Types of communities within the NEAR Ecosystem

Business model, governance models and all that fun stuff

Shreyas Narayanan
8 min readJun 21, 2021

If you’re into tech twitter or following tech updates closely, you’ve probably seen signs of communities becoming mainstream- from VC’s investing in community- first companies to the entire tech world going gaga over creator communities and economy.

Governance is something that’s key component of communities. I’ve been part of online communities for a fairly long time. Now that I think about it, some forum based communities had some level of decentralized governance structures in place.

An online community forum usually had the admin at the helm, but the different categories were usually run by super moderators and moderators. As the name suggests, admins usually handled decisions that impacted all the community members, while the super moderators usually ran the sub categories. A moderator was often a power user who could potentially grow into the super moderator role. I still remember how I felt the first time that I was promoted to be a super moderator in an online community with a lot of users.

Me at parties

Really makes you think- why does community governance work when, in reality, the only person making money(through ads, sponsorships, gated access, paid awards), is the admin. None of the super mods got paid, despite them doing all the work to build their sub categories(or communities).

People crave to belonging, love to help others, like to rise through the ranks & want to be well-respected and gain status within their groups.

In my previous blog post, I had mentioned that I’d talk more about the different guild models within NEAR, where we are building an ecosystem of communities. Just to be clear, we didn’t set out to create these models and enforce it upon the community. These have naturally emerged from these communities. If we’ve spoken about NEAR Guilds and the structure, you’ve probably seen me use the analogy of water- “It’s whatever you want it to be. It takes the shape of the container you fill it in”.Come and help us figure out what form and shape it takes in your community.

Examples of different types of communities, structures and business/sustainability models

4NTS Guild

Led by the famous Ozymandius, 4NTS Guild was one of our very first guilds within the NEAR ecosystem. Ozy reached out to become part of the NEAR guilds program when we had first launched it as an idea.

4NTS Guild is now a registered LLC in the US with employees, contractors & contributors from all over the world.

It’s incredible to see how much they’ve grown over the last couple of months. They have been leading initiatives like NEAR Without the Noise, Humans of NEAR and are working on many more projects across the ecosystem.

They have also been incubating guilds on a regular basis- the 4NTS Guild recently launched not 1, not 2, but 7 new guilds!

Image Credits: 4NTS

Why is it unique?

4NTS Guild has a fairly centralized structure with Ozy as the leader. Ozy decides the strategy with his team, based on what’s most impactful for the ecosystem. He coordinates all the efforts within 4NTS, including content, strategy, and onboarding initiatives. This structure works great for them as a community and they’ve been growing and doing amazing things in the community.

4NTS not only works with the NEAR Core, but also acts as a service layer for other projects building on top of NEAR. This growth is super fascinating to me as this allows the community to be able to set up a business plan by offering services to these teams in return for a fee. By virtue of having built their credibility over the last couple of months, they are now best equipped to be of service small and upcoming teams building on NEAR with community and marketing services, because very often, these teams are usually really small with a couple of devs working on the product with little to no idea on community building, content or marketing. Community sustainability and business plan!

We work really closely with the community. The lines between NEAR core community squad and the community are blurry. We have community calls, discuss project and strategy ideas and more with the community.

I had also requested one of our community members be a part of my performance review at NEAR. This, to me, is really important because as part of the community team at a Web3 organization, our work revolves around making this community better and, ultimately, we’re accountable to our community.

If you’ve implemented this in some form within your organization where you’ve set up accountability systems within the community, I’d love to talk to you and get your insights.

Createbase Guild

The Createbase Guild started to take shape, primarily due to the efforts from the folks at Mintbase and the converations with creators. The community showed early signs around NFTs and sparked discussions about the creator economy. This was way before things became “mainstream” with Beeple selling an NFT for $69 Million. I personally think that NFTs and the whole creator economy would still have become mainstream, even without the whole Beeple/Metakovan thing. Did it accelerate the growth in any way? Maybe. But that’s a different conversation. Createbase is a success story within the NEAR ecosystem. But you already know the thing about Rome being built in a day.

Createbase Community Calls

Why is it unique?

I’d attribute the success of Createbase to team that built it and the community that runs it. From the folks at Mintbase supporting it, to the amazing handraisers from the community- Chloe and Lenara, who stepped up to run this, set up processes and hand hold every single community members through these “non-scalable” interactions. Createbase ran a hackathon to onboard new creative folks into the community. They also have the on-chain Createbase DAO, which is used to disseminate funds towards community initiatives and projects. The DAO Council members decide which projects to fund and which initiatives to support.

The Createbase guild has also “given birth” to more guids like the Music Guild, VR Guild etc. that sprung up from within this one community and they’re moving towards being more independent, thanks to the structures and processes that Createbase had created.

I think DAOs are pretty unique and the ability to run a governance structure on-chain that operates in full transparency, is pretty incredible. Createbase can have their own token in the future and explore so many different possbilities with creators- gated access, royalty fee split with creators, equity fee for startups that grow from the community, and so much more. I think Web3 really enables a lot of this innovation.

Human Guild

Wealth is often considered, or maybe thought of, as a zero-sum game. People often talk about the pie🥧. If you have more of it, it mean’s that someone else has less. But that’s absolutely not the case. The pie can and should get bigger. We need multiple pies!

This is where I’d like to introduce to you to the Human Guild- a guild that’s focussed on helping you earn!

Image credits: From the Human Guilds website

Why is it unique?

Aside from the mission to increase the number of earners across the ecosystem, they also have a DAO to help people with funding for their interesting project ideas, specifically around growth, aptly name, YOLO DAO🤯.

1000 earners across the ecosystem and growing that to over 5000+ by the end of the this year! Let that sink in.

From people earning a living in Russia using NEARCrowd to artists selling their digital art on Paras making over five figures, it’s incredible to see how many people we’re able to support.

Human Guild is run by Vlad and Sasha. They are planning to focus on couple of verticals and involve the community in leading these verticals. On one side, they help projects in this space with adoption and on the other, they help earners from all over the world to earn within the NEAR ecosystem. Win-Win?🤝


NEAR Russia was a community led initiative spearheaded by Vadim. The community really grew organically to over 2300+ members. It really helped that a bunch of NEAR core members spoke Russian and are active in the community. They primarily use Telegram for their community.

The NEAR RU guild has gotten us new projects, developers, and more into the ecosystem.

If you’re familiar with crypto communities, I’d say this is one of the common types of regional communities that you’ve seen before where a bunch of contributors, token holders, and generally people who are interested in a project, and speak a common language, come together on a Telegram group, to interact with others. We have regional communities around the world including China, Vietnam, Korea, Australia, India and many more and they all operate pretty differently.

So, what’s the tl;dr

All of this to say that there isn’t a one size fits all for communities..surprise surprise! Web 3 tech unlocks a lot of possibilities, helps people get involved to work on projects in the open, and get rewarded for it. No need of fancy degrees from CS or business schools, no need to have FAANG company experience or investments funds, nothing! Come in with a curious mind.

As part of the community team, I’m extremely excited to be able to speak with our community members from very different backgrounds, learn from them, and see what’s possible. I hope to be able to share more of this with you all.

To think of the fact that electricity⚡️, transferred into bits and bytes on our computers💻, helps us communicate with people from halfway across the world🌐, to form connections🫂, and most importantly, add and transfer value💸 that improves their life in some way..is truly amazing.✨

Bonus: Participants at our party last week

I’m hoping to write more starting now. Yeah, I know it’s a weird time to start a writing resolution, but hey, if you’d like to tag along in this journey of learning and working openly, smash that like button, subscribe to my cha..oh wait..nevermind. Just follow or something. If you have any feedback or want to learn about something specific, tweet me @dun3buggi3.



Shreyas Narayanan

All things open | Community 🧙 @NEARProtocol | 👨‍🏫 @mozilla | ❤️ Startups | Remote work 🌐 | Blockchain ⛓| Technology 👨‍💻