Traits are increasingly being used to quantify global biodiversity patterns, with trait databases growing in size and number, across diverse taxa. Despite growing interest in a trait‐based approach to the biodiversity of the deep sea, where the impacts of human activities (including seabed mining) accelerate, there is no single repository for species traits for deep‐sea chemosynthesis‐based ecosystems, including hydrothermal vents. Using an international, collaborative approach, we have compiled the first global‐scale trait database for deep‐sea hydrothermal‐vent fauna – sFDvent (sDiv‐funded trait database for the Functional Diversity of vents). We formed a funded working group to select traits appropriate to: (a) capture the performance of vent species and their influence on ecosystem processes, and (b) compare trait‐based diversity in different ecosystems. Forty contributors, representing expertise across most known hydrothermal‐vent systems and taxa, scored species traits using online collaborative tools and shared workspaces. Here, we characterise the sFDvent database, describe our approach, and evaluate its scope. Finally, we compare the sFDvent database to similar databases from shallow‐marine and terrestrial ecosystems to highlight how the sFDvent database can inform cross‐ecosystem comparisons. We also make the sFDvent database publicly available online by assigning a persistent, unique DOI.