Decentralized social media protocol Farcaster is crypto’s latest obsession—and unlike other blockchain-backed social networks that have come and gone, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin seems to think this one can go the distance.
In response to a Twitter post early Monday about the failures of Friend.tech, another decentralized social app that quickly lost steam after a rapid rise in attention, Buterin appeared to write that platform off as doomed due to its speculative approach.
“Bad GameFi is using financial speculation as a substitute for fun—blockchain games need to be fun as games,” Buterin said. “I believe a similar thing for crypto social.”
In contrast to using “financial speculation as a substitute for fun,” as Buterin apparently believes Friend.tech did, the Ethereum creator praised Farcaster, as well as decentralized social media protocol Lens, as products that will stand the test of time.
“Bad gamefi is using financial speculation as a substitute for fun. Blockchain games need to be fun as games” – approx quote I’ve said many times
I believe a similar thing for crypto social.
Registering a prediction: farcaster and lens will NOT be deserted in 4 months, or 1 yr.
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) February 5, 2024
“Registering a prediction: Farcaster and Lens will NOT be deserted in 4 months, or 1 [year],” Buterin wrote.
Friend.tech, which lets users buy and sell shares of their friends’ social media profiles, exploded in popularity last summer. Critics, however, dismissed it as a Ponzi scheme that relied upon speculative momentum to attract users, the majority of whom were mainly interested in turning a quick profit.
The concerns were founded: Within months of Friend.tech’s delirious highs, activity on the platform collapsed spectacularly. It has yet to recover: At writing, daily transaction volume on Friend.tech has fallen 99.6% from September’s highs, according to data compiled by Dune.
Friend.tech’s volatile arc rhymes with those of many projects in the crypto sector that catch heat and make headlines, only to collapse as soon as speculative interest wobbles.
Farcaster, by contrast, is not driven by financial incentives. A decentralized network of social media apps, Farcaster apps operate like standard social media sites—with the added benefits of privacy, censorship resistance, fewer bots, and user-friendly tech innovations.
One such innovation, Frames, has catapulted the network to unprecedented popularity in recent days by allowing users to perform numerous functions within a social media app—like playing games, making online purchases, and minting NFTs—without having to exit to a third party.
In the last week, thanks to Frames, user activity on Farcaster has shot up a tremendous 1,300%. That degree of success has previously (temporarily) graced other on-chain social media platforms, including Friend.tech—but Buterin appears confident that this streak, at least, won’t signal yet another flash in the pan.
Edited by Andrew Hayward