Discord for NFT Communities: The Pros and Cons
by corporate trash
Discord for NFTs is a necessary evil to get started, but most in the NFT community can agree: Discord may not be the best long-term solution for NFT communities.
NFT degens know that the first thing people do is to follow the project’s Twitter account, and then join the Discord. Most projects have both of these things, but many projects don’t necessarily need both. For NFT projects with community governance, Discord channels can cause dissonance when trying to bring a community-driven idea to reality.
In most cases, Discord is a necessity when creating an NFT project. For many NFTs, though, additional platforms may be needed to properly foster community ideas and proposals.
There are pros and cons to using a Discord server as the main touchpoint for an NFT community. Let’s get into some of them here.
Discord for NFTs: The Pros
Let’s get into the benefits of using Discord for an NFT community.
One of the best parts about Discord for NFTs are the real-time updates, usually in announcements and general channels. Discord acts as a “live chat room” in a way that is faster than Twitter. Plus, all the information is kept in one place, though it can become overwhelming at times. There are various channels that members can visit to get specific bits of information at their will.
The never-ending feed of text may be hard to follow, but the NFT world moves quickly. Those who can keep up will find a plethora of information in real time.
Getting to know the vibes within an NFT community that members join is an important part of sustaining momentum for the project. The Discord server allows for the freedom and flexibility to create inside jokes by communicating inside the community. It lets people spend their day with other like-minded members.
Discord bots with games and other fun activities allow for a “sticky” experience, where members stick around all day.
The ability to create unique roles for different groups of members also makes for a fun way to the community to interact with each other, and gain status. Server managers can even set up verification so that channels can be opened for token holders only.
When joining a Discord server, it allows the creators to set a process that members need to go through to be a full participant. This can range from clicking one button to agree with rules, or going through a vague series of puzzles to unlock new channels.
This makes it easy to see what the rules of the server are, and also allows for creators to customize how they want to welcome new members. As we all know, first impressions are important, so this puts the power in the project’s hands to set the bar up front.
When joining a Discord server, sometimes the stats are visible at the top. The server owners can select which data is visible to the general community. For example, Adidas Originals shows the amount of members and NFT holders transparently.
This is a helpful metric to see how many people are in the server, and if they are going up or down over time. This could show how many are still engaged with the project. However, one downside is that many of these users could just be bots.
Always take these metric with a grain of salt.
Discord for NFTs: The Cons
Hackers are out and about in anything crypto-related, and they are extremely active on Discord. Discord servers use unique identifiers by appending a number to people’s usernames. Smart scammers will duplicate usernames and profile info to a deep level, and use direct messages to lure users into a scam.
Many users in NFT servers turn off DMs completely, ignoring the function, because of how many scams take place in them. It’s recommended you do the same by navigating to “Privacy Settings” within the server settings.
Even security measures like two-factor authentication can’t stop some of the top Discord servers from being hacked. These include large servers like Jenkins the Valet, Doodles, and Bored Ape Yacht Club.
Hackers send out announcements with malicious links to drain members’ wallets. Members believe the links because they’re coming from the trusted server they are in.
Many servers also utilize bots for gaming, user data, organization, and more. These bots are not always safe and are often forgotten about after installed. Some of these bots require massive administrative privileges that they don’t always need, and are vulnerable to security breaches themselves.
One of the most popular is the MEE6 bot, which had a hack that affected thousands of servers.
There’s no doubt about it, Discord is disorganized. Server owners continually add channels, and valuable information is quickly lost. Members have to set up notifications based on the channels they want to see, or they will get overloaded with them. This is especially true on mobile.
It’s difficult to balance the truly urgent information with things that can wait. It’s also hard to find comments that positively impact the project versus general chatter.
In the FOMO world of NFTs, finding the important messages is an ongoing challenge — this can cause many to tune out Discord completely. Members of an NFT community don’t want to sort through dozens of channels to find out updates about the project, especially when they are already in hundreds of Discord servers.
No One-Stop Shop
The challenge for NFT owners is that they have to go into each individual server to locate information. There is no one feed that shows news about all of the NFTs they own, curated to what they want to know.
Members of NFT project DAOs don’t know where to go to vote on the proposals that matter, when to vote, or even how to submit their own proposals. In this 24/7 world, every hour, every time zone needs to be taken into account. The “one-stop shop” solution doesn’t exist within Discord itself.
Collective helps to solve this issue by allowing you to see Discord announcements for every project in your Ethereum wallet, right on the Collective home page once you’ve signed in.
Discord isn’t Web3 Native
While Discord does have some benefits for NFT communities, it wasn’t built for Web3, and it has been resistant to adopt any Web3 features on its platform.
On Discord, users sign in with their email and password, then users verify their wallet and NFTs using various server plug-ins. On Web3-native platforms, users sign in with their wallet, and their wallet is attached to every message and interaction.
This way, NFT holders can continue to build their identity across communities as they contribute, all attached to an unalterable wallet address. People can build their reputation across the web3 community, as every contribution is public and immutable.
In Collective communities, users have the option to sign messages with their wallet (a gas-less transaction), showing the message came from their wallet. This is also an improvement to security, as founders can sign with their wallet to verify the message came from them.
Discord for NFT Communities — TL;DR
Although Discord provides many positive aspects for NFT communities, they fall short in a number of ways.
Collective.xyz aims to solve many of the issues that currently exist with Discord security, disorganization, and lack of “one-stop shop” for communities. Collective is the web3 home for NFT communities.
It brings community discussion, proposal voting, project announcements from Discord, community member profiles, and much more into one convenient place for founders and members.
As the NFT space continues to evolve, we will likely see many attempted solutions to bring the best of Discord to NFT communities, while also solving the large problems that exist with the platform. In the meantime, stay vigilant, organized, and control your notifications — for your own mental health.
The image for this blog was created by Dall-E 2, by OpenAI.