Thoughts on building a Farcaster app in June 2024

  1. The single most important thing for Farcaster is to grow total daily active users. If the protocol has 10M daily active users, there’s a lot more opportunity for all developers. This is Merkle’s top priority — grow the number of people using the protocol.

  2. Given Farcaster’s current scale, building a VC-scale Warpcast alternative, i.e. Twitter-style functionality, is unlikely to get a lot of user traction in the near term. However, if you’re thinking in a multi-year timeline, the best time to start is now. But will be a slog!

  3. The most difficult part of building a consumer app is getting and retaining daily active users. Even more pressing for VC-backed apps (time preference is much higher). Farcaster likely needs to be 2 orders of magnitude larger before that user population is large enough for apps to be 100% focused on FC.

  4. So should I build on Farcaster today? Yes. A few potential strategies:

    1. Sign in with Farcaster / graph-only approach — don’t worry about signers and cloning all the Warpcast functionality. Focus on using the permissionless Farcaster graph and identity to enhance onboarding and making your app more retentive. Study Drakula

    2. Build narrow and deep — there are a growing number of channels where a dedicated, channel-specific client may serve a growing number of power users. Study the work-in-progress Nouns clients

    3. Leverage distribution — Warpcast doesn’t penalize links (we love links!), so consider building frames or other features that allow your users to share to their Farcaster audiences. Study Paragraph

    4. Build orthogonally — integrate multiple networks, only use a subset of casts, e.g. an image or video only client, or don’t even show casts at all and focus on functionality. Study Yup or FarHouse

    5. Play a different game! — create an open source project, leverage the growing ecosystem of economic primitives like hypersub to help support it. Charge an up front fee for your app. Focus in on power users and generating sustainable revenue. Study Herocast or Supercast

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