Crypto-Based Startup Golf Club LinksDAO Just Raised $ 11 Million

LinksDAO aims to shake up the traditional concept of the country club.

DAO Links

Psst! Want to join a one-of-a-kind private golf club?

Mike Dudas is one of those who would love to have you.

It can promise you fraternity and friendly competitions, without any tedious application process: no cocktail control; no questions by membership committees; you don’t even have to pay an initiation fee – not in dollars, anyway.

There is a caveat, however, and it could be a deciding factor, depending on your patience and tolerance for risk.

What Dudas and his cohort cannot guarantee is that the club will one day have a course you can play.

“It’s a great experience,” he says.

Dudas, 42, is originally from Connecticut and graduated from Stanford. He grew up playing golf and now lives in Manhattan, an entrepreneur with a handful of start-ups under his belt. He’s also a driving force behind LinksDAO, a virtual community that aims to shake things up in the real world by reimagining the country club. At the heart of LinksDAO’s plans, as shown on several online platforms, is to buy a Top 100 caliber course and transform it into a modern golf and leisure club: a playground for “a global community of thousands of enthusiasts”.

This crowdfunded purchase would be made with cryptocurrency.

Whatever your gut reaction to this concept – excitement, rolling your eyes, something in between – you probably have questions.

Where, for example, would this course be located? When would the club open? How much would it cost to join?

A “community of thousands” is a lot of golfers. How would the departure times be allocated?

What about other aspects of day-to-day operations?

Would staff derive their salaries in crypto?

Would you need to pay bitcoin for a hot dog on the turn?

And on.

Dudas can answer some of these questions, and he’s candid about the ones he can’t.

If all goes according to his hopes and expectations, he says LinksDAO will acquire a course by mid-2022 and open it for play by the end of the year, possibly early 2023. Although the The exact location has yet to be determined, with early indications pointing to areas around New York or Miami.

It could change.

“There are obviously still a lot of uncertainties,” says Dudas (above). “But that’s how start-ups work.”

Mike Dudas

As for other vagaries around the concept, some clarity can be found in the term DAO itself, which sounds like Confucian philosophy but is not. It represents a decentralized autonomous organization: a governing body without top-down management. Rather, decisions are community-based and made on the blockchain, a secure database for recording transactions that protects the details of those actions for everyone but the parties involved.

If you are of a certain age or have an analog mentality, the previous paragraph may have left you spinning. But the bottom line is this: All key decisions about the club – from its location and prices to its day-to-day operations – will be made by members of the community.

“There are obviously still a lot of uncertainties,” says Dudas. “But that’s how startups work. People usually don’t know about so many details so early on. “

None of the questions surrounding LinksDAO have done much to dampen the enthusiasm for it. While not the only crypto-based golf club concept currently floating in the ether – The Token Farm and the Good Miss Golf Club are among others testing similar terrain – it appears to be the more advanced.

Last weekend, shortly after the bullet dropped in Times Square, LinksDAO performed an NFT drop (an NFT is a non-fungible token, a unit of data, often an image, which also serves as a certificate of ownership. or membership). In just over 24 hours, over 9,000 NFTs were ripped off, generating the approximate equivalent of $ 11 million in Ethereum cryptocurrency. (Although the original bundle is sold out, NFTs can still be purchased in the secondary market).

LinksDAO sold over 9,000 NFTs in its initial offering, generating the approximate equivalent of $ 11 million in Ethereum cryptocurrency.

Ownership of an NFT LinksDAO does not constitute golf club membership that the community hopes to establish. But that gets you into DAO and gives you the right to buy a subscription down the line.

Money raised from sales of NFT will also not be used to purchase a course. It will be used instead to fund other DAO operations, including course research, acquisition planning, marketing, legal compliance, community development and more.

Dudas concedes that there is still some way to go.

But LinksDAO, he notes, has already made rapid progress.

Dudas started thinking about the details of the plan only about three weeks ago, shortly after posting the idea on Twitter. It was inspired, in part, by another crypto-real world convergence called Flyfish Club, a private dining club concept in New York City that sells subscriptions through NFTs. But Dudas says his thinking around LinksDAO also grew out of his aversion to the heaviness and restrictions of traditional country clubs: exclusive memberships, strict customs.

“As a kid, it was my least favorite part of golf,” he says.

Much of the momentum behind LinksDAO, he believes, is fueled by people who feel the same way.

We have clear-headed people who are skeptical and very determined to grapple with difficult questions.

Mike Dudas

Over the past few weeks, Dudas and others involved in the cause have held virtual town halls to answer questions and debate ideas. Conversations have at times looked like sophisticated technical discussions and at others like naively utopian gossip, mixed with abstract mentions of equality and community, but shedding light on the details of how things might work when this community is faced with thorny choices or congregates in the flesh.

You don’t have to be cynical to imagine that a private club made up of thousands of golfers and crypto-demons from all over the world could look less like a laid-back National Golf Links and more like a Lord of the Flies members-only. .

Dudas is not blind to the challenges ahead.

“We understand that it won’t work out of pure utopian belief,” he says. “Fortunately, we have clear-headed, skeptical, and very committed people to grapple with difficult issues. We’ll see how it goes.

Meanwhile, the LinksDAO community continues to grow, with plans underway for fantastic golf leagues, virtual tournaments and other digital offerings as the quest to acquire a course continues.

As with anything crypto, you can get involved with just a few mouse clicks or sit back and watch it unfold on your screen.

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A golf, food and travel writer Josh Sens has been a contributor to GOLF Magazine since 2004 and now contributes across all GOLF platforms. His work has been featured in an anthology in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We having Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.

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