To date, most products built on the Farcaster protocol have been alternate clients to Warpcast, or tools for reading and writing Farcaster message and user data. The alternate client approach to building on Farcaster leverages it primarily as social media - these apps offer different ways for users to view, create, and interact with the content on the Farcaster protocol.
What we've seen less of, and what I myself didn’t consider until today, are products that are largely unrelated to Farcaster as social media, but still leverage Farcaster as social network.
Farcaster is powerful because it provides a built-in Ethereum-native social graph that any app can use. You can look at any Ethereum address and discern its social relationships based on who the associated account’s relationships on the Farcaster protocol. Without Farcaster, to figure out such relationships of an address, you’d have to use a number of convoluted strategies: maybe look at accounts it’s sent ETH to and from, or at others who’ve minted the same NFTs, or voted in the same DAOs. This gets complex quickly, and is pretty unreliable. Farcaster follow relationships and cast/reaction data make this much more elegant - it’s literally just all right there. And, most importantly, all this data is portable and censorship-resistant, built on Ethereum.
I finally understood this all today when I was checking out Paragraph, and in the onboarding flow it gave me the option to subscribe to the Paragraph newsletters of accounts I follow already on Farcaster. This was a lightbulb moment for me - I realized that the Farcaster social graph is valuable on its own, even without the content. Paragraph doesn’t need to use any information about casts or channels or whatever (though I think it actually does for article comments).
From the start, when I signed up to Paragraph with my Ethereum wallet, it already knew who my “Ethereum friends” were based on my Farcaster follows (and thus, whose newsletters I might be interested in subscribing to). I didn’t have to sign in with Warpcast or do anything Farcaster-related for the app to know this.
Ethereum is fundamentally a social technology - a network designed to power trustless human coordination at scale. If this is true, then every dApp in the long run will tap into users’ social graphs to enhance their product experiences, because every action you take on Ethereum is inherently social. Farcaster enables a clear articulation of social relationships that exist on Ethereum, and thus provides the infrastructure for every dApp to eventually become social. In the long run, this could be much more powerful than we can intuitively grasp right now. But it will probably become clear soon.
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