Dan Romero


I’ve mentioned before that the original question we set out to answer when building Farcaster was how could you make RSS competitive with a public broadcast social network like Twitter. The initial name for the protocol was RSS+. Below is the original spec for the idea. People may find it helpful to see what questions we asked and tried to answer when starting out.

What is RSS+?

An enhancement to RSS which gives it a social graph and associated social actions. It’s a way to back into building a Twitter competitor. Solves for the ghost town problem by leveraging existing blogs that already have RSS feeds. Long-term, the graph likely lives on a blockchain to allow developers permissionless access to build a rich ecosystem of different clients, directories, block explorers and custom recommendation algorithms.


What constitutes the Twitter product bundle?

MVP decentralized Twitter (with crypto?)

Potential starting points

The bootstrapping problem here is a classic marketplace: supply (people who publish) and demand (people who read). In almost all cases (and especially early), people will be both. But long-term, the ecosystem will end up in a 90/9/1 distribution.

Usually, I would advise an entrepreneur to focus on high-quality supply—which tends to generate its own demand. In the case of RSS+, this would be about getting high-quality writers/thinkers (who are also friendlys and/or investors) to start using the protocol. However, there’s potentially a compelling argument to be made to build a prototype reference client that mimics the ideal end state by adding functionality to existing RSS feeds (the iMessage approach).



Potential experiments


Post a “tweet” to the Ethereum and read other tweets like it

Web app that allows you to type in some amount of text in a text box, pay the gas costs, and send a “ethtweet” in a transaction data field. There’s a second tab (“Global”) that shows all previous “ethtweets”.


A Techmeme-like homepage for blogs that embed an Ethereum address

Website that shows you an index all blogs that have an .ens address in the tag of their .index.html. You can submit the blog to the directory and once indexed it displays all RSS posts in chronological order. (If spamming starts, and you wanted to keep iterating, require each new post to have an associated ETH transaction.)


“Like” a blog post on-chain via an ERC-20

Create a faucet for an ERC-20 token called $SUPERLIKE. Blogs embed an ethereum address in each blog post and you can send 1 SuperLike token to the address via MetaMask. Make a single page block explorer showing the most popular SuperLike content all-time and last 24 hours.

Encrypted Tweets

Add a true crypto Twitter on top of crypto Twitter

Fork MetaMask and allow people to do encrypted tweets that need to be decrypted by those with the extension installed. Would natively appear at the top of you feed on the Twitter.com UI.

Questions / underdeveloped thinking

Do you fork Mastodon to be a reference client / server?

How full stack do you need to be Day 1?

Do you do on Ethereum despite congestion today?

Focus on crypto twitter as initial users?

First published on September 8, 2022