Farcaster, the Web3 social network, just raised $150M with a $1B valuation on the back of (checks notes) 80k active users.

Like most things blockchain, Farcaster seems to me to be a comical Rube Goldberg. Ethereum is too slow and transactions too expensive to support a Twitter-like social network, so Farcaster uses it primarily for identity. An amusing consequence is that users must pay to create Farcaster accounts. The network itself is built from a series of blockchain-decoupled “hubs” and a protocol to send data between them; as of this writing, users are effectively charged for their use, too.

Farcaster’s design is motivated by co-founder Varun Srinivasan’s older post on “sufficient” decentralization for social networks. For my part, I find Varun’s ideas intriguing but flawed. Much of Farcaster’s goofy complexity seems to flow from the idea that a social network’s name registry must be decentralized and that boring old domain names are, for some reason, an unacceptable place to start.

In any case, Srinivasan and co-founder Dan Romero must be telling one hell of a compelling story to reach a $1B valuation; more power to them! It’s just hard for me to see what can possibly be so compelling in the face of vastly more successful — and sensibly blockchain-free — decentralized approaches like ActivityPub, ATProto, and even Nostr.