World Building and Magic Internet Communities

Discord. DAOs. The Metaverse. Let's make some magic.

This is a look at the DAOhaus Discord 👆 Last week someone posted a message that linked to this blog post: How Discord (somewhat accidentally) invented the future of the internet.

It’s a great post on by David Pierce. It breaks down the origin of Discord, and how it has emerged as a leader at just the right time. Pierce calls it “the future of the internet” right in the title, but the piece is more about the evolution of Discord as a utility for gamers, so a place for communities to hang out.

At DAOhaus we use Discord every day. While we are gamers at heart, we’re using Discord to build. We use it for almost all of our communication, among the team and among the community. And this works really really well. We are already living in this internet of the future, and we’re using tools like Discord to build more tools for the same future.

We think Discord + DAO is truly something magical, and we are building integrations to reflect this. But, to understand the magic you have to step back a bit. Discord, because they started as gamers and world builders (and also Slack was already invented) has built the bridge to the Metaverse, and pulled their competitors that way as well, so we should talk about that first.

World Building

Discord, whether through deliberate design or “sort of by accident”, has created a platform that, short of a game or VR, has the most distinct feeling of geography. Which is critical for how human minds think about community. (It makes sense, for all human evolution community was based on who was nearby.)

In Discord you pop from channel to channel, and this includes “voice channels” (really video chat channels now.) Anyone who joins is automatically added to a Zoom-esque video chat session in progress.

You can add a video chat channel to your Discord server just as easily as a chat channel. Most Discord servers have at least a few, and they usually have titles like ‘Lounge’, ‘Study Room 1’, ‘Cafe’, whatever, and in our experience across servers, these “place” powered schemes are very effective. People know what the ‘Cafe’ is pretty intuitively, but what’s the difference between a Cafe and a Tavern? It’s just begging for a story. And now you’re world building.

Another critical element: you can always see who is in any given chat channel (see image above) without even clicking in. This is like having a glass wall on a conference room. The sort of semi-private space added by a shared office with places where you can pop in and catch someone. It is this element of Discord (along with other similar choices) that creates the sense of geography. On Discord the user is able to feel the larger “space” they are in: the office, the clubhouse, on our server we’ve got “🍺-tavern.” (All are welcome, come say “hi!”)

So, geography + story is the first bit of magic. It allows the world building, and once you’re world building… we have to talk about The Metaverse.

Welcome to The Metaverse

The metaverse actually starts as a philosophical concept I first encountered in metaphysics. It’s the idea we are constantly branching different realities at every decision point through time. There might be a universe out there where I’m not writing this because I have a totally different… actually, I’ll let Doc take it from here (because this is the graphic I’d draw you anyway.)

In metaphysics context, the metaverse usually means all of those possible realities together. Somewhere in “the metaverse” I have that different job or whatever. Biff is waxing Marty’s car instead of bullying him.

When people in tech talk about the metaverse they don’t really mean the time travel version (although there are some very successful period or genre specific games.) When people in tech say “metaverse” they tend to mean virtual worlds like World of Warcraft, or Fornite, or Assassin’s Creed. They are fully digital worlds, with stories, places to go, and things to do.

Increasingly artists like Marshmello are setting up events drawing millions of attendees in these spaces. In Minecraft, gamers build their world block by block. And they talk on Discord while they do it. For those users Discord has become the portable metaverse, the place where they can still stay in touch with their metaverse friends, across metaverses, and across devices.

The Cryptoverse

As if this isn’t magical enough, it’s not too hard to see from here the place where blockchain tech meshes with the metaverse. It makes digital money work, and Ethereum specifically has used tokenization to make digital scarcity work. Where digital scarcity works, digital ownership has new meaning. Projects like CryptoVoxels, Decentraland, Somnium Space, and The Sandbox are building out metaverses like Fortnite, but with limited real estate and crypto-economies.

Of course, Fornite want’s its own digital currency, and it’s willing to take on Apple to get it. (Also, the use of the term token here has metaphysics overlap, for anyone who wants to chase it.) In the end, the important thing to know is that this metaverse is already upon us. Gamers live in them, Discord is linking them together, and we think DAOs are a critical part of this picture.

DAOs in the Haus.

So where do DAOs come in?

Like I said, digital scarcity means we can rethink digital ownership: of art, of collectibles, of companies. This is the thing that takes us beyond gaming and beyond Discord to a magic realm: Discord + DAO.

Where Discord gives a community a place to hang out, a DAO gives them a place to own things. In its minimally simple state, a DAO is a “community wallet” which is as much a bank account as a place to store goodies. Once something is put into this wallet, in most cases, it takes a DAO vote to move it somewhere else. Once deposited, effectively, the DAO owns whatever is in that wallet.

We’re building DAOhaus because we believe that this collective ownership is a 100x multiplier, a truly powerful force. Humans have been organizing as cooperatives and guilds for centuries. The only reason we don’t see more cooperatively owned companies is because the cost is often too high to make them feasible.

DAOs are emerging as a way to handle the decision-making and money required to own and store value. Tools like Discord are emerging as great ways to handle the communication and coordination aspects of this, and they are building successfully by thinking like gamers.

At DAOhaus we are building our platform to integrate with Discord because we believe that this is the same strategy to apply to DAO things. Just because DAOs handle the decisions and the money doesn’t mean they should be boring. In fact, by making them less boring we think we can unlock something magical.

If all of this sounds cool, we’ve got some changes in the pipeline we think you’ll like (See the image above 😎). You should join our Discord server and say “hi”, subscribe to our Substack, or use any of the other links at the bottom to get updates or learn how to contribute.

I also recorded an episode of the Haus Party Podcast on this topic, if podcasts are your thing.

✌️ Kerp

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