Talk with CyberConnect Founder: How to Make Link3 a Phenomenal Web3 Product Fun and Useful?
“CyberConnect has grown into the first Web3 social product with a true million-user volume.”
Guest: Wilson, founder of CyberConnect
Interviewer: Sill, ChainCatcher
As of July 4, CyberProfile NFTs have been minted by 1.243 million times, held by 1.128 million wallet addresses, making it the first Web3 social product with a true million-user volume.
Founded in 2021, CyberConnect aims to return ownership and use of social data to users, enabling them to truly own and control their social identities, relationships, content, and ways to benefit from monetization in the social network. It has also built an account system with CyberProfile NFT as the core — the latter serves as a user’s pass in the Web3 world.
Currently, CyberConnect mainly focuses on two parts: the protocol layer and the application. The former provides developers with an underlying infrastructure for building applications or integrating social data, and the latter to develop applications based on the protocol for scenarios with real social demand, represented by Link3.
Link3, as the first application built on the scenario of CyberProfile NFT, has become a flagship product within the CyberConnect ecosystem, and also a phenomenal product in the Web3 social sector. At present, more than 2200 companies and organizations in the crypto field have been gathered on Link3, including Messari and dYdX. In addition, it is completed with functions such as Event, Post, Fanclub, and W3ST.
According to CyberConnect founder Wilson, the latest version of CyberConnect will be released in the next two months with some major upgrades and improvements. The upcoming account abstraction wallet, CyberWallet, is dedicated to improving the usability of the Web3 product, and Link3 will go live with interesting new features.
What is the story behind CyberConnect’s decentralized product that has successfully gained millions of users from scratch? What new features will be included in the product upgrade? Will Link3 as a product be more entertaining? This has been what users care about. How decentralized is the social media sector? To find answers, ChainCatcher invites Wilson, the founder of CyberConnect, to discuss these questions.
1. ChainCatcher: Could you tell us about CyberConnect’s product positioning and what was the original intention of creating this project?
Wilson: Regarding product positioning, CyberConnect plans to establish a centralized account system whose functions are similar to CyberConnect Login, with a set of user accounts behind it, including user names, social relationship data (or graphical data), published content, monetizations, and collection of identity badges. In conclusion. the system is similar to CyberConnect Login.
For example, if a chain has a CyberConnect account system, then this account system will have a set of smart contracts around Cyber Accounts to write various data formats both on and off the chain, and the content stored inside is social-related data. In the future, when connecting to different applications through CyberConnect, data from the account system can be brought directly to other applications, such as friend relationship data, identity data, content articles, and even monetization data. More user identity data can also be written in different applications.
The reason why we did this project was that though the whole Web3 world emphasized the ownership of assets, the problem of ownership of many valuable personal data had not been solved, and no one had done the whole login process. We believe that one of the most important aspects of data ownership should start from relationship data, for example, if a KOL has accumulated millions of fans on the platform, how can he/she own these data and have his/her fans, and bring these relationships to other platforms to continue to use and monetize them.
Also, building CyberConnect originates from the last blockchain project we worked on. We created Lino Blockchain and developed DLive, a decentralized live video game platform, which was wholly acquired by BitTorrent in 2019. After the company was acquired, we decided to make a decentralized social graphing protocol since we thought the data problem was still unsolved.
2.ChainCatcher: How is the current team look like?
Wilson: The team started up its business in blockchain in 2017, and Lino Blockchain had raised nearly $20 million. After being acquired by the company, we started to look at the bottlenecks of the cryptocurrency industry that hindered its growth and what breakthroughs we could make. Ultimately, it was thought that social media could be a very necessary part. Currently, the team is global.
3. ChainCatcher: As mentioned in the simplified white paper released in May, CyberConnect has three main core components: CyberProfile (decentralized digital identity), CyberConnect Social Graph (social relationship graph), and CyberWallet, a wallet. What are the roles and relationships between each of them in the CyberConnect protocol? What is the stage of each product?
Wilson: CyberConnect is expected to release its latest upgrade in July or August, which will be a major overhaul from the current version.
In the latest version, Cyber Profile and Cyber Wallet will be equally important products, and Profile NFT will become a separate username product for attaching user account information.
Cyber Accounts is the name of a new account system (the exact name of the product has not yet been finalized). In this design, “Accounts” is a smart contract wallet that represents a person’s account. It aims to use accounts as a way of communication.
This system will support two types of login: the first is the traditional EOA login, for example, users use MetaMask to directly log in. If there is no Cyber Accounts account, the system will automatically register an account. This process helps users deploy a smart contract wallet on some contracts that this account system will use; you can also directly use the Web2 method such as email to log in and register a smart contract wallet. This is novice-friendly.
In addition, the relationship between the wallet and the identity (identity) will be more unified, and all the information will be aggregated under “Cyber Account” accounts. This is the ERC-4337 account abstraction, and the written social graph can include content, various monetization-related content, and SBT (also known as W3ST, Web3 Status Token). The content data can be divided into on-chain and off-chain parts, and developers can choose by their needs. SBT, Content NFT, or Monetization-relevant content can be stored on-chain; while some ordinary relationships (such as “follow”) and some data content not requiring placing on the chain can be stored off-chain (such as Arweave or BNB Greenfield).
4. ChainCatcher: There are various on-chain wallets in the crypto market and most of them support users to access CyberConnect-related applications. So why does CyberConnect need a separate wallet? How is it different from common wallets such as MetaMask?
Wilson: The core of CyberWallet is to create Cyber Account, an account system.
CyberWallet is different from wallets such as MetaMask in that it is not an EOA wallet, but the user can sign up for a Smart Contract Wallet directly with the EOA wallet. This can be simply understood as the user can now use a phone number to sign up for a Smart Contract Wallet. The difference is that the heavy asset of users can continue to use the existing EOA wallet for the original obligations and functions.
The new smart contract wallet is mainly used for social interaction or in-game interaction, providing various conveniences. The user onboarding is easy since there is no need to remember complicated seed phrases and multi-chain interaction Gas payment has been optimized. For example, in the future users can use CYBRT tokens to pay for various fees on the chain. This means that users do not need to buy Matic in Polygon interaction and BNB in BNB Chain interaction. Under such an account system, the user’s product experience will be very smooth, without the need of paying attention to which blockchain they are on, and without requirement on financial knowledge.
In addition, this smart contract wallet has another big difference from regular wallets in that it also has the whole Social Graph function. Before this, the competition between ordinary wallets was mainly about the user base and TVL (or how many assets users sink) while smart contract wallets focus more on the network data of users, such as the degree of data network effect, how many people are using it, how many meaningful relationships are generated between users, how much content is stored in this account system. These are valuable data for the application side. In analogy, it means you can use a Facebook account to log in to other applications or use a WeChat account to log in to King of Glory to bring friend relationships over.
CyberWallet is more open, not only the account is owned by the user, but also their friends, content can be selectively brought to other applications, to be filled, written, recorded, read, and cashed in applications. Therefore, when third-party developers are choosing which account system to access, the data network may become a competitive point. In the early days, ordinary wallets were more concerned with adoption, money accumulation, or DeFi features. While smart wallets are more concerned with ease of use and efficient data architecture.
Regarding the CyberWallet product, we will first invite developers to do testing, and then make it open to the ecosystem and users after the features are perfected. The first version will be launched around July and August.
5. ChainCatcher: In the social media sector, CyberConnect and Lens both use NFT to represent profiles, making them two comparable choices for users. What are the differences between the two in terms of product design and operational strategies?
Wilson: First, the latest version of CyberConnect mentioned earlier is already very different from Lens.
Secondly, CyberConnect has unique advantages for general users and frequent users with multi-chain collaboration. In terms of protocol design, CyberConnect is more concerned with user ease of use and future market trends, firmly believing that the future is a multi-chain world, but Lens is a single-chain design; in terms of product ease of use, CyberConnect has an advantage in how to make it more convenient and easy for ordinary users, users without wallets and existing users to interact with various applications. In addition, CyberConnect was founded almost a year ahead of Lens and the overall activity of the application is higher than Lens in terms of data.
6.ChainCatcher: Is it correct that CyberConnect is more focused on users from the consumer side, while Lens offers products and features that are more suitable for developers?
Wilson: Not really. The issues that CyberConnect is focusing on and working to solve are the same issues bothering developers. In terms of two predictions for the future, a multi-chain world is a trend based on that developers are more willing to accept multi-chain deployments, and it is an inevitable trend for the industry. In addition, the user’s ease of use is directly linked to the user growth in a later period for developers. So these problems are essentially the problems that developers need to solve. In the end, what developers focus on is still the real demand for ordinary users.
7, ChainCatcher: CyberConnect has profile NFT (ccProfile), content NFT (Essence), and subscription (SubscribeNFT). However, in terms of the number of minted NFTs, ccProfile currently has the most users (minted by 930,000 times), and the other two NFTs, both in terms of mint number and user attention, are far below the former. What is the reason for the difference in quantity between the three? How can we increase the activity of users for content creation and subscription?
Wilson: The main reason for this discrepancy is that the data currently counted are only on-chain data, but there is also a large amount of data such as social connections and postings stored on Arweave or other decentralized platforms. This part of the data is not seen by users, but in fact, these operations are highly frequent.
The core reason for this is that not everything is suitable to be put directly on the chain, otherwise, it would be so much more expensive for user interaction. Users are more concerned about such aspects as ownership of the data, and whether the architecture makes sense.
For example, ordinary actions such as “like”, and “follow” do not require on-chain storage, and it would be a waste of resource if they are put on chain; while some high-quality content is more suitable to be put on the chain, and can be turned into an NFT to drive users to collect.
8. ChainCatcher: CYBER tokens were publicly offered on Coinlist on May 18, so how is it going after the offering? What are the plans for token empowerment and application?
Wilson: CYBER tokens do not have a TGE now, according to Coinlist public information, the TGE should be around Q4. The entire CyberConnect ecosystem is very active in terms of developers, applications, and users.
9.ChainCatcher: There are a lot of complaints from the Chinese community about the token sale. On the one hand, Chinese users have limited access to Coinlist, on the other hand, there is also a lot of feedback from users that the CYBER whitelist and Coinlist accounts of successful users have been blocked due to irregular activities. How would CyberConnect respond to that?
Wilson: This is mainly a legal issue. Coinlist has a set of official rules, including restrictions on users and identity authentication compliance. CyberConnect can only be implemented following the official rules of the Conlist platform. For the community, the key for the platform is to identify the contribution of each person and have a fair and contribution-based airdrop for users.
10.ChainCatcher: For users who cannot participate in the whitelist public sale, they are more concerned about the officially mentioned 12% community reward, of which 20% (2.4% of total CYBER tokens) will be rewarded to early community users. What was the original intent of this design in terms of the amount of distribution? Besides tokens, what other incentive activities are available to early adopters?
Wilson: The original design was to make CyberConnect decentralized at an early stage, to decentralize the governance and ownership of the network. To allocate tokens based on user contributions to the network is a way to realize it.
In addition to focusing on tokens, early users can also participate in activities such as Mystery Box on the platform (floor prices are now above 0.4ETH), NFT rewards (such as Mini Shard), and SBT releases. The incentive mechanism will also be updated.
Users should keep an eye on the official information about how the rewards will be distributed.
11. ChainCatcher: According to Dune, the growth of ccProfile NFT volume was mainly concentrated in March this year, with the highest daily minting volume of more than 90,000. But after the announcement of the token, the trading volume and the number of active users have dropped. What are your thoughts on the change in ccProfile data? Is there an expectation of airdrop results?
Wilson: First, in terms of data, CyberConnect is performing well at the moment. I don’t think it’s a bad thing that data growth doesn’t stay at its peak; it’s a normal cycle for a product. Currently, the priority is to make the protocol better, and the Link3 app has a lot of ongoing development to make it fun to use. In terms of data, I don’t see anything wrong with this data or the overall network activity. There are still tens of thousands of on-chain operations every day, and there will be more if we add off-chain operations.
The agreement has about 100,000 DAUs, an already good achievement among Web3 applications.
12. ChainCatcher: What is the original intention of Link3 and its development status?
Wilson: Initially, Link3 was designed for a very simple scenario where users needed a profile (all-in-one link profile) and wanted to make a profile owned by themselves. This is the original version of Link3. This feature is still useful and popular, as dYdX has recently added the Link3 link to its official Twitter account profile.
Today Link3 has certified and added over 2,200 crypto-native enterprise-level customers on it, including Messari and dYdX. About more than 40% of users have added Link3 links to their social media such as Twitter account profiles. As you can see, Link3 has become a simple, practical, and useful Web3 product.
Later, Link3 added functions like Post, Event, Fanclub, and W3ST. This is a result of researching what application scenarios web3 users have and need. This is not copying Twitter from Web2 to Web3.
Link3’s product idea is to look for real users and scenarios with real needs. For example, the Post function was tried because it was found that some creators or KOLs need to publish long-form Blog or content; the Event function comes from a situation where though there are various conferences in the market, the organizers cannot track the identity of specific participants and thus form a better interactive experience with them.
In July, Link3 will go live with a very interesting feature, so stay tuned for an official update.
13.ChainCatcher: Although Link3 is taking an innovative approach as a Web3 social media product, there is the feedback that too much content is concentrated on the Link3 product page and users find it hard to catch what they need. What do you think about these comments?
Wilson: In fact, we have long been aware that this problem. A product In the early stage has to experience many attempts and iterations and receive user feedback to grow. Just like the social products we use now, they had many messy features in the early days, but then with optimization and upgrades, some of the features were canceled.
At present, the content of the Link3 product includes use flow and onboarding. There is indeed no simple and clear message for users to know what they can do when they come in. We are also aware of this problem, but the adjustment of the product requires time and market feedback.
Indeed, we do not focus our content on one certain function point. From another point of view, this is also a good thing, since Link3 in this continuous process of exploration, can find the scenario with the maximum opportunity and most user demand to dive in. This is also my preferable product development path.
14. ChainCatcher: Some users give feedback that Link3 is more like an advertising and marketing platform built for project parties, and it is not fun to use. Some activities released by Event and Fanclub are mostly for doing tasks. What do you think about the playability of Link3?
Wilson: The activities on Event are activities launched by third parties. The organizers initiate the activities, and we serve as a tool provider to provide support. This is a market demand, where we don’t have much say. Fanclub will have an upgraded version later, and its core demand is the same as Link3’s vision, which is to find a large market space, and a more interesting one.
Link3 may not be a perfect application at this stage, and certainly not the way we expect it to be. But we hope to find the optimal solution through continuous testing and iteration, and we have been thinking about how to make a really good and irreplaceable product. In July, Link3 will launch some new features that will improve the current condition.
15. ChainCatcher: As an infrastructure, the prosperity of the ecosystem and the level of developer activity are often important criteria for predicting the development prospects of a protocol. Although CyberConnect’s website shows that there are several eco-projects, except for the Link3 product, other eco-applications are not well-known or active. What are your plans for the future?
Wilson: First of all, we are very supportive of the development of projects in the eco-system, and the current volume of some ecological projects is performing well, such as Readon, W3Space, Atem Network, Phaver, CyberTune, Clasp, Wondera (the product is not yet fully online), whose real user data exceeds the vast majority of Web3 applications. In addition, five or six of the top 20 apps on the chain launched by BNB Chain are from the CyberConnect ecosystem.
The main problem is that in the Web3 social media sector, we haven’t seen a high-quality app with a large user scale popping up. So the market needs time to develop. In the social media space, Link3 should be one of the largest applications in terms of volume, traffic, and the number of real users. But objectively speaking, these products are small and still very early, which however is not a problem.
We will strongly support some quality developers and applications in the ecosystem. For example, Fanclub will launch some special promotions from time to time to give ecological support, among which CyberTune has performed well in daily data after our promotion. However, the current industry situation requires a lot of time, energy, and manpower to make a real killer product.
The CyberConnect ecosystem has no disadvantages compared with others. It performs well in terms of application scenarios, user experience, and data.
16. ChainCatcher: At present, in the Web3 social media sector, products are mainly based on such infrastructure as CyberConnect, Lens, and Desco and there are very few really hot products. Even if some applications occasionally appear, the life cycle is very short ( the heat of the so-called Twitter killer Damus only lasted for less than 5 days). And many Web3 social products just hope to become decentralized versions of web2 apps such as Twitter, Discord, or Instagram. Why has it been so hard for products in the decentralized social media sector to have a hit? What leads to the lack of mass adoption?
Wilson: First of all, it is hard to make a hit in the social media sector both for Web3 and web2 world. Take Web2 for example, when was the last time a Killer social product was born? It was about 5 years ago. This is because social products need a large network effect, countless tries, and patience. The last largest social media product is supposedly the live platform Dive, our team’s last project, which reached more than a million DAU volume, with the biggest Youtubers making exclusive live games on it.
However, Web3 provides an interesting and very different ground. For example, the right to assets, when individuals have assets, the social scenario would be different and richer. For example, when people enter the workforce, their assets such as designer bags, luxury goods, cars, and houses become a symbol of their social identity.
The ground provided by Web3 is good, but of course, there are many bottlenecks, which is what CyberConnect needs to solve, such as onboarding of users, interoperability of data, building of data architecture, data writing, and storage. The underlying network facilities are also solving various bottlenecks, such as Layer1, Layer2, and Layer3 to address scalability and privacy issues.
As the underlying infrastructure is changing dramatically, the Web3 world is bound to breed a new way of socializing based on virtual networks.
17. ChainCatcher: How to cash in on social applications has been an issue for both the web2 and web3 worlds. At present, for the centralized social platform, advertising is the main way of monetization. How would the CyberConnect platform solve this problem?
Wilson: First of all, the application side will have its method of monetization, and advertising is also possible. For example, the Reddit cryptocurrency community content section earns revenue by advertising. It issued MOON tokens to its community members, and some projects can use MOON to buy Banner positions, then MOON rewards will be given to high-quality creators of the content section. This time the beneficiary is not only the platform operator, the user can also get the benefit, which is also a change brought about by the ownership mentioned earlier. No matter which cash model is used, it is bound to be more beneficial to users and creators.
18. ChainCatcher: CyberConnect can earn revenue through ccProfile NFT payment, which is still a threshold for users who are used to free functions and will affect their access to the ecosystem, how does the team balance this?
Wilson: For CyberConnect, the Profile NFT username registration payment contributes revenue on the protocol level. And there is no threshold for this. Profile usernames are similar to how we use cell phone numbers: users can register a regular cell phone number for free, but if they want a nice mobile number, they need to pay a high fee, which is a normal thing because quality names are a limited resource. This is a Freemium model business, with a low threshold but able to bring some revenue to the protocol.
There will also be some scenarios to apply CYBER tokens in our latest version. But for CyberConnect protocol as a whole, the consideration is more about token utility rather than profitability.
There are many ways for Link3 applications to cash in, such as the earlier attempts to open a Donate function in some posts: users can give kudos while minting NFTs. It’s just not our priority.