Rebuilding the Internet
Farcaster, a Web3 social network, is exploding in activity. Why now, why this is a big deal, and why brands should care.
Hey! It’s Marc. ✌️
Today, we explore a Web3 social network whose activity surged by 2,800% in just one week and why every Web3 focused brand should start on Farcaster now.
This isn’t about “the next Facebook” or the second “Friend.Tech”. And it isn’t about Farcaster either. It’s bigger than that.
We’re witnessing a progression from Web3’s infrastructure phase to Web3’s consumer phase. For the first time, we’ve got a consumer app that unites all the merits of Web3 in a easy to use product.
If you’re a marketer, now is the time to think about how your brand can take advantage of that future. Feel curious? join Farcaster. Cast me a hello when you’re there @marcb and share a link to this essay. I’ll recast it to welcome you.
Let’s dive in.
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Farcaster (aka. an “on-chain” Twitter) has been around for over a year, confined to the inner circles of Web3 culture.
Now, it has become the talk of the town. Web3 folks are ecstatic about it, honing it as “the future of the Internet”. Why? Let’s break it down.
Farcaster is a “decentralized social media protocol”.1 This sounds confusing at first (it did for me too). A simple comparison:
Twitter (or, X) is a social media platform.
X (or Elon Musk) controls what users see, who’s banned, the ads, the algorithm, and more. Remember when Elon Musk removed API access for third party developers?
Farcaster works differently.
Think of it as an open-source Twitter without Elon Musk, or any single entity, calling the shots.
Everyone can build “clients” (aka. apps) to interact with the Farcaster protocol.2
No single company controls Farcaster. It's like an open-source railway system, where anyone can contribute and build cool new trains (apps). This means:
No more gatekeepers: You're not at the mercy of someone like Elon deciding who gets silenced or what content gets promoted.
Your data is yours: You control your data and can easily switch between different apps without losing your connections or content.
Open innovation: Developers can build new apps on the open-source protocol.
Built on these Web3 principles, Farcaster has naturally become a part of Web3’s culture.
How It Works
Let’s recap: We’ve got a decentralized protocol and clients (or “apps”) making use of that protocol.
Warpcast is one of those apps (its Farcaster’s official app). It’s similar to how you would use X, but it’s made for Farcaster. And it’s the latest app that made it to my homescreen.
What if you don’t like Warpcast? You use another one and take all the data (your “social graph”: audience, posts, etc.) with you.
This means that unlike platforms like Facebook or X, Farcaster doesn't claim ownership of your posts, comments, or other information you share. Users keep complete control over their data.3
Users can “tip” each other with “Warps”, an in-app currency with various uses within the platform and the Farcaster ecosystem.4
On Warpcast, “Tweets” are called “Casts”. Users can follow users or follow “Channels”. Channels are feeds about a topic, such as “founders”, “base”, “ethereum”, “AI”, or a branded community such as Nike’s “.SWOOSH”.
New casts appear on the homepage of your followers, unless you choose to cast into a specific channel.
People find people in X, they don’t find interests.
People find interests on Reddit, they don’t find people.
Farcaster combines both of them. Dan Romero, co-founder of Farcaster, calls this the “depth of interest”.
I find channels one of the most compelling features to come back to, offering an opportunity for creators and brands to build and engage with niche communities.
Coinbase’s “Base” is a prime example for that. Spearheaded by Jesse Pollak, they've built up an highly engaged community around the “Base” protocol and used Farcaster as an effective go-to-market channel.
Why the Hype Now?
Farcaster’s surge in activity follows the introduction of the "Frames" feature last week. Frames let people build small apps that run inside of posts (called “casts”). For example:
or “anything” else that’s interactive.
For example: instant checkouts. No forms. User info tied to the wallet, owned by the user.5
This essentially enables one-click buying journeys that include on-chain affiliate attribution for the influencer. Here’s how this looks like today:
Why is this significant?
It massively simplifies the UX for users, developers, and brands – thanks to blockchain and wallets. Blockchain serves as a decentralized, open-source data layer and wallets store users’ data.
This simplifies a multi-step process on X (or any other social platform) to one click.
Jason Yanowitz, Founder of Blockworks, framed (no pun intended😵💫) this nicely:
Haven’t we seen this before? We did.
Remember Facebook apps, such as Zynga’s Farmville? This was a big opportunity for app developers, as they could use Facebook to access millions of users (and their data!).
Farcaster “Frames” is similar, with two big differences:
Developers (and brands) aren’t dependent on a centralized platform
Users own their data (as it’s connected to their digital wallet)
Jesse Walden describes it like this:
For founders, the takeaway is that you now have the ability to tap directly into existing user attention, engagement, identity and data as you plan your GTM, the same way that Zynga famously did with Facebook. Only this time, users’ money will be there too, and their identity and data can’t be rugged from underneath them.
The same goes for brands.
What Brands Can do Now
If you’re a Web3 native brand or a traditional brand present in Web3: Join Farcaster now and start a channel to build up your community.
If you’re a marketer, become familiar with the platform. The easiest way to start is with Warpcaster – Farcaster’s interface that’s most similar to X. You can join here or by scanning the code below.
Here are some low-hanging fruits for brand leaders:
Feel the vibe: Create an account and start observing. What are people talking about? What content resonates? What topics connect with my brand?
Start or join a channel: Channels are similar to /subreddits or X “communities”. If you’re a brand, you can launch channels and engage with niche communities that resonate with your story. Now you have the opportunity to be very early in communities that may become very big.
Token gated chats: As of today, brands are able to create closed chats accessible only to token holders.
Observe the Web3 consumer pace: Many more “consumer apps” will follow, building on the same principles as Faracster: decentralized, open, and composable with the wallet as the primary user interface. Find out how this impacts your way to connect and engage with consumers. Here’s a great start.
Remember: Brands succeed when they break through in culture. What we’re witnessing is a truly cultural moment for the Internet. It’s being rebuilt. And you can become part of it.
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The Limit is Your Imagination
Let's take a moment to reflect on what we're witnessing.
We’ve got a:
a shared, open, and permissionless data layer
and applications that are beginning to make use of this.
Isn’t this – wait – isn’t this what Web3 is actually about?
It’s been 14 years since Bitcoin changed the way we store and transact value over the internet. It laid the groundwork for a series of innovations, including layer ones, NFTs, DeFi, smart contracts and dApps.
Critics suggest that Web3 has its best days behind it. “Aren’t NFTs just a fad from two years ago? They’re worthless, right”?
I believe the opposite: We're just beginning.
We’ve spent the last 14 years building infrastructure. Now, for the first time, Web3’s building blocks are culminating into an easy to use consumer app – a nascent glimpse into the future of the Internet, if you will.
We’ve been waiting for this for a long time. But we’re early.
Frames are still clumsy. Farcaster is still home to a small community of Web3 enthusiasts. And it's uncertain whether this initial momentum will last.
But it doesn’t matter whether Farcaster succeeds or not.
It’s the direction that it points us in that matters – towards an internet that is open, composable, and more equal.
Isn't that what we're all building for?
That’s all for now.
PSS: And don’t forget to apply to Future+! ✨
Headless marketplaces: Go where the wallets are – Jesse Walden
Framing the Future of the Internet – By Packy McCormick
Farcaster, Warpcast, Whatcast? – Zeneca
How to think about frames – Christian Montoya
Sufficient Decentralization for Social Networks – Varun Srinivasan
Why Farcaster Frames are important – Antonio García Martínez
Branding in the age of social media - Harvard Business Review
What’s “decentralized”? Co-founder Varun Srinivasan:
A social network achieves sufficient decentralization if two users can find each other and communicate, even if the rest of the network wants to prevent it.
This implies that users can always reach their audience, which can only be true if developers can build many clients on the network. If only one client existed, it could stop users from communicating […]
Jesse Walden from Variant calls this “headless marketplaces”. This sounds confusing at first, but as soon as you understand the logic of Farcaster, the term makes sense:
A headless marketplace is a market leveraging global, onchain identity, money, and data while distributing locally—wherever a user’s wallet already is (e.g. inside a Telegram group chat or Farcaster feed).
However, it's important to understand some nuances:
Decentralized storage: While you own your data, it's physically stored on a decentralized network called Arweave. This means there's no central server controlled by Farcaster itself.
Platform access: To interact with your data on Farcaster, you need to use a third-party "hub" application. While these hubs don't own your data, they facilitate your access and may have their own terms of service regarding data privacy.
Data moderation: Although you control your content, Farcaster has the right to moderate content that violates its community guidelines. They can remove content deemed illegal, hateful, or harmful.
Rewards: Users can earn warps through different activities on Warpcast, such as being an active user, sharing engaging content, or contributing to the Farcaster network as a node operator.
Monetization: Warps can be used to purchase certain features and services within Warpcast, like paying for mint fees or creating Farcaster channels.
Gifting: Users can send and receive warps as gifts within the platform.
Community building: Certain features, like creating Farcaster channels, require a minimum warp deposit, fostering a sense of commitment and engagement within communities.
This will become possible with on-chain identities.