NEAR Digital Collective (NDC) Preamble - DRAFT

NEAR Digital Collective (NDC) Preamble

Since the launch of the NEAR MainNet nearly two years ago, our Ecosystem has collaborated, endeavored, and experimented with several iterations of governance processes and DAOs. With the advent of Sputnik, the community found the opportunity to experiment with self-governance and treasury management. As with every experiment, we learned much about transparency, accountability, coordination, and collective impact.

As we continued iterating during this exploratory phase, the NEAR community asked for further transparency and greater control of self-governance, which naturally meant having the ability to start managing the ecosystem treasury independently.

The mission of the NEAR Foundation is to empower a thriving ecosystem with self-sufficiency through decentralizing core functions to collectives that have sustainable mandates over time.

The NEAR Digital Collective (NDC) is proposing to take the next step in the decentralization exercise by creating and implementing ecosystem-wide:

  • NEAR Constitution
  • Governance Framework
  • On-Chain Voting & Proof of Humanity
  • Legal Framework
  • Guidelines for Community Engagement
  • Treasury Management

The NDC transitions aspects of the community infrastructure from purely DAO verticals to an overarching governance model that oversees and shepherds the growth and sustainability of the ecosystem. This will create a model for future initiatives and empower a community-governed ecosystem over time.

The NDC will be in complete alignment with the mission of NEAR:

“To empower people to manage their assets, data, and the power of governance.”


The NEAR Digital Collective’s (NDC) mission is to decentralize the process of funding, growth, and sustainability of the NEAR ecosystem through the “power of on-chain governance” by establishing an ecosystem-wide governance structure that facilitates transparency and accountability amongst stakeholders


The NEAR Community constitution is a set of community principles that govern the conduct, membership, and participation in community driven initiatives.

  • Transparency and Trust - Holding ourselves to the highest of standards
  • Collaboration over competition and a shared purpose for common good
  • Shared sense of belonging and where everyone feels welcome
  • Equitable access to resources and opportunities
  • Encouraging action-driven participation
  • Civil and inclusive communication
  • Rewarding impact over influence
  • Incentive Alignment

Governance Framework

The governance structure and framework of the NEAR community will document, implement and enforce the Community Manifesto, the roles and responsibilities of each branch, stakeholder, and collective that unilaterally operate and govern all community-driven governance initiatives. It comprises boards, voting bodies, an operations branch, and trustees. A judicial branch can be operationalized when deemed necessary by the community.

House of Merit

Most impactful and notable community members act as representatives.

  • Public applications and discussions
  • Voting for candidates by existing members with public results
  • Ability to remove operations leaders via voting
  • Veto power over the other branches in extreme circumstances
  • A board that advises the executive branch
  • Allocates budget from the treasury
  • Focuses on the long-term ecosystem development
  • Members of the Operations branch are excluded from membership, they have a clear separation of powers and responsibilities

House of Stake

Open Ecosystem Participation (Every NEAR Account)

  • HOS members will be elected by democratic elections
  • Any NEAR wallet address can participate and propose a referendum
  • Quadratic voting is based on the root square of your stake
  • Larger referendums to overturn executive orders or merits
  • On-chain voting mechanisms
  • Members of the executive branch are excluded from membership, they have a clear separation of powers and responsibilities

Operations Branch (may be renamed)

Leader and stewards appointed for efficient decision-making elected by the

  • Individuals appointed as stewards for each ecosystem’s vertical
  • Facilitates support for Public Goods
  • Economic planning and prioritization for organic growth
  • Maintaining oversight over NDC operations
  • Coordinating governance and streamlining the process
  • Ensuring the funding process is optimal
  • Ensuring the proposal process is clearly defined
  • Aligning stakeholders around responsibilities


  • Has a Board of Trustees
  • Acts as custodian of funds
  • Empowers branches to deploy funds
  • Services specific needs of the ecosystem
  • Democratically governed fund of funds
  • Timely allocation of resources

1 single question. Isn’t this the centralisation of the community?


Thanks for the clarifying question. No, the NEAR Foundation will continue in its role for the foreseeable future. This is likely the first of several additional decentralization initiatives at a broader level. So as the preamble states, it is further decentralization.

This is not the community’s first foray into decentralization, as we have had experiments and experience with guilds and DAOs. The NDC is another step in the decentralization process, where we use our obtained collective knowledge to create a constitution, governance framework, and treasury management model that can be used in multiple endeavors throughout the ecosystem.


Thank you for putting this down on paper. This is a very helpful in understanding the NDC. I will just jog down some top-of-the-mind thoughts.

NEAR Constitution
The constitution is the governance framework that defines the roles and how various governance bodies related to each other, as well as basic rules and principles of operation. So the governance framework defined here has many parts of the constitution.

The governance structure and framework of the NEAR community will document, implement and enforce the Community Manifesto 3, the roles and responsibilities of each branch, stakeholder, and collective that unilaterally operate and govern all community-driven governance initiatives. It comprises boards, voting bodies, an operations branch, and trustees. A judicial branch can be operationalized when deemed necessary by the community.

No constitution is a complete codified set of rules and procedures, and some constitutions are less codified than others. This is what the bylaws are for, and the following is basically what’s usually included in bylaws.

A a set of community principles that govern the conduct, membership, and participation in community driven initiatives.

House of Stake
This mentions onchain voting which is a direct referendum. In a direct referendum, there’s no need for electoral members. If this house has representatives or delegates, then it is a delegated democracy. We need to decide on the type of democracy (is it direct or delegated?) and how onchain voting can play a role in it.

If we are using a referendum system (direct onchain voting), we need to determine which system has the final vote. Referendum and delegation cannot have the same weight if they vote differently. We can give the referendum the opportunity to overrule a delegated body, but we cannot have the two have the same weight on the same vote. There has to be one controlling vote. Delegates bring deep interest, expertise, and attention more than referendum. If we are going to use a referendum system, then we need to figure out a rock bottom quorum because most people in a referendum system will not pay attention or participate in votes, or the referendum could end up being controlled by large interest groups. The strongest interest groups will vote and take over, and can create a plutocracy in the worst case scenario. The ancient Greeks tried direct democracy and some said their civic duties were quite burdensome based on historic texts. However, it is possible to have something like a referendum to overturn delegated votes which can work for issues that can turn out the votes.

House of Merit
This house looks like a delegated representation. This looks like the upper chamber.

Operations Branch
If this is the executive branch, I suggest there are roles in executive and legislative bodies that are complimentary in such way that there can be checks and balances. Typically, the role of the executive branch is to apply the rules to carry out for certain outcomes. Most executive branches draft the budget documents, and the legislative body votes on the budgets. The executive branch can also delegate some of the rule making to legislative branch. In this case, a legislative can set up committees to make certain rules (think committee on special investigations).

No questions here.

On the Constitution’s Pitfalls
Some of the real problem in most constitution is what happens when bodies disagree and the dispute resolution is what can put democracy into gridlocks and unable to move forward. In the US, the executive and legislative can take each other to court and the judicial branch looks at the constitution and statutes, and decides who has the authority to make the rules. In other countries, the court can issue advisory opinions or advisory rulings which can advise the these bodies on how to resolve disputes.

Just putting some thoughts here. Thanks again for putting this together and really appreciate the outline in understanding NDC. :slight_smile:


Everything looks great :raised_hands: Let’s start implementation.

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Great preamble @blaze i enjoy reading your post :joy: cause am new to most constitutional grammar as I’ve just fluid intelligence of this and am really learning a lot .
I love the concept and anticipate the product of this wonderful initiative while I worked hand in hand with my colleagues on community guidelines

It’s weekend!! Do have a wonderful day guys


Thanks for drafting this. My comments below are related to the overall preamble, but also apply to derivative documents like the Constitution, Governance Framework, Legal docs, etc.

Almost everything I’ve seen outlined in these documents so far has been how the NDC might run internally, which is great.

Additionally, especially given the current moment of emerging regulation, I believe it is important for the NDC to establish and make very clear to community participant–from the beginning–a fundamental position on whether or not it intends to integrate and comply with existing and emerging regulation.

For example, if the NDC were to take the position that it intends to comply with sovereign nation laws/regulations (which is personally my view), stating as much at a foundational level would establish a sense of safety and clarity that–from a systematic level–gives builders conviction that their project will be established in a community that will promote good actors and hold bad actors accountable. Said another way, stating that the NDC intends to comply with emerging regulations establishes a baseline of trust, and encourages builders to also trust and respect regulators.

If, however, the NDC decides that it intends to not promote or comply with emerging regulations–or at least that it may pick and choose at any given moment which regulations from which countries it intends to follow–it establishes a baseline of uncertainty and distrust (a distrust in the NEAR ecosystem and a distrust in sovereign governments) that will be challenging for many legitimate actors and those new to Web 3 to have confidence that they can build their project on a strong, legally sound foundation.

Emerging regulations are of course still highly variable, uncertain and challenging to predict, and that each nation will likely vary in its regulation. That said, I believe that clearly and unapologetically stating an intention to respect and comply with regulations establishes a position of good faith and collaboration with laws of sovereign nations. Promoting compliance with regulation would also provide a sense of security for community members, clarify the NDC’s position on regulation, and empower community members to promote and enforce a specific posture towards regulation that is in alignment with other actors, some of whom may have high-risk, systematic exposure.

Thank you for reading and I welcome comments.


Getting to this a little late, but guess better late than never.

General Comment

I think it’s interesting that in working to build a decentralized governance system for a new open web world, that the default was to go to the governance mechanisms and artifacts we are generally familiar with - working groups, councils, representative governance, governing bodies, etc… In doing so, I wonder if it puts the entire initiative in a box - hindering us from really investigating and considering completely novel/new governance mechanisms to achieve similar or better outcomes that align more closely with the envisioned decentralized governance system.

It’s a philosophical thought - not arguing against using mechanisms that are tried/tested if all are in agreement that of the many, many types of governance in existence, that this particular form of democracy is the path forward (at least for the first iteration).

Love the propensity for action, but…

In reading the NDC overview, it states that:

Its ultimate goal is to create a cohesive structure…

Where I come from, we use the saying “form follows function”. In order not to situate things and forgo analysis to jump straight to solution space and create structures based on what we think we know, we take a deliberate approach to do some business capability modeling (or other kinds of analysis) to pinpoint an initial set of priority functions that the capability must provide. Only then do we consider how best to structure the system, ideally using a value chain perspective that cuts across functional domains vice focusing on specific functions in silo’ed verticals.

Of course, we also say “plan early, plan twice” and “plans don’t survive first contact” so guess one should consider that in terms of how much work goes into setting the stage before setting off on a path of action…

I have not been able to follow the NDC initiative as closely as I’d have liked to this point, so if this exists, please point me to it, but if this kind of business capability model (or some similar analysis) hasn’t been done to clearly depict what (not how) the NDC will provide to the community, I would suggest it would be a good place to start before before jumping into the structures/artifacts one thinks are needed to deliver whatever those things are.

Generic example of business capability modeling:

Further a business capability model can be used to produce a heat map (red, green, yellow for each capability box) that acts much like a map or blueprint in defining where we are and where we want to go.

Anyways, think it might be a useful exercise for a variety of reasons including one raised during the AMA yesterday in regards to communication/vision and overall transparency. If everyone understands what the NDC will provide, they can align with it and follow status as it starts delivering on what the model promises - ideally motivating/accelerating development on those capabilities deemed highest priority.

Operating Models

A lot of good work has been done looking at the benefits and challenges of various types of operating models that range from completely decentralized to centralized, hybrid and federated. In working towards a fully decentralized system, think it’s a good idea to pull out the nuggets of goodness in existing research:

For example, decentralization benefits to build on:

  • a relatively flat structure with alignment within pockets of expertise/easy to collaborate/build in those pockets
  • widest reach/audience to draw from for creativity/innovation, and
  • may better accommodate sub-cultural differences in orgs spread over large geographic/demographic regions.

On the challenge side:

  • need to figure out how to effectively manage the many participants (existing as well as those that come and go) involved in governance/decision-making,
  • harder to implement collaborative decisions vs centralized decisions,
  • less formal - therefore more difficult to sustain over time, requires constant, consistent enforcement of practices which is difficult to coordinate/standardize, and
  • sometimes very difficult to define responsibilities/accountabilities in a decentralized model.

Going forward, can probably avoid some mistakes and learn some lessons by taking these things into account. Again, if this has already been done - bravo. If not, should probably do the research as part of this initiative and keep the benefits/pitfalls front and center when devising the new system.


agree; in a way we are stuck reinventing the wheel. I have said it before and will say it again: either we have “native” web3 models of governance that prove themselves to be superior, or web3 fails on the governance side.

I would prefer that the NEAR blockchain was launched with a pre-designed governance model, like other chains. That is not the case, however.

Hoping people are willing to take this issue seriously and don’t quit from trying.

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@ALuhning & @frnvpr nice comments.
Since the @NDC is a community driven project everyone is accepted and welcomed to become a contributor or join to be part of the Working Group to make sure $Near is the best.
Glad you made your contribution known on-chain, you can join us and be part of us :point_down:

:wave: Join the Telegram:

:wave: Join the Discord: ( Select Your Workgroup )

For more information

:zap:NDC Onboarding Form ( Become Contributor )

:bookmark_tabs: Resources ( Get Info About NDC )

NDC Gov Forum Working Documents

Contribute to the forum discussion: About the NDC category

:globe_with_meridians: NDC Overview

Thanks, do have a nice day

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