Finally, Farcaster has reached another significant milestone: permissionless registration. However, there are varying degrees of concern regarding its future, as it has been in a testing phase, with user growth being controlled, and only those who were invited or held specific NFTs could join. Here, most people are not seeking to establish influence or monetize their influence but rather fulfill the simplest social needs: sharing their interests and hoping for responses from like-minded individuals. According to Messari's Farcaster research report, "Farcaster and its core front end, Warpcast, have resonated with their existing user base, fostering a community that values quality engagement." The Farcaster community surrounding the protocol has always been small yet beautiful.
One significant advantage of being small is the concentrated user base, which enhances interaction. On platforms like Twitter(𝕏), it is nearly impossible for faithful Farcaster users like Vitalik to come across and respond to my comments. However, Vitalik is more active on Farcaster than on Twitter, frequently engaging with other users.
There is an interesting metric on farcaster.network called the Follower Gini Coefficient, which measures the inequality among followers. Farcaster has a coefficient of 81.12, while Twitter's coefficient is as high as 94.12. If it were a social platform focused on connecting acquaintances, the coefficient would naturally be much lower. This is largely due to the early stage of the project and the relatively small number of users. However, the result is a more balanced relationship among users, with everyone's visibility amplified. Users feel they might be seen, which increases their sense of presence and gratification, leading to a greater desire to post. This effect is particularly evident after the introduction of Channels, which is an implementation of FIP-2 in the protocol. Channels are something the community takes pride in, which help distribute content, increasing the likelihood of your cast being seen and creating a positive feedback loop for posting and interaction.
The beauty of Farcaster is subjective and varies from person to person. For some, it lies in its relatively decentralized design, which provides a sense of security in controlling their social identity through private keys, especially after the Twitter hacks experienced by Vitalik and Dan Romero.
For others, it is the convenience of interacting with renowned figures within the small Farcaster community. The constant communication and iterative product development between developers and users are highly valued. Some find beauty in finding like-minded individuals. When I initially joined Farcaster, I loved the fact that I could find other holders through the NFT collection page without verifying their identity. This aspect is inherently web3 native. However, in the current NFT bear market, this feature may seem less important, and Dan even considers reducing some NFT-related features (although I have always emphasized the importance of NFTs for web3 social platforms and have written an article expressing my expectations). For some, it is the atmosphere of discussions and the presence of interesting individuals both within and beyond Warpcast, including a diverse ecosystem of applications such as chat, live streaming, and spaces.
In the early stages, many projects have few participants and limited interaction due to low-quality users, resulting in a lack of high-quality resonance. However, Farcaster had a natural advantage from the beginning with the backing of a16z and Coinbase. In the initial phase, Farcaster strictly controlled user onboarding through measures like personal invitations by the founders and limited diffusion, creating a high-quality user atmosphere represented by developers and VCs. This helped filter out speculative crypto users, reducing discussions about token price fluctuations and avoiding the influx of airdrop hunters (just take a look at what happened to another web3 social protocol, Lens protocol). As a result, Farcaster established a community with a relatively high-quality discourse on crypto content, although not everything shared there is necessarily substantial. Twitter is a platform that encompasses everything, while Farcaster acts as a funnel, selectively filtering a small portion. Farcaster's introduction of channels incentivized content diversity, leading to the emergence of non-crypto content and transforming Farcaster from a geek forum into a circle of strangers turned friends. You can find like-minded individuals here, which is also Dan's promotional slogan. The ability to connect with similar individuals is an essential aspect that most social networks must address.
Farcaster is now poised to embark on a new chapter, and Dan has always emphasized the participation of high-quality users, taking various measures to enhance the growth of quality daily active users (qDAU) rather than relying on other superficial metrics. These measures include implementing a minimum registration fee of $7 to deter spam signups. In a voice chat on Farcaster's ecosystem application, Aburra (similar to Clubhouse or Twitter Spaces), Dan discussed how the Warpcast team's next priority is improving the quality of daily active users by adjusting the "active user metric" to measure engagement and contribution. Farcaster is even considering making channels composable and portable across protocols to empower content creators. Dan welcomes the forking of the Farcaster protocol, as competition fosters progress. Therefore, I remain excited about the future development of Farcaster.
However, it's worth noting that the statements I made above were applicable a few months ago, and future changes may overturn some of my previous remarks. Farcaster undergoes rapid transformations, with new applications being generated by enthusiastic users every week. The Farcaster protocol itself and its ecosystem applications receive extensive user feedback, resulting in swift iterations. Nonetheless, Farcaster also evolves slowly. Even during the rise of SocialFi, it has not adopted a token economy. I look forward to Farcaster becoming the hyperstructure of the crypto world, and I am excited to witness its progress.
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