Conversation with CyberConnect Founder: How to Build a Decentralized Social Ecology and Create Phenomenal Web3 Products?

CyberConnect has become the first Web3 social network protocol with a user base of over one million.

Guest: Wilson, Founder of CyberConnect

Interviewer: Pomelo, ChainCatcher

As of July 5th, the cumulative minting volume of CyberProfile NFT has reached 1.243 million, and the number of wallet addresses holding it is 1.218 million. CyberConnect has become the first Web3 social network protocol with a true user base of over one million.

Established in 2021, CyberConnect aims to return ownership and usage rights of social data to users, allowing them to truly own and control their social identity, relationships, content, monetization methods, and more in social networks. CyberProfile NFT is at the core of its account system and serves as a user’s passport to the Web3 world.

Currently, CyberConnect’s development route is mainly divided into protocol and ecosystem applications. The former provides developers with the underlying infrastructure to build applications or integrate social data, while the latter includes social ecosystem applications developed based on the protocol. There are already over 50 applications built or integrated, with Link3 as one of the representative products.

As the first application built on the CyberProfile NFT scene, Link3 has become CyberConnect’s flagship product and a phenomenon in the Web3 social track. Currently, Link3 has gathered more than 2,200 companies and organizations in the encryption field, including Messari, dYdX, and others. In addition, the platform also aggregates products and features such as Event (activity calendar), Post (post), Fanclub, and W3ST.

According to CyberConnect founder Wilson, the protocol will release the latest version in the coming two months, with significant upgrades and improvements. The upcoming account abstraction wallet CyberWallet is dedicated to improving the usability of Web3 products and the multi-chain universality of CyberConnect accounts, and Link3 will also launch interesting new features.

In addition, he believes that as the underlying infrastructure undergoes significant changes, the Web3 world will inevitably give birth to a new social way based on virtual networks, and protocols and product ecosystems like CyberConnect will be the foundation of this new generation of social networks.

What are the stories behind CyberConnect as a decentralized social network from zero to a million users? What new features will the product upgrade have? Will the playability of the Link3 product that users care about improve? What is the development status of the decentralized social track? ChainCatcher invited CyberConnect founder Wilson to discuss these questions one by one.

CyberConnect Product Positioning and Advantages of the New Upgrade Version

1. ChainCatcher: Can you introduce the positioning of CyberConnect products and the original intention of the project when it was founded? What was the situation of the team members?

Wilson: Regarding the product positioning, CyberConnect currently plans to create a centralized account system, similar to “Login with CyberConnect”, which is backed by a complete user account system, including user names, social relationship data (or graph data), content published, monetization, and collection of identity badges, etc., all of which are related to account data writing and reading.

CyberConnect, as a multi-chain account system, will have a complete set of smart contracts to write various data formats, including on-chain and off-chain, related to social data within this account system. In the future, when connecting to different applications through CyberConnect, the data in its account system can also be directly brought to other applications, such as friend data, identity data, content articles, and even monetization channels, and more abundant identity data can continue to be written in different applications.

The reason we started this project is that we found that in the entire Web3 world, ownership of all assets is highly emphasized, but the issue of ownership of valuable personal data has not yet been resolved, and no one has done a complete set of Login. We believe that the issue of ownership of data should start with the relationship-oriented graph data, for example, how can a KOL accumulate millions of fans on the platform and truly own this data and their fans, and bring these relationships to different platforms to continue to use and monetize.

In addition, CyberConnect is also related to our previous blockchain project. Our team started a blockchain business in 2017, created Lino Blockchain, which raised nearly $20 million, and developed a decentralized video game live broadcast platform DLive, which achieved one million daily activities and was acquired by BitTorrent in 2019.

After the company was acquired, we began to study where the bottleneck of the cryptocurrency industry’s growth and strengthening is and where the breakthrough point is. We finally thought that social interaction may still be a very important part. But we found that the data issue has not been resolved, so we decided to develop a decentralized social graph protocol to enable creators to get more reasonable value distribution.

Currently, the team members are quite global.

2. ChainCatcher: In the simplified white paper released in May, CyberConnect mainly has three core components, including CyberProfile (decentralized digital identity), CyberConnect Social Graph (social relationship graph), and CyberWallet. What roles do they play in the CyberConnect protocol? What stage are the products in?

Wilson: CyberConnect is expected to release the latest upgrade version in July or August, which will have significant changes compared to the current version.

In the latest version, CyberProfile and CyberWallet will be equally important products. Profile NFT will become a separate username product, used to connect user account information.

CyberAccount is a new account system name (the specific name of the product has not yet been finalized), and Accounts is a smart contract wallet used to represent a person’s account and to communicate between accounts.

This system will support two types of login: the first is the traditional EOA Login, such as users using MetaMask to log in directly. If the user does not have a Cyber Account account, an account will be automatically registered. This process is actually to help users deploy a smart contract wallet on the chain and some contracts used by this account system. The other way is to use Web2 methods such as email to log in and register a smart contract wallet, which reduces the user’s threshold.

In addition, the relationship between the wallet and identity will be more unified, and all information will be aggregated under the CyberAccount account. This is actually the ERC-4337 account abstraction, and the written social graph can include data content and various monetization channels and SBT (Web3 Status Token) within the CyberConnect system. These content data can also be divided into on-chain and off-chain parts. Developers can choose according to their needs, such as SBT, Content NFT, or content data that requires monetization can be stored on the chain; and some ordinary follow relationships and some data content that does not need to be placed on the chain can be stored on the off-chain Arweave or BNB Greenfield.

3. ChainCatcher: There are already various on-chain wallets in the cryptocurrency market, and most of them support users to enter CyberConnect-related applications. Why does CyberConnect still need to create a separate wallet? How is it different from common wallets like MetaMask?

Wilson: The core of CyberWallet is to build the CyberAccount account system.

CyberWallet is defined differently from wallets like MetaMask. It is not an EOA wallet, but users can use an EOA wallet to directly log in and register a Smart Contract Wallet. This relationship can be simply understood as users can now use their phone number to register a smart contract wallet.

The different meanings lie in the fact that the user’s heavy asset part can continue to use the existing EOA wallet to undertake the original obligations and functions. This new smart contract wallet is mainly used for social interaction or interaction in the game, providing various conveniences. The user onboarding is very convenient, and there is no need to remember complex mnemonics. It can also optimize the Gas Blockingyment for multi-chain interaction. For example, in the future, CYBER tokens can be used to help users pay various fees on the chain. This means that users do not need to buy Matic first when interacting on Polygon, or BNB on BNB Chain. In this account system, the user’s experience of using the product will be very smooth, without paying attention to which blockchain, and without too much financial knowledge, they can directly realize the interaction with Web3 ecological applications.

In addition, this smart contract wallet has a whole set of Social Graphs, which is very different from ordinary wallets. Before that, the competition between ordinary wallets was mainly based on the number of users, TVL (or how much user sediment assets), etc., while smart contract wallets focused more on user network data, such as how the data network effect, how many people are using it, how many meaningful relationships are generated between users, and how much content is sedimented in this account system, which are valuable data for application providers, similar to logging in to other applications with a Facebook account, and logging in to King Honor with WeChat, bringing friend relationships.

CyberWallet is more open, not only the account belongs to the user, but also can selectively bring their friends, content, etc. to some applications, continue to fill in, write, record, read, and realize in each application. Therefore, when third-party developers choose which account system to access, data networks may become a competitive point. In the early days, ordinary wallets paid more attention to adoption, fund sedimentation, or who had more DeFi functions, while smart wallets paid more attention to usability and efficient data architecture.

About CyberWallet products, developers will be invited to test them first, and when the functions are improved, they will be opened to the ecology and users. The first version will be launched around July and August.

4. ChainCatcher: In the social track, CyberConnect and Lens both use NFTs to represent personal profiles and are often compared by users. What are the differences in product design and operation strategy between the two?

Wilson: First of all, as mentioned earlier, the latest upgraded version of CyberConnect is very different from Lens. Lens is still a set of NFT-based social graph, while CyberConnect is already a complete and easy-to-use general account system.

CYBER Token Distribution and Impact

7. ChainCatcher: How is the situation after the release of CYBER tokens on Coinlist on May 18th? Are there any plans for token empowerment and applications?

Wilson: The CYBER token has not yet had its TGE (official market launch), according to publicly available information on Coinlist, the TGE should be around Q4. The entire CyberConnect ecosystem, including developers, applications, and users, is very active.

8. ChainCatcher: Many Chinese community users have criticized this token sale, on the one hand, because Coinlist restricts Chinese users from using it; on the other hand, many users have reported that their CYBER whitelisting and Coinlist accounts have been banned due to improper operation. Does CyberConnect have any explanation for this?

Wilson: This is mainly a legal issue, and Coinlist has a set of rules, including user prohibitions, whether identity authentication is compliant, etc. CyberConnect can only follow the official rules of the Coinlist platform and cannot do anything else. For the community, the most critical issue for the platform is how to identify everyone’s contributions so that subsequent incentives can be fairly distributed based on user contributions in an Airdrop.

9. ChainCatcher: For users who cannot participate in the whitelist public sale, they are more concerned about the 12% community reward mentioned by the official, of which 20% (2.4% of the total CYBER tokens) will be awarded to early community users. Regarding the design of this allocation, what is the original intention? In addition to tokens, what other incentive activities can early users participate in?

Wilson: The original intention of the design is to let CyberConnect achieve decentralization early on and distribute network governance and ownership. How to distribute it? – Based on the user’s contribution to the network, tokens are distributed.

In addition to tokens, early users can also participate in NFT rewards such as Mystery Box (currently floor price is above 0.4 ETH), Mini Shard, SBT issuance, and other activities on the platform. As development progresses, incentive mechanisms will also be continuously iterated.

Regarding how rewards will be distributed, users should pay attention to official information in a timely manner.

10. ChainCatcher: According to Dune, the growth of the ccProfile NFTs was mainly concentrated in March of this year, with a daily maximum casting volume of over 90,000. However, after the token was announced, the trading volume and user activity have decreased. What is your view on the ccProfile data changes? Does it have any impact on the expected airdrop?

Wilson: First of all, regarding the data, CyberConnect is currently performing well and is in a healthy state. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing if the data growth doesn’t stay at its peak, as it’s a normal product cycle issue. The current top priority is to improve the development of the protocol, and there are also many contents being developed for the Link3 application to make it truly fun and useful. As far as the data is concerned, I don’t think there are any major issues with the current data or the overall network activity. There are still tens of thousands of on-chain operations every day, and there will be even more if we include off-chain operations.

Currently, the protocol has about 100,000 DAUs, which is a good performance in Web3 applications.

How will Link3 improve its playability in the future?

11. ChainCatcher: What was the initial intention and current development status of Link3?

Wilson: In the beginning, Link3 started with a very simple scenario. At that time, we found that there was a demand for Profile (all-in-one link-in-bio) among users, and we wanted to create a profile that users could own themselves. CyberConnect can realize these functions and productize them, which is the initial version of Link3. Currently, this function is still practical and popular, such as dYdX recently adding a Link3 profile link to its official Twitter account bio.

Now, more than 2,200 crypto-native enterprise-level customers have been verified and added to Link3, including Messari, dYdX, BNB Chain, Arbitrum, and more. More than 40% of users have added Link3 links to their social media, such as Twitter account bios. It can be seen that Link3 has become a simple, practical, and easy-to-use Web3 product.

Later, Link3 expanded to scenes and functions such as Post, Event, Fanclub, and W3ST. This was also an exploration of which functions users really need and have application scenarios in the Crypto native scene, rather than copying Twitter and moving Web2 to Web3.

The product idea of Link3 is to find real users and real scenarios with needs. For example, the attempt to add a Post function is because we found that creators or KOLs have a demand for publishing long-form blogs or content; the Event (calendar) function is because there are various conferences in the market, but organizers cannot track the specific identities of attendees or have a better interactive experience with them.

In July, Link3 will launch a very interesting feature, please stay tuned for official updates.

12. ChainCatcher: Although Link3 is quite innovative in the Web3 social scene, some users have also given feedback that there is too much content on the Link3 product page, making it difficult to focus on the key points when using it. What is your opinion on these evaluations?

Currently, the main problem is that there is no particularly good and large-scale application in the Web3 social field, which is the situation of the entire market and requires time to develop. In the social field, in terms of traffic and the number of real users, Link3 should be the largest application currently. However, objectively speaking, these products are small and still in the early stage, but this is not a problem.

We will vigorously support some high-quality developers and applications in the ecology. For example, Fanclub occasionally launches some special recommendations to provide ecological support. Among them, CyberTune has performed well in daily data after we promoted it. However, the current industry situation still requires a lot of time, energy, and manpower to create a truly killer product.

Compared with other ecosystems, the CyberConnect ecosystem still has advantages in application scenarios, user experience, and data performance.

Why is it difficult to have explosive products in the Web3 social field?

15, ChainCatcher: At present, products in the Web3 social field are mainly infrastructure such as CyberConnect, Lens, and Deso. There are very few truly explosive applications. Even if some applications occasionally appear, their life cycle is very short. For example, the so-called Twitter killer Damus has a popularity of less than one week. Many Web3 social products hope to become decentralized versions of Twitter, Discord, or Instagram and other copycat versions. Why have decentralized social products in the social field always been difficult to have explosive products? What is lacking in large-scale adoption?

Wilson: First of all, social products in this category, whether Web3 or web2, are not easy to become explosive products. Take Web2 as an example. When was the last time a killer social product was born? It was about 5 years ago. This is because social products require large network effects, a lot of experimentation, and patience. The last time the industry did the largest social type product was actually the DLive live broadcast platform, which was our team’s previous project and reached the level of over one million DAUs, with the largest anchor on YouTube exclusively live streaming games on it.

However, Web3 provides an interesting and different soil. For example, asset rights, when individuals have assets, the social situation will also be different, and the richness and richness of social scenes will increase a lot. For example, in the social period of student days, it may be relatively pure without involving assets, but when entering society, it may give more social identity due to external products such as brand-name bags, luxury goods, cars, and houses.

Web3 provides good soil, but there are also many bottlenecks that CyberConnect needs to solve, such as user onboarding, data interoperability, data architecture construction, and how to write and store data. Among them, the underlying network infrastructure is also solving various bottlenecks, such as scalability and privacy issues that Layer 1, Layer 2, and Layer 3 need to solve.

As the underlying infrastructure undergoes significant changes, a new generation of social interactions based on virtual networks will inevitably emerge in the Web3 world. The CyberConnect protocol and product ecosystem, among others, will be the foundation of this new generation of social interactions.

16. ChainCatcher: Monetizing social applications is not only a problem for decentralized social media, but also a problem that has plagued centralized applications such as Soul, Zhihu, and Xiaohongshu. However, at present, monetization of centralized social media platforms still relies on advertising. On the CyberConnect platform, what form will user and application monetization take?

Wilson: Application providers will have their own monetization methods, and advertising is also possible. For example, the Reddit cryptocurrency community content section is monetized in the form of advertising, and the MOON token is issued to its community members. Some projects can use MOON to buy banner space, and the official will reward MOON to high-quality content creators in this section. At this point, beneficiaries are not only the platform operators, but also users who benefit from the change in ownership. Regardless of the monetization model, it will inevitably be more advantageous for users and creators. These are also the better monetization methods that Web3 and CyberConnect are exploring.

17. ChainCatcher: Although CyberConnect can generate revenue through ccProfile NFT payments, this is still a barrier for users who are accustomed to using free services, and it may affect their entry into the ecosystem. How does the team balance this?

Wilson: For CyberConnect, Profile NFT username registration payment is a protocol-level revenue. However, this is actually not a barrier. Profile username is similar to using a phone number. Users can register a regular phone number for free, but if they want a beautiful phone number, they need to pay a high fee. This is normal because high-quality names are a limited resource. This is a freemium model, which is a low-threshold business model with certain monetization or revenue given to this protocol.

There will be more CYBER token use cases in the latest version.

But for the entire CyberConnect protocol, more consideration is given to Token utility rather than profit-driven.

There are many ways for Link3 to monetize its applications, such as the earlier attempt to open Donate function on certain Posts, and users can reward it while Mint NFT, but this is not our priority.

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