Drakula launched!

initial thoughts

TL;DR

  • The Story So Far

  • Bullish [3] and Bearish [1]

  • Oddly Bullish [2] and Strangely Bearish [3]

  • Three Takeaways


The Story So Far...

Drakula app launched on March 13th [embed]. I didn't see @ted's post [embed] for several hours and immediately felt the intense FOMO. Seeing dwr.eth's video [link] and the word "Paradigm", I yeeted in some $degen [tx hash].

The app worked! I told @fufuprophet.eth "wowow this is the future" [embed] and @christin "I don't have enough $degen".

Aped into $degen from dry powder, and made enough in 12 hours to afford a Farcaster OG. (HMU if you're an original hodler looking to sell, and want your OG to be part of a historic event. I'd pay a touch above the best offer on OS.)

Then fufu's video got deleted, and more and more things started looking suss. I paper-handed it, dumping my $degen into the buy flow.


Bullish and Bearish

Three bullish signs:

  • project launched on faith + prayers. Many pieces, including Privy's Farcaster integration and Sign In With Neynar, were not ready when the Drakula team built its technical foundations, but they relied on the rails to come together in time

  • Pimlico AA wallets make user assets secure, friction-free, and safe (isolated)

  • founder/project ambition, speed and daring

Bearish:

  • None. Started from the bottom now we're here


Oddly Bullish, Strangely Bearish

Oddly bullish:

  • asking in /founders about really basic things. Humble, transparent; I can't imagine the team doesn't have great advisors, but the founder remains thick-skinned and open to the community

  • [embed]

  • didn't build a system to deal with imposters. You can't fool an innocent man. The founding team is not constantly thinking about convincing users that they won't rug (so that they can rug)

Strangely bearish:

  • building on FC-native rails, The combination has janky edges, and integration responsibility is disjointed. Neynar + Privy should be rock-solid separately, but the seams become nobody's (and everybody's) responsibility

  • bootstrap an existing social graph (solves a founder’s biggest hurdle). A bunch of text nerds and self-selected Christian rappers, very low overlap with a TikTok-native crowd and skillset


Three Takeaways

I see three huge conceptual concerns. None are easy; they remain unsolved and each one on its own may be a grail-type problem:

  1. Moderation

  2. Creator misalignment

  3. Security seams

Moderation

They deleted an artist's provocative, disturbing video [embed]. So we know devs can perform (manual) censorship, curation, moderation, whatever you want to call it.

But then, they don't have a (sustainable) way to deal with internet-scale NSFW opportunists. [embed]

If you look at the initial feed of "girlies", the feed quality appears emergent, non-intentional, and a secondary concern for the team rather than a core competency. But TikTok beats all comers with its algorithm, not because they were first to serve short-form video.

Creator misalignment

The platform's creator emphasis also appears to be a secondary concern.

  • creators can't delete their vids [link]

  • link outs do not render, forcing creators to earn $blood/$degen rather than allowing them to monetize off-platform. The platform obviously prefers this lock-in

  • zero infra for provenance. It is incredibly easy and rewarding to steal content

All of this is early days, p0 and MLP stuff. But it raises the question, is this really why we crypto? To make it easy for professional anons to steal from individual content creators?

Security

The issues at launch have been quite obvious and top-of-mind:

  • scam accounts squatting on large accounts' creator tokens. This is a huge ethical concern for large accounts. The "victims" are mainly fast-moving degens, who by and large have shrugged it off by dumping the scam tokens on the next users for 3x-10x gains. Many such cases. Dumping known scams is of dubious ethics, but it's PvP.

  • scam accounts stealing large accounts even after those accounts reserved their names [embed]

  • leaky account concepts. Privy and SIWN do not interact inside Drakula, so a user can easily be misled into linking their alt (in Drakula, in their AA wallets) to allow casting from their main FC account. It happened to me. User error, I'm still down bad.

  • I used a VPN, Brave Browser, and AppleId signin to make my alt account @varun [link]. It passively earns $blood by scrolling and liking girlie videos.

These look like they should be solvable, but not without some hard choices. One consideration: Drakula needs non-FC sign-in to reach users and scale, yet wants to inherit FC social reputation for its moderation. It will always manage its own separate namespace, and it happened to choose a slightly different namespace spec than FC (see: dashes and underscores, the "case sensitivity attack" [link]). These become strange, exploitable edge cases.


Conclusion

As of 17 March 2024, I remain quite excited about Drakula and its future versions, successors, and copycats over the long term. In the short term, I have sent all my $degen out of Drakula into my own wallets (it worked great!) and sold (for now) all the $degen I bought (and more) after the initial enthusiasm.

Worst case outcome: Drakula becomes Farcaster's answer to Lenstube + Onboard.

Note: at time of publication, $DEGEN is trading at $0.0053. I remain net long. My musings are a reflection of the recent price action, and I believe narrative follows price.


References:

https://drakula.app/post/19a766ba-faca-46e1-b72c-668942277744

https://basescan.org/tx/0x8648afd083ef5e80b058035ecc37b8aa14105f7b20c4427505f676d2ddfcb9c2

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