Discord is one of the best community-building platforms out there, and this is why there are 19 million active servers per week in Discord as of January 2024.

People use Discord to create all kinds of communities on about every topic you can imagine, from arts and crafts to sports betting. Discord is a pretty cool app, but how is it free? Everyone can download Discord and start using it right away without needing to pay a fee.

How does Discord finance this? In this guide, we’ll discuss how Discord makes money so people can keep using this amazing platform for free.

Discord symbols

The Discord Business Model

Discord is a freemium app - meaning that while most Discord features are free, users have the option to buy premium memberships to improve their experience. Discord knows its users very well, and it offers premium features that its users would be inclined to buy, like profile customizations, server boosts, cool visuals, being ability to send longer messages, joining more servers, and more. Luckily for most Discord users, they can enjoy and use Discord even without paying a single dime.

The primary income of Discord is selling Nitro memberships, which we will get into later on. Nitro sales made Discord an estimated $207 million in revenue in 2023. Discord occasionally makes collaborations with games and other companies to grant their users in-game items, premium memberships of other platforms (like MidJourney), and more to promote their Nitro membership options.

Of course, selling Nitro memberships isn't the only revenue stream for Discord. As Discord is a social media as well as an instant messaging app, it has other ways of making money like ads, investors, and more.

Let's take a look at 6 ways that Discord makes money to keep itself up and running.

6 Ways That Discord Makes Money

The majority of social media platforms make money through ads but not Discord, at least up until April 2024. There are a couple of income channels of Discord: ads (quests), investors, merchandise sales, monetized Discord apps (bots), Nitro subscriptions, and server boosts. Let’s examine each one.

How Does Discord Make Money?

Ads (Quests)

You can think of Discord Quests as gamified ads. When a company wants to advertise its game, it contacts Discord and puts “ads” on Discord - but they’re not traditional ads.

As their name suggests, Quests come with a reward. When a Quest becomes available, users can accept it and stream the game for a certain amount of time in a voice channel either in servers, group chats, or DMs. While the user is streaming the game, someone else should be watching it so the user who’s streaming can be able to fulfill the time required.

After the user streams for however long the Quest requires, they will receive an in-game prize - it could be cosmetic items, new weapons, etc.

Since Quests are a relatively new feature as of June 2024, there aren’t many of them, so they don’t clutter the app. Users have the option to opt out of quests through their User Settings.

Discord Quests example
Source: Discord.com - Discord Quests FAQ


Discord also gets funding from investors to keep itself going. According to Crunchbase, Discord’s most recent funding was in November 2022, and across 16 funding rounds, 10 lead investors, and 35 investors in total, Discord has raised over $995.4 million in funding.

Firms like China-based Atlas Capital and USA-based Stella Capital are among the investors of Discord.


Discord has a public merchandise store where they sell mostly clothing. Most of the clothing products are made in collaboration with DOTEXE, the company that made the latest Discord Partner merchandise.

You can also find Discord-themed Stream Decks and microphones made in collaboration with Elgato, a mechanical keyboard and artisan keycaps from Kono, or even a skateboard. Since Discord merchandise is pretty cool, they sell out really fast.

Monetized Discord Apps (Bots)

You might’ve heard about Discord bots before - since May 2024, Discord Apps, which bots were created in, and the actual bots that Discord users add to their servers are merged. Now if you take a look at a Discord bot, it will have the “APP” badge instead of “BOT.”

Since most bots have premium membership options, Discord integrated them into its app. This allows app developers to set up monthly recurring subscriptions or one-time purchases for their bots, which grants users premium functionalities.

Developers who offer subscription or one-time purchase options will be able to receive 85% of all payments until they reach $1 million in cumulative gross sales. Then, the Platform Fee, which is 15% for below $1 million, will increase to the standard 30%.

Nitro Subscriptions

Discord Nitro symbol

Discord Nitro is a monthly subscription that gives users some cool features like animated avatars, longer messages (2k to 4k characters), an increased server cap (100 to 200), the ability to use emojis everywhere, and more. There are currently two Nitro tiers:

  • Nitro: $9.99/m or $99.99/y
  • Nitro Basic:  $2.99/m or $29.99/y

While most features of Discord Nitro are cosmetic, there are some functional unlocks as well, like bigger file sharing (25 MB, 50 MB, and 500 MB) and HD streaming (from 720p 30 fps to 4K 60 fps). Let’s compare the three tiers of Discord: Free, Nitro Basic, and Nitro:

Features Free Nitro Basic Nitro
Voice/Video calling ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Joining Servers ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Sending messages ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Reactions ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Unlimited Super Reactions ✔️ ✔️
Custom emoji anywhere and make them animated ✔️ ✔️
Custom stickers anywhere ✔️ ✔️
Custom App Icons ✔️ ✔️
Bigger file sharing 25 MB 50 MB 500 MB
HD streaming Up to 720p and 30 fps Up to 720p and 30 fps Up to 4K and 60 fps
2 Free Boosts + 30% off extra Boosts ✔️
Animated avatar, banner, and theme ✔️
Early access to Clips ✔️
Custom server profiles ✔️
Nitro badge on your profile ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Custom video backgrounds ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Server cap per user 100 100 200
Message character limit 2,000 2,000 4,000
Colors for your Discord Theme ✔️
Custom sounds anywhere ✔️
Personalized entrance sounds ✔️
Shop member pricing and exclusive items ✔️ (30% discount)

As you can see in the comparison below, a Discord user who doesn’t have a Nitro membership isn’t limited at all - most features that a Nitro membership unlocks are just for people who want to improve their experience on Discord.

One benefit of Discord Nitro for server staff is that since it allows users to customize their profiles with animated avatars, banners, and custom color schemes - server staff can decide on a set of banners and colors to show a sense of organization, making the server look and feel more professional.

In 2023, Discord made an estimated $207 million through Nitro sales.

Server Boosts

Server Boosting is a way for users to show love to a server they’re a member of. When the number of server boosts exceeds certain amounts, which are 2, 7, and 14, the server unlocks new abilities like banners, increased emoji slots, increased audio quality, higher default upload size limit, animated server icon, and more.

When a user buys a Nitro membership, they get 2 free server boosts, which they can use on any server they want. However, if a user doesn’t want to buy Nitro or has already used their boosts, they can buy additional server boosts for $4.99 per boost. If the user has a Nitro membership, there’s a 30% discount when they want to buy a boost.

Can Discord Users Make Money?

There are a lot of ways that Discord users can make money using the platform, like creating a paid server, selling digital products or services, accepting donations, becoming a professional Discord moderator, selling premium content, and more.

The most common and arguably the best way to earn money on Discord is by creating a paid Discord server. Let's say you have a sports betting community, and you want to paywall your server so that only members who pay will be able to join your server - Whop can help.

Joining Whop and monetizing your server through the platform will allow you to set up easy payment steps, let the Whop Discord bot manage your members according to their membership/payment status, and access comprehensive data about your members and server.

Discord Makes a Lot of Money - So Can You With Whop

What can we learn from the Discord business model? To diversify your income streams. Which is exactly what you can do with Whop.

Whop has been helping thousands of creators sell access to their communities online. If you are a Discord server owner, then you can charge members for access to your role or server with Whop. Or, you can host your community on Whop itself, and benefit from even more monetization opportunities.

Simply create your Whop hub and add a Chat for your community. Then, emulate the Discord model by creating a freemium offering - a free tier for your users, and paid tiers for access to premium chats, content, and a forum. You can also sell software, ebooks, files, webinars, courses, and more - all from your Whop hub.

Thanks to Whop’s easy-to-learn and set-up system, signing up and starting selling takes less than 10 minutes. What are you waiting for? Start earning today.


Does Discord Sell Games?

You might’ve heard that Discord also earns money from selling games. Yes, Discord sold games between August 2018 and March 2019. The store had a lifespan of 212 days and allowed game developers to publish their games on the Discord Game Store - just like Steam or Epic Games Store.

With the launch of the store, Nitro Classic was introduced, a new $4.99 subscription plan, while the original Nitro cost was increased to $9.99. Nitro users were able to access a rotating game set for a certain period for free.

In March 2019, Discord decided to kill the Discord Game Store and let game developers sell their games on their own server up until December 2021.

As of June 2024, Discord doesn’t make money by selling games anymore.

Who Owns Discord?

Discord is owned by Discord Inc., previously known as Hammer & Chisel, Inc. The founders of Discord are Jason Citron, who often takes the highlight in the public eye, and Stanislav Vishnevskiy. The two founded Discord as a gamer-focused social platform, but after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world and everyone was stuck in their homes, Discord decided to rebrand itself as "a place for everyone." - not just for gamers.

Both Citron and Vishnevskiy are experienced in social gaming platforms - Citron founded OpenFeint in 2009 and sold the platform to GREE, a social networking service, in 2011 for $104 million and then founded Hammer & Chisel, Inc., which became Discord Inc.

How Much Money Does Discord Make?

While there isn't an up-to-date report about Discord's revenue for 2024, let's examine the revenue in millions ($) and year-over-year percentage change between 2016 and 2022.

Year  Revenue in Millions ($) YoY Percentage Change
2016 5 -
2017 10 100%
2018 30 200%
2019 45 50%
2020 135 200%
2021 310 130%
2022 445 44%

As we mentioned before, a big portion of Discord's revenue comes from Nitro membership sales - Discord made an estimated $207 million in revenue from Nitro sales in 2023.