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Farcaster

Farcaster is an-based protocol for building decentralized social networking applications. [1]

Overview

Farcaster is a decentralized protocol designed specifically for building and connecting social apps. It aims to create a censorship-free environment where users have full control over their data and audience. To achieve this, Farcaster employs a sufficiently decentralized network architecture that lets users control their social graph and enables them to interact with various apps on the network via a single identity. [1][2]

On January 26, 2024, daily active users on Farcaster surged following the launch of a new feature, Frames. Frames effectively turns Farcaster-based posts into interactive mini-apps, allowing users to mint, play games, and use instant checkouts directly from their social feed without leaving the platform. [3]

The number of daily active users on the decentralized social protocol Farcaster surged to nearly 30,000 on February 4, 2024, according to on-chain data by Dune Analytics. On February 5, 2024, , co-founder of suggested that Farcaster and fellow decentralized social media protocol would likely be more than passing crypto fads. [6][7][8]

"Registering a prediction: farcaster and lens will NOT be deserted in 4 months, or 1 yr"
[6]

History

Farcaster was co-founded by and in 2020. Before co-founding Farcaster, Romero and Srinivasan worked together at for about five years between 2015 and 2019. According to Crunchbase, Farcaster received an undisclosed seed round investment from venture firm Archetype in January 2023. [4]

Farcaster was initially built on top of , but was later migrated to Layer 2 network in August 2023. Co-founder reasoned that most of Farcaster’s active users and developers were building on Optimism. [4]

Technology

Farcaster employs a hybrid architecture that stores user identity information on-chain while storing data on posts and interactions off-chain. [4]

The protocol’s on-chain system is secured using on the. The primary actions that are performed on-chain are:

  • Creating an account
  • Paying rent to store data
  • Adding account keys (or giving permission) to connected apps

Farcaster’s off-chain system comprises a peer-to-peer (P2P) network of servers called Hubs that store user data. The user actions that are performed off-chain include:

  • Posting a public message
  • Following another user
  • Reacting to a post
  • Updating your profile picture

Key Elements of Farcaster

Account

A Farcaster account lets users set up a username, profile picture and publish short text messages known as casts. Any address can register a Farcaster account by making an on-chain transaction. [5]

Usernames

A  Farcaster account needs a username so it can be found and mentioned by other users. Farcaster uses the (ENS) to manage usernames. ENS usernames are owned by Ethereum addresses, just like Farcaster accounts. The difference is that an address can own multiple ENS names, so the Farcaster account must specify the name it wishes to use. Names must be less than 17 characters with only lowercase alphabets, numbers, or hyphens to prevent homoglyph attacks. [5]

Messages

Accounts can publish five different kinds of messages to the network:

  • Casts: public messages that anyone can see
  • Reactions: A relationship between an account and a cast.
  • Links: A relationship between two accounts.
  • Profile Data: Metadata about the account.
  • Verifications: A proof of ownership of something [5]

Apps

There are two kinds of apps:

  1. Wallet App - allows signing up, adding connected apps, posting and browsing messages.
  2. Connected App - allows posting and browsing messages only. [5]

Frames

A Frame lets users turn any cast into an interactive app. It’s a standard for creating interactive and authenticated experiences on Farcaster. Frames extend the OpenGraph standard and turn static embeds into interactive experiences. [3][5]

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