What is the NEAR Digital Collective? – NEAR Protocol

What is the NEAR Digital Collective?

January 27, 2023

What is the NEAR Digital Collective?

The NEAR Digital Collective (NDC) is an ambitious project that brings together users, projects, stakeholders and partners of the NEAR ecosystem to create a radically new way of governing itself.  

By creating a framework that allows any member of the network to have a say in how NEAR is run, the NDC’s goal is to combine transparency, collective decision making, evolving governance models, and self-determination in a completely new way.  

The NDC plans on doing this by helping to create the NEAR Constitution, a unifying document that enshrines the ideas of self-governance and decentralization into the core of how the NEAR ecosystem works. 

Why is this important? 

The NEAR ecosystem is made up of over 1,000 projects, regional hubs, funding nodes, infrastructure providers, and more than 20 million wallets. That’s a lot of people. The NDC was established to help all those involved take an active role in how NEAR evolves. 

Whether that’s how funding is allocated, how elections take place, or who represents the mosaic of interests that make up this thriving and diverse ecosystem. The NDC wants to help everyone have a voice, and for those voices to be recorded on chain.   

How does it do that? 

The NDC is helping develop a system of governance. Once in place, it will allow people to vote on a wide variety of issues, elect members to different governing councils, and even make amendments to the constitution itself.

The essence of the NDC brings this radical framework to life, and allows the community to then engage and take part in actively shaping the future of NEAR. 

In its current stage, the NDC is working on a governance structure that includes the following sections: 

  • Voting Body – This is every active near account, as qualified by the governance framework
  • House of Merit – A group of experienced community members appointed by members of the ecosystem to represent them during votes and key decisions. 
  • Council of Advisors – Advisors appointed to help shape the direction of the House of Merit.
  • Transparency Commission – members of the community appointed to ensure checks and balances, are in place and upheld. 
  • Community Treasury – Members of the House of Merit with support from the Council of Advisors help facilitate voting on how community funds are allocated. 

You can find more information on the above here. 

This is a work in progress, and is currently overseen by the Governance Working Group, or GWG. This is a collection of community members working on refining the models of governance that will help everyone have their say.  

The Collective and the GWG invites anyone to share and discuss ideas. All the details on how to do that can be found here. 

What is the scope of the NDC? 

While the constitution and governance models are key, the NDC will also help to shape, define and deliver the following: 

  1. NEAR Constitution. 
  2. Create and deploy local and global on-chain decision-making. 
  3. Create and deploy a repository of local and global on-chain journals, logs, and minutes. 
  4. Establish governing bodies, their operations, powers, and what checks and balances each one needs.
  5. Create and maintain a community treasury with a complete set of operating procedures and safeguards.  
  6. Create and maintain Community Guidelines, Code of Conduct, and Dispute Resolution protocols. 
  7. Create and deploy a communications strategy to ensure the work carried out by the NDC and GWG is easy to access. 
  8. A strategy to help the community find, access and use the NDC. 
  9. Help develop and deploy a DAO Governance Model
  10.  Facilitate growth of the NEAR ecosystem more broadly.

What role does the NEAR Foundation play in the NDC? 

The Foundation is a partner and contributor to the NDC. It supports the work being carried out by the Collective, and will ultimately look to hand over its funding role to the community once it is ready to do so. 

Who is working on NEAR Digital Collective? 

The Collective is made up for members of the NEAR ecosystem. Some are former members of the Foundation, others are founders of projects, and others still are long term users and supporters of the blockchain and the projects that are built on it. 

Feel free to reach out to any of the team leads. 

Why is Decentralization Important? 

Decentralization is a term that has become synonymous with blockchain, but has its origins as far back as the French Revolution in the 18th century. 

Decentralization then, and now is the process by which the activities of an organization, particularly those regarding planning and decision making, are distributed or delegated away from a central, authoritative location or group.

This is important because, as any student of history will tell you, when power becomes overly centralized, the opportunity for abuse increases. In 2022, members of the blockchain community experienced first hand what happens when centralized authorities abuse their power. 

Members of the NEAR Community believe that the goal of decentralization is to improve on what came before. It believes that increasing transparency and democracy creates a fair and more equal community for everyone. 

But to get there requires a commitment to a process. A process that will need to evolve and adapt to the needs of the community, and for that community to take part in shaping it.

Decentralization is vital for the long term health and sustainability of any collection of people and ideas. The NDC is how the NEAR community is trying to achieve that.   

How do I get involved? 

Any member of the NEAR community is free to join any of the following workgroups:. 

  • Constitution
  • Governance & Tech Governance
  • Legal
  • Community Engagement
  • Communications

Get started by completing the Governance Working Group (GWG) onboarding process.

Or if you’re looking for a deeper dive into how all of this works, you can see the Overview page. 

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