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In case you weren’t aware, robots have taken over.

The Robot Revolution began on December 21, 2015 with the release of our “Unofficial API”. On April Fool’s Day 2016, we shared a preview of what was to come: Airhorn Solutions.

A picture of the website airhorn.solutions, the first Discord bot
A picture of the website airhorn.solutions, the first Discord bot

In its first week of life, you used Airhorn bot over 500,000 times in over 8,000 servers. Discord was much smaller back then, so those were huge numbers! We learned two key things:

  1. Bots can be powerful tools
  2. People love air horns

Next came the introduction of our official API. This was the start of putting tools in the hands of our developer community. That original checklist was coming along quite nicely:

A ist of original Discord API features: documentation, OAuth, custom slash commands, webhooks, channel observer, and music
A ist of original Discord API features: documentation, OAuth, custom slash commands, webhooks, channel observer, and music

Since those early days, we’ve seen over 3 million bots created to date, and they’ve sent 9.5 billion — yes, with a B — messages this year alone. An ecosystem of bots and developers flourished, and became an integral part of the Discord experience.

We’ve come a long way from those days of automated user accounts and reverse engineering internal APIs, which we’re all totally done with, right?

The World Today

Frankly, you’ve blown us all away. Your tools and creations are integral to Discord, from moderation bots keeping our public spaces neat to bots that help you run a full Dungeons and Dragons campaign. You never cease to inspire us.

This year, we’re beefing up our internal muscles. We have a dedicated team that focuses full time on bots, our API, and our developer ecosystem. Their job is to support and improve the things you all make, teach other users how useful bots can be, and keep our platform safe for everyone.

As you may have seen, we’ve already rolled out some pretty big features like:

And we aren’t stopping there.

The Future of Bots

For the longest time, bots have been something that Discord has supported, but not properly embraced. The ecosystem has grown tall from grass roots and community support. You’ve found novel ways to use features that were not designed with bots in mind, but nevertheless succeeded.

This year, we aim to help. Let’s build features specifically for bots. Let’s take some of those hacks, workarounds, and less-than-perfect UI and UX elements and give you ways to polish and perfect them. Let’s recognize your success and show you off! Finally, let’s make sure that we all continue to stay safe on Discord, so that everyone can fully enjoy what you make.

New Features

We’re in the midst of working on a brand new way for bots and applications to interact with Discord. The specifics are still being worked out, but spoiler alert: It’s pretty awesome.

Bots will be simpler to use. They’ll feel like natural extensions of Discord, polished products for desktop, web, and mobile users. Developers will get powerful new tools to take their creations to the next level. It’ll be easier to turn great ideas into code.

So, how will that all happen? See for yourself!

Mockup of a popup that bots could make, including form fields and buttons
Mockup of a popup that bots could make, including form fields and buttons

The links below are made in a design software called Figma. They’re prototypes, which means that you can interact with them. Clicking anywhere on the design will make interactive UI elements flash to guide you through the process. If you want to go back to the start, just press R.

These are all just examples of what this new API interaction could create. What we build throughout the year may look and function differently from what you see here. But, really, we couldn’t just keep these to ourselves.

Verified Bots and Developers

You’ve worked hard on your bots. We want to recognize that hard work. We also want users to be able to find your bot in the world and know that you’re legit!

This blog post marks the start of something new: a Verified Bots and Developers program. Starting today, qualified developers can apply for verification in their bot’s settings in the Developer Portal.

We’ve partnered with Stripe as an identity verification provider, and you’ll be required to submit a document for valid photo identification. Don’t worry, Discord is not storing any information you provide. If you are unable to provide this, please reach out to our developer support.

We’ll also ask some security questions about your bot. We hate lengthy forms as much as anyone, so we promise they’re not cumbersome. Once you’ve gotten verified, you and the other developers on your Team will receive a Verified Bot Developer badge.

A new Verified Bot Developer Discord badge, which looks like a closing HTML tag inside a hexagon
A new Verified Bot Developer Discord badge, which looks like a closing HTML tag inside a hexagon

Your bot will also receive a Verified check mark, so people know you’re the only you!

Image of a verified bot badge, which is a check mark inside the current Bot badge
Image of a verified bot badge, which is a check mark inside the current Bot badge

Verification is a big step in the world of Discord bots. It’s the secure foundation we need to unlock new features and visibility for developers.

Verification means that we can release features that give developers more control over Discord. It means we can encourage users to adopt bots within Discord, instead of scouring the internet. It also means that bots can safely grow orders of magnitude larger than they are today. Protecting user privacy and security, as well as maintaining trust, is our utmost responsibility. We want to ensure that we continue to uphold that as our bot ecosystem grows.

Therefore, we are making verification a requirement for bots in 100 or more servers. Until your bot is verified, you will not be able to grow past 100 servers. If your bot is already in more than 100 servers, it will not be able to join any more.

We recognize that this is a big change, so we’re instituting a 6 month deprecation period ending on October 7, 2020 to get everyone verified that meets the criteria. Until that date, no restrictions will be enforced.

Verification is open to any bot in 75 or more servers, so you can get a head start. You can read more about the Verification process in our help article.

Data Privacy and Protection

As part of the verification process, we’re including an opt-in process to get whitelisted for Privileged Gateway Intents. We believe that whitelisting access to certain information at scale, as well as requiring verification to reach that scale, will be a big positive step towards combating bad actors and continuing to uphold the privacy and safety of Discord users.

Again, this only applies to bots in 100 or more servers. You may start the process as early as 75 servers, and you have until October 7, 2020 to complete it before limitations are enforced.

We are committed to shipping replacements to any whitelisted data that is necessary for bots to function, as well as things to be addressed in the future, like message content. We will work with you, our developer community, to ensure that what we build meets our standard of quality.

So, What Now?

The future for bots is bright, and as you can see, it looks a little different from what you’re used to. We’ll be hard at work this year making bots and applications a first class part of the Discord ecosystem, as they should be.

We’d love for you to be a part of that discussion by joining our official Discord Developer Server. There, we’ll be sharing the latest news and updates, answering questions about Discord’s API (current and future!), and providing some sneak peeks of new features. Talk with us directly to help shape the world of Discord bots to come.

If you run a bot in 75 or more servers, get verified! And don’t forget to apply for Privileged Gateway Intents if you need them as well. See your bot’s settings page for more info. Remember, you have until October 7, 2020 before anything is enforced. More info can be found in our help center article. If you have questions or want some help, come talk to us in Discord as well!

Most importantly, keep bringing your amazing creations to life. We can’t wait to see what you make.

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