Reimagining Web3 Social: A Paradigm Shift.
What exactly is Web3 Social? Web3 Social represents a concept that has been attempted a few times before, with projects like Steam, Bitcloud, or DeSo. The emerging contenders in this new generation, such as Farcaster, Lens, friend.tech, and others, aim to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors.
Initially, the earlier versions of Web3 social platforms often imitated traditional interfaces but with a blockchain-based and financialized twist, which gained some popularity but eventually faded due to diminishing financial incentives. They often lacked the technical scalability possibilities as well as a thriving on-chain economy where they could leverage the state and its transitions to give a new social experience. Web3 social will be the social layer of the pseudonymous financial rails we have built up with Crypto. It is the glue which will strengthen network effects and bring context to our on-chain actions and therefore is deeply rooted in the characteristics of the space. As a result, it's deeply embedded in the unique characteristics of the cryptocurrency space, which include a bottom-up development approach with a focus on composability, as well as a commitment to being open source and decentralized.
In our pursuit of harnessing the ever-evolving states of blockchain networks to craft a social experience, it becomes evident that Web3 Social must be perceived through a fundamentally different lens than the familiar social constructs of today. Traditional social platforms offer access via a login, bestowing users with a closed network and a suite of services encapsulated within the app. Simultaneously, app owners retain the capability to index user data and capitalize on it by tailoring personalized ad campaigns. Web3 Social, however, adopts an address-centric opt-in model, shifting the ownership of relationships within the network from the app to the user. This fundamental shift places a unique set of considerations before builders, as they contemplate business models and strategies to establish their moats around applications, interfaces, or protocol tools.
Beyond the financial aspects reflected in an address, such as asset holdings and trading history, a user's profile in the Web3 social arena encompasses governance participation in DAOs, interests manifesting as donations to communities, work credentials, and the softer and harder aspects of their identity, as well as their creative output. Builders in the Web3 social sphere possess the opportunity to amass a wealth of information by indexing these details, offering communication channels, and creating social experiences tailored to user interests.
A comprehensive identity stack, featuring components like Verifiable Credentials (VCs), reputation systems, and compliance mechanisms, plays a pivotal role in contextualizing identity within the blockchain domain. It empowers users to seamlessly transfer their personal data across applications. Verifiable Credentials and Attestations serve as the social capital output of a protocol, linking identity to a blockchain address. Generally, there are four key actors in the VC ecosystem:
1. Issuers: These entities, such as universities, assume the role of credential issuers.
2. Holders: Individuals or entities in possession of these credentials, akin to students.
3. Verifiers: Parties responsible for validating and authenticating credentials, often prospective employers or service providers.
4. Verifiable Presentations: These enable users to share their credential-related data with third parties, granting these entities the ability to verify the legitimacy of the issued credentials.
However, friend.tech has embarked on a distinctive path, recognizing that on-chain social graphs have yet to garner the critical network effects necessary to unlock a novel social paradigm. The project has embraced an innovative approach by tapping into the social graph through the soft identity of Twitter handles, thereby pioneering a fresh user experience. Although friend.tech doesn't align with the conventional Web3 Social building blocks detailed above, it has identified a unique user behavior that was previously unexplored.
Friend.tech offers an exclusive chat platform with tradable keys granting access to a group chat. In contrast to conventional monthly subscription models, it introduces an ownership model that generates revenue for creators through trading fees. It represents a relatively recent phenomenon, and we anticipate the emergence of more opportunities for creators to establish their own pricing curves at the outset.
Three intriguing aspects deserve recognition in the context of friend.tech: First, the notion of creating an asset-like market for access echoes the recurring theme of introducing scarcity in an open internet environment where accessibility is universal. Additionally, the utilization of a Progressive Web App (PWA) to circumvent the traditional App Store presents an exciting development. Lastly, friend.tech’s foresight in leveraging Twitter's social graphs, given the familiarity of crypto enthusiasts within Twitter, serves as a noteworthy strategic move within the crypto community's well-established online presence.
Exploring New Horizons in Social Dynamics
Our focus lies in applications, interfaces, and tools capable of introducing fresh user behavior into the realm of social interactions. We aim to infuse our existing financial infrastructure with a more social essence from its very foundation. A prime illustration of our vision can be found in the interactions between hackers and protocols through Ethererscan. We seek native methods for addresses to communicate directly with one another, thereby infusing a social dimension into the financial network, reinforcing its network effects. We believe that Web3's unique value propositions, such as bootstrapping financial markets, facilitating easy capital formation, and adopting an address/identity-centric opt-in model, offer opportunities to make financial networks more sociable while avoiding the pitfalls of siloed isolation. One intriguing dimension that excites us greatly is the convergence of financial intent-driven transactions with social interactions.
A glimpse of what we are most excited about:
Address-Based Reputation Scores
Degenscore garnered notable attention by providing a leaderboard for the most active on-chain user base - The Degens. Targeting more or less active traders, farmers, and opportunity seekers, it represents a reputation system that resonates with a specific audience. We envision vast potential in catering to niche sectors like generative art collectors or effective altruists who contribute to public goods funding or deSci projects. Establishing niche leaderboards that draw community attention can serve as the foundation for building social apps enriched with tailored primitives and real-world experiences.
Attestation Service for Solana
While Sismo, Disco, and EAS have introduced several attestation services that empower users with data vaults transferable across applications, we recognize the need for expanded attestation services beyond the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) ecosystem. Specifically, we seek the development of a zk attestation service for Solana within the Accelerator program to enable the issuance of attestations in the Solana Virtual Machine (SVM) environment. This expansion broadens the scope of attestation offerings and enhances context around identity-empty wallet addresses.
Privacy-Preserving Ad Marketplace
Establishing a protective perimeter around social interfaces presents unique challenges in Web3, as applications can seamlessly tap into existing social graphs without necessitating independent growth. Despite current concepts not directly reflecting this, the sale of ad space remains a viable business model, allowing future users to opt in and receive a share of the generated revenue. We express keen interest in a marketplace connecting addresses/users with companies seeking to target users based on their data for advertising purposes.
Influencer Advertising Marketplace
The prevalence of unmarked paid advertising on crypto Twitter from influencers raises concerns. We envision the creation of a fully on-chain traceable marketplace, facilitating matchmaking between influencers and companies seeking to advertise. This marketplace would ensure transparency and accountability in influencer advertising, addressing the community's demand for authenticity.
For Further Ideas and Inspirations
We recommend taking a look at the Idea List provided by Lens Protocol: https://aave.notion.site/Inspiration-for-Builders-1db7dbd3e7b14eaf9a97a341b1a3ff55
The reading above provides just a taste of what currently excites us the most. But that doesn't mean we're not open to other sectors and venture ideas. If you're building something in this particular sector that you are extremely passionate about, don't hesitate to apply. We can’t wait to hear from you!