Exploring the blossoming path of Web3 Social: Will it be a flash in the pan or the next Mass Adoption?

This article is approximately 8400 words,and reading the entire article takes about 11 minutes
In-depth exploration of the core concepts and solutions of Web3 social networking, and analysis of its development status, advantages and challenges.

Original author: Fred

Original source: Ryze Labs

1. Introduction: What is Web3 social networking?

The popularity of friend.tech in the past few months has once again attracted peoples attention to Web3 social networking. The gameplay of assigning the influence of KOL to the price has attracted a lot of peoples attention and fomo. The later appearance of Bodhi also attracted a lot of peoples attention. , realizing the return of data value by assigning price to content. In the field of social networks, Web3 social seems to be undergoing some new changes and explorations. As blockchain technology develops, it is redefining how we think about social and provides a range of innovative solutions. Whether it is social finance (SocialFi) or decentralized social networking (Desoc), Web3 Social is actively exploring the possibility of future social networks.

Looking back at the development of social products, Web2 social products such as Facebook, X (formerly twitter), Instagram, WeChat, etc. have given users unprecedented convenience in sharing, interacting and communicating. But behind this convenience lies some dilemmas. Web2 social platforms often centralize user data, lack transparency and privacy protection, and platform governance and decision-making are often controlled by a few centralized entities. In addition, creator incentives are also a controversial aspect of Web2 social products.

At the same time, Web3 social is redefining social networking in a completely new way. Web3 social emphasizes decentralization, user data privacy and control, as well as the incentive mechanism of cryptocurrency economics. Protocols and products such as Lens, CyberConnect, Farcaster, Phaver, Debox, and friend.tech have emerged. Concepts such as SocialFi combine finance and Social integration is reshaping the face of social networks. Desoc focuses on establishing a decentralized social ecosystem to eliminate many problems existing in Web2 social networks.

Although the Social track has had high hopes for the next Mass Adoption for a long time, it has never produced large-scale applications from its birth to the present. What is the future of Web3 social? Are the endless stream of social products a flash in the pan or the next Mass Adoption? This research report will deeply explore the core concepts and solutions of Web3 social networking, and analyze the current status, advantages and challenges of its development. We will return to the essence of social, examine the Web3 social domain, reveal their advantages and challenges, and explore the role they play in redefining social networks.

2. Why do you need Web3 social networking?

1. The nature of social interaction does not change with the development of history.

As mentioned in Tom Standages A Brief History of Social Media, we tend to think that social media is an emerging concept that was born with the development of the Internet and digital technology. However, in fact, humans have always been socializing and communicating in different forms. From ancient letters and coffeehouses to modern social networks, the nature of social media has not changed, but its forms and technical tools have continued to evolve. Social media is an extension of human nature and a way in which we constantly seek to connect and communicate.

Observed from different historical stages, technology has had a significant impact on the development and evolution of social media and is an important driver of change.

  • Ancient and traditional media period: In ancient times, letters, postal services, etc. were the main social media. With the invention of printing, books and newspapers became the main tools for information dissemination, but the social scope was limited by geography and communication speed.

  • Telegraph and Telephone Era: From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, the emergence of the telegraph shortened the time for information transmission. The popularity of telephones changed the way of long-distance communication, and people could exchange information more quickly.

  • The Radio and Television Era: The radio and television media of the 20th century transformed mass communication, allowing information to be disseminated more widely and shaping cultural, political, and social perceptions.

  • Internet and Web1.0 Era: From the 1990s to the early 2000s, the emergence of the Internet made information dissemination more extensive and instantaneous. The Web1.0 era mainly consists of static web pages, and the content is mainly one-way transmission from the official to the users. Users cannot actively participate in content creation, and the sociality is low.

  • Web2.0 and the rise of social media: From the mid-2000s to the present, with the rise of Web2.0, more interactive and user-participating social media platforms have emerged, such as Facebook, X, and YouTube. These platforms provide more user-generated content and social functions, becoming the main tools for people to communicate, share and interact on a daily basis.

  • Web3.0 and decentralized social: Recently, with the development of blockchain and cryptocurrency technology, Web3.0 social platforms have emerged that pay more attention to decentralization, privacy protection and user control. These platforms try to solve the existing problems of Web2.0 social, such as data privacy, algorithm filtering and information authenticity, and provide a more secure and transparent social experience.

It is easy to find that humans have had social needs since ancient times. But looking at its essence, whether it is socializing in person, passing a letter by flying pigeon or passing it on to others engraved on a stone slab, the nature of human needs for social interaction has not changed much with the development of the times. The core needs are summarized in the following four points:

  • Stay connected and belonging: Socializing allows people to feel included, meet emotional and emotional needs, build intimacy, and gain support.

  • Information learning and exchange: Through social interaction, people can share experiences, knowledge and information, promoting learning, development and personal growth.

  • Cooperation and mutual aid: Social interaction helps people collaborate, cooperate, solve problems and achieve common goals together.

  • Social identity and self-expression: Social interaction is how people express themselves, build their identity, and gain recognition.Exploring the blossoming path of Web3 Social: Will it be a flash in the pan or the next Mass Adoption?

2. Web2 social networking solves the needs of “fast, good and economical”

After the mid-2000s, Web2 social media began to flourish. Facebook became a pioneer, providing users with the ability to share information, photos, videos, status updates, and more, and enabling users to build social networks. Subsequently, various social platforms such as X, YouTube, and LinkedIn emerged one after another.

Each platform has different features and functions. For example, X has become an important platform for information dissemination and discussion with its unique instant messaging and social interaction methods. Its 140-character limit quickly spreads information and becomes a hot spot for news and topic discussions; YouTube, as a video sharing platform, has changed the way people watch and share videos and has become a popular content creation and sharing platform; LinkedIn focuses on Professional social networking provides a professional network that allows users to establish professional relationships, share work experience and expand contacts; Instagram, with its powerful image sharing function and social interactivity, has attracted a large number of users and has become the main platform for sharing photos and videos. one.

In the Web2 stage, user participation, interaction and content generation are emphasized. The website changes from a static information display to a more dynamic and interactive social platform, allowing users to create and share content, from simple text and pictures to richer videos. , blogs and profiles. With the development of mobile Internet and the popularity of smartphones, people can access social media platforms anytime and anywhere, which has promoted the convenience and frequency of social activities.

And with the increase in the number of users, social media has gradually become the main platform for business activities and advertising promotion. Companies and brands use social media to attract users and promote products. The market value of social projects has also been rising. Among them, the leading company Meta (formerly Facebook) )’s market value has soared since its IPO in 2012, and its market value exceeded US$1 trillion in 2021.

Looking back at the history of Web2 social development, the essence of social needs has not changed. The core change is to provide faster, more convenient, and cheaper services. Facebook allows people to meet friends and share information faster. Making friends...In essence, Web2s social products solve social problems"Fast, good and economical"needs.

Exploring the blossoming path of Web3 Social: Will it be a flash in the pan or the next Mass Adoption?

3. Dilemma of traditional social networking industry

However, Web2 socialization also brings some problems, the core of which can be summarized as data ownership and centralization:
1) Data ownership: In Web2 social products, users data does not belong to themselves, but to the platform, which will lead to many problems.

  • Privacy leakage: User data is collected and used in large quantities, leading to the risk of personal privacy leakage. Platforms may misuse user data or sell it to third parties, causing privacy leaks and data abuse issues.

  • The value does not feed back to users: User data allows social platforms to carry out precise marketing and other advertising activities, but users cannot benefit from the income, resulting in users’ data being used for free by the platform.

  • Unable to cross platforms: Since the users data belongs to the platform rather than to themselves, they often need to start from 0 when registering on different social media. Information such as their social business cards cannot be circulated on multiple social platforms. Each social platform has Became an isolated island.

In the social environment of Web2, many creators reported that after creating most of the value, they did not receive due compensation at all, or received a very small part. You can create your own IP on social media platforms, but you have no ownership or control over the content data and value created. Once X and Youtube delete their personal data, all content data accumulation will be lost.

2) Centralization: In Web2 social products, the platform has unlimited rights to use content.

  • Weak censorship resistance: Since Web2 information is stored in centralized servers, freedom of speech cannot be realized in apps in many countries due to the influence of political, cultural and other factors, and has been deprived to some extent. The right to free expression. Whether it’s X rules being changed or banned overnight, or Facebook, tiktok, and WeChat, there are too many centralized restrictions and constraints in centralized platforms, leaving users to dance under the shackles.

Although there are applications such as Mammoth that have made efforts in decentralization, there are still many unavoidable problems. Although it is decentralized overall, in a specific server, users will still be provided by that server. The risk of authoritarianism, abandonment and prohibition of others.

3. Web3 social industry product analysis

Faced with various problems in Web2 social networking, Web3 products began to be explored from many aspects, from the protocol layer to the application layer. Web3 social projects flourished to solve different pain points in Web2 social networking.

From the perspective of the entire Web3 social industry, the Web3 social industry can be roughly divided into four parts, the application layer, the protocol layer, the blockchain layer and the storage layer. Among them, the social proprietary chain provides customized L1 for social apps to better serve the needs of social apps, because social applications require more information exchange than financial Dapps, thus requiring faster TPS and storage and indexing functions. There are higher requirements; the storage layer is used to store social-related data; the protocol layer provides public development components to help the team build products; the application layer cuts into a segmented scenario based on specific needs.
Exploring the blossoming path of Web3 Social: Will it be a flash in the pan or the next Mass Adoption?

Since the entire Web3 social track is still in the value verification stage, this study chooses to analyze Web3 social projects based on different social demand points, and analyze the current development status of various projects as comprehensively as possible.

1. Data value feeds back to users

In traditional social products, user data is regarded as platform assets rather than the users own property. In this case, social platforms can use the data provided by users to implement precise advertising targeting and personalized marketing. Unfortunately, however, the value of these data does not receive reasonable feedback and returns, and it is difficult for users to benefit from the value of their data. In fact, users data contribution is regarded as a free supply and can be used freely by the platform, which leads to the situation of data being free for free.

Under this model, whether it is the value of content created by creators or personal data provided by users, most of the revenue ultimately created is monopolized by social platforms. This centralized control results in minimal benefits for users and creators in sharing the value of data.

The new Web3 social products are trying to subvert this model and solve this dilemma through different methods such as token incentives and data NFTization.

1)Lens Protocal

Lens Protocol is a decentralized social graph protocol founded by the team of Defi lending project Aave on February 8, 2022, on the Polygon chain. Its biggest feature is that all social graph data owned by users, including personal information, content publishing, sharing and comments, and social relationships, will be stored in the form of NFT.

Lens is a representative protocol on the Web3 social track. The number of applications built on it exceeds 200, and the total number of users in the ecosystem currently reaches 370,000. The number of monthly active users exceeded 60,000 at the peak in March this year, and the current number of monthly active users remains at 3,000.

Exploring the blossoming path of Web3 Social: Will it be a flash in the pan or the next Mass Adoption?

(Source: Dune)

Lens Protocol has three biggest features:

  • Data value can be traded: In traditional social software, the content and social relationships posted by users are often very valuable, but they fail to receive reasonable incentives. For example, many KOLs on Lens converts user data into NFTs, turning all accounts into NFTs that can be freely traded in the market. However, since most people in the real world are strongly bound to their social accounts and rarely conduct transactions, there is a question mark about the demand value of user trading accounts.

  • Data circulation: cutting into the protocol layer, providing modular components for developers of social Dapps, allowing developers to freely combine and build new social products. The users personal information and all content data are controlled by DID as NFT. When a user logs into an application on the Lens protocol, the data of all applications can be synchronized in it, thus realizing the circulation of data. For example, Lens version of Twitter and Lens version of Youtube can realize data exchange through an NFT.

  • High degree of decentralization: The content, social interaction and identity in the Lens protocol are all on the chain. It is a very crypto-native social protocol.

Based on the Lens protocol, many interesting products have also been born, such as Lenster and Phaver. Among them, Lenster is similar to X in terms of functionality and interactive experience, and can be roughly understood as a decentralized version of X.
Exploring the blossoming path of Web3 Social: Will it be a flash in the pan or the next Mass Adoption?

On the other hand, Phavers model is worth mentioning, which is called likes are rewards. It uses tokens to pledge high-quality content. If more people pledge the pledged content, they will be rewarded. Similarly, the pledge rewards are also will be divided among content creators. In addition, in order to prevent users from all pledging already popular content, the staking rewards for articles with popular opinions will become very small, thereby motivating users to be early explorers of high-quality content. To some extent, it is similar to venture capitalists. Find the best targets at the earliest stage. In general, on the one hand, it solves the problem of creator incentives. The value of content depends on user recognition. On the other hand, it also encourages users to constantly look for good content targets.


friend.tech is a socialfi project that exploded into the market a while ago. Its current cumulative transaction volume has reached 12.48 million, and the highest single-day transaction volume reached 530,000 on September 13.

Exploring the blossoming path of Web3 Social: Will it be a flash in the pan or the next Mass Adoption?

(Source: Dune)

The friend.tech project will essentially tokenize personal influence to realize the fan economy:

  • From the perspective of fans, on the one hand, KOL’s followers can purchase the KOL’s key on friend.tech, so that they can join the KOL’s private chat group and chat with the KOL they follow; on the other hand, when purchasing the KOL’s key As more people use the key, the value of the key will also increase, and fans can also sell it to gain profits;

  • From the perspective of KOL, followers will receive a 10% handling fee for each transaction, half of which will be owned by the KOL. Therefore, KOL will also have financial incentives after expanding its influence, hoping that more people will buy their own tokens. Thereby obtaining more handling fees.

To put it simply, friend.tech realizes the value of KOL’s influence. The more reputable a KOL is, the more users will buy its shares, the higher its worth, the higher the purchase price, and the higher the selling price.

The popularity of friend.tech in August and September has also aroused heated discussions in Chinese and foreign Crypto circles, and many podcasts, videos and communities are discussing related topics. Its popularity can be attributed to the following aspects:

  • Innovative model: Use tokens to purchase KOL keys to realize the fan economy, which is quite innovative in terms of model. Although the economic model is still Ponzi, KOL calls people to join the game, fans buy, KOL calls again, and fans buy again, which can form a very smooth positive cycle. KOL and fans have become a community of interests and jointly realize (3, 3), becoming a necessary factor to promote it.

  • Capital boost: friend.tech officially announced on August 19 that it had received $50 million in seed round financing from Paradigm. One day after the official announcement, the transaction volume more than quadrupled, using the news of top VC blessings to boost market enthusiasm.

  • PWA: friend.tech does not use mobile applications, but uses PWA (Progressive Web App). Enable an app-like experience through a web browser on your mobile device. Using PWA is a good way to avoid users having to download applications from the App Store or Google Play, as well as the usual fees charged by these platforms. It is an optional strategy when the application is not complex.

In addition, there are also common project cold start strategies such as invitation code hunger marketing and user-friendly Web2 login methods, which jointly contribute to the flywheel of friend.tech.

Although friend.tech has been showing a downward trend since its peak period, its innovative attempts in fan economy and value feedback to users have also inspired many practitioners and project parties.


Bodhi is a very interesting Socialfi project that has emerged recently. One day after its release, it caused a lot of splash in the Chinese-speaking area, and the transaction volume and number of participants soared. In the early morning of the next day after its release, TVL reached 165 ETH. The first article written by the author (also the product’s white paper) had a maximum transaction price of 4,000+ US dollars, and it is still above 2,000+ US dollars recently.Exploring the blossoming path of Web3 Social: Will it be a flash in the pan or the next Mass Adoption?

(Source: Dune)

Exploring the blossoming path of Web3 Social: Will it be a flash in the pan or the next Mass Adoption?

(Source: Bodhi Top Assets)

To put it simply, the essence of Bodhi is content capitalization, which is similar to friend.tech’s KOL reputation capitalization. The difference is that friend.tech capitalizes the reputation of the entire creator, and each purchase is a transaction for the entire creators key. Bodhi, on the other hand, trades a single piece of content from the creator, thereby expanding the magnitude of the transaction and making the target of the transaction more focused. And Bodhi’s content is stored on Arweave to achieve decentralized storage.

As mentioned in the Bodhi white paper, the reason why content incentives are so difficult to implement in Web3 is essentially a matter of funding public goods. If content is stored on a centralized server, it still faces the possibility of disappearing at any time.

If content is stored on the chain and access rights are set through content payment, encryption and decryption are required. But at present, most of the decryption process still takes place in a centralized server, which is essentially the same as being directly hosted on a centralized server. And if it is decrypted through the blockchain mechanism, it is still public in nature.

After in-depth exploration, we can find that two important characteristics of the content on the chain also determine its classification as a public good: anyone can access it, and your access does not affect other peoples access. It can be seen that it is non-excludable and non-competitive, which is also the definition of public goods. Although Bodhi failed to maintain its popularity due to its economic model and other reasons after its popularity, its exploration and attempts of content incentives have brought new innovations to the social field.

4) Summary of current situation analysis

In general, when it comes to feeding data value back to users, both Lens Protocol at the protocol layer and friend.tech and Bodhi at the application level are trying to solve this need from different angles.

Lens Protocol adopts the method of NFT-based user social graph data, allowing personal information and content data to be DID controlled as NFT and freely traded in the market, creating trading opportunities for high-value accounts. At the same time, the modular components of Lens provide data circulation for social Dapp developers, enabling the synchronization and circulation of user data between different applications. Friend.tech tokenizes the reputation of KOL, allowing fans to join private chat groups by purchasing the KOLs key and obtain the influence and monetary incentives brought by the KOL. These projects allow users and creators to share the value of their data and content more fairly through value monetization mechanisms.

This new type of social product returns the value of user data to the users themselves, and achieves the circulation and tradeability of data value through some mechanisms. Although projects such as Bodhi may currently encounter some challenges in exploring content incentives, they provide new explorations and attempts for data value feedback in the social field, and promote the development of social platforms in a more fair, user-friendly and innovative direction. In the future, with the advancement of technology and communities, and the birth of some new incentive curves, Web3 social products will continue to influence the way social interactions are conducted, bringing more opportunities and rewards to users and creators.

2. Resist censorship

In addition to data value incentives, censorship resistance is also a very important focus in the current Web3 project. Traditional Web2 social platforms are usually subject to centralized management and have various restrictions on content censorship and speech restrictions. People are increasingly aware of the importance of resisting censorship. Web3 social networking tends to be decentralized, reducing dependence on platforms, reducing the risk of censorship and bans, and promoting more open freedom of speech. Two projects that have to be mentioned are Farcaster and Nostr.


Farcaster is a decentralized social protocol for developers to develop user-centric social applications. The founders of the project, Dan and Varun, were both senior executives of CoinBase, and the project has always been supported by Vitalik. In addition to the Farcaster protocol, the official has also launched the front-end Warpcast product. The current daily active users remain at around 2,000 people, and the total number of users is more than 40,000.

Exploring the blossoming path of Web3 Social: Will it be a flash in the pan or the next Mass Adoption?

(Source: Dune)

Generally speaking, the two biggest features of Farcaster are:

  • Decentralized identity: Farcaster stores the users identity information on the chain to ensure the decentralization of the users identity. Similar to Lens, data is bound to the users identity, so the migration cost for users to use various applications in the Farcaster ecosystem is very low.

  • Combining on-chain and off-chain to improve user experience: In addition to identity information, Farcaster stores high-frequency data such as users published content and interaction data between users in the off-chain Farcaster Hub, thereby achieving rapid data transmission and update. Good user experience. To some extent, some decentralization is sacrificed in exchange for a better user experience.

From the perspective of data performance, although the number of daily active users and total users is one order of magnitude lower than Lens, the number of daily posts (7,000) and the number of interactions (19,000+) are both higher than Lens, reflecting Farcasters user stickiness. However, compared with the social platform of Web2, the user level of the two is still in its infancy. In addition, Farcasters official front-end product Warpcast requires a $1 subscription to use the charging model. Without large-scale value verification, there will be a certain migration cost for Web2 users who are accustomed to using products for free.


Nostr is an open source decentralized social protocol developed by an anonymous team. The core problem it hopes to solve is censorship resistance. The founder Fiatjaf is a developer of Bitcoin and Lightning Network.

Nostr uses a unique service framework consisting of clients and repeater. Anyone can become a repeater, and repeaters remain independent and only communicate with users. Each user has a public key and a private key, which can be simply understood as their own mailbox address and the key to open the mailbox. After everyone knows the address of others, they can send information. The unique private key signature ensures the identity of the sender. The private key of the recipient, which also represents the mailbox key, also ensures that he can receive the message.

Speaking of the Nostr protocol, the iconic project that must be mentioned is Damus. I believe many readers have heard that Nostr also started with Damus. At the beginning of this year, former X CEO Jack Dorsey announced that Damus would be launched on the App Store, and Damus began to take the world by storm.

Damus plays very much like X, the biggest difference is that it is decentralized. Built on the Nostr protocol, each user of Damus is a client, forming a network that communicates with each other through countless relays. As mentioned above, anyone can run a repeater without permission, which means that the official blocking of user posting information in X is difficult to happen in Damus. Users can choose any or their own repeater to publish content. , thereby achieving maximum censorship resistance. Although the overall gameplay is still very simple, it fully satisfies peoples desire for freedom.

Although Nostr and Damus have recently died down, every time Musk performs a series of random operations such as banning and blocking accounts on X, some Web3 advocates will once again defect to the arms of anti-censorship social. The popularity of Damus has also made Nostr developers realize that the need to resist censorship has always been a concern of users.

Although there are currently no continuously active applications on the Farcaster and Nostr protocols, if we regard Farcaster and Nostr as Layer 1 in the social field, whether it is Farcaster like Ethereum or Nostr like Bitcoin, they are all waiting for the next killer. Applications.

3) Summary of current situation analysis

In traditional Web2 social platforms, centralized management often leads to content censorship and speech restrictions. Platforms such as Before Web3, there were products like Mammoth that hoped to break the restrictions of censorship. With the development of blockchain technology, more and more Web3 projects are beginning to hope to build censorship-resistant social projects and protocols such as X and Facebook.

Both Farcaster and Nostr are worthy of attention. Although the Farcaster and Nostr protocols currently do not incubate continuously active applications, and Farcasters user scale is still smaller compared to Web2 social platforms, its high number of posts and interactions show the stickiness of users. However, its charging model may dissuade some users, especially for Web2 users who are accustomed to using free products, the migration cost is high. After Damus on the Nostr protocol exploded, users did not settle down much.

However, the popularity of Damus at that time and the overwhelming popularity of WeChat Moments also showed peoples natural curiosity and yearning for a Web3 anti-censorship social product. These projects have brought new possibilities to Web3 social networking in terms of exploration and experimentation against censorship, and have also brought more experience and hope to the emergence of the next killer application.

3. The native social scene brought by Web3

In addition to the two core entry points of feeding data value back to users and resisting censorship, blockchain technology also brings some of the native social needs of Web3. Some projects have begun to focus on segmenting scenarios and beginning to meet native social needs. Here we mainly introduce DeBox, the star application on the social track.


The core problem that DeBox solves is position chat. In traditional group chats, whether it is token or NFT holders and believers, it is difficult to avoid mixing in other people in the group chat, which may lead to many scammers. There are also those who have ulterior motives and talk more than they do. The group chat function of Debox can be set up so that members who own specific NFT or Token and reach a certain amount can enter the community, thereby establishing this consensus.

According to official data released in August this year, DeBox has more than 1.1 million registered users, and the number of user logins has exceeded 13 million. It is very popular among Web3 projects, and the recent BOX has also aroused heated discussion.

In the early days, DeBox conducted a cold start through several sets of NFTs, attracting a large number of users, and used holdings as a consensus to gather community members with the same views and concepts, thereby better forming a spontaneous community governance mechanism and reducing information noise. Since the content storage and logic are off-chain, the user experience is better and is similar to the experience of Web2 social products.

Exploring the blossoming path of Web3 Social: Will it be a flash in the pan or the next Mass Adoption?When exploring the Web3 social field, in addition to data value feedback and censorship resistance, blockchain technology brings a series of native social needs. Addressing these needs became the focus of the projects. For example, the DeBox just mentioned is committed to solving the problem of position chat and has built a consensus mechanism for members holding specific NFTs or Tokens to enter the community. Thanks to its focus on community governance mechanisms, Debox has attracted a large number of users and formed a spontaneous community. By using positions as a consensus mechanism, it promotes the gathering of community members with the same views and concepts, provides a better framework for community governance, and reduces information noise.
In addition to DeBox, there are many projects that are entering the field of social networking from different angles. For example, the Cyberconnect protocol focuses on building user social graphs, and the officially launched Link 3 project aggregates users’ on-chain and off-chain data so that users’ off-chain activities can be It has been certified on the chain, thereby enriching its social image; after launching the X plug-in, Mast Network also launched the firefly aggregator, which aggregates the content of Lens, farcaster, X and other projects to become a one-stop social platform for Web3.
The emergence of these projects reflects the diversity and innovation of the Web3 social field. Along with the native scenes of Web3, they try to solve different aspects of social needs and build more diverse social environments and fields.

4. Why is Web3 social networking relatively deserted compared to other tracks?

As mentioned above, with the development of blockchain technology, many Web3 social projects have begun to try to create new solutions to build data value back to users, resist censorship, and solve specific social scenarios. However, most of them The project is still in a relatively sluggish state. Even if a few projects exploded for a while, they soon fell silent. Web3 social networking has not yet seen large-scale application. The challenges and limitations behind it can be summarized as the following points:

1. The trade-off between decentralization and user experience

One of the biggest difficulties encountered by current Web3 social projects is user experience.

On the one hand, the user interfaces and operations of most Web3 social platforms are relatively complex. Compared with traditional Web2 social platforms, some Web3 social projects require wallet login, which is unfamiliar to Web2 users without wallets and hinders the entry of ordinary users. Web3 social products limit their development and popularity. Moreover, concepts such as blockchain and cryptocurrency are still relatively unfamiliar and require more education and popularization efforts. Many people still lack understanding of the working principles and value of blockchain, which also affects the acceptance of Web3 social platforms by Web2 users. Faced with this situation, some Web3 social products adopt the method of logging in with Web2 accounts to reduce the barriers to use.

On the other hand, there is also a natural contradiction between decentralization and efficiency. If all behaviors and data need to be uploaded to the chain, the path for user operation and experience will also be lengthened. Various social projects also develop in different ways, such as Lens, which puts all content, social relationships, and identities on the chain, Farcaster, which chooses to put only identities on the chain, Debox, and friend.tech, which all have their content, social relationships, and identities on the chain, except for NFT or tokens. Wait, everyone has made user experience and partial chaining decisions at different levels to meet specific social needs.

Putting all of them on the chain will bring pressure on cost and speed, and putting a small amount of them on the chain will bring troubles to users."Web2.5"Social doubts, the current Web3 project is still in the exploratory stage of constantly splitting and reorganizing the upstream part. How to choose to not only satisfy the user experience, but also solve the actual user needs, there is still a long way to go.

2. The replacement cost of social products is very high

Among our commonly used social products, whether it is Facebook, X, Instagram, or WeChat, there is a high migration cost. This cost can include time, effort, learning costs, data migration and re-establishing social networks, etc. Once we have established stable social relationships on a platform, uploaded a large amount of data, and adapted to the platforms functions and interface, we are more inclined to stay on that platform than to easily switch to other platforms.

The value of new products often = (new experience - old experience) - replacement cost. Since the replacement cost of social products is a high-frequency product among the product types, it can be found that social products have extremely high network effects, and certain users will be interested in some products. After existing products become dependent, the replacement cost is so high that it is difficult for users to switch to other products.

Therefore, if Web3 social projects just copy Web2 projects, and add a little bit of decentralized elements, it will be difficult to attract users to migrate. In particular, ordinary users have a weak perception of decentralized storage, but their perception of user experience and the cost of direct migration is explicit. Therefore, if Web3s social products want to attract users or become large-scale applications, they need to make more innovations in new experiences and combine different gameplay to meet the needs of differentiation from existing products.

3. The value of data feeds back the sustainability of users

Due to the financial nature of the Web3 industry, many Web3 social projects or socialfi projects have begun to combine various economic models to accumulate user influence or content. However, most of the projects that have appeared so far are still in the Ponzi stage. Basically, the people behind are required to take over the work from the people in front. The sustainable development of the project has not been achieved, and in many cases it has evolved into a purely speculative orientation.

How to find reasonable token economics models and function curves to balance financial attributes and sustainable development is very critical for social products that solve the problem of data value feeding back to users.

4. The overlap between social target users and Web3 user portraits is low

It can be seen from Messaris data that in the financing data of Q3 2023, the financing of Social projects is around US$10 million, which is significantly lower than the US$200 million of Defi projects and the US$150 million of Gaming projects; in terms of the number of financing projects, There are 6 Social projects, which is also less than the 67 Defi projects and the 25 Gaming projects. Investigating the reasons behind this, a very important reason is that the overlap between social target users and Web3 user portraits is low.

Many users come to the Crypto field because they are attracted by the wealth-making effect, so they usually have the need and purpose of speculation and getting rich. What social networking needs most is real users, and these users need to come here to socialize. Unlike some other tracks, which can attract casual users through airdrops and increase TVL to attract traffic, if social projects hope to solve real social needs, it is very necessary to attract new users and retain users who really have corresponding social needs, rather than speculation. of one-time users.

Compared with social user portraits, many players who love games also have gambling, competitive and other characteristics. Therefore, users attracted by Gamefi and game project parties from various Web3 platforms have been converted into game users to a relatively higher extent; Similarly, DeFi projects can easily attract users with investment and speculation needs, and the user profiles are a perfect match; the recent popularity of BRC 20 inscriptions is also inseparable from its huge wealth creation effect, and social users and Web3 The difference in user needs is naturally greater than that of games and finance, which may be one of the reasons why the social track is more deserted than games and Defi.

In general, compared to the DeFi and Gaming tracks, the target users of social media are further away from money, gambling and competition, and have less overlap with the user profiles of Web3. How to attract target users is a journey that requires long-term exploration for social projects.

5. Social Business Model

Finally, let’s discuss with you the business model thinking of full-chain games.

The evolution history of business models of social products can be divided into several key stages:

  • Early Web 1.0 stage (late 1990s to early 2000s): Social products in this stage mainly existed in the form of forums, chat rooms, etc. The business model is mainly based on advertising and membership fee income. Some forums earn revenue from ad placements, while chat rooms charge membership fees. For example, AOL (America Online) is based on charging membership fees, and users pay to use it. Yahoo Groups earns revenue by displaying advertisements.

  • Web 2.0 social product stage (mid-to-late 2000s to 2010s): With the development of Internet technology, social media and network platforms gradually came to prominence. The business model at this stage mainly revolves around advertising display and user data collection. Social media platforms obtain revenue through advertising display and precise delivery, and user data has become a valuable asset and is used for personalized advertising and marketing. Facebook, X, and Tiktok basically have this model.

  • The rise of Web3 (late 2010s): The arrival of Web3 brought the application of blockchain technology and decentralized thinking. Social products are beginning to try new business models, such as data value feedback, token economy, NFT-based data assets, etc. Users gain more control over their data and can gain rewards by participating in governance and sharing data. For example, Lens turns data assets into NFTs, friend.tech and Bodhi return data value to users by assigning prices to influence/content, and Farcaster still uses the traditional membership payment subscription model.

Exploring the blossoming path of Web3 Social: Will it be a flash in the pan or the next Mass Adoption?In addition, since social products themselves also have regional market environment differences, there are many factors that need to be considered when entering into Web3 social products. For example, in terms of data value feeding back to users, a large part of it is solving the economic problems of creators.

At present, the main income model of creators is still ToB, supplemented by ToC. Since many domestic and foreign platforms provide creators with low incentives for content viewing and clicks, most entrepreneurs have to choose to accumulate a large amount of traffic resources to receive advertising and make money from the to B side. Some creators have also begun to try to bring goods. toC method, but both of these income models have a certain negative impact on the creators own brand and reputation. Therefore, many Web3 social projects hope to try to start with the toC model, so that creators can directly get the rewards they deserve from high-quality content. This is also the idea of ​​​​friend.tech and Bodhi (through influence incentives and content incentives).

  • The difference is that in the domestic market, the traffic of social and creator platforms is highly monopolized. WeChat, Douyin, and Kuaishou account for the vast majority. The platforms are extremely powerful. Creators have low bargaining power on the platform, and their share of revenue is meager. It is difficult for developers to make a living relying on the platforms traffic incentives, so they have to choose Tobs model to obtain commercial income, including advertising, live streaming, etc. However, due to the strength of the platform, it is difficult to divert traffic to the private domain. Therefore, domestic creators prefer to study the platforms recommendation strategy - create content types that can drive traffic - increase the volume - and then monetize them commercially.

  • The monopoly situation of social platforms in overseas markets is better than that in China, and the traffic flow in the public domain and private domain is relatively high (the concept of private domain in China is because the public domain is too strong), so overseas social platforms such as Instagram and Youtube After creators on the media platform have followers, they can direct traffic to their own independent stations or web pages to support themselves. This also allows many overseas creators to be relatively free to create niche content they like, and can better divert it to the private domain.

Therefore, in the face of the competitive landscape of traditional social products in different regions, Web3 social projects can also consider different strategies when entering.

In general, the current business model of Web3 social projects is still in the stage of blooming, and the business model is still being explored and verified. Looking back at the history of social products, the evolution of business models shows a development trend from a single advertising revenue model and membership income, to precise advertising after data monopoly, to the use of tokens/NFTs to feed back data value to users. Future development directions may focus more on user data value, user participation and community governance, as well as more diversified business models.

6. Exploration of the future of social networking: The collision of Web3 social networking and AI waves

In the recent wave of technological development, Web3 and AI are two star areas that have attracted much attention. The same is true for social exploration. In addition to Web3/Crypto social projects, there are also many AI projects that have emerged recently, including some traditional Web2 teams, which have also begun to combine social and AI, in terms of matching, translation, and virtual humans. Many application scenarios.

For example, in the domestic market, Soul launched the intelligent conversation robot AI Goudan to conduct personalized communication with users; similarly, Baidu also launched the AI ​​social APP Skyclub to re-enter the social track with the help of AI. In overseas markets, Meta increases user activity by combining AI and social information flow recommendations. The optimization of the recommendation algorithm last year increased the length of stay of Facebook users by 7% and the length of stay of Instagram users by 6%. From the development of domestic and foreign products, we can see that the combination of social products and AI is an important development trend.

As a tool to improve productivity, AI has empowered the social field. An area worthy of attention is the combination of social networking and AI Agent. AI is used to create virtual girlfriends, boyfriends, and partners to meet human needs for companionship and emotional support. . For example, Character.AI invested by A16Z can generate human-like text responses and participate in contextual conversations, thereby realizing intelligent chatbots to interact with users.

As mentioned earlier, one of the core human needs for social interaction is to satisfy emotional and emotional needs, establish close relationships, and gain support. At present, AI + social projects basically start from the point of meeting human emotional needs, and start to use virtual companionship to solve companionship needs that real people cannot meet in real time, and to explore new possibilities for meeting this need. However, whether the need for human emotional companionship requires AI virtual humans to be realized is still at a stage of market and value verification.

In the development of social products, we found that Web3 and AI have complementary potential in social interaction. Different from AIs improvement in productivity, Web3s characteristics in production relations and financial incentives can also well empower social products. For example, Myshell incubated by Binance combines AI with Web3 to allow users to build their own AI robots. It also launched Samantha, a voice chat robot based on Telegram, to meet human needs for emotional companionship. Its token shell is used to incentivize the entire product. The ecological cycle includes content consumers paying for functions and creators using tokens to increase traffic exposure, etc.

In addition, there is also the recent Siya.AI on the Solana ecosystem, which aims to build a social companion platform where AI and real people coexist, hoping to use AI Agent as a traffic entrance for Internet and Web3 users. In addition, by accessing the SDK provided by Realy, an incentive mechanism is introduced for the creator economy and AI companion. Combining AI and Web3 to solve the need for emotional companionship in social interactions. By conversing with AI boyfriends and AI girlfriends, users can also achieve chat mining and NFT incubation.

In general, AI and Web3, as two waves in the new era, are exerting force in the social field from different angles. The former focuses on emotional companionship and support, while the latter focuses on data value feedback to users and resistance to censorship. Both are now in their early stages. But no matter which demand point we cut into, we all hope to better satisfy human beings’ primitive needs for social interaction to varying degrees. On the road to exploring social products, cooperation and complementarity between AI and Web3 have also emerged. I am very much looking forward to the birth of the next large-scale social application with the birth of new technologies and models. Perhaps AI and Web3 can create new sparks in the social field to better meet the diverse needs of human beings in social interaction.

7. Summary

Social networking is an urgent need for everyone, regardless of age, men, women, or acquaintances or strangers in the scene. Social products occupy the gateway of traffic in the Web2 industry, and are also the highest category in DAU. Therefore, since the conception of Web3 social, Web3 practitioners have placed high hopes on Mass Adoption.

On the positive side, on the one hand, Web3 social brings revolutionary changes in data value and user feedback. Compared with traditional Web2 social products, Web3 regards user data as a valuable asset and feeds back the value of data to users through token incentives and NFT. It is built on user data sharing, creator incentives and based on community consensus.

On the other hand, the censorship resistance of Web3 social products provides users with greater freedom and privacy protection. Through blockchain technology and decentralized features, these products reduce the risk of censorship and bans and promote open freedom of expression. This creates a safer and more open social environment for users, making social interactions more real and free.

However, the current Web3 social networking has always faced some challenges, and there has been no large-scale application so far. High replacement costs and network effects are very big challenges. Traditional social products have established strong network effects among users. User habits, resource investment, and platform dependence make it difficult for them to migrate to the new Web3 social platform. This makes it difficult for new products that copy Web2 to expand their user base and grow. Another challenge is about balancing sustainability and user experience. Some Web3 social products emphasize decentralization and data control, but sacrifice user experience and convenience. While pursuing innovation, maintaining product ease of use and appeal is critical to user retention and attraction.

As mentioned in Tom Standages book A Brief History of Social Media, human beings have had the need for social interaction since their birth. No matter how technology evolves, human beings always need the exchange of information. From the papyrus letters used by ancient Roman politicians to exchange information, to the pamphlets during American Independence and the French Revolution, from newspapers, radio, and television to the Internet and blockchain technology, human beings have always been in a relationship between happiness, economy, freedom of speech, and Making change in the tension between scrutiny.

Compared with phone calls, text messages and newspapers, Web2s social products Facebook, Returning value to users. Although there is currently no large-scale application like Web2 products, the demand for resistance to censorship and return of data value still exists in the hearts of users, waiting for an explosion at a certain moment.

As for the future focus, what can be considered in the future is community attributes: because social networking must not be broadcast-style, but always swings between centralization and decentralization. The community is a very important feature of Web3 social, and the characteristics of data sovereignty and openness are also very consistent with the community. The community can achieve multi-directional and interactive social interaction, and may become one of the directions for the development of Web3 social products in the future; In addition, cross-combination with other directions such as games may also create different sparks.

As mentioned in the challenges and limitations of Web3 social, the Social track has difficulties in user portraits. Compared with the current popularity of the BRC 20 track, the Web3 Social track is slightly deserted. However, the development prospects of Web3 social It still has many people’s expectations. New projects and technologies are emerging constantly to push the field forward. While technology continues to evolve, we are also seeing more exploration and improvements towards sustainability and user experience. This field is continuing to mature, looking for its own development path, bringing more innovations to users, and having a profound impact on the entire social field.

Finally, I would like to thank our partners such as Heitie, Adazz, Ashan, Harlan, and Trinity for their help, as well as everyone who was very willing to share their patience during the communication process. I sincerely hope that the builders in this track will get better and better!

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ODAILY reminds readers to establish correct monetary and investment concepts, rationally view blockchain, and effectively improve risk awareness; We can actively report and report any illegal or criminal clues discovered to relevant departments.

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