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Onchain Alpha

Building Consumer Crypto Products on Permissionless Social Protocols

Onchain Alpha Episode 4

TL/DR with Key Insights:

In this conversation, Humpty and Rish discuss Neynar, an infrastructure provider for developers on Farcaster. They explore the concept of hubs as a service and compare it to Mastodon Federated Networks. Rish shares his bullishness on Farcaster and highlights the impact of his experience at Coinbase on his work at Neynar. They discuss the challenges of building on Web2 APIs and the value proposition of Neynar's infrastructure. They also delve into the revolutionizing effect of Frames on Farcaster and the future possibilities of Frame Studio. The conversation concludes with Rish emphasizing the importance of the work happening behind the scenes at Neynar. The conversation covers topics such as building and scaling infrastructure, using Frame Studio for the loyalty protocol, expanding Frame Studio services, collaboration and support in the Farcaster ecosystem, and ETH Denver and future opportunities.


  • Neynar provides infrastructure services for developers on Farcaster, including hubs as a service.

  • Hubs are similar to nodes in the Farcaster network and allow developers to access decentralized data.

  • Neynar offers a more cost-effective and convenient solution for running hubs compared to setting up and maintaining them independently.

  • Frames have revolutionized Farcaster by enabling the creation of interactive and customizable social experiences.

  • The future of Frame Studio holds the potential for hybrid no-code and code capabilities, allowing for more complex and innovative frames. Building and scaling infrastructure is crucial for supporting a network and ensuring its stability.

  • Frame Studio can be used for loyalty protocols and retroactive rewards.

  • Neynar is working on expanding its services and providing more features for frame builders.

  • Collaboration and support within the Farcaster ecosystem are key aspects of Web3 development.


In the world of cryptocurrency and decentralized technologies, mixing social rules with blockchain is a big deal. In a recent Onchain Alpha episode titled "Onchain Alpha," Rish from Neynar talks about making consumer crypto products on permissionless social protocols, with a particular focus on the decentralized social protocol, Farcaster.

Rish talks about how working at Coinbase inspired them and others to make new tools and protocols in the crypto world. They praise leaders like Brian Armstrong for being smart and calm when markets change, highlighting the influence of Coinbase's culture on their approach to building a successful company. Rish shares their experience transitioning from an app developer to an infrastructure builder. Noting the benefits of working on a permissionless and decentralized protocol like Farcaster, where you don't need special permission, is cool because you're not stuck relying on other companies' rules.

Mint on Zora:

Neynar: Helping Developers and Farcasters

At the center of our talk is Neynar, a company that supports developers and users of Farcaster. Rish talks about how Neynar has grown from just running hubs to offering a bunch of services like APIs, signer management, and databases. Neynar even has tools like Frame Studio, which lets people build things without needing to know code. Rish says that hubs are super important in the Farcaster world because they let people access data without relying on big companies. This way, anyone can be part of Farcaster, making it more open and fair.

Neynar started by running hubs as a service and now provides read-and-write APIs, signer management, hosted SQL databases, and nodes. Neynar also offers consumer-side tools like Frame Studio for building frames with no code. Rish highlights the importance of hubs in the forecaster ecosystem, comparing them to nodes and emphasizing the decentralized nature of hubs, which allows application builders to independently access network data without relying on centralized providers. This permissionless system has gained traction with hundreds of hubs operating globally, offering a decentralized alternative to centralized infrastructure providers like AWS in Web 2 applications.

Why Hubs Matter in Farcaster

Rish explains why hubs are so crucial in Farcaster. They make sure the network stays stable and lets developers get data easily. Rish talks about how using hubs from Neynar can be better than running your own, mainly because Neynar takes care of all the tricky stuff. They also talk about how Farcaster hubs are different from other networks, like Mastodon, pointing out key differences such as the consistency of data across hubs in Farcaster and why that's important for Farcaster's growth.

They emphasize the importance of hub operators in ensuring network stability but also mention that users can abstract away these maintenance tasks by using their service. The conversation delves into the excitement surrounding Farcaster's potential for scalability and decentralization, with Humpty expressing bullishness on the project based on their experiences at Coinbase and involvement in the decentralized social space.

Exploring the Farcaster Protocol: From Users to Builders

Humpty and Rish discuss their experience with the decentralized social protocol, Farcaster, which they began using as active users before building products on it. They share their journey of transitioning from active users to builders on the Farcaster protocol, highlighting its user-friendly approach as a catalyst for mainstream adoption. The discussion revolves around Farcaster's unique ability to introduce individuals to crypto applications seamlessly, setting the stage for a paradigm shift in social experiences.

Rish talks about why it's smart to build on platforms like Farcaster. He says it's better than using traditional Web 2.0 systems because those can change their rules at any time. By using Farcaster, developers can get data easily and build without worrying about rules changing. By using Hubs on Forecaster, developers can access data at a standard price and have the freedom to build without being tied to a single provider.

They highlight the flexibility and independence that come with using open infrastructure like Forecaster, allowing anyone to run their own Hub or choose a different provider if needed. This approach not only provides cost-effective access to data but also opens up new opportunities for developers and users in the web3 space.

Humpty and Rish discuss various innovative creations within the Neynar ecosystem, such as frames with storytelling narratives, games embedded in frames, and applications like Supercast and Zora Bot. They highlight the value of client diversity and the potential for meaningful user experience improvements through small mini-services.

They also discuss the emergence of NFT subscriptions on-chain, like hypers subs by nonlinear fabric, offering different experiences and rewards for holding NFT subscriptions. Rish acknowledges the positive developments in NFT experiences on-chain compared to previous waves, emphasizing the broadcasting effect of NFT subscriptions to friends and social networks.

The Evolution of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) as IP/Provenance Mechanisms

The evolution of NFTs from simple digital assets to sophisticated data types serves as a focal point of discussion. Rish discusses the evolution of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) from simple digital assets to more complex data types, acting as an IP/Provence mechanism. He mentions how NFTs are being used on the Zora Network for gating access to certain content based on social data and active badges

Humpty also shares his excitement about the potential of social graphs in Web3 social applications, which can provide more nuance to social data and facilitate peer-to-peer interactions. Regarding frames on Forecaster, Rish explains that it has revolutionized the platform by enabling the embedding of activities with no code required. Users can mint frames with NFTs, and Rish expects to see more social interactions and permissions based on NFTs and social graphs in the future.

Embracing Open, Permissionless Formats for Building Frames

The concept of open, permissionless formats for building frames emerges as a cornerstone of innovation. Rish introduces the notion of a signed web, facilitating the distinction between genuine users and bots while fostering a spam-resistant environment. They highlight the potential for groundbreaking developments in frame-building experiences.

Rish introduces the idea of an open, permissionless format that allows developers to create frames that interact with frames without depending on specific organizations. They discuss the concept of signed web, where every interaction on a frame generates a signature that can be validated against hubs to distinguish between genuine users and bots, enabling the separation of valuable data from spam. 

The discussion also touches upon the surge in frame activity and the subsequent need for infrastructure improvements to handle the increased traffic volume. Additionally, Rish mentions the introduction of a front-end studio to simplify the process of building frames for non-developers, hinting at future developments to enhance the frame-building experience for creators and developers alike.

Looking Ahead: Future Developments and Infrastructure Challenges

Rish discusses their excitement for potential future experiments on Frame Studio, highlighting a hybrid approach between no code and fully code capabilities. They express interest in enabling the passing of data between frames and incorporating arbitrary computations, allowing for frames of arbitrary complexity to be created. He anticipates this development in a shorter timeframe than six months and recognizes the challenges behind maintaining infrastructure as Neynar continues to grow and scale.

Rish discusses the importance of infrastructure and devops work in building consumer crypto products on permissionless social protocols. He shares that this work is not glamorous but essential for supporting hundreds of developers and companies. Neynar is using it to source social data from Farcaster and create frames in Frame Studio to reward users based on their past interactions. He is also experimenting with remunerating people using fungible tokens. Neynar is an infrastructure provider that serves traffic for several frame builders, including Glass and Framebuilder by Coinbase. 

Stay Connected: Final Thoughts and Resources

As we wrap up our discussion, it's clear that collaboration and innovation are key themes. We've been exploring how to create consumer crypto products on social protocols without needing permission. This journey with Onchain Alpha leaves us excited for what's next in decentralized technologies.

Imagine a world where cryptocurrency and social protocols work together, bringing new ideas and making things more accessible. Rish talked about how working with Coinbase's culture inspired him, moving from making apps to building infrastructure like Farcaster, a decentralized protocol.

Neynar plays a big role here as an infrastructure provider. They're committed to decentralization, giving power to developers and forecasters. With their hubs, APIs, and tools like Frame Studio, Neynar is leading the way to a future where crypto is easier to use and more decentralized.

The way NFTs are changing and how we build frames is really exciting. It's like a whole new way of experiencing things online. Social graphs and interactive frames might change how we interact on the web.

Looking forward, we know there are challenges ahead, especially in keeping our infrastructure strong. Neynar has to keep growing and innovating to meet these challenges.

We want you to join us in this journey with Onchain Alpha. There are so many resources and opportunities waiting for us. Together, we'll keep pushing towards Onchain Alpha, where new ideas, empowerment, and decentralization shape the future of crypto products on social protocols without barriers.


 Neynar Socials: neynarxyz | Warpcast

Rish's Socials: rish_neynar | Warpcast

Crypto Sapiens: Website | X[fka Twitter] | Warpcast

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