Reflections on FarCon 2024

FarCon was a whirlwind of excitement and optimism. The energy IRL was electric and paying for everything on-site entirely onchain felt magical. I was also shocked by the tremendous quality of projects that I had the opportunity to judge at FarHack. It’s clear that talented builders of all types—from Farcaster-native founders to freelance developers to media enthusiasts—are eager to build on Farcaster;* that excitement is infectious and not to be underestimated.

As a more nuanced point, however, I think many left FarCon with more questions than answers. Many familiar ideas and concepts were discussed throughout the weekend almost distressingly repetitively. A contentious question also lingered in the air: can a truly decentralized, positive-sum social network exist while still largely at the helm of a single team (with the best intentions)?

I wanted to share some of my own initial reflections here—from what questions I heard discussed the most often to what I’m interested to see emerge from the Farcaster community to my own general framework for thinking about consumer crypto.

Is the Infrastructure Ready?

Personally, I don’t think the infrastructure is quite ready for mainstream consumer adoption.

Despite all the conversations we’ve had about L2s and L3s, using these chains is still challenging. Whenever I use an L2 or L3, checking the status of a transaction on that respective chain is quite difficult—for example, LP’ing $ENJOY on Zora is still extremely confusing. Logging into Farcaster clients via “Sign-in with Farcaster” is still clunky and, frankly, a bit annoying. Many people at Farcon who were excited to buy goods onchain had to wait 10+ minutes to complete their purchase because they had to bridge funds to Base.

However, there is a danger and complacency to hiding behind the excuse of “we have to wait for the infrastructure before we can build applications.” A framework I developed while talking to folks at FarCon was thinking about the evolution of infrastructure and applications in two phases.

Phase 1: Get the infrastructure to a place where it’s easier for less technical, less crypto-native, and perhaps more product/vision-oriented folks (aka “Idea Guys”) to engage with tooling and iterate on application concepts that may onboard mainstream consumers. We’ve already made strides towards this, thanks to the work of the Farcaster team, Farcaster-native infrastructure teams like Neynar, general infrastructure teams like Stack* and Privy,* and other developers in the community. Leverage crypto-native users as testing grounds for those MVPs and continuously iterate over time without critical infrastructure obstacles hindering the process.

Phase 2: Build kickass applications and product experiences for consumers of all interests, crypto-nativity levels, and backgrounds.

I think we’re approaching the close of Phase 1. We have made impressive strides over the past several years on infrastructure, from embedded wallets with companies like Privy, to reducing costs with L2s/L3s, to improved bridging and chain abstraction with companies like Decent,* to seamless offramps like Ansible,* to the buildout of the Farcaster protocol itself, which is a huge feat of complex network engineering. There’s a lot left to build to further improve the user experience, but we’re finally at a place where that can be done in parallel with rapid application development and experimentation.

The Future of Farcaster Clients

There was much discussion and debate during FarCon (both IRL and URL, but mostly URL) about the fate of clients when the Farcaster team may be incentivized to maintain Warpcast as the dominant client—that most clients will simply serve as feature fodder for Warpcast and promptly be swallowed up.

It makes sense to me that this was a central debate given the form factor of clients to-date—most are some sort of re-skinning or slicing/dicing of the global Warpcast feed. Most potential client concepts I heard, to me, stayed within this narrow scope. My sense is that this homogeneity lies in the core desire to appeal to and siphon away Farcaster’s valuable social graph from Warpcast, while I think there has been less attention on Farcaster’s other primitives: the Farcaster protocol and its data architecture.

Past conversations with Archetype research advisor Andrew Hong and teams attempting to build social networks have enlightened me to how the ability to leverage an out-of-the box p2p network and data structures actually designed for social graph modularity are gamechangers for application developers. I would love to see visions for clients that break out of supporting existing Warpcast users—offering entirely new experiences or functionality that may not make sense in the scope of a Twitter-like interface like Warpcast or appealing to users that may not be interested in crypto industry discourse that is Warpcast’s primary user base. Also as a high-level aside, my general belief is that consumer-facing interfaces that try to do everything actually do nothing—”There is no super app, I love you.”Channels are a clever effort towards this direction, as topic-specific Warpcast channels can better inform what a more niche, differentiated client may look like for a specific community and allow those clients to emerge more organically.

The above then alludes to the former point that infrastructure/onboarding mechanisms are not yet at a state where completely abstracting Farcaster/Warpcast away from the client experience makes sense, perhaps gridlocking us in a state of “meta-feature” clients.

Another question that naturally emerges then concerning the difficulty of all of this is—why leverage crypto infrastructure at all if you’re appealing to non-Warpcast users? In an age where information and media (both real and simulated) are abundant, social curation and coordination are essential. I believe that social products entirely coordinated by users, rather than monolithic algorithms, can be extremely powerful, and tokens are an powerful mechanism for facilitating that coordination.

A shorter-term question I left FarCon particularly curious about was the future of commerce and commerce-focused infrastructure/clients on Farcaster. While on-site, I was aware of multiple teams powering different commerce experiences throughout the conference. The category has generated builder excitement extremely quickly, and I’m hoping to follow developments there particularly closely over the next several months.

Breaking Down Consumer Crypto

As a more general note, common questions I received at FarCon were what’s top-of-mind for me in consumer crypto nowadays and how I approach the space more broadly. Nowadays, I broadly break down consumer crypto with two different frameworks:


Crypto ecosystems are famously tribal (i.e. Ethereum vs. Solana), and the same is true for more narrow consumer ecosystems. It’s been fascinating to watch the interactions between Zora, Base, and Farcaster as intertwined ecosystems. Zora and Base-based transactions often lean on Warpcast for distribution and discovery, while Farcaster then is bolstered by Zora and Base for products, content, and tokens for the community to engage with. I believe that the culture and practices that emerge from these ecosystems, both independently and in relation to each other, will be core to shaping the short-term future of consumer crypto as builders are often most drawn to building in ecosystems with specific user personas and excitement.

Use case-first

In terms of use cases/types of products I’m thinking about, a few categories:

  1. Bridging offchain/onchain user data

  2. Brand loyalty

  3. Onchain social

  4. Onchain media/music

These categories are rather intersectional, so I’ll provide more sweeping thoughts below:

In my former post “Fast Forward: Building Consumer at Internet Speed,” I wrote about the broken user identity and experience across IRL and URL. For sake of brevity,I’ll simply rehash here:

“The user journey across online and offline is incredibly fragmented. As the boundary between the physical and digital planes continues to blur, the ability to form a truly legible, representative identity disintegrates. There is a massive opportunity to build experiences that seamlessly blend the physical and digital, particularly where social graphs can move freely between online and offline.

For individuals/communities: How can my favorite channels online better inform and tie to the people, groups, and places I spend time with offline and vice versa?

For brands: How can a brand better understand how a consumer who bought a product in-store spends their time online and engage them on those platforms?”

Now is a pivotal moment to be thinking about the intersection of crypto and media, though I also believe these products will stabilize over a longer-term time horizon than most shorter-term opportunities. Traditional media and music are having existential crises and crumbling around business structures, monetization, and the role of the consumer and the artist/critic. Alluding to a point I made earlier, I think tokens and crypto more broadly are powerful tools that can be leveraged to coordinate media networks that are becoming increasingly reliant upon user participation, user generated content, and perhaps even user ownership.

I purposefully meant to keep this reflection relatively raw before the temptation of over-intellectualization creeps in. Overall, I left FarCon both more excited and more concerned about its future. The foundation has undoubtedly been set by the stellar team and early ecosystem that have organically emerged. I think it will take a diverse community of developers, ideators, and power users to take the ecosystem to the next level and I am incredibly excited to be a part of its journey.

*I work at Archetype, and Archetype is an investor in these companies.

Disclaimer: This post reflects the current opinions of myself and is not made on behalf of Archetype or its affiliates and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Archetype, its affiliates or individuals associated with Archetype. The opinions reflected herein are subject to change without being updated.

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