Crypto’s newest decentralized social media (DeSo) app, friend.tech, has found itself in hot water recently due to its decision to punish users who opt for forks or copycat versions of its tokenized social media platform. In an Aug. 28 tweet, the official friend.tech X account stated, “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”. Although no specific competitors were mentioned, some users pointed to a new DeSo application called Shares, which is scheduled to go live to the public beta on Aug. 31.
Friend.tech has been airdropping “reward points” to its beta testers on a weekly basis, with a total distribution of 100 million points over 6 months. While the team has not disclosed the ultimate purpose of these points, they hinted on Aug. 15 that it “will have a special purpose when the app enters official release status”. Speculations have arisen suggesting that the points could be translated into friend.tech governance tokens or hold some financial significance for users. Moreover, some anticipate an airdrop of a friend.tech native token in the future, thanks to the seed round investment from Paradigm.
As news of friend.tech’s decision spread, members of the crypto community expressed strong dissatisfaction. Within the first hour of the announcement, the comments section was flooded with hundreds of negative responses and reposts, criticizing the app for its anti-competitive approach. Pseudonymous trader CryptoKaleo wrote, “Threatening/penalizing users for trialing other platforms is completely against everything this industry stands for”. Another individual remarked, “This is a prime example of how not to handle competition in Web3 lol — excited to read the apology in a few hours”.
The controversial announcement comes less than three weeks after friend.tech’s public launch on Aug. 11. However, it appears that the backlash has taken a toll on the platform, as key metrics such as activity, inflows, and volume have experienced a decline in the past few days. According to data from Dune Analytics, transactions on friend.tech have decreased by over 90% from its peak of nearly 525,000 transactions on Aug. 21, with less than 50,000 cumulative transactions on Aug.28.
Friend.tech’s decision to penalize users who opt for forks or copycat versions of its platform has sparked significant controversy within the crypto community. The move has been heavily criticized for being anti-competitive and contradictory to the principles of the industry. As a result, the platform has witnessed a decline in key metrics, pointing to a potential fallout from this controversial decision. Time will tell whether friend.tech will backtrack on its stance and address the concerns raised by its user base.