The decentralized finance (DeFi) world moves fast. Projects can go from zero to hero and back again within days, as speculative crypto traders pile in seeking quick gains. The latest case is friend.tech, a new platform allowing users to trade tokens linked to influencers and creators. After a meteoric rise to prominence, friend.tech is already fading as bots, high fees, and lack of utility weigh it down.
Friend.tech launched on August 10, letting users buy and sell tokens tied to their favorite online personalities. Influencers range from crypto traders like Cobie and Hsaka to traditional celebrities like basketball player Grayson Allen. Holding a creator's tokens unlocks exclusive chat groups and content.
The premise capitalized on influencer culture and crypto speculation. However, problems emerged almost immediately. Despite skyrocketing fees earned by creators and friend.tech itself, issues like high trading costs, scalability challenges, and price manipulation soured users. After peaking on August 23 with nearly $1.7 million in daily fees, earnings plunged nearly 70% by August 26. New user growth dropped from over 20,000 to under 5,000 per day in the same period.
Two weeks in, friend.tech already resembles past crypto fads that rose on hype alone. Sustainability requires more than speculation. Friend.tech must foster genuine community and utility to survive. If not, it will join the graveyard of short-lived crypto trends once the next shiny object appears.
Rampant Bots Distort friend.tech Economics
A big driver of friend.tech's surge and decline is bot activity. Automated bots flood new platforms like friend.tech, snapping up discounted assets to sell later at a profit.
This is what occurred on friend.tech. Bots bought up influencer tokens before creators could even mint their own. Then bots dumped them on the open market at inflated prices. This front-running extracted value and discouraged real users.
Creators were forced to buy their own tokens at higher prices. Investors paid large premiums relative to intrinsic value. The bots pocketed the difference. This distorted the economic incentives friend.tech intended.
Ultimately bots make money, but provide no real activity. Their absence after the frenzy reveals friend.tech's lack of fundamental utility. For it to work, human users must create real communities, not just chase speculative gains.
Speculation Fuels Rapid Rise and Fall
Crypto has always been speculative. Friend.tech shows both the power and danger of unchecked speculation. With no barrier to entry, traders piled in seeking exponential returns. Activity and fees skyrocketed as speculative mania took over.
But absent real utility, speculation can only take a project so far. Once profits peak, speculators rush for the exits. Volumes and prices crash.
Friend.tech's decline shows that speculation alone is unsustainable. Lasting value comes from users deriving genuine benefits beyond price gains. So far, friend.tech fails to deliver this. Until it does, speculative waves will drive temporary spikes and crashes without building lasting adoption.
Lack of Novel Utility Dooms friend.tech
Friend.tech's premise is not new. Paying for exclusive social media content and access to celebrities is a proven model. However, friend.tech adds no fundamentally new utility beyond speculative token trading.
Previous crypto social media efforts shared similar flaws. They layered tokens on existing models without improving core utility. Users bought in seeking profits, but found little added value from the crypto layer alone.
Friend.tech's fate may resemble these projects unless it can foster organic communities who find real utility in its specific approach. Unique features like chatrooms are a starting point, but insufficient to drive retention on their own. More must be done to make friend.tech's value proposition truly novel.
Otherwise, it will end up yet another superficial attempt to cash in on crypto hype without a lasting purpose. Sustainable adoption requires a compelling raison d'être beyond speculation. Friend.tech has not yet discovered this. Until it does, it will struggle to escape the doomed trajectory of other faddish crypto projects before it.
The Verdict on friend.tech: Caution Warranted
Friend.tech shows potential, but has hallmarks of past failed crypto projects. Rampant speculation, lack of utility, and incentives favouring short-term gains over real community building are red flags.
Still, it would be premature to write off friend.tech entirely. The concept has promise if executed properly. But for now, caution is warranted. Users should be skeptical of hype and assess real-world value beyond token prices.
The crypto industry remains speculative. But projects focused solely on speculation without purpose will never progress beyond fads. Friend.tech has a chance to break the mould, but it will require determined development of its unique value and benefits to users. For now the jury is still out.
Can Friend.tech Build Real Communities?
Friend.tech cannot survive as just another crypto speculation game. To evolve beyond a fad, it needs to foster genuine user communities.
Tokens and speculation do not inherently build community. Providing true user value beyond price gains is what drives engagement and retention. Features like exclusive content and chatrooms are starting points.
But friend.tech needs to expand the benefits of its model. Unique social experiences, governance rights, and real influence over creators' activities could help. Still more could be done to improve economic incentives and equity beyond bots frontrunning activity.
If friend.tech can build out its community features, it can potentially evolve into a lasting platform. Otherwise it will remain a vessel for transient speculation without real relationships behind its transactions.
What Is the Future of Crypto Social Media?
Crypto social media is still finding its footing. Early attempts added token speculation but little else of value. The long-term sustainability of these models remains unproven.
Yet crypto's transparency and participation incentives do offer advantages for social media done right. Users can own their communities and be rewarded for providing value. But projects must balance speculation with utility.
Friend.tech and others like it are a starting point, but far from the end goal. The winning formula likely involves decentralization and community ownership while limiting speculation. If crypto social media can empower users rather than extract value from them, it may finally deliver on its promise. For now that future remains uncertain, but friend.tech's stumbles are an important lesson on the work still to be done.
In conclusion, friend.tech shows both the hype and danger of unchecked speculation in crypto. For the project to survive long-term, it needs to identify and provide unique benefits beyond superficial speculation. Building out genuine user communities and utility will require determination and ingenuity from its developers. If they succeed, friend.tech could be a model for the future. If not, it will join the ignoble history of crypto fads gone bust. But for investors and users, caution is still warranted until friend.tech can prove itself as more than a passing trend.