Friend.tech: Flash in the pan or inevitable future of crypto financialization?

Crypto is “perfectly conducive” to Friend.tech’s use case, Van Bourg says

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Dean Drobot/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks

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Avi Felman recently joined Friend.tech, the controversial social media app that financializes public profiles with “keys” — previously described as “shares” — purchased to connect and invest in personalities.

“I get personally offended when people sell my shares,” he says.

On the 1000X podcast (Spotify/Apple), the head of digital asset trading at GoldenTree jokingly warns his audience: “If you sell my shares, I will see it and I’ll be upset about it and I will — I don’t think I can threaten people on this podcast — but I will be very upset with you.”

Cumberland’s global head of trading and podcast co-host Jonah Van Bourg is intrigued by the new app. “Let’s say that I am a novice, aspiring day trader,” he says. “I read crypto Twitter, I follow a few influencers. I could theoretically buy those influencers’ shares on Friend.tech and get invited into private conversations with those influencers.”

“I theoretically might be able to learn something about the market that could help me do a better job profiting from it trading,” he suggests.

Financialization of people is inevitable

Felman agrees on the app’s potential utility, adding that the financialization of people is inevitable, given the blockchain technology that currently exists. But Van Bourg questions why the app needs to involve crypto at all.

“It’s just the easiest way to transfer value on the internet,” replies Felman. “If you’re going to have value transfer on the internet, crypto’s the best way to do it.”

Felman says the app follows a tried and true formula — the assignment of monetary value to access. Whether it’s getting a table at a nightclub or sitting down for a lunch with Warren Buffett, access costs money, Felman argues. “I view this as a natural extension of that.”

The tech allows celebrities to engage more directly with fans, Felman says. “People are willing to pay for access to people that they idolize,” he says. He also likes the betting element of the app. 

“You can resell that access,” he says. “Potentially, if you get access to somebody early on, you can make a lot of money by betting that this person is gonna be huge.” 

Felman imagines betting on someone’s future success using the app. “I don’t know exactly how they’re going to be successful, but I know that this person is going to be successful — and I want a piece of that.”

A refreshing change from memecoins

Van Bourg mentions the success of the app in its early stages, noting it is currently the third-largest revenue generator in the Ethereum network, following only the mainnet itself and ether (ETH) staking service, Lido. He says the “proof in the pudding” is the fact that people are spending “real ETH” on the app.

Read more: Decentralized social media app Friend.tech is surging

“Imagine instead of buying a concert ticket,” Felman says. “They just spin up an account for the concert and the first thousand people to buy shares are the only people that go to that concert.”

“There are so many random things that you can do with this, which is why I actually think that there’s a lot of money to be made here.”

Van Bourg notes that a few previous iterations of similar concepts have been created in crypto, only to have quickly fizzled out. “But that doesn’t mean that the technology itself isn’t perfectly conducive to this use case,” he says.

“It’s just refreshing to talk about something other than Pepe or Barack Obama Sonic Harry Potter coin. I’m just sick of that stuff.”


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