Cover photo

With my bhaiyos at FBI's Based Fellowship

Proxy Studio in India

Our view in Himachal: all photos by Aakash Kumar @jpegaurekpeg


Recently, I joined Farcaster Builders of India (FBI) and Samuel Huber for a week in the mountains of Himachal Pradesh, India for the Based Fellowship. This trip, the work we accomplished, and the connections that led to it are emblematic of what Proxy Studio and FBI are becoming and where we are going. It's a fun story that spans the globe, from the trenches of Farcaster to the foothills of the Himalayas. It’s also a better story if you have a bit of context on Proxy Studio and FBI, and our shared visions for building on Farcaster.

Farcaster Builders of India

Farcaster Builders of India was founded by Saumya as a way to connect developers & builders from India working and shitposting on Farcaster. Since launch, it has grown into a lively organization with a large, active community, a core team (FBI Labs), and grant funding from both Base & Optimism. FBI’s community members come from around the world, many are based in India but not exclusively - members call NYC, Dubai, Delhi and Bangalore home. FBI is launching branches in Africa and collaborating with Asian builders around Farcon Toyko. Members of FBI are FBI Labs are contributing to numerous projects.

Arunank writes "wen showcast," and buddy let me tell you, we all want to know!


Proxy Studio

you don't get a picture of my handsome face, but here is a tower of rocks I built in a river. Every rock supports another, there is a lesson in that.

I founded Proxy Studio to bootstrap a network & capital towards building an open venture studio on Farcaster. We're organized around a Hypersub subscription token: Proxy Studio has 200 tokens and each token gives the holder access to token-gated writing & research, a trading fund (Mercenary Capital), and a token-gated community. 

How is the Studio organized? How does Proxy operate? As a community, Proxy Studio researches, invests in and builds on Farcaster. Using the subscription token to gate our community, Proxy Studio has earned ~17 ETH. This funding means I can personally commit to building on Farcaster full time, and I can pay admin & devs to work with me on improving the Studio’s operations, and to contribute to projects we develop internally or in partnerships.

As Proxy has grown, we’ve pursued three primary ways of building. 

  1. Studio Projects: In this case, Proxy Studio as an entity funds & organizes the development of specific projects. This means I put my individual focus on these projects, take ownership of them, and find all the resources needed to make these ideas a reality and support them post launch. Proxyswap is the biggest such project, and is now its own independent, self-sustaining project.  

  2. Subscriber x Studio Projects: Here, subscribers who have an idea, an existing project, or a goal to develop one partner with the studio. People in the studio might contribute to the project, the studio might help source resources for the project, and in exchange we'll share in the upside in some way. This could mean a percentage of the project's future revenue, or a token allocation: the model is flexible. 

  3. Subscriber Projects: Many people within Proxy Studio’s network are builders, founders, or content creators. On a daily basis, we talk as a community about building on Farcaster, investing in projects that have some form of live token, and discuss what works and what doesn’t on the network. For founders developing their own projects - without a direct partnership with Proxy Studio - this information flow and dialogue can be valuable. In addition, they have access to me. I often hop on calls with founders, give them product feedback, and suggest other people they should talk to. This third category is more ambiguous than the first two, but it’s also baked into Proxy’s culture on a daily basis. If a member is building, I’m there to support them, and so is our network. Many studio members report speaking with fellow token holders, sometimes paying them for contract work, or building projects together. 

Proxy Studio’s partnership with FBI has provided the studio with access to a deep, talented pool of developers and creators who are eager to get involved on Farcaster. With FBI, we have been able to take our ideas and make them material. For a bootstrapped project supported by subscription revenue, access to dev resources like this is significant. Members of FBI are working on two Subscriber x Studio projects, CasterRank and OnShelf. FBI Labs members are collaborating directly with Proxy Studio as contributors to Proxyswap’s core team. A third Subscriber x Studio project is in early, pre-product discussion stages.

On paper, these overlapping networks and communities collaborating on so many projects can sound complicated, but in practice it’s been a natural and generative partnership between our communities. Proxy Studio & our subscribers have ideas & capital and great networks across the space. FBI has a network of its own, and a talented pool of developers & people who ship. Together, we can get things done and get those projects out in front of a large number of Farcaster users. The fact that we share interests, upside, and ambition matters more to me than if our partnership fits into a neat box.

We’re different, built different.

Together, our two Farcaster native projects are now in the arena, competing & collaborating with other builders. Every day the links between our groups grow and solidify.

How did the partnership come about? 

Proxy x FBI 

the hat stays on


I met Saumya in the Haberdashers (Degen DAO) group chat. We first chatted in the aftermath of what some might call a hostile take-over attempt: an anon had purchased a large number of DAO tokens and attempted to steer the DAO in a direction contrary to the goals of a number of founding members. Saumya and I were part of a small group that splintered off from the larger Haberdashers group chat, which had devolved into shitcoin trading & potentially malicious presale shilling, to work on a plan to organize the DAO and move forward from the take-over attempt. I quickly noticed: Saumya was what I might call an 'Adult in the Room'.

Every call he would take notes, producing a Google Doc with actionable steps for the group to pursue following the call. Today, Haberdashers has an organized grant program funding projects at scale, and ~$2m in the bank - primarily $DEGEN but $ETH as well. We've onboarded a comms team - Brainstorm - from FBIs network, and Saumya and I, alongside many other members of both Proxy Studio, FBI and other Farcaster orgs are aligned in helping the DAO grow into its role as the best-capitalized, community owned source of funding on Farcaster. 

Saumya talks a mile a minute, knows a million devs, seems to make things happen quite quickly, and has a ton of ideas. Even better, he has a heart of gold. We quickly connected and started having more calls and talking privately. This connection grew into a partnership - it seemed obvious to us both that there was alignment with Proxy Studio and FBi, we both wanted to build and we saw an opportunity to do so. 

Our first direct collaboration was Proxyswap: a Uniswap v3 fork on Degen Layer3. Proxyswap is now a DAO that is operationally independent, with a treasury to support future development. While the core team is today entirely composed of FBi Labs and Proxy Studio members, Proxyswap DAO can sustain itself without me paying out of pocket for everything. We are excited to be developing a huge expansion of Proxyswap Protocol - a ‘social dex’ or trading client for Farcaster. I will be writing more on the social dex in another post.

Based Fellowship 

I joined FBI's 3-week hackathon, the Based Fellowship, as an idea partner. FBI was looking for ideas of what people could build on Farcaster. Recently I spent 30 minutes talking to Ted, not Ted Lasso, of /clubted and we agreed - Farcaster needs better ideas. Being an idea guy means not just having ideas, but communicating them to people who can build them. For the Based Fellowship that was step one: curate a list of concepts that dev’s could iterate on and feasibly build within a few weeks. 

Once we had a list of good ideas, devs spent two weeks scoping out the projects and beginning to build them out. The culmination of the fellowship was an in-person hackathon. For 7 days, over 30 developers gathered in Dharamshala to collaborate, finish their builds, and obsess over building on Farcaster into the early hours of the morning.

I went to India in part because Saumya asked me to go - he couldn’t attend in person due to family obligations, but invited me and Samuel Huber to go and work with the devs. Flying to India for a week was not on my to-do list in May: the flights are long, expensive, and I have a packed schedule. But I am so grateful to have gone.  

Many of the ideas we are circling in groups like Proxy Studio, Farcaster Builders of India, Club Ted, Terminally Onchain, Higher, Purple, and Yellow relate to decentralized collaboration. How do we fund good ideas, and support smart people to build them? How do we bring more developer talent to Farcaster? How can we fund developer talent from around the world to contribute to the growth of Farcaster & projects in the ecosystem? How can we give ownership in what we are building to a broader range of stakeholders? To me, the ideological core of this is that for Farcaster to really help bring the world onchain, that can’t just mean Silicon Valley founders starting projects. It has to mean teams from every corner of the world being able to come to Farcaster, find opportunity, build communities they identify with, and be able to get attention for their contributions to the network. Only then will permissionless, decentralized social attract the developer talent necessary to sustain the network's growth. It can't all come from Merkle, they are just giving us the sandbox. We have to build the castles.

the bhais, in the sandbox



These are speculative endeavors, but they are worth doing. At this stage in Farcaster’s growth venture funding has overwhelmingly gone to the Merkle team itself, or to ecosystem infrastructure projects. A few projects have attracted outside investors (Paragraph and Neynar) and a handful of others have launched tokens that now support their continued growth (Degen, Higher, TN100x). Some are supported by RPGF from Optimism or grants from Base. But fundamentally, it’s not just capital pushing Farcaster ecosystem development forward - its talented individuals devoting their time and energy to a mission that is almost ideological in nature. We believe in the promises and opportunities of decentralized social, and I’d argue our faith and conviction is as deep, or deeper than any venture fund that owns Merkle equity and moderates a few channels. We are staking our claim: Farcaster is for us too, we see the opportunity and will build our own avenues to grow here, and we’ll do it whether anyone outside of Farcaster recognizes or rewards us for these efforts yet.

The Based Fellowship in India felt like a culmination of all of the energy and ideas that have bubbled up on Farcaster since I joined and DAU spiked from 5k to 50k. I found myself thousands of miles from home, in a hotel in McLeod Ganj, a suburb outside Dharmashal and a hill station in Himachal Pradesh where the Dalai Lama has a house, working with a group of 30 Indian devs on about 10+ projects that had made it from the idea stage onto local host. I was in India because 200 token holders had believed in Proxy Studio enough that I could take the time & money to help build some tools and products for Farcaster, and I was there because a group of madmen had the vision to come together as a community and support one other to take advantage of this rare moment in time and ship.

FBI’s Based Fellowship was an amazing expression of a group of people huddling, getting some funding & support, and figuring out how to make things happen. From the FBI Labs team, who coordinated the hackathon, to me and Sam, who hopped on planes to come and support, to the people who contributed ideas & got on calls with the fellows - the vibe was infectious. Let’s not wait for anyone to say “jump” and “here’s money to jump,” let’s just get after jumping. 

Enough rambling, what happened in the mountains in the north of India? Here are projects that were built. What impresses me about all these projects isn't that they are perfect, but that they exist. They went from ideas to projects in less than a month, and now people can improve on them, compete with them, or build something completely different.

FarviewID is a personalized page to show everything you do on Farcaster. The idea is to showcase key information about each Farcaster user: when was their first transaction on Base? Who are their top followers? What channels are the most active in? One issue with decentralized social is so much of the information we get comes in casts, straight from the feed. Like any social media platform, Warpcast can be overwhelming, loud, and hard to navigate. Farview gives a brief window into who a user is - and was quite popular, attracting over 15k unique visitors on launch day. I could imagine Farview allowing users to customize their home page, I might share my profile with someone who is curious about the work I'm doing on Farcaster. It helps contextualize users and the work they do on the network. Farview was built by @vrajdesai @tusharvrma and @hardikharsh10.




DegenAsk is one of my personal favorite projects from the fellowship. The idea: get paid to answer questions, in DEGEN. Anyone with a Farcaster profile can setup a profile and answer questions, and even cooler: if you pay to get an answer, you can charge other people to see it! The product has gotten some use (primarily by me, I might add) but I think it could be really fun: people need to ask juicy questions, and people need to give substantive answers. I'd like to know: how much $DEGEN is @bitfloorsghost holding? I saw him selling recently, but he claims to hold some tokens in 'secret' wallets. He won't tell me on the feed, but maybe he'll answer if I pay him. Built by @neelpatel @flamekaiser and @qimchi.

Neel and Abishek, handsome boys and talented builders.

WorthCast is a Chrome extension that lets you peak into any Warpcast users wallet & activity. Another simple concept, well executed. I use it to this day, primarily to get an idea if a user is token rich with a glance, and without having to open up Basescan. What I loved about WorthCast is how it took advantage of a widely available toolkit, Chrome Extensions, that have been underutilized in the scramble to build alternative clients and apps. This extension changed my visual experience of Warpcast. Think about that: Warpcast, the client we all primarily use, can be altered. Thats big! I hope more people will experiment with extensions that adjust elements of the Warpcast web browsing experience. WorthCast was built by @vidhatha @deveshb15 and @hardikharsh10.

Vidhatha and Hardik

Base Builders is an idea to help builders on @Base connect with one another, share solutions to common problems, and ask for help. Builders can join & register a profile, post a query by casting and tagging @basedbuilders, and hopefully help one another out as they work on crypto's hottest layer 2! Base Builders is a concept built directly on Warpcast: while there is a webapp categorizing queries with tags & showcasing builders profiles, you can interact with Base Builders entirely from a frame and by casting as you normally would, or scrolling the /basebuilders channel. Built by @arunank @qimchi and @john-swaroop

Kenny has been wanting a frame for Pics or it didn't happen forever, and @gayatri and @akhil-bsv built him one! One of my favorite things about the fellowship was how these devs were diving into other people's projects on Farcaster, looking to see what they might build to improve the space generally. POIDH is an inherently social product, its a bounties platform that allows users to post bounties and reward winning submission, with the twist that submissions are entered with pictures. The only problem? It used to live only in a webapp, and the pictures were siloed there. Now, you can create bounties in a frame, and soon you'll be able to respond to bounties just by casting a picture.

ChannelX is a cool implementation of Superfluid's DEGENx streaming tokens, allowing channel hosts to gate a Farcaster channel using a DEGENx stream. Given the recent attention that AlfaFrens has gotten, it seems likely that users are starting to be more familiar and comfortable with streaming tokens. Gating a channel with DEGENx stream is an alternative to moderation & ownership implementations we've seen combining hypersub and automod. Built by @harpaljadeja @heyshubh @qimchi

As channels grow, and decentralize, we'll need more and better data on them. Watchtower puts this data at your fingertips, offering advanced Farcaster Channel Analytics. I think Watchtower would be especially useful for moderation, and know that the team has a lot planned for this tool. Created by @hardikharsh10 @whyshock and @happysingh

PeekFeed, another banger by @gayatri answers that age old question: what does another Farcaster users' feed look look? In PeekFeed, I can line up Jesse, Ted and nonlinear.eth's feeds and get all the alpha I want, on one screen. Its a great, simple way to experience Warpcast differently.

Conclusion

There are more projects that came out of this week, but this is too long to cover every single one. Having the opportunity to travel in India and build with FBI and Sam was amazing. Sam was the first person who ever reached out to me to get on a call after I joined Farcaster and started casting about building an "open venture studio." To sit in a car with him for 16 hours, alternating between sleeping and talking about a social dex, was really an honor.

Its hard to capture the energy of a hackathon but I'll say this: one night, Jesse called in to talk to everyone about Base's vision for bringing the world onchain, and how they are supporting builders in this quest. In his talk, Jesse was quite clear: all of the developers at the Based Fellowship were a key part of Base's ambitious, global campaign. I agree wholeheartedly.

Who in the world is more obsessed with Farcaster than a developer building a mini app on top of DEGEN, a token that ~40k people hold, that is distributed via tip allocations to people with certain levels of engagement on a decentralized social network with ~60k daily average users? We should be extremely grateful that anybody cares about our little corner of crypto, and reward and incentivize anyone who is building here with us.

Thank you to everyone who hosted me with such generosity, in particular Ashish and Akhil. I made friends for life, left with a suitcase stuffed with presents, and came home only to log back in and get right to work - collaborating with so many of the same people I got to know in person, in India.

I don't know what the future holds for Farcaster, or how fast we'll bring the world onchain, but I do know this: networks like FBI and new kinds of organizations like Proxy Studio will be at the forefront. I would find your version of FBI or Proxy, your network of people who want to get things done, ship fast and move forward. Our challenge is a hard one, it will take a lot of people trying a lot of things to make progress. Don't try to do it alone, its a lot more fun together.

Jesse inspires us


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