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Hi Fam!

Today, instead of covering a broad topic and adding real-world cases to illustrate its applications, we’ll deep dive into a specific product/concept.

To bring you different formats for The Wild West of Web3, we’ll keep using both options moving forward. I hope you like this update.

The current state of Social Networks:
A quick recap

Nearly two months ago, back in edition #19, we talked about the intersection between Social Media and Web3.

Amongst other things, we explored how the very concept of Social Networks is changing and the growth that gaming platforms are getting within this space.

Even though many people keep saying that “Social Media” is dead, I don’t agree with that. What I do think is happening is that we are witnessing a shift taking place. A shift in how we interact with these platforms specifically.

But before we dive into this shift, I just want to add a bit more context on what’s going on right now in the (Social network) space:

As of 2023, social media usage continued to grow, with an estimated ~5 billion people engaging with various platforms worldwide. And this number is expected to jump to something around 5.85 billion users by 2027.

I could add multiple other charts here, but my point is: People are not leaving social platforms – but they are open to different options (a typical social media user interacts with 6.6 platforms).

Challenges of Current Social Networks

Social media platforms face numerous challenges, including engagement and reach issues, algorithm changes, content creation difficulties, and the need to prove marketing ROI.

But let’s focus on two other “players” here: Users and Brands/Creators.

For users, the biggest issues are the ones related to privacy and data security, which is prompting a search for decentralized alternatives that offer better user control and less reliance on advertising revenue.

Imagine you decide to cancel your Facebook account. Everything you have posted, shared, and created so far is gone. Every picture, text, and comment, all lost.

Not to mention that if the platform shuts down (super-ultra unlikely to happen any time soon, of course), you’ll also have to say goodbye to your (well, not truly “yours”) history there.

For brands and creators, there are two main issues:

1) They are at the mercy of the platforms ruling over what/who gets silenced, promoted, boosted, or even allowed.

2) Due to their closed/centralized infrastructure, innovation depends on hoping the platforms improve and bring new, interesting features.

So with all that in mind, it’s time to start our deep dive into Farcaster and, more specifically, its feature that has the potential to change how a Social Network can interact with commerce, innovation, and onboarding people to Web3: Frames.

So, what is Farcaster?

For a short answer, I’ll quote the platform’s own documentation site:

“Farcaster is a sufficiently decentralized social network built on Ethereum.

Users can create profiles, post short messages or “casts”, follow others and organize into communities. It is a public social network similar in design to Twitter and Reddit”

(We’ll touch on that “sufficiently decentralized” part later on)

But to really understand why it’s been getting so much attention, we must go a bit further.

Oh, and an important thing before we keep moving: Farcaster was initially launched in December-2021, so it’s not exactly new – but recent updates brought a lot of attention to it.

Founded by Dan Romero and Varun Srinivasan, Farcaster introduced a novel paradigm where the protocol – essentially the “digital skeleton” of the network – houses user handles, posts (here called “casts”), and the digital nods of approval (likes and recasts).

In other words, the protocol – and not Elons or Marks or any other CEO – houses the important aspects of this Social Network.

But in my view, what truly sets Farcaster apart is its open invitation to developers to craft their unique solutions (“clients”), helping expand the possibilities users are presented with, or in other words, the things people can do inside the platform.

Each of these clients offers a unique window to a new world of casts and opportunities. It’s a decentralized dream come true, where the community gets to steer the ship, crafting an ever-evolving platform.

On the technical side, Farcast is built on the Ethereum scaling network, Optimism. And it’s an environment where bots are kept outside, thanks to a (small) sign-up fee.

By the way, this sign-up fee is paid in FIAT (“regular” money – not crypto). And I agree with Farcaster’s Co-founder when he says this decision also helps onboard Web2 audience.

This guy f*cks!

This bot-free space ensures that each voice on the network belongs to a genuine user. Combined with a cap on the number of posts (casts), it helps cultivate a platform of meaningful engagement, free from the usual spam accounts we see basically on every other social platform.

So in short, here are the main aspects of Farcaster:

Decentralization and Innovation: Farcaster redefines social networking by decentralizing control and inviting community innovation.

Unique user experience: Through specialized clients, users enjoy unique experiences, making social interaction more personal and engaging.

A stand against censorship: Emphasizing user sovereignty, Farcaster champions a space where voices are heard, unfiltered, and uncensored.
As said above, users are not dependent on a person’s/company’s stance to share their views.

Community-centric: By imposing a sign-up fee and cast limits, Farcaster nurtures a genuine community, blocking spam and fostering quality interactions.

Ethereum-Based Protocol: Built on Optimism, Farcaster leverages blockchain technology to ensure transparency and user control over data.

“But Diego, days ago I read something about this, and it mentioned something called ‘Warpcast’. Are these different platforms?”

Well, a few lines above I mentioned the “clients”, or the apps that can be created within Farcaster.

Warpcast is Farcaster’s official app.

That means that in case you enjoy Farcaster’s concept but don’t like their official app, you can still try out other clients (apps).

And since your data is truly YOURS, anything and everything that you eventually have built (audience, casts/posts, etc) travels with you.

For the sake of avoiding multiple terms moving forward, I’ll always refer to the platform as “Farcaster”.

And for the “sufficiently decentralized” I mentioned earlier: Varun Srinivasan (Co-founder), explains this concept here, but in short:

“Some believe that decentralization requires the entire social network to be on a blockchain. This is unnecessary and even undesirable. Social networks generate petabytes of data every year, which can be very expensive to store on-chain. Blockchains also make it difficult to delete data forever, which is a desirable feature for users. A network design that leverages on-chain systems to decentralize ownership while using off-chain systems for a better user experience is a better path to building social networks”

Varun Srinivasan

Now that we have covered the platform itself, it’s time to go even deeper and find out what has made its popularity explode in the last few days.

Frames:
A revolution for online interactions (and transactions)

On January 26th Farcaster launched a new feature (“client”) called “Frames”, and since then every meaningful metric (users, accesses, etc.) has gone nuts. Check this out:

Sauce: dune.com

“But what’s all this hype about?”

Imagine embedding interactive experiences right into your casts. Well, that’s a reality with Frames.

We’re talking about few-clicks interactions that can transform a simple browse into an instant purchase, a game session, or even an NFT minting.

In Farcaster’s words, “A Frame lets you turn any cast into an interactive app. It’s a standard for creating interactive and authenticated experiences (…). Create polls, live feeds, or interactive galleries inside Warpcast or any other FC client”.

If you ask me, the most interesting use for this new feature is its use for the online marketplace: it’s a seamless, one-click buying journey.

Again: a one-click buying journey

If you ever managed an e-commerce business – regardless if it’s a huge international company or a small shop – you know how important it is to reduce the number of steps and hurdles the (potential) buyer has to go through.

So much more than “just” a convenience, I think it’s safe to say it’s a revolution.

With user info tied to their wallet, Farcaster is streamlining the often cumbersome process of online purchases, cutting down to the chase.

This is a game-changer for artists, creators, and shops, providing a platform that’s not only user-friendly but also opens up a universe of possibilities for monetizing digital content in a way that traditional social networks simply can’t match.

Speaking of “user-friendly”: Setting up a cryptocurrency payment process is seen as a nightmare by many decision-makers (especially in big companies).

Good news then: this is already sorted out within Frames. New/different options can (and certainly will) be built, but crypto payments are ready to go. Native. NOW.

Not “sold” yet?

Consider the typical journey on other platforms:

→ Click a link

→ Land on an external page

→ Sign up or sign in (And when signing up, you usually must fill out your life story, then maybe, just maybe, make a purchase)

And I’m not even considering suspicious or broken links, pages that are not mobile-friendly, endless fields to be filled, etc.

Yet, according to Forbes, “76% of social media users have purchased something they saw on social media”. Imagine this number without the obstacles we currently have. Just imagine.

Farcaster’s Frames flips this on its head, offering a streamlined, wallet-integrated experience that’s as close to frictionless as you can get.

A cookie shop was set up Frames – a seamless shopping experience

And as I always say, that’s a true WIN-WIN-WIN situation: The user takes ways fewer steps, while not having to give away their data; the vendor gets an increased conversion thanks to an easy process; and the platform tends to keep growing, as more users decide to experiment this new, better environment.

Here’s the rundown on why Frames is the buzzword you’ll be hearing a lot more:

💡 Simplicity: Say goodbye to the hoops and hurdles of online shopping. Frames make transactions as easy as a tap, keeping the focus on what you need/want/love.

💡 Power to Creators: With Frames, creators have a direct line to monetization, offering their goods or services without the interference of middlemen.

💡 Community-Centric Commerce: Farcaster’s approach nurtures a genuine digital community, where transactions enhance, not interrupt, the social experience.

💡 Decentralized and Secure: Built on the solid foundation of blockchain, Frames ensures transactions are secure, transparent, and in the user’s control.

💡 Innovation Unleashed: Frames open up a playground for creators to experiment with new forms of interactive content, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible online.

As you can see, Frames truly has the potential to change how we interact with online transactions, whether as customers or sellers. Or both.

However, as explained above, Frames is about “embedding interactive experiences right into your casts”, and “interactive experiences” obviously include more than shopping.

The dive goes deeper.

Beyond shopping:
Interactive experiences for everyone

So we have just talked about how Frames can revolutionize the customer journey when it comes to shopping. But it’s also important to highlight other possibilities this client opens up.

Sauce: Farcaster documentation

With Frames, any person, from any place in the world, can easily build small apps, either from scratch or based on stuff created by other users. Oh, and they don’t even have to worry about setting up wallets, because these are built in.

The official explanation is this:
“Creating a frame is simple – choose an image to show and add buttons the user can click on. If a button is clicked, you get a callback and can send another image with more buttons”.

Even though Frames is only a few days old, users have already built or integrated several creative, interesting applications:

🎮 One that lets you get into “Doom” (yes, the classic version) directly from a cast, blending nostalgia with cutting-edge interaction.

⛓️ It’s possible to mint NFTs directly on Farcaster – and the “issuer” can add different gamified/engagement layers, such as “recast to mint”.

🖼 You can showcase digital art galleries, inviting the world into your virtual exhibition space.

♟ A user created an on-chain chess application, that awards winners with NFTs.

If it’s interactive, it can be done. And since the platform incentivizes creators, this list will look a lot longer within the next few days or weeks.

“But if it involves crypto, at the end of the day, it’s all about money, right?”

For multiple reasons, whenever “crypto” is brought up, one of the most common reactions is to immediately associate it with “financialization” of whatever subject is being talked about.

Yes, there’s space for monetization, as we saw in the previous segment. However, we have just explored some examples that have nothing to do with “making money”

Frames truly create something new, that embraces the Web3 ethos in a way that few platforms/products/ideas have done before.

And besides inventors, developers, and creative minds, this also means a world of new opportunities for brands.

This segment is only available for BorgoAcademy members.

What’s in it for brands and businesses?

Opportunities within Farcaster’s Frames

When it comes to technology – and more specifically Web3 – new things are popping up all the time. There’s always a new app, gadget, token, or jargon to learn (or all of this at once).

However, only a handful capture attention in a way that makes people think “Hey, there’s something bigger brewing”.

If you want to learn more about BorgoAcademy, hit the button below.

Borgo recap

The 3 main things to remember:

→ Farcaster is the protocol, the base for everything we’ve just talked about;

→Warpcast is Farcaster’s official client (or app), so that’s the actual Social Media you’ll be interacting with;

→ Frame: this is the feature that lets people build small apps that run inside of casts (“posts”), such as games, polls, instant checkouts, and quizzes.

OK, how do I join?

Short answer: click here (yes, that’s my referral link).

Once you click the link, you’ll see the screen below:

Just enter your email and follow the steps you’ll receive there

In many industries – but mainly in tech/digital environments – being early means a HUGE advantage.

Now it’s the perfect time to explore, try, make mistakes – and eventually start again and again.

I may be wrong – and that wouldn’t be the first time – but I see this is a “DAMN, I WON’T MISS THIS!” moment. And if I am wrong, well, that’s part of the game.

And once you create your account, make sure to hit me up 😄.

My profile on Warpcast

(PS.: I said this before, but just confirming: Yes, while setting up your account, you’ll see “Warpcast”)

Yes, that’s the right one

See you soon.

#LFGrow
Diego Borgo

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