NEAR’s Road to Decentralization: Empowering the Guild Community
The NEAR network is reimagining how decentralized applications and platforms are built, playing a major role in transforming the internet from the centralized Web2 to an open-source, community-driven Web3. Amidst the NEAR community’s growth and continued decentralization, its guild system has emerged as a significant contributor to building more open, interconnected, and collaborative projects within the NEAR ecosystem.
Let’s take a look at what NEAR Guilds are up to in 2022, and why the Guild system is so vital to NEAR’s continued success.
Decentralizing NEAR’s development and growth
Within the NEAR ecosystem, Guilds are communities that work towards common, specific goals, from the core protocol development to the projects being built atop it. The current roster of Guilds spans multiple continents and numerous industries.
The Guild system’s growing capability, size, and diversity is crucial to the NEAR blockchain and ecosystem future development. Guilds are already helping decentralize NEAR’s operations and growth by enabling smaller teams of developers to work together to improve different aspects of the protocol.
In other words, many small groups of NEAR community members, enthusiasts and entrepreneurs with a variety 0f professional experiences and skill sets, are collaborating on specific goals to build, maintain, and improve the NEAR ecosystem.
Introducing the NEAR Guilds community
The NEAR Guilds community consists of more than 73 projects, each with its own vision and mission. Let’s take a look at four Guilds that are working across different industries to further develop the NEAR ecosystem.
Data Guild is on a mission to increase visibility of the NEAR protocol and ecosystem by creating tools and products that NEAR community members can easily use. The Data Guild essentially works to expand the accessibility of NEAR data infrastructure, tools, and resources for all contributors. It does this by bringing together open web contributors who can create resources that provide trustworthy data.
Some of the team’s biggest achievements include gathering leaders of NEAR data projects to coordinate collaborations with other guilds. The Data Guild is doing this through subgraph tutorials; contributing directly to several data products, including nearstats.com and DAOstats.io; and successfully onboarding and promoting leading developers and data projects, including Dapplooker, stats.gallery, soda.com, finear.xyz, and Metrics Dao.
James Waugh, Coordinator of NEAR Data Guild, explains that the community could use more clarity on governance of the Guilds program as well as NEAR Foundation’s involvement with DAOs.
“Guilds are coordinating to support the NEAR ecosystem via better community governance,” says Waugh. ‘We are looking forward to more guilds and DAOs using NEAR data.”
Legal Guild is an independent, multi-disciplinary global network of lawyers bringing legal advice to the crypto world. The guild’s expertise spans different fields and focuses on giving recommendations to entrepreneurs, developers, projects, and communities. It does this by providing expertise on legal matters pertaining to DAOs, smart contracts, blockchain, tokenization, privacy, cyber security, intellectual property for digital assets, and more.
The Legal Guild’s ultimate goal? Reshape how legal services are provided in the crypto industry.
“We believe that the empowerment of the community is key for building in a decentralized world,” the Legal Guild’s mission reads. “Our playbooks, use cases, and expertise are a manifestation of our mission: to help blockchain-based projects navigate complex legal issues.”
CuraDAO is an art studio that aims to launch and develop in-house creative projects in collaboration with creatives and partners. CuraDAO’s goal is to be an engineering-driven guild—one that explores and experiments with smart contracts for creative purposes. The guild has an emphasis on design and is exploring ways to creatively use NFTs.
In terms of challenges, the team is competing for creative talent with both Web2 platforms and other Web3 blockchains. This will get better with time, as developers from both domains realize how easy, fast, and cheap it is to build on NEAR.
“NEAR has a strong vision for community and culture [and] guilds are a great representation,” said Yassine Sania, a founding member at CuraDAO. “We see a guild as an organized community that can leverage crypto tools for decision-making and value creation.”
CleanNFTs is a collective within the NEAR ecosystem whose mission is to educate and raise awareness about energy-efficient blockchains and environmentally-friendly NFT (non-fungible token) platforms.
After assembling on Discord in 2021 to discuss issues with Ethereum’s Proof-of-Work (PoW) energy usage, this guild of artists and NFT aficionados ramping up its community education efforts at minimizing the environmental impacts of NFT minting. The guild does this by curating information and reading resources on its website.
The CleanNFTs guild operates under a general consensus: that NFTs themselves do not produce carbon emissions but some cryptocurrencies use energy-intensive resources for mining. CleanNFTs members also agree that the NFT art platforms running on more energy-efficient Proof-of-Stake (PoS) networks are, at present, the most environmentally-sustainable option for creating NFTs.
A brief look at NEAR Hub, NEAR’s virtual world
Beyond the NEAR Guilds ecosystem, community contributors also created NEAR Hub, a metaverse (or, NEARverse) that allows users to log into a virtual experience using just their NEAR wallets, with a clear focus on user control and ownership over their data and assets.
The idea for NEAR Hub came from the Human Guild, a guild started in 2021 that is focused on supporting Web3 games building on NEAR. According to their website, the Human Guild is dedicated to establishing strongly-knit crypto communities, onboarding newcomers, and ushering in what it calls the “gaming revolution.”
“Everybody should be able to earn by doing what they love. The mission is to help people getting paid in crypto and getting involved in the online economy,” said Aliaksandr (Sasha) Hudzilin, co-founder of the guild.
NEAR Hub received funding from the Human Guild and launched in December 2021. The platform offers its metaverse experience through its product, “Rooms”, which users can enter with their avatar. Each Room experience is themed and built around a certain idea or collaboration with a partner project or guild in the NEAR ecosystem.
NEAR Hub’s goal is to onboard new users and make it “a portal to everything in the NEAR ecosystem,” according to co-founders @chronear and Jeff G. The platform is meant to be a space for users to learn about all aspects of NEAR from education, gaming, NFTs, decentralized finance, and infrastructure projects.
The Hub is significant because it is trying to make decentralized application interactions more meaningful for users by giving them the chance to hang out with other community members, build networks, and express themselves creatively in the process.
NEAR Guilds moving forward
NEAR’s guild system is playing a vital role in the growth and further decentralization of the NEAR ecosystem. Each of the current guilds has a unique mission and purpose, doing what it can to develop different aspects of NEAR.
The number of guilds also continues to grow on a regular basis, as more teams of passionate NEAR enthusiasts band together to join NEAR’s road to decentralization. Over time, Guilds may evolve to adapt to new developments on the NEAR protocol and the wider Web3 network.
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