Can a DAO be required to indemnify other parties under a contract?

Select jurisdiction

  • Germany
  • Poland


Regarding the indemnity obligation it makes no difference, whether any of the contractual parties is a DAO or another entity. Therefore, the general rules on contract law apply. According to these principles, the indemnity obligation of the DAO primarily depends on whether an explicit indemnification clause is set out in the respective contract. If the clause is valid and binding and the DAO fulfills its requirements, it is obliged to indemnify the other party. If there are no specific contractual indemnification clauses in place, the general rules
apply. To summarize, whether a DAO is required to indemnify the other contractual party,
depends on the circumstances of the single case, in particular on the respective contractual

Zsofia Vig

Banking and Capital Markets Law (DeFi/Web3, Crypto in general, tokenized Securities)


Indemnification provisions in a contract require one party to compensate the other party for certain losses, liabilities, or damages that may arise from specific events or circumstances. Traditional legal entities, such as corporations and partnerships, can be parties to indemnification agreements and can be held liable for indemnification obligations.
However, the decentralized nature of DAOs and their lack of a centralized management structure or legal entity status can create challenges when attempting to enforce indemnification obligations against a DAO under traditional legal frameworks.

If a DAO enters into a contract containing an indemnification provision through a smart contract, the legal enforceability of the smart contract in Polish jurisdiction is not well-established. However, if a smart contract were to be recognized as legally enforceable under Polish law, the ability of the DAO to indemnify other parties under the contract would likely depend on factors such as the specific terms and conditions of the agreement and the intentions of the parties involved.

Another possibility is that individual members or participants of the DAO could be held personally liable for indemnification obligations, especially if they were directly involved in the agreement or acted in bad faith. However, holding the DAO itself liable for indemnification might be more complicated due to the unique characteristics of decentralized organizations.

Maciej Niezgoda

Intellectual Property, Data Protection, DeFi, Fintech, AML

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