Do laws regarding shareholder rights apply to a DAO?

Select jurisdiction

  • Germany
  • Italy


The legal status of DAOs is currently still largely unresolved. Therefore, it cannot be determined with certainty according to which legal principles shareholder rights can be exercised. The founders and members of a DAO decide on the respective smart contracts. Agreements going beyond this are conceivable, but untypical for DAOs. Time will tell whether German corporate law in its current form is sufficient or whether actual practice requires legislative regulation. This is in flux.

Phil Hamacher

Insolvency, Tax, Crypto, DAO


To date, there are no laws or regulations regarding the
legal status of DAOs; therefore, no specific
shareholders rights are applicable other than those
decided by the founders/members of a DAO and set
forth within the applicable smart contract.
Furthermore, it is and it will be a matter of debate and
discussion whether a DAO can be incorporated in one
or more of the legal entities types provided by the
Italian Civil Code (e.g., companies, partnerships,
associations). As of today, there are no grounds to
affirm that a DAO can be incorporated in one of the
Italian legal entities recognized by law without a new
regulation, thus not being even any ground to evaluate
whether shareholders’ rights provided by the Italian
Civil Code might be somehow applicable to DAOs.

Lydia Mendola

IP lawyer

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