Introduction to OpenSocial Protocol

Key highlights

  • SocialFi is the overlooked category that has a high potential to surpass GameFi and become the largest consumer use case for mass adoption in Web3.

  • Our design thinking is unique and unlike any other - first of all, we believe social is a layer and not media. We don’t shy away from what is emotionally captivating at the same time financially rewarding social experiences enabled by blockchain. We incorporate fun and degen mechanics, fused with true ownership and multiple layers of incentives.

  • We adopted modular design for SocialFi to support creators to create codelessly. Capable to deploy across different virtual machines (e.g. EVM and SVM) as a horizontal enablement layer, OpenSocial is building the future multi-chain social economy. Supported by ready to launch flagship dApps (SoMon and Zeek) with a strong pipeline of dApps and working closely with developer community to build a thriving and flourishing OpenSocial ecosystem.

  • Built by Everest Ventures Group, a leading venture building group in Asia, with a strong publishing record and wide distribution network in Asian / emerging markets, a team with extensive experience in building consumer products in Web2 and Web3. Former lead advisor / key contributor to consumer unicorns like Animoca Brands, Dapper Labs and The Sandbox.

Why SocialFi?

  • Social will be the 2nd largest consumer use case after GameFi this cycle and has the potential to surpass GameFi as the biggest driver for Web3 adoption ultimately. This development is highly aligned with the evolution of internet's use cases. Social wasn’t a core use case in the first 6 years of consumer internet (1997 to 2003 was dominated by marketplaces like eBay and Amazon, portals like MSN and Yahoo and the first wave of Games). All the social giants today like Facebook, YouTube, Linkedin, Twitter were all born in the 2nd phase post bubble (2004 to 2010) due to lower costs and growing adoption. This pattern is similar in Web 3. Many SocialFi projects couldn't achieve their full potential due to the readiness of technology and users. However, it is now well positioned to take off following GameFi as another major use case.

  • But unlike GameFi, there isn't a clear market leader / behemoth in the entire SocialFi category yet. Only a few players managed to survive the bear market, e.g. Farcaster (220k users), Cyberconnect (129k users), Lens (240k users). In Q2 2023, we decided to make SocialFi the core focus of EVG and started contemplating dApps. We soon realised that most of the generic solutions out there didn't meet our requirements and we would have to build the infrastructure just like Amazon's AWS and ByteDance's Volcano Engine. We stacked some of our best people into architecting OpenSocial Protocol to offer the best data, tooling and financial layer with a couple internal teams building dApps on top as its design partners. Our vision is to ultimately enable the largest multi-chain social economy.

Core design thinking

  • There are some fundamental differences in thinking we observed after deep diving into other Web3 social related infrastructures.

  • First, we think “social is a layer and not media”. In the West, social networks are mostly a media business. In Asia, we are a mobile first region. Our day to day lives are driven by all kinds of social apps - it is embedded into our habits and mindset. What we learned from Asia is that social is a lot more powerful when it's an enabling layer weaved into other use cases (e.g commerce, fintech, gaming, utilities). WeChat is a fantastic example of that.

  • Second, we ain’t interested in building an inferior version of Twitter and wrap them with a token. These broadcasting based products are so hard to create that even Facebook who has 2 billion plus users failed in building Thread. The entire Web3 population combined isn't sufficient in creating a Twitter alternative. Our learnings is that it's easier to create a strong flywheel by building for a specific vertical or interests as you don't need billions of users to be a meaningful community (e.g. Weverse for Kpop, Hypebeast for streetwear, 9gag for memes, Huxiu for sports, Douban for movies, Bilibili for anime, Snowball for investment, Vivino for wines).

  • Third, many SocialFi projects tried hiding their financial nature in the past and that’s often wrong. “Censorship resistance, privacy, data sharing, fully on-chain contents” are buzzwords most projects put forward, but they don’t motivate and sustain adoptions. Offering a emotionally captivating and financially rewarding social experience however is more interesting. There is nothing wrong getting a front-and-center dopamine hit both emotionally and financially. Users come to Web3 for something different, not marginally better.

  • Fourth, to be the best consumer infrastructure isn’t about building the most powerful machine (not a tech problem). It’s about being the most useful machine. We opted to build a lego-like, modular design enabling dApp developers / creators to assemble experience quickly and economically. Wix and Canva are great examples. Their coddles design ain’t the most powerful but certainly better for enabling adoption. If you look at mega social players from the East such as ByteDance, they also tear down the building blocks into legos (i.e all the way down to the algorithm that ranks videos) and assemble them in various forms to test the market. That is why we create tooling layers so that our ecosystem companies, partners and external developers can spin up social dApps without having to reinvent the wheel.

  • Fifth, launching as an AppChain / L2 / L3 on our own may be a better capital market narrative, but being a horizontal enablement layer allows us to partner with multiple chains and garner much bigger users and developer base (i.e the example of Kakao vertically dominating Korea versus Facebook having users across countries). Being an Altlayer or EigenLayer for SocialFi is better aligned with our vision than being a chain on our own. Our vision is ultimately for a SocialFi dApp to publish on multiple chains with very little marginal costs and all supported by OpenSocial.

  • Lastly, first mover advantage is often overrated in consumer infrastructure. MySpace and ICQ are great examples. Getting it right is more important. We have a clear roadmap guided by first principle thinking and is backed by the entire EVG ecosystem (2m+ users across products, 200+ in-house R&D, 200+ investments into projects and funds, 200m+ principal assets, 200m+ AUM). The advantages of being in APAC is also massive - the learnings and talents from social super-apps, the lower CAC of acquiring users, the more economical and scalable development team.

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