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DAO stands for Decentralized Autonomous Organization. It is an organization that operates through rules encoded as computer programs on a blockchain, with decisions made by consensus or voting of its members or stakeholders, rather than being controlled by a central authority or management team.

DAOs are powered by smart contracts, which are self-executing contracts with the terms of the agreement between the parties being directly written into code. This allows for trustless transactions and decision-making, as the rules and procedures are predetermined and enforced automatically.