being commonly found in other DAO frameworks in the ecosystem.

1. Execution of Arbitrary Actions

The most important and basic functionality of your DAO is the execution of arbitrary actions, which allows you to execute the DAO's own functions as well as interacting with the rest of the world, i.e., calling methods in other contracts and sending assets to other addresses.


Typically, actions are scheduled in a proposal in a governance plugin installed to your DAO.

Multiple Action structs can be put into one Action[] array and executed in a single transaction via the execute function. To learn more about actions and advanced features of the DAO executor, visit the A Deep Dive Into Actions section.

2. Asset Management

The DAO provides basic asset management functionality to deposit, withdraw, and keep track of

tokens in the treasury. In the future, more advanced asset management and finance functionality can be added to your DAO in the form of plugins.

3. Upgradeability

Your DAO contract has the ability to be upgraded to a newer version (see Upgrade your DAO) if a new version of Aragon OSx is released in the future. These upgrades allow your DAO to smoothly transition to a new protocol version unlocking new features.

4. Callback Handling

To interact with the DAO, external contracts might require certain callback functions to be present. Examples are the onERC721Received and onERC1155Received / onERC1155BatchReceived functions required by the ERC-721 (NFT Standard) and ERC-1155 (Multi Token Standard) tokens. Our CallbackHandler allows to register the required callback responses dynamically so that the DAO contract does not need to be upgraded.

5. Signature Validation

Currently, externally owned accounts (EOAs) can sign messages with their associated private keys, but contracts cannot. An exemplary use case is a decentralized exchange with an off-chain order book, where buy/sell orders are signed messages. To accept such a request, both, the external service provider and caller need to follow a standard with which the signed message of the caller can be validated.

By supporting the ERC-1271 standard, your DAO can validate signatures via its isValidSignature function that forwards the call to a signature validator contract.

6. Permission Management

Lastly, it is essential that only the right entities (e.g., the DAO itself or trusted addresses) have permission to use the above-mentioned functionalities. This is why Aragon OSx DAOs contain a flexible and battle-tested permission manager being able to assign permissions for the above functionalities to specific addresses. Although possible, the permissions to execute arbitrary actions or upgrade the DAO should not be given to EOAs as this poses a security risk to the organization if the account is compromised or acts adversarial. Instead, the permissions for the above-mentioned functionalities are better restricted to the DAO contract itself and triggered through governance plugins that you can install on your DAO.

To learn more, visit the permission manager section.

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