Can DAOs own property?

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  • Germany


Generally, a DAO can own property if it fulfills two basic requirements. On the one hand, the
DAO must be able to be subject to civil law obligations and to exercise civil law rights. On the
other hand, it must be registrable with the Land Registry (Grundbuch). These requirements
basically overlap to some extent, however, under certain circumstances they may need to be
assessed separately.

The first requirement is fulfilled if the DAO can be regarded as a legal entity under civil law.
This depends on the structure of the respective DAO, mainly on the relationship between its
members. According to German law, a DAO may qualify as a company, in particular as a civil
law partnership (Gesellschaft bürgerlichen Rechts – GbR) or under certain circumstances as
a general partnership (offene Handelsgesellschaft – OHG). In current legal practice, other legal forms are rather unlikely to be relevant for DAOs. 

Regarding the registration with the Land Registry, the DAO must be compliant with the Land
Registration Code Implementing Regulation (Verordnung zur Durchführung der Grundbuchordnung – GBV). This is in particular the case if the DAO qualifies as a company,
e. g. as a GbR or an OHG, as companies can explicitly be registered with the Land Registry
(see § 15 GBV). 

As far as one of these requirements is not fulfilled, only the members of the DAO can own

Zsofia Vig

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

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