If you went back in time and told someone from the medieval ages that you were learning about cryptocurrencies and NFTs on Discord, you’d probably get burned at the stake for being a witch.
And from the safety of the year 2022, that sentence still scared me a little, TBH. As a millennial who came of age in the Facebook era before transitioning to Snapchat and Instagram and most recently, TikTok, I find Discord to be foreign territory.
But every time I interview a founder in the Web3 space, they end the call the same way: “Drop into our Discord chat!”
What was this mysterious place where everyone was dropping in to talk crypto?! I had to find out, and as any writer would, I decided to record my journey.
First, like a true amateur, I made a Discord profile using my actual name. Upon being told that this is a decidedly uncool move, I pivoted. Now you can find me under anything_4_content (it’s not not true).
When I searched the term “crypto,” I was met with 3,362 public communities to join. Those founders I spoke with weren’t kidding — this is clearly the place to talk all things Web3.
While I can’t jump into 3k+ Discord servers and still have a social life, I did join five public communities with some of the highest memberships and spent a week snooping, reading, and engaging.
First, some background:
Discord, which launched in 2015, had 150m monthly active users as of September 2021. In 2020, the company generated $130m in revenue and raised an $100m funding round with a $7B valuation.
While other popular social media platforms with messaging features — Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter — sell targeted ads to make money, Discord has no advertising on its platform. It monetizes with its paid subscription, Nitro, for $9.99 monthly or $99.99 annually, and takes a 10% cut when the communities it hosts charge additional fees for premium options.
Though Nitro offers advanced video resolution, bigger file uploads, and upgraded emojis, many users opt to chat on the platform for free.
Discord has raised a total of $995.4m over 16 fundraising rounds, though without any ad revenue, it’s still not profitable.
But it has an incredibly loyal following — it’s long been the primary choice for messaging in the video game sphere — and a surge of newly created Web3 organizations are relying on the platform for communication.
Before you jump in, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with how Discord is structured and some common terms.
I’ve taken the liberty of making a quick glossary to get you acquainted:
Entering the chat:
When you join a public server, many have multistep verification processes to make sure you’re a human being and not a bot that’s about to spam the entire channel.
They are sent to you via direct message once you request to join a server. Other groups ask you to read through their rules and accept prior to joining. Once you’ve proven yourself, you’ll be accepted into the server and gain access to all the channels within that community. Here’s what one looks like:
This is the #learning-resources channel within the CryptoTechWomen server. (It’s making a little more sense now, right?)
Within each server, users can be assigned different roles and permissions by admins (these are customizable and exhaustive), which vary depending on the community.
Once you’ve figured out the basics of using Discord and finding servers, the fun really starts.
Now, for crypto server breakdowns (in order of most active members to least):
1.) The Crypto Network™ — Digital Currency Experts
Description: “We are a Discord community focused on helping all types of individuals learn how to safely navigate the crypto world.”
Takeaway: This community exists only on Discord and was designed to live on a server, so they’ve got the app down pat. Nothing made me feel like a boomer faster than slamming the server’s crypto-terms channel as fast as I could to soak in every Web3 acronym.
If you’ve ever found yourself Googling “What does HODL stand for?” then this is for you. (It means hold on for dear life — AKA don’t sell — by the way, and has a great origin story). Armed with acronyms from FOMO to ROI, I dove deeper into the server. I’m a visual learner, so I was pumped to see that the group’s education index channel was filled with links to TikTok explainers, from metaverse tokens to what to buy if you’re new to crypto.
Of course, it’s a good idea to take everything you see on the internet with a grain of salt, but immersing yourself in the language of Web3 is a good way to get started.
The group has a VIP option that costs $40 a month and lets you in on special channels like research-backed trading signals and tips on how to make profit. There’s a free NFT channel as well as several public voice channels to drop in on.
The community also has general channels where users talk about things unrelated to crypto, like fitness (after seeing the words “protein powder” and “calorie deficit” I dropped out of there REAL quick).
In the off-topic channel, someone was sharing their homemade candle business, which was surprisingly wholesome. Something for everyone!
Description: “Join our CryptoKnight Kingdom and become a part of the #1 source for Crypto Media and Entertainment.”
Takeaway: CryptoKnight is a startup that makes a signal bot that uses algorithms to analyze the crypto market. It also has a pretty cool name, so I showed up in the group with high expectations of being rescued from all my Web3 ignorance.
When I arrived at the Discord server, one of the co-founders of CryptoKnights was streaming live to its Premium Talks voice channel. There were 15 people listening, but I couldn’t drop in since the server locks its premium content.
Upon further investigation, I found that the community charges $24.99 a month for its premium tier, which gives you access to content like weekly classes and crypto forecasts. While I wasn’t quite ready to take the dive into a subscription, the premium channels look active and seem to provide a great opportunity for 1:1 conversations with the co-founders, if that’s what you’re after.
In the public NFT channel, people were dropping links to upcoming NFT projects they thought were worth checking out. This one looks sick… am I starting to see the appeal?!
Description: “The official Discord server of the Reddit Cryptocurrency Subreddit.”
Takeaway: The Venn diagram between Reddit and Discord users is strong, and a lot of popular Reddit communities have crossed over to Discord to keep the conversations going. r/Cryptocurrency is one such server based around the subreddit of the same name, which has 4.9m members on Reddit.
If you feel lost on Reddit, you might get a little overwhelmed with the internet speak in the chats here, too. A couple days into hanging out on this server, I happened upon its weekly podcast on its public Main Stage channel.
When I popped into the stream, a frog wearing 3D glasses and smoking a joint named “Definitely Not Mr. Papi” was talking about bear markets and bitcoin (can’t make this sh*t up).
I tried not to go full out-of-touch millennial with a rapid exit, and stuck around to listen (along with 30+ others). The speakers fielded questions from the Discord channel and the Reddit group. While I questioned the frog at first, he turned out to be a reasonable guy, telling the group, “Don’t spend money you can’t afford to lose.”
Other lessons learned: Don’t take crypto investing advice from anonymous Twitter accounts with fewer than 1k followers and alt coins will rebound (according to, again, the frog).
Description: “Prepare to join the greatest collection of Dads and Moms in Web3.”
Takeaway: As I am neither a crypto expert nor a dad (or anything close), I was wary of jumping into this one. CryptoDads is a collection of 10k randomly generated NFTs of, you guessed it, dads, that are sold on OpenSea. The organization also has a pretty extensive merch line and an active Discord server.
Once on the server, it took me a second to get acclimated. Upon realizing they launched a Crypto Moms NFT collection, I felt slightly more at ease and began exploring. There is a lot of great educational content on this server: I was particularly impressed with its free NFT Toolbox, which includes a full curriculum of video-based lessons that guide you through creating a crypto wallet and buying and selling NFTs.
When you’re not knee-deep in learning, their information channel provides a schedule of community events, which range from a PGA golf championship pool to an IRL meetup in Florida.
Description: “This collection was created to highlight all the smart, cool, bad-ass women who are in the web3 space and help!”
Takeaway: Crypto Tech Women launched a collection of 8,888 NFTs on Ethereum — sold through OpenSea — and offers an online community, IRL events, and educational content.
This server feels very organized and palatable for someone new to Discord and/or the Web3 space. I felt like I could breathe here — things made sense! Words looked familiar! I knew what I was looking at! This server also delivers on the community feel: There’s even a mental health channel where members offer support to one another, something that feels rare online these days.
Concrete resources, like a job board and an educational channel where people drop helpful links, are also great for crypto rookies.
Web3 is gonna get weird, y’all. Will I be wearing a little headset and livestreaming from a Discord server any time soon? Nope. But I do think Discord will continue to dominate as the preferred communication platform for Web3 businesses, and it’s a good idea to get comfortable with it now.
My parting advice: Get yourself a custom NFT avatar and HODL.