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Enter the gig workers of Discord

Miggy Azurin looks at how social media managers have evolved into a new breed of gig work: the Discord community manager. Brought about by popularity of crypto games like Axie Infinity and the shift of community activites to online hang out sessions due to the pandemic, the Discord Community Manager is more than just a glorified Canva post scheduler.

In the beginning there was Axie Infinity and the pandemic

In 2021, we witnessed the meteoric rise of Axie Infinity, a blockchain-based game that captivated and drew the interest of millions of people around the world. At some point, it felt like everyone and their grandmother was on the game.

The Philippines, in particular, played a pivotal role in the game’s emergence. At its peak, Axie Infinity drew 2.7 million active daily users with nearly half of those players coming from the country. This was driven primarily by the allure of earning while playing a game during the pandemic.

Many groups hired “scholars” to play the game for them. Scholars were players who couldn’t afford to buy the game’s assets (which at some point was selling for PhP 100,000 per team!) themselves so they rented them off investors or “managers” in exchange for a portion of the earnings. Many scholars were earning anywhere from PhP 5,000 to PhP 10,000 per week during this run.

Now we all know what happened next. In a few months, the price of the token crashed as there was simply way more supply than there was demand. This was followed by a drop in the value for game assets as well. The same Axie team that would have cost you tens of thousands of pesos now merely sells for just several pesos in the marketplace.

Stories of people losing money on their “investment” in Axie Infinity are well documented but there is one narrative that came out from this period of time that’s not talked about a lot.

The world didn’t just look to the Philippines to hire scholars. They also hired for another important role for any crypto project – Discord moderators.

Enter the Discord mods

For those unfamiliar, Discord is a communication app designed for creating and managing online communities. It offers voice, video, and text communication channels for both public and private communities and organizations. Its popularity has soared over the years, becoming a preferred platform for gamers, crypto enthusiasts, and various gambling communities. The platform boasts 390 million registered members, with 150 million active monthly users around the world.

A Discord moderator, often referred to as a “mod,” plays a crucial role in managing these online communities. They are responsible for maintaining a positive community culture, enforcing rules, resolving disputes, and creating a welcoming environment for members. They also help ensure the security of the community by actively monitoring for scams, fraudulent activities, and phishing attempts.

PHOTO: A typical event on Discord from the Cryptopia community, an up and coming Web3 game with several mods from the Philippines

Many brands around the world actually integrate online communities into their marketing strategies – many of which choose Discord as their platform of choice.

Samsung gained more than 100,000 new members within 12 hours of launching their Discord server in 2022. and is now already nearing more than 200,000 members. One surprising example would be Gucci, the luxury brand. In two days, it had more than 28,000 members on their official Discord channel. Due to this successful launch, Kering, Gucci’s parent company, even opened opportunities for mods to apply and help them manage their servers and channels on the platform.

A good Discord mod possesses qualities like patience, adaptability, and excellent communication skills. They need to be proactive, ensuring that the community remains vibrant and engaged. Many Filipinos naturally possess these qualities, making them a preferred choice for many crypto projects.

Danesh, a BD manager for a marketing agency, said that some projects were paying as much as $2000 (or about PhP 110,000) per month managing Discord communities during the last crypto bull run!

This is not the first time we’ve seen this dynamic. In fact, it is widely known that the Philippines is among the biggest hubs for business process outsourcing or BPO companies. The Philippines holds an estimated 10-15% of the global BPO market with over 1.7 million employees currently in the industry.

Our tech savviness alongside our incredible English skills make us the preferred choice for companies looking to outsource their customer service work. And we saw that in full display in the world of crypto as well.

The clamor for this role however has slowed down over the last few months, driven particularly by bearish sentiment on crypto and funding no longer available to many projects looking to start in the NFT space.

It’s bleak right now for the space but recent news about inflation rates going down might soon restart the bull run and bring back some excitement in the space.

While some projects have folded due to the bear market, many more are still building quietly with the help of Discord moderators, readying their communities for the inevitable bull run to come for crypto.

And you can bet that the continued involvement of Filipinos as Discord moderators in these communities will likely contribute to their growth and success in the future.