Crypto’s Latest Craze Friend.tech Is Overrun by Bots, ‘Speculative Games’
A hot new social-media project that enlivened an otherwise dull summer for digital-asset traders is already beginning to fizzle out, after reaching a peak that at one point made it the highest-earning service provider in decentralized finance.
It’s called friend.tech, a blockchain-based platform that allows users to buy and sell digital tokens linked to their favorite influencers on X (formerly Twitter), which act as a gateway to communicate with other backers in dedicated group chats. Early creators on the platform include crypto personalities like Cobie and HsakaTrades, as well as Milwaukee Bucks basketball player Grayson Allen and Y Combinator CEO Garry Tan.
Less than two weeks after its Aug. 10 debut, fees on friend.tech — where 10% of every token purchase or sale gets split between the influencer and the platform — rose to a high of almost $1.7 million, according to data from DeFiLlama. That height, reached on Tuesday, made friend.tech the highest-earning platform after the Ethereum blockchain itself at one point, with the app generating around $7.5 million in fees since its launch as of Friday, per a Dune Analytics dashboard tracked by crypto asset manager 21.co.
But as quickly as its rise began, the hype soon diminished. Fees began to droop, and were nearly 70% lower by Friday compared to Tuesday’s peak. The number of new users joining the platform daily also tanked, falling from 20,360 new accounts on Monday to just 4,484 on Friday — a decrease of almost 80%. The precise cause of friend.tech’s fading star is not yet known, though a report from crypto research firm Messari noted user gripes regarding “high trading fees, slow load times and a steep pricing curve” which determines how tokens on friend.tech are valued.
The premise of friend.tech relies on the outsize role that personalities on platforms like X play in the success or failure of new crypto startups, making them an appealing target for monetization. Social media is also a hotly contested area of development in crypto, with the likes of Aave’s Lens Protocol and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey’s BlueSky among those to have launched in the last year.