Cast: The First Farcaster Layer 2

Cast is the first Farcaster Layer 2 that allows users to submit Farcaster messages directly to a federated, open-source Superhub - bypassing onchain storage fees or Farcaster ID fee requirements. Cast has already done over one million messages and hosts ~60,000 cast handles all external to the Farcaster network - saving users tens of thousands of dollars of FID/storage fees. Cast APIs also supports directly submitting messages to Farcaster through a hosted hub if a user so chooses, making our APIs L1 + L2 agnostic. Farcaster IDs also function directly on Cast, a perfect usecase for users saving their storage or have expired storage.

Cast allows the opportunity for more protocol exploration, as federation allows anyone to fork an open-source repo and add new MessageTypes or other open-ended experimentation (e.g. gaming on Farcaster). Cast can also function independently during Farcaster network outages, highly important during the widescale network outages of the first week of February 2024.

Social protocol L2s are an unexplored territory, so the evolution of Cast will be necessary - we will explore ways to checkpoint or transmit Cast activity onto the Farcaster L1. The Farcaster L1 already deletes data through storage constraints, so we believe the more important part of the Cast L2 is proving data was sent from the correct wallet and signer.

Users strongly prefer free social networks, especially when new to them, which is why Farcaster developers need to have a choice when building on Farcaster - making their onboarded users choose to pay up to $12/year or to try a Cast L1 + L2 solution for ~39 cents a year on Optimism.

We hope Cast encourages many more experiments on the Farcaster ecosystem. Given varying degrees of wealth globally, a major goal of Cast was getting international users to try Farcaster without spending a large portion of their salary on something they might not like. We believe for social networks, initial growth should be prioritized, and we want many users to transition to the Farcaster L1. To give context on the success of federation, Threads is the second largest text based client with almost 100M MAU and are planning a federated approach. A Farcaster L2 like Cast will help proliferate Farcaster.

The Cast hub requires a Farcaster ID or a .cast handle, which is free on Ethereum and requires a small fee on Optimism, to discourage bots. Paying Ethereum gas or ~39 cents a year is a positive signal that a user is legitimate. This requirement can be changed by an operator since Cast is open-source.

Get started today by building with our free, open-source Farcaster APIs - we have Farcaster L1 + L2 Endpoints!

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