Launched in August and based on a controversial concept, the decentralised social media network Friend.tech keeps powering on, having amassed a total value locked (TVL) of $33 million. Aimed at social media influencers, the platform keeps attracting high-rolling crypto traders, NBA stars, OnlyFans “publishers”, YouTube personalities, and more.
We covered the platform and its basic concept last month, soon after its launch. A lot of things have changed since then, with Friend.tech truly becoming a major force in the crypto-based social media sphere. Let’s have a closer look at how the platform is doing and which influencers are creating all the buzz on it.
Quick Recap of Friend.tech
Friend.tech is a decentralised app that allows users to create tokenised “shares” of their account/profile and then sell these shares to their “friends” – essentially, to their social media followers or anyone willing to invest in the shares of this user. The platform’s concept directly targets social media influencers. Holding a significant amount of an influencer’s shares allows a user to interact directly with the said influencer.
Friend.tech was launched on 10 August on the Ethereum-linked Base Layer 2 platform. Base itself is owned and supported by the world’s second largest crypto exchange, Coinbase. Base’s own mainnet operations opened up to the public in early August. While Base has added dozens of decentralised apps (DApps) since its launch, Friend.tech is the protocol’s largest and fastest-growing app by a wide margin.
The top 5 decentralised apps on Base by total value locked (TVL) as of 17 September
Image source: DAppRadar.com
Friend.tech doesn’t use a token of its own, and all the payments and transactions on the platform are carried out using Ethers (ETH). Friend.tech is currently available as a mobile app.
Friend.tech’s Spectacular Performance
Friend.tech’s key concept attracted controversy and fierce criticism from the start. Many people baulked at the idea of buying and selling shares of your friends and paying for access to your preferred influencers. Many social media influencers have attracted a lot of notoriety by posting controversial, shocking, trashy, or even deceptive content. The phenomenon of influencer idolisation has been blasted by all and sundry in the online world.
Taking the whole influencer idolisation concept further, Friend.tech essentially makes followers engage in bidding wars for the right to communicate with their online idols. What could be more controversial?
Despite the ferocious criticism, Friend.tech seems to be doing great in its early weeks on the market. The online culture of obsession with influencers is driving the platform’s popularity surge.
After starting out on 10 August, Friend.tech steadily increased its TVL to about $7.2 million by 22 August, a great achievement for a new DApp by all standards. However, over the following two weeks, the platform’s TVL first dipped slightly and then moved largely sideways. Many observers were quick to spot the flatline, and the headlines declaring Friend.tech’s failure quickly emerged in late August – early September.
Yet, this proved to be a temporary sideways period. All Friend.tech required was more influencers joining in and driving the activity. This has started to materialise since early September and has now been going on for a couple of weeks.
On the 2nd of September, Friend.tech’s TVL stood at $5.3 million. Over the following 15 days, the figure has been growing rapidly, reaching $33.3 million as of 17 September – a spectacular 528% growth in just half a month.
Friend.tech’s TVL from its inception on 10 August to 17 September
Image source: DeFiLlama.com
Top Influencers on Friend.tech
Friend.tech’s concept is highly dependent on influencers driving the activity on the platform. Soon after the app’s launch, an avalanche of news about celebrities and influencers from all walks of life joining the platform started to emerge. Sport stars, OnlyFans models, YouTube influencers, financial and crypto pundits, and more have been reported as new additions to the platform in recent weeks.
The media concentrated on select segments of influencers joining in, with a particular focus on NBA stars and smouldering OnlyFans models – these guarantee to attract attention. However, it turns out that the top influencers by earnings on the platform aren’t from the domain of sport or smut.
The top earning influencers’ list on the platform is dominated by crypto influencers. None of them are widely known beyond their own niches. In other words, the platform’s most popular influencers are far from being big-name celebrities. However, this may change if the popularity of Friend.tech continues to surge, it might just be a matter of time before the likes of Andrew Tate and Taylor Swift sign up.
As of today, here are the top 5 earning influencers on Friend.tech:
1. Racer (X username: 0xRacerAlt). Earnings as of 17 September: $314k
Racer is the pseudonymous founder of Friend.tech. A secretive individual, Racer’s X account is protected from public viewing – only approved followers are allowed in. He/she doesn’t have a particularly large following on X either, with only about 15k followers. Racer is known as a software developer and a crypto enthusiast, of course. Racer is also known for his/her earlier contribution to a couple of small-scale, and largely abandoned by now, crypto projects – TweetDAO and Stealcam.
2. Cobie (X username: cobie). Earnings as of 17 September: $234k
The most popular influencer on Friend.tech besides the platform’s secretive founder, Cobie is a British crypto trader with more than 700k followers. Cobie’s real name is Jordan Fish. Fish is very active on X, giving out crypto advice and reporting on big industry developments. Perhaps due to his high activity levels, a lot of the users on Friend.tech would like to “purchase friendship” with this influencer.
3. Hsaka (X username: HsakaTrades). Earnings as of 17 September: $221k
Another popular crypto influencer, Hsaka occupies the 3rd position on Friend.tech’s biggest earners list. Hsaka sports an X following of more than 450k and also doles out crypto trading advice prolifically. His style involves using a lot of humour, perhaps sometimes too much humour to a serious trader’s liking, in his tweets. You will need to painstakingly comb through Hsaka’s X profile to find valuable advice in the sea of light-hearted content and meme posts.
4. FaZe Banks (X username: Banks; YouTube Channel username: BanksHasBank) Earnings as of 17 September: $118k
The only individual outside of the crypto domain and an influencer with by far the largest following on social media in the top 5 list, FaZe Banks is a famous YouTube personality. FaZe Banks, whose real name is Richard Bengston, is a 31-year-old YouTuber who posts video content about a wild variety of topics, from esports to his personal relationships and everything in between.
His YouTube channel has over 5 million followers. While X isn’t his primary social media platform (YouTube is), he also boasts a 2.7 million-strong following there. In terms of the follower count, FaZe Banks stands head and shoulders above all the other top earners on Friend.tech. If big fish like FaZe Banks have signed up, it’s only a matter of time before other influencers with multi-million-follower armies turn up at the door.
5. Ansem (X username: blknoiz06). Earnings as of 17 September: $109k
Ansem is another crypto influencer highly popular on Friend.tech. He has 123k followers on his personal X account and 45k followers on his trade journal account @conzimp. Similar to Hsaka, Ansem peppers his crypto trading advice with a good dose of humour and meme content. Most of his tweets are short, often cryptic in nature, and have ample non-normative vocabulary. If you are easily offended by cuss words, Ansem’s X profile is likely not the best place for you.
It should be noted that the top Friend.tech influencers above aren’t probably your stereotypical crypto analyst. Their profiles are mostly a potpourri of crypto trading advice (sometimes given out with close to zero attention to accuracy or analysis), memes, funny videos, crypto-themed satire, and announcements aimed at generating shock and hype.
The more serious crypto trading influencers might find their way to the platform in the future, but it’s highly likely that Friend.tech will remain an environment for those seeking fun and hype rather than serious market analysis. Beyond the crypto niche, the arrival of the likes of Faze Banks shows that Friend.tech is already gaining traction among the more “influential influencers”. The recent rapid growth of the platform looks to be just the beginning of a big journey!