Crypto’s newest decentralized social media (DeSo) app, Friend.tech, has been met with intense criticism over a decision to punish users who opt to use forks or copycat versions of its tokenized social media platform.
“To make sure loyal users are rewarded fairly during our beta, users moving to forks and copies will automatically opt out of earning Points and forfeit existing points,” wrote the official friend.tech X account in an Aug. 28 tweet.
We expect @friendtech clones and other types of copies will emerge.
To make sure loyal users are rewarded fairly during our beta, users moving to forks and copies will automatically opt out of earning Points and forfeit existing points. They will be able to use the app normally pic.twitter.com/C1rTEQQr17
— friend.tech (@friendtech) August 28, 2023
While Friend.tech did not make mention to any specific competitors, and number of X users in the reply pointed to a new DeSo or “SocialFi” application called Shares that is scheduled to go live to public beta on Aug. 31.
Shares #roadmap for the following week.
We’ll be sharing daily dev logs on Medium about updates. We started building the $SHARES platform’s backend a couple of weeks ago, and started with our frontend this weekend – so far, it’s been a huge progress! pic.twitter.com/oLEYMlhIcF
— shares.finance (@SharesFinance) August 21, 2023
Friend.tech has been airdropping “reward points” to its beta testers every week, which will total a distribution of 100 million points over six months.
The team has not yet shared what the points will be ultimately used for, only mentioning on Aug. 15 it “will have a special purpose when the app enters official release status.”
We just did our first Friday Points Airdrop to 44k users.
Some reminders:- 100M points will be distributed during the six month beta period- Airdrops happen on Fridays- Points are recorded off-chain- Points will have a special purpose once the beta period ends
— friend.tech (@friendtech) August 18, 2023
Some expect it to translate to tokens to friend.tech governance, while others believe it could have some financial significance for users. Others believe that due to the seed round investment from Paradigm, there will likely be a friend.tech native token airdrop in the future.
Friend.tech’s announcement did not go down well with members of the crypto community.
Within the first hour of the announcement being posted, it attracted hundreds of negative comments and reposts that derided the app for its anti-competitive move.
“Threatening / penalizing users for trialing other platforms is completely against everything this industry stands for,” wrote pseudonymous trader CryptoKaleo in response to the announcement.
“This is a prime example of how not to handle competition in Web3 lol — excited to read the apology in a few hours,” said another.
Following the intense backlash, friend.techs’ pseudonymous founder “Racer” walked back the earlier decision in an apology statement issued from the social media apps official X account on Aug. 29.
Racer backtracked on the move, saying that it was a “stupid statement” that was made out of fear of potential competition for friend.tech app.
— friend.tech (@friendtech) August 29, 2023
Related: Friend.tech denies report that database of over 100K users was leaked
The announcement comes less than three weeks after its public launch of Aug. 11. Meanwhile, Friend.tech has seen a drop in key metrics such as activity, inflows and volume over the past few days.
At the time of publication transactions on Friend.tech have declined more than 90% from its peak of nearly 525,000 transactions on Aug. 21, with less than 50,000 cumulative transactions on Aug. 28, according to data from Dune Analytics.
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Update (4:05am, Aug. 29): This article has been updated to include the apology statement from Racer.