[GUIDE] Guilds, DAOs, DAO Verticals - what does it all mean?

Bear with me if you have already been active in the community and know some of this already, but please read through this quick guide to understanding how the NEAR Community (especially through the Guilds Program) is working to disseminate funding throughout the ecosystem through our DAO Verticals.

What is a Guild and what is a DAO?

This is not a new conversation topic for many, but here’s a swift refresher for those familiar and an overview of foundational NEAR terminology for those new to the community:


Guilds drive innovation, contributions, and project development on NEAR.
Guilds are how we refer to groups of communities within NEAR which can be social in nature or business/project-oriented.

As a main form of support, the NEAR Community Fund disperses funding to the community through the Guilds and the Guilds Program. The Guilds Program houses varied and diverse groups from all over the world. While the NEAR Community Team seeks to promote greater visibility and excitement about the projects all of the Guilds are doing, not all Guilds are at the same level of development and organization. The impetus is on the Guilds themselves, and their leadership, to promote good governance, actively grow and engage their membership, and advertise their successes and learnings as decentralized bodies within NEAR.


Think of the Guild as the social collective - the individuals bonded together by shared interests and common goals, and working on projects together. The decentralized autonomous organization or DAO, on the other hand, is the mechanism used for governing and funding to help facilitate those projects. Before DAOs, Guilds used to send invoices, but now, they can send in a proposal to a DAO, which is like a multi-signature bank account. DAOs can also serve different purposes for Guilds and can be set up for specific projects or for the governance and funding of a specific Guild.

Guilds & DAOs - Building Community Together:

Both are necessary to the ecosystem and work together to achieve shared goals. Guilds and DAOs are on these missions together with DAOs standing out as the on-chain mechanisms used for greater transparency.

By October, our hope is to be able to offer the community not one, not two, but THREE different DAO governance tooling options for Guilds and other community groups, but for now, SputnikDAO v.1 is the main platform in use by DAOs to organize and manage their funding, and to promote transparent, active governance.

Now, shifting gears to a newer concept you would have seen or heard referenced, but that references a structure still very much :construction: UNDER CONSTRUCTION. :construction:

What is a DAO Vertical & why does the NEAR Community need them?

  • The NEAR Community Team is employing ways to streamline rewards for Guild contributors through Sputnik DAO and Guilds are encouraged to launch their own DAO, and to request funds from either the CommunitySquad DAO (the main vehicle for the Community Fund) or from one of the DAO Verticals.

  • DAO Verticals are governance and funding dispersal bodies made up of experts and specialists on a specific theme or project type.

  • This way the Community Fund gets distributed through the DAO Verticals to get to Guilds and DAOs pursuing projects along thematic lines. The DAO Verticals are also meant to provide hands-on support to community leaders of Guilds and DAOs looking to undertake any projects or activities that align with the DAO Vertical council’s areas of expertise.

  • This frees up the CommunitySquad DAO to focus on supporting efforts more broadly related to community-building and to empower the active decentralization of the Community Fund.

  • However, like with everything the NEAR Foundation does, before we can decentralize, we must organize. The NEAR Community Team and the CommunitySquad DAO (dispersal vehicle of the Community Fund) are tasked with first building the infrastructure of the DAO Verticals before they can be handed over to the community to manage. Therefore, NEAR Core members with the corresponding areas of expertise have been directed as part of our daily work to develop the DAO Verticals to get them operational. This involves creating the funding guidelines, governance practices, community-building efforts, and conducting regular consultations with members of the community who best fit under the thematic umbrella of the DAO Vertical to ensure projects and activities are being developed and appropriately funded.

Read on to see where the current DAO Verticals are in their establishment.

Which DAO verticals have already been formed?

  1. Creatives DAO - fully active since May/June

  2. Marketing DAO - will be fully active in August

    • Guide
    • Note: DAO Council has recently formed and is in the preliminary stages of building introductory materials similar to the Creatives DAO, and consulting with community members pursuing marketing projects to design their first budget to the CommunitySquad DAO.
  3. Education DAO - TBA [ideally September]

    • Discussions are underway with the NEAR Education Team
  4. Privacy DAO - TBA

    • Synonymous with the Cypherpunk Guild since they already contain their own funding mechanisms and grant opportunities for privacy projects, and so they operate like a DAO Vertical.
    • Fully in the hands of the community to manage with minimal oversight from the NEAR Core team, though they are currently in transition to fully using SputnikDAO for their operations and as such their proceses are still very centralized.
  5. More DAO verticals to be announced as needed based on more community feedback and consultation.

Want to learn more about funding?

:eyes: Coming next week:

Learn more about the changes being made to the Guilds Program here:

With more updates to come under the “Community > Guilds” subcategory from the Guilds Management Crew on a weekly to bi-weekly basis.

What themes or projects do you feel need more dedicated hands-on support in the ecosystem, and would be best served by their own DAO Vertical?
Please let us know in the replies!


Amazing! Part of my new Bible - incredible stuff as always, thanks @mecsbecs :tada:


Fantastic! I’ve added it into the Wiki here as well. For anyone producing (or hoarding) great content about DAOs, Guilds or more, please keep them adding to the wiki!


UPDATE: The NEAR Community Fund - Vision, Strategy and Governance post is now live! Give it a read, and comment your thoughts and questions.