In slingshotting to prominence last week, decentralized social media protocol Farcaster has joined the ranks of numerous growing Twitter alternatives—both on-chain and off-chain—that seek to dethrone Twitter.
What do Farcaster’s founders think of their competition? Not much.
(Video by Rug Radio Creator Benjamin White.)
“I don’t think anything is working as a Twitter alternative,” Farcaster co-founder Dan Romero told Decrypt.
In Romero’s view, many would-be Twitter killers have failed for the simple reason that they see themselves as little more than a replacement for an already existing service.
“If you’re playing the same game as Twitter, you are not going to win,” he said. “The most prominent example of this is Meta: With all the resources and distribution they have, [Threads] is not making a dent. Public square conversation, in that Twitter-like format, is still happening on Twitter.”
Farcaster has lofty ambitions, no doubt about it. Romero talks frequently about the network’s goal of reaching a billion daily active users (they’re currently above 160,000 signups, according to data from Dune). But to build a social media service as ubiquitous as Twitter, Romero is convinced, requires rethinking the social media paradigm itself.
“What we are doing with Farcaster is trying to build something new and different,” Romero said. “And the way that we are trying to do that is by building the biggest community of developers.”
The nifty innovation that put Farcaster on the map two weeks ago, Frames—a feature that allows users to play games, mint NFTs and make purchases while remaining in a social media feed—caught fire and evolved so quickly thanks to Farcaster’s outsize popularity among blockchain developers, Romero told Decrypt.
Jesse Pollak, the creator of Coinbase’s Ethereum layer-2 network Base, sees things the same way. The lion’s share of Frames on Farcaster have been developed on Base, a network that shares a similar developer-first ethos.
“I think their thesis around developers was spot on,” Pollak told Decrypt. “And it’s our thesis too: If we attract amazing developers and we give them great tools, they’re going to build incredible things that we can’t even imagine. And that’s what’s going to lead to millions and millions and billions of people on-chain.”
As far as Pollak sees it, despite the glut of companies—public and private, established and upstart, Web2 and Web3—that are currently jockeying to fill the void created by Elon Musk’s divisive stewardship of Twitter, Farcaster is uniquely positioned to beat them all out.
“I look at Farcaster as the market leader right now,” he said. “The thing that they uniquely have is Frames. The open application platform that is being built around Frames—that’s something that none of these other platforms or ecosystems have.”
“Maybe [the competition] will try and mimic or copy,” Pollak continued. “But I’m very bullish on Farcaster’s ability to grow and attract the best developers.”
Edited by Andrew Hayward