Access management without tokens
September 22nd, 2022

Few know this: you can manage your Web3 community without issuing tokens

Already having shared assets( tokens, NFTs) with your community is cool, but what do you do if you don't have those and still want to utilize web3 technologies for access, rewards, and curation? Guild is here to help.

Token-gated communities work… somewhat

The core idea of token-gated communities was to help unify communities with shared incentives, but there is a need for more mature membership structures than centering the community around issuing a financialized asset.

The rise in popularity of ERC-20 tokens between 2017-2020 showed us that the issuance, distribution, and effective utilization of these tokens are not easy at all. It brings economic issues to tackle such as distribution curves, liquidity, etc. Not to mention, issuing tokens too early can be detrimental to the sentiment and lead to the over-financialization of the group.

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) made it easy for projects to issue just a single type of token to represent membership, instead of the ERC-20 standard. This led to an explosion of communities fuelled by organizing themselves around NFTs. However, solely relying on a membership NFT can't always provide the level of granularity that is needed to engage diverse communities.

Issuing tokens of either type might not be the way for everyone.

To scale your community meaningfully you need Web3-friendly mechanisms for access, rewards, and curation. Few know this but Guild can do this even without tokens!

For more about the importance of Web3-friendly portable membership structures read this little piece as well:

3 Key activities communities need most:

The lifeblood of a community is its members and contributors. This means that you need reliable mechanisms that incentivize members to get on board, remain engaged, and for some to become contributors, even with mini/occasional help.

1. Access: Identifying unique members

There is much more to identity than holding a specific token. Guild lets you identify members and filter them by setting requirements of key metrics of activity. It could be through shared POAPs, tokens, Twitter follows, on-chain activity, credentials or just being included on an allow list.

You can give roles based on identifying requirements, that grant access to actions, exclusive groups, content, tools, or means of communication.

2. Rewards

Communities constantly change and evolve, requiring little experiments to explore what works. Contributors that take part in these experiments should be rewarded for taking these risks and putting in the effort.Guild lets you do this in 2 ways.

Firstly, don't forget that roles are rewards on their own. Those who partake in your adventure should have exclusive channels and spaces for communication aside from other rewards waiting for them as they progress within the community. Create roles for different levels of involvement and commitment to deepen the relationships with the persevering ones to create safe spaces for value creation. An example of increasing depth with roles: audience, supporters, early testers, contributors, sub-guilds, and core team.

Secondly, Guild can help facilitate the creation of airdrops to distribute rewards. One major challenge of airdrops is Sybil attacks (malicious activity of creating fake accounts to claim more than what is allocated). By setting up membership management with Guild, and exporting the list of connected addresses by role, you can avoid a lot of malicious activity and execute airdrops easier. Essentially a continuous allowlist maker at your fingertips.

3. Curation: Cross-platform identity

Ever gone to a party and unexpectedly bumped into a friend? That’s what entering online communities could feel like too! You can recognize members from different communities rather than having to start afresh every time. With Guild you can curate groups in a way that recognizing common interests and forming deeper connections within the community becomes easy-peasy.

Guild helps to transcend platform boundaries so that your roles can make sense outside of a singular app, to grow the collective experience that makes your community unique by making membership structures portable. For example, by putting a castle emoji in your Twitter name and completing a short course on about Guild you get a special 'Guild Maxi' role in Our Guild.

For cross-community identification and curation, a great example is the Arbitrum community. They give roles to members based on holdings of partner project's tokens. This acknowledges their unique experiences, and previous stages of their online journeys(a great UX moment!!) and helps admins cater to their needs better once they join the community. For example: Holding multiple of the top music NFTs gives you a special role in an emerging artists community, who know knows a little about your interests.

Working alternatives to tokens

So if one doesn’t rely on tokens, how do you create that level of granularity to set-up, engage and grow your community? To help understand the structures below, here is a short explanation of our core functionality. Guild's membership structure is best described using three primitives: requirements, roles, and rewards.

They are fully custom and free to mix and match across chains and solutions, creating an almost infinite list of combinations that make sense for your needs.

This is a list of the possible solutions and requirement types we have integrated so far, with more coming. These don't require you to mint your own tokens and NFTs, so you can manage access, rewards, and curation like a Web3 native.

  1. Allowlists: The beauty of transparent on-chain activity is that you can simply find and add key community members' addresses directly, or let Guild do that for you automatically. For example, a role in a new podcast community could be set up in Guild by allowlisting addresses that hold $BANK tokens and a Rehash NFTs as they are definitely members of the BanklessHQ and RehashDAO podcast community.

  2. Twitter: have you seen people adding .eth, .sol to their usernames signaling that they are supporting these ecosystems? Well, you can easily include this technique in your community too. You can extend this to special phrases in names and bios that signal a shared identity of members "out in the wild" to recognize each other, such as “ConstitutionDAO” or “KB4”. You can also set requirements as "follow x account" or "having an x amount of followers".

  3. POAP: Distribute POAPs as rewards and participation records in your community. They provide reputational benefits as well, it is a pretty big flex to be in the first wave of beta testers. POAPs are a great and FREE way to start having on-chain markers of belonging and they can even be used to segment the community. For example, if you mint 5 POAPs for early contributors, you can use these POAPs just like you would an NFT to give access.

  4. Unlock Protocol keys: Set up a simple Web3-friendly subscription model for your community. BakeryDAO has used this to curate a community that actively cares about DeFi.

  5. Galxe campaigns: are most commonly used as a tool for outreach and engagement campaigns. The utility of the credentials doesn’t have to just end with your campaign. You can follow up with campaign participants as you set up roles for them in the community to ride the momentum.

  6. Holders of other projects coins or NFTs: curating your community by taking into account members' unique journeys. As explained above in our Curation point. Use this for cosmetic purposes, helping members identify each other, signal their unique interests, and simply for special roles.

  7. Membership in other Guilds: As more and more communities start to use Guild, you can use membership in other Guilds as a requirement too! Imagine if you held a Noun NFT and were an active participant of the Nouns Guild… you could be eligible to be a part of the lil Nouns Guild too automatically.

A guide on how to use these and more can be found here.

We are platform-agnostic!

Guild is the infrastructure for platformless membership management. It enables anyone to create portable social structures around on- & off-chain requirements and build custom user journeys across apps even without launching your own token!

Community members can now automatically access gated areas in any of the connected applications holding a single role.

Explore what platform-agnostic memberships can give, and join our community to stay up to date here. We build the tool, you just have to bring your ideas to build your dream community even without issuing tokens!

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