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What the Heck Is Farcaster?

A Familiar-Feeling Web3 Social Protocol Built for Creators

Article by links

If you’ve been part of the web3 ecosystem for the last few months, you’ve probably heard of Farcaster but might be confused about what it is. You’re not alone — even some people using Farcaster every day aren’t sure what it is! This article will lay it all out for you: what it is, how it differs from current social media, why that matters, and how to use it.

Farcaster Is a Protocol

You’ll often hear web3 projects calling themselves “protocols”, which means a lot to technically-inclined folks, but very little to the rest of the world. In plain language a protocol is a set of rules. Just as you follow a set of rules when you drive, so everyone can use the road safely, applications (apps) can follow rules to communicate with each other. In a recent Boys Club podcast, Dan Romero (co-founder of Farcaster) likened Farcaster to “email” and Warpcast to “gmail”; that is, email and Farcaster are protocols, and gmail and Warpcast are apps.

It’s a simple idea that has a lot of implications, the biggest being that there are multiple applications (also known as clients) you can use to interact with Farcaster. There are already dozens of apps that have been built using the Farcaster protocol. Here are some of my favourites:

  • Warpcast is the client built by the Farcaster team.

  • Supercast is a client geared towards power users and brands.

  • Searchcaster is a quick way to search Farcaster data.

  • 33bits is a tool to cast anonymously.

  • Hatecast allows users to see who has followed/unfollowed them.

This open approach is in stark contrast to traditional social media platforms like Twitter and Reddit which both recently restricted access to their data. These sites previously offered access to their platform data to generate usage. Now that they have sufficient usage, it makes more financial sense for them to restrict access, shutting out dozens of independent developers and free apps.

Farcaster is different, though, because it is sufficiently decentralized.

Farcaster Is Sufficiently Decentralized

Decentralization has become a bit of a buzzword; what does it actually mean in the context of a social network? Varun Srinivasan, one of the Farcaster co-founders, wrote about his approach on his personal blog. He defines “sufficient decentralization” as existing if “two users can find each other and communicate, even if the rest of the network wants to prevent it.”

This is the fundamental goal in Farcaster’s protocol architecture. Whereas a “fully decentralized” social network might hold ALL data on blockchain, a “sufficiently decentralized” social network only stores onchain the data that allows users to find each other and communicate.

In practice this means most user data (i.e. messages, profile info, followers) are held offchain on Hubs: “servers that store and validate Farcaster data”. Hubs use offchain cryptographic signatures to validate data. For example, you can be sure a message is coming from @links because it is signed with my private key and can be verified with my public key. Running a Hub is how one can read/write to Farcaster, and therefore required for any app that is building on Farcaster. Since every Hub must store a copy of the entire network, users must pay rent to keep their data on the Farcaster Hub network to prevent spam and keep the size of the network data manageable.

By separating onchain and offchain data, Farcaster has created a social network that CANNOT censor users while ensuring that cost and performance still work as average consumers would expect. This is a compromise that seems to work pretty well, especially when compared against a fully decentralized network like Lens, which can feel a bit sluggish from a UX perspective, or a fully centralized network like X, which can (and regularly does) censor users.

Farcaster Is for Creators

Of course the technology is only as good as the behaviour it enables, and Farcaster’s technology provides an environment ideal for creators. Writers, visual artists, software developers, and other creators of all stripes are engaging on Farcaster.

How does this work? Farcaster uses a concept called Channels: user-created, user-moderated spaces for like-minded people to get together. This simple but powerful concept allows users to 'drop down' from the cacophony of the home feed into a cozy space where they can discuss and share their craft.

Channels function similarly to subreddits, so what makes Farcaster different? The key is web3 integrations; every user on Farcaster has a non-custodial wallet, and Farcaster makes it easy for creators to get paid for their work. NFT mints are displayed prominently in feeds, encouraging other users to discover new pieces of work to mint and own onchain. Warps, Farcaster’s in-app currency, have reduced the difficulty even further, allowing users to mint NFTs without having to sign any transactions or pay gas fees. Frames (essentially mini-apps) make it even easier to connect to external services.

The results of these technologies are impressive. Artists like 0xen have been able to release trending NFT collections like FarCats, a surreal collection of purple cats. Podcasts like gmFarcaster have been able to bootstrap funding through patrons and sponsorships. Developers like jacek have been able to create $100M market cap memecoins. One of the most popular frames sold Girl Scout cookies directly to users using Coinbase Commerce

These examples are just a small sample of the thousands of creators using Farcaster to hone their crafts. Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan once said, “The medium is the message,” and the creator-centric tools Farcaster provides make it an ideal medium for creators.

What the Heck Are Frames?

Frames are mini-apps that live inside of a cast (a cast is a post). Frames have been used to build functionality like polls, 1-click blog subscriptions, 1-click NFT mints, and much more.

As a brand-new feature of Farcaster, Frames are rapidly evolving, but they typically consist of a single “screen” with multiple buttons you can click to interact. To use them, follow these best practices:

  1. Read the cast body — there are typically instructions that will allow you to use the buttons in the Frame (such as like and recast this post, or follow a certain account)

  2. Click on the buttons and see what happens. Some Frames take time to load, so wait a couple of seconds before clicking another button.

If you’re a developer and want to create Frames, check out the official documentation. You can also use Neynar to build on Farcaster quickly without running your own Hub.

Farcaster Is Easy to Use

Farcaster takes a pragmatic approach to product development, so they aim to make their user experience as easy as possible. To get started, follow these steps:

  1. Go to

  2. Download the app (it’s required to sign up).

  3. Follow the steps to create an account:

    1. You can optionally backup your account’s recovery phrase.

    2. You can optionally link your external web3 wallet, which is a great idea if you have one.

  4. Follow the steps to rent some storage as an in-app purchase. If you’d prefer to pay by crypto, you can rent storage using CastStorage.

  5. Check out the Explore tab (the magnifying glass) to find channels that you may enjoy — sign up for as many channels as you like (the more the merrier).

  6. Check out your main feed to see what’s hot, and drop down into channels to have more focused discussions with people who share your interests.

  7. If you’re confused about something — ASK! Most casters are pretty friendly and willing to explain concepts, and there are even channels like /afraid-to-ask for beginners, and /purple which is filled with people committed to proliferating Farcaster.

What the Heck Is $DEGEN?

$DEGEN is a memecoin (ERC-20 token) that was launched on Farcaster by @jacek. If you’ve never been part of a memecoin community, it might be interesting and educational for you to take part. Be warned: memecoins can (and often do) lose value rapidly, so only experiment with money you are willing to lose.

Follow these steps to get going:

  1. Check out and connect with the external wallet you’ve connected to Farcaster.

  2. Give out $DEGEN as tips:

    1. Navigate to Points > Airdrop 2 and scroll down to see your daily $DEGEN tip balance.

    2. On Farcaster, respond to casts with x $DEGEN to “tip” for casts you like (500 $DEGEN, for example).

  3. Buy some $DEGEN:

    1. Get some ETH on BASE (easiest via Coinbase and Coinbase Wallet).

    2. Swap ETH for DEGEN on Uniswap.

  4. Earn LP rewards:

    1. Go to the 0.3% ETH/DEGEN pool on Uniswap and add liquidity (you’ll need to be connected to Uniswap on BASE and have both DEGEN and ETH in your wallet).

    2. Navigate to Points > Liquidity Mining on and check out your current reward balance.

Join the community: there are tons of fellow $DEGEN holders on Farcaster who are experimenting with the token, building projects, and figuring out how to get more people involved. Drop into /degen to learn more.

Farcaster Is the Future

There’s a lot to explore on Farcaster, but taking a step back reveals Farcaster to be much more than a typical social media platform. Unlike the Facebooks and Twitters of the world, Farcaster is being built in a way to allow all stakeholders (creators, consumers, patrons) to have a seat at the table.

On Farcaster creators own their audiences and make money for their efforts, consumers can verify the person they are talking to is the real deal, and patrons can have direct access to talented and undiscovered creators. This is the promise of web3, and it’s happening RIGHT NOW in an easy-to-use, non-technical package.

Many influencers have pontificated that some sort of breakthrough consumer product is needed to show the world what web3 can do. It’s very likely that product already exists, and it is Farcaster.

Author Bio

links is a web2 product leader and startup artist seeking inspiration in web3.

Editor Bios

trewkat is a writer, editor, and designer interested in learning about web3, with a particular focus communicating this knowledge to others via IndyPen CryptoMedia.

Hiro Kennelly is a writer and cofounder of IndyPen CryptoMedia. He loves people, Moloch, and degenerative cryptoeconomics.

Designer Bio

trewkat is a writer, editor, and designer interested in learning about web3, with a particular focus communicating this knowledge to others via IndyPen CryptoMedia.

This post does not contain financial advice, only educational information. By reading this article, you agree and affirm the above, as well as that you are not being solicited to make a financial decision, and that you in no way are receiving any fiduciary projection, promise, or tacit inference of your ability to achieve financial gains.

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