NFTs x friend.tech 🫂

When NFTs on friend.tech?
Aug 17, 20235 min read

Dear Bankless Nation,

Every now and then a crypto project surges onto the scene and gets everyone talking.

In recent days, friend.tech has been this type of immediate hit and generated a really impressive amount of activity in a very short amount of time.

The “Uniswap of social tokens” as unbanksy has called it, friend.tech is built on an unprecedented stack. But could it be adding NFTs to this innovative stack any time soon?

Perhaps, but in a sense the app already supports NFTs, so it depends on how you approach it. I’ll explain the basics and dig into my thoughts here for today’s post.


Nifty app you got there, friend…

If you were around back in April, you may recall my How to Play Stealcam guide.

Stealcam was an addictive and indie “steal to reveal” app on Arbitrum.
The idea? NFT owners could mint hidden images, and others could “steal,” i.e. pay ETH, to acquire and reveal their contents.

Whenever stolen by another person, a Stealcam NFT’s price would rise by 0.001 ETH plus 10% of the previous price, i.e. along a bonding curve. The former owner would get their initial payment back, and then the remaining difference was split 45% to the creator, 45% to the previous owner, and 10% to Stealcam.

All that said, the reason I bring up Stealcam here is twofold. Firstly, it’s because the Stealcam team went on to rebrand to friend.tech with an expanded “marketplace for your friends” vision. But it’s also because friend.tech’s ERC20 social tokens are also sold along a bonding curve, so note how the app has a lineage and has taken direct inspiration from its predecessor version.
I’ll come back to this point later, but first let’s go deeper into the basics of friend.tech for anyone still catching up…

How friend.tech works

friend.tech is a social app “for playing with friends and money” deployed on Coinbase’s Base layer-two (L2) scaling solution.

One week ago, the app launched its invite-only beta and started distributing invite codes, allowing users to buy and sell stakes of connected Twitter accounts on the platform for the first time.
When you buy a stake in another person’s account on friend.tech, you automatically receive access to a private chatroom with the account’s owner and their other stakeholders. You can also sell along the app’s native bonding curve system, sometimes for more than what you first paid and sometimes for less depending on recent trading activity.

Why friend.tech matters

Okay, we’ve seen social tokens before. What’s so special about friend.tech then?

The stack, man, the stack!

As you can see alluded to in the screenshot below via nnnnicholas, friend.tech has put various interesting pieces together in a way the space hasn’t seen before. The L2 (cheap, fast txs), the progressive web app (bypassing centralized app stores), the embedded wallet (for low-friction onboarding), etc.
Combine this innovative design with social tokens and crypto’s tip-of-the-spear degens, and you can understand why friend.tech’s become such a hit so fast.

And you don’t have to take my word for it: in its first week the app’s already done over 8,374 ETH worth of trading volume. That means friend.tech’s done more volume over the past 7D stretch than all but two NFT collections during that span, DeGods (~21,779 ETH) and Bored Apes (~8,515 ETH).
via @msilb7
This is all to say that friend.tech is very early on in its life, but it’s already proven to be very compellingly designed and it’s already attracted a huge amount of interest. Can it become x100 larger than Uniswap’s liquidity? That remains to be seen, but in the very least the app could provide a boon to the NFT ecosystem in the not so distant future.

The NFT angle

Remember when I mentioned lineage and inspiration earlier?

Well between the previous TweetDAO and Stealcam projects, the friend.tech team obviously understands NFTs as well as anyone. The app beta is exactly that, an MVP beta, so as it evolves the creators may opt to more closely integrate or embrace NFTs, Farcaster style.

Of course, it’s no secret that the NFT space is in a bear market right now, and friend.tech’s activity numbers are already comparatively impressive compared to top NFT platforms, at least as things stand. So if the app does continue to gain traction and then more closely embraces NFTs, this could serve as a non-trivial pipeline for ramping up NFT activity levels anew.
via Toe
I know there’s some big “ifs” there, and I know, I know, it’s not the team’s job to save the NFT world. But one thing I do know is that one of the most requested features I’ve seen from early testers of the app is in-chat image support. And NFTs are just, well, basically one step after that. Upload, mint — they’re almost the same thing these days in crypto.

Yet like I alluded to in my intro, I’ll also just add here that artists and creatives can already get imaginative around NFTs with the friend.tech beta.

For example, the aforementioned unbanksy and others have noted there are already multiple distinct categories of ways to use friend.tech, including artistic self-expression, marketing, and so forth. So even in the beta, a cryptoartist can already share via text “exclusive alpha and mint links for loyal followers” in their chats.
As such, NFTs on friend.tech are already possible. But they may become even easier in time. And that’d potentially be a big positive catalyst for NFT activity levels if it happened and things line up right, that’s all I’m saying!

The alpha

via friend.tech
PSA: The friend.tech team’s “airdropping reward points to app testers” over the next six months ahead of the platform’s official release.

I’ll let you come to your own conclusions about what that spells for the future, but with that said, it may be a shrewd time to start exploring the app and getting a feel for its stack accordingly.

Crypto has a way of rewarding curiosity, you know.

But as for actually onboarding to the app, you still need an invite code right now. Here are three spare ones I’ve got available on a first come, first serve basis. The idea? Download the app on your phone and put one of these in at the start screen to get in:
Apologies if these are gone once/if you check, they’ll likely go fast! But I’ll keep sharing them as I get them in my Metaversal posts, so keep reading or asking around if at first you don’t succeed!

Not financial or tax advice. This newsletter is strictly educational and is not investment advice or a solicitation to buy or sell any assets or to make any financial decisions. This newsletter is not tax advice. Talk to your accountant. Do your own research.

Disclosure. From time-to-time I may add links in this newsletter to products I use. I may receive commission if you make a purchase through one of these links. Additionally, the Bankless writers hold crypto assets. See our investment disclosures here.

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