Welcome to farcaster
I originally published this post on Purple Submarine, a newsletter about Farcaster. But I think it can be of help to anyone interested in Farcaster.
On October 11, 2023, Farcaster opened its doors to everyone (a.k.a "went permissionless").
Farcaster is a lot like and a lot unlike other social networks. There's so much to learn and explore, but if you are new, this article will help you find your way around.
Warpcast is to Farcaster, what Firefox is to Web
Farcaster is a protocol, and Warpcast is a Farcaster client, much like Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Edge are HTTP clients. There are many other clients and applications. You can find an (incomplete!) list of applications that use Farcaster here.
If you don't have a Farcaster account, the simplest way to create one is to install Warpcast.
You own your Farcaster identity.
Everything you do on Farcaster (casts, likes, recasts, follows, etc.) is tied to your Farcaster Identity (fid). No one can take away, suspend or cancel your Farcaster identity: it is controlled by an Ethereum address only you have the keys for. Don't worry, if you loose your keys, there is a way to recover your identity.
Farcaster is an open protocol. This means than anyone can build applications on top of it, without asking permission and without paying fees. Compare this to using Facebook, Twitter/X, or Reddit APIs: Each one of these companies has changed policies, requirements and pricing, often pulling the rug under developers' feet.
Farcaster is decentralized. At the core of Farcaster are the Farcaster hubs. Every hub keeps a complete copy of everything there is on Farcaster. Hubs talk to each other and sync their status to reach consensus. Anyone can run a hub. If you like experimenting, you can run your own hub, even from your home (hardware requirements are minimal, your previous PC or laptop is probably more than adequate).
Why do I have to pay?
Because there is no Twitter or Facebook to pay the costs.
In exchange, you own your Farcaster identity, data and network.
There are two costs to using Farcaster.
Storage space on hubs. For most users, this will be a cost between $0.6/month and $1/month, depending on the payment method. The easiest way to pay is through Warpcast's in-app purchase ($12/year including AppStore fees and USD-to-ETH conversion). But you can also use a service like caststorage.com, pay in ETH and avoid the AppStore tax.
Both methods bellow, will have the same result. Warpcast purchases are converted to ETH and used to perform the onchain transaction.
The cost of identity-related transactions (remember, your Farcaster identity "lives" onchain, and onchain transactions have a small cost), such as the initial signup or giving permissions to apps. This cost is small, and in some cases apps may pay it on your behalf to make your life easier, but occasionally you may be asked to pay something like $0.99 (the actual cost is much less, and there will be ways and tools to pay much less in the future).
Where can I learn more?
- farcaster.xyz is the home of the Farcaster protocol.
- thehubble.xyz is Hubble's homepage. Hubble is the software run by Farcaster nodes.
- Farcaster Overview: short videos explaining the core concepts of Farcaster. (Keep in mind that the videos were created some time ago, and some of the details may have changed through Farcaster Improvement Proposals.)
- Check out the articles on Purple Submarine.