Some quick questions and thoughts about Guilds which hopefully guide discussions around how to support them and quantify their members.
What is a “guild” anyway? Core question. Is it a community backed by a DAO or just a community? Well… let’s pop up a level.
Goal: The high level goal of Guilds is to provide a way to support, organize and mobilize communities of people on NEAR. These people should be linked to NEAR via an on-chain account but otherwise things are pretty flexible.
Success: Guilds are successful if their members are successful. The goal of any project that supports guilds (eg Astro via providing ways to DAO-back a community) should be to make those communities as successful as possible. A successful community attracts new members, so the growth in the number of people affiliated with Guilds should be the core metric to track (at least to start).
Onboarding: To make guilds have as many people as possible participate, it should be as easy as possible to discover and join one (these steps are distinct). The goal is how few steps can a user take to be considered a member of a guild? As with all onboardings, the ideal is probably to give users multiple levels of interaction, each with its own incentives and rewards such that they are guided into a very simple initial onboarding and incentivized to uplevel engagement. In this case, maybe they can “join” the guild by lurking in their Discord but aren’t considered a true “member” until they have set up and linked a NEAR account with the Guild via an on-chain mapping.
DAOs: Some Guilds will be DAO-backed, for example those which want to pay each other or participate in incentive programs provided by the NF and other entities to motivate their behavior (eg referral programs for hackathon winners or grant-receiving projects). The introduction of money means Guilds need to follow a compliant playbook, for example using the right legal structures, registering, doing KYC etc as necessary to back up their activities.
Identifying Guilds + Members: How do you know if someone joined a Guild? How do you know it’s a Guild? Well, the easiest way is if it’s a DAO-backed Guild and we see how many people are in that DAO. But there could be a successful community with 1M members with NEAR accounts who regularly use NEAR apps but where only 1k of them vote or receive tokens. A Guild could, instead of using a DAO, simply be an NFT-gated Discord access. If you squint, the measure of “is this Guild full of lots of really active, happy NEAR-using members?” is just how many active NEAR accounts we can map to “joining” that guild. So really what we need is a way to:
- Identify that a “Guild” is actually a “Guild” on-chain. Somewhere there needs to be a standard and/or mapping where Guilds register and are recorded. This happens by default when they’re DAO-backed via Astro (presumably) but non-DAO-backed Guilds should also be able to identify/register themselves.
- Identify how many members are voluntarily linked to that Guild. Their NEAR account should have a linking to the core Guild contract. This is more than how many people vote in a DAO, though. It should be everyone who opts in to membership with that Guild. This gets more complex with NFT-identifying Guilds but there are contracts that can be intermediaries and keep track of how many accounts hold those NFTs if needed.
All of this should be backstopping the core onboarding flow, which of course should optimize for helping people find themselves lovingly embraced by these Guilds first and foremost and not force them to do too much too quickly.