The cryptocurrency industry is in a state of constant development and improvement, with the emergence of various protocols regularly attracting attention.
That said, Farcaster is one. hot topic among crypto enthusiasts.
In the first quarter of 2024, the protocol saw an influx of new users as applications built on it gain popularity.
The following guide takes a closer look at what Farcaster is and some of the most popular apps built on top of it. We also look at how to register on Warp Casting – the decentralized version of X.
What is Farcaster?
First of all, Farcaster is a protocol for developing decentralized social media applications based on Optimism.
Optimism (OP) is an Ethereum layer two scaling solution. We have a dedicated guide on the subject which you can find here:
Essentially, the Farcaster protocol is completely open source, allowing anyone to create applications. The goal, as with anything decentralized, is to ensure an environment where there is no censorship and users have full control of their audience, interactions, and information.
Interestingly enough, Farcaster was co-founded in 2020 by none other than Dan Romero and Varun Srinivasan. Both worked on the largest US-based cryptocurrency exchange – Coinbase – before starting the project. In January 2023, the project received a start-up investment, the amount of which was not disclosed.
Important elements of Farcaster: how does it work?
First, Farcaster uses a hybrid architecture to ensure that information regarding user identity is stored on-chain, while data about interactions and posts is stored off-chain.
The system itself is secured by smart contracts which, as expected, operate on the Optimism network.
Without going into too much technical detail, users can consider it as an alternative to Twitter that runs on a blockchain and where users retain control of their data.
The most popular application based on Farcaster and the one that the official website directly refers to is called Warpcast – it is a Farcaster client for iOS and Android users. There is no support for macOS or Windows.
Let’s take a look at what Warpcast is.
How to use Warpcast
As mentioned above, Warp Casting is the most popular client on Farcaster and it is only available for iOS and Android. Using it on your Mac is also unlikely to work because there is no support yet. In other words, desktop is out of the question – at least not natively.
Registering with your phone is pretty simple though, although you do need to record a seed phrase and keep it safe – this will allow you to recover your account or import it to another device. This is also the key to your account: protect your seed phrase = protect your account.
One thing that is very important to note is that Warpcast is not free. The team decided it was necessary to charge a fee, perhaps to prevent bots. There is a $5 fee that you must pay every year.
Sending messages (casts) is also not free. The application uses a storage system in which users have to pay certain fees.
The explanation is as follows:
Storage fees are charged by Farcaster to help reduce network spam.
Upon signing, you obtain a storage unit, sufficient for:
- 5,000 castings (posts)
- 2,500 reactions
- 2,500 followed
It’s for one year. If you exceed these numbers without purchasing an additional storage unit, the application will begin deleting the oldest entries.
One unit costs $0.75 per month, while two units costs $1 per month. The cool thing is that there is a lot of on-chain activity, but the end user doesn’t really participate in it – Farcaster takes care of that on the back end.
This is what the flow looks like:
It’s quite similar to that of X. And yes, Vitalik Buterin is on Warpcast – as are many other popular crypto characters.
Overall, the experience feels a bit like Twitter (X), which may be what the team was going for. The features seem comparable, but again – Warpcast adds all the on-chain capabilities.
Users can connect an address to verify ownership of certain assets like non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and all that.
It’s interesting to see if interest in Farcaster will persist, given the massive increase in daily active users in early February 2024.