- Farcaster (https://www.farcaster.xyz/) is an Ethereum-based sufficiently decentralized social network that is an open-source protocol that is open for developers to create social networking dapps.
- A social network achieves “sufficient decentralization” if two users can find other users and communicate with each other, even if the rest of the network wants to prevent it.
- Its main face and most recommended dapp is Warpcast, which is available as a mobile application.
In our everyday lives, we cannot live without a social media website or application anymore. As defined by Oxford Dictionary, social media networks enable users to communicate with each other by posting information, comments, messages, images, and more features.
Powerful, isn’t it?
However, most social media networks, because they are run by centralized entities, have privacy and security issues. In fact, social media giant Facebook faced multiple issues as early as 2006, according to a report by NBC News, including a revelation that a data analytics company used by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was able to surreptitiously collect data on 50 million people through a seemingly innocuous quiz app.
But what if a social media network becomes decentralized? Is it a good idea?
Farcaster: An Introduction
Farcaster (https://www.farcaster.xyz/) is an Ethereum-based “sufficiently decentralized social network.”
In its whitepaper, the developers declared that Farcaster is designed to be a public social network similar to Twitter and Reddit.
However, though it sounds like Farcaster is the social media app itself, Farcaster is really an open-source protocol that is open for developers to create social networking dapps and benefit from its decentralized nature.
To ensure that the protocol is secure, Farcaster uses smart contracts that are running on the Optimism Network, an Ethereum L2.
But not all the data is minted on smart contracts. Farcaster calls its own architecture a hybrid, as only a few actions are stored on-chain, including account creation and adding account keys for connected apps, while most actions are stored off-chain, such as posting a new public message, following another user, reacting to a post, and even updating the profile picture.
It should be noted that the protocol’s off-chain system is a peer-to-peer network of servers called “Hubs,” which store user data. There is also a monthly rent to store on-chain data.
“Actions are performed offchain when performance and cost are critical. Use of offchain actions is typically preferred when consistency isn’t a strict requirement. Offchain systems achieve security by relying on signatures from onchain systems,” the developers explained.
Aside from these mentioned features, Farcaster users are assured that they own their accounts and relationships with other users, as their data is free to move between different dapps built on the protocol.
The Technicalities Behind: How A Sufficient Decentralized Social Network Works
Because decentralized social networks utilize blockchain technology, a common question is always asked—what if one day the network wants to limit our activities on these apps?
Well, that is the reason why a hybrid architecture is needed—a social network achieves “sufficient decentralization” if two users can find other users and communicate with each other, even if the rest of the network wants to prevent it.
This means that a user can communicate with other social media dapp’s users anytime, and in the case of Farcaster, within all the dapps across the protocol. To achieve this, social media dapps should give their users the ability to claim a unique username, post messages under that name, and read messages from any valid name.
Starting Your Decentralized Social Media Life: A Guide to Using Werpcast
While Farcaster is a protocol for social network dapps, its main face and most recommended dapp is Warpcast (https://warpcast.com/). It is available as a mobile application, which can only be downloaded from Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
To create an account:
- Step 1: Download the mobile app.
- Step 2: On the app, choose the “Create Account” button.
- Step 3: Wait for the app to create your wallet and generate your recovery phrase.
- Step 4: Secure the recovery phrase.
- Step 5: Choose the “I backed up my recovery phrase” button.
- Step 6: Supply your email address and verify.
- Step 7: Re-choose the “Create Account” button.
- Step 8: Pay a yearly charge of $5.
- Step 9: Create a user name. It should be noted that your username may be your permanent user name, as it is embedded on-chain.
- Step 10: Supply other information needed.
- Step 11: Start navigating the app, following other users, and create your own identity.
Take note that the $5 fee is only good for a year and is limited to:
- 5,000 casts (public posts and private messages)
- 2,500 reactions
- 2,500 follows
For every exceeded cast, reaction, or follower, the app requires users to pay about $0.7 to $1 per month to be able to not remove these exceeded items. This is an optional feature; if the user does not want to pay, older items will be automatically removed to stay within the limit.
- Data from Dune Analytics suggest number of daily active users on Farcaster has surged to 173,000 with 84,000 casts being posted every day.
- This is a 400% increase in users, according to Cointelegraph, because of a new innovation called “Frames” which allows users to check out external links without leaving the app.
This article is published on BitPinas: Beginners Guide to Farcaster: Decentralized Social Network
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