Can friend.tech Go Mainstream?
Dear Bankless Nation,
We talked your ears off about friend.tech last week. This weekend, it blew up.
Despite a bearish past week for crypto prices, users rallied around the new platform, injecting tens of millions into it. Today, we're digging into the traction friend.tech is seeing and looking to define where it could head next.
- Bankless team
Friend.tech is on Fire 🔥
Bankless Author: David Hoffman | disclosures
The friend.tech phenomenon has swept through Crypto Twitter and is showing few signs of slowing down.
With 80,000 unique users joining friend.tech in the last 10 days, the crypto world is finding that breakout apps are well within reach. Even if this boom isn’t sustainable – and it’s not the app to take crypto mainstream – friend.tech is still providing lessons and market signals for what going mainstream is going to take.
If you were off touching grass this weekend, and need to get caught up with this app's traction, here’s the progress that friend.tech has made in reaching new audiences beyond crypto natives.
1. Non-Crypto Influencers Embrace the Platform
FaZe Banks (YouTuber), Gracie Hartie (OnlyFans), and Grayson Allen (Milwaukee Bucks) all entered the friend.tech leaderboards this weekend.
FaZe Banks, with his 2.4M followers on Twitter, roared into the #1 spot on friend.tech, passing by every crypto-influencer on the chart, reminding us how small the crypto-corner of the internet really is.
While these shareholders are likely crypto-native speculators at the moment, an influx of mainstream influencers entering friend.tech might introduce new inflows of mainstream users who may be compelled by the access that friend.tech offers.
Is Web3 simply herding new buyers of the friend.tech Ponzi? Or is the introduction of economic primitives into social apps truly a sustainable unlocking of new value?
2. More Attention from Crypto Native Celebrities
While some non-crypto-native influencers dove into the friend.tech fray, it was crypto's celebrities who were the busiest this weekend.
Disclosure is a very popular DJ duo, who also happen to be crypto-natives, making their embrace of friend.tech noteworthy, but perhaps less surprising. Still, while Disclosure has close ties to many crypto-natives, their fans are from... the real world.
Meanwhile, Beeple, another crypto-native artist with a mainstream audience, dropped his daily 3D animation – this one featuring the crypto social platform of the moment.
It’s a pretty simple illustration of what friend.tech lets you do: buy your friends!
3. Tech & Community Experimentation
A little building and a little drama emerged out of the crypto-native side of friend.tech this weekend.
Foobar, a popular solidity developer, released a Friend Share tokenization wrapper, allowing people to fractionalize friend shares into ERC20 tokens – 1 share turning into 100 ERC20 tokens. But an unmentioned 5% royalty tax split between Foobar and the friend.tech account who uses it caused some drama. Other devs forked the code and removed the royalty fee, and now friend.tech users are going straight to the friend.tech contracts and fractionalizing their shares using these lines of code.
The possibility of these fractionalization experiments have triggered some interesting questions.
Is the real value of friend.tech in the underlying contracts? What if we just jettisoned the friend.tech front end and built our own, using the same contracts as a foundation?
4. Plenty of Untapped Potential
With some venture money in hand, friend.tech's developer is staring down plenty of opportunities ahead of it.
The big question left to be answered: when friend.tech adds more basic features to their app, will the demand for friend-shares increase? Right now, the only utility that friend.tech gives is the ability to talk to the accounts that you own shares of.
But what if the app enabled sharing media – what new use cases might spring up? Are there other low hanging fruit feature updates for the platform to implement?
How much innovation is there left to unlock here?
Big Takeaway: Is SocialFi a thing now?
Friend.tech has dominated the Web3 narrative for the last 10 days.
Maybe it has another week left in it?
Perhaps friend.tech is just the latest new Ponzi-game for the crypto-degens to play with. Maybe friend.tech isn’t it, but just a sign for things to come? Is SocialFi the hot new thing? Will social apps with crypto-native features be the bridge to the mainstream?
Chris Burniske thinks so. He says it's a natural progression for the UX and UI designers to take over and polish the rough edges that the degens who aped in early have been ignoring.
One of my big takeaways from ETH CC is that our protocols are ready for prime-time. There are still improvements to be made in our base-layer protocols, but they’re mature enough to be able to enable most any app that can be imagined.
Just a month after I voice that take, we get friend.tech. I feel validated 😅
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