What Is SocialFi?

What Is SocialFi?

5 Min.


SocialFi combines decentralized finance principles with social media to empower content creators, giving them control over their data and direct interaction with their users. Features include tokenized social capital, blockchain-based data storage, and governance via DAOs. Challenges to mass adoption are scalability and economic sustainability. The goal is to create a transparent, equitable, and user-centric digital social media landscape.

Web3 and Social Media

Web3 seeks to give users control over their own data, reducing reliance on centralized entities. This approach has influenced areas like international payments and finance, but its most significant impact could be in social media. Envision a platform where:

  • Users have more control over their personal information, with a central organization serving as a facilitator.
  • Transaction fees are minimized because no intermediary is involved.

These principles underpin SocialFi, a new model for social networking in the Web3 era.

Understanding SocialFi

SocialFi blends "social media" and "finance," allowing users to monetize their interactions on social platforms. Consider a platform like Patreon, where creators can restrict their content to subscribers. In SocialFi, creators can engage directly with their audience without the need for a centralized middleman. Key features of SocialFi include:

  • NFTs to establish digital ownership of unique content.
  • Governance managed by decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs).

SocialFi and DeSoc: A Key Difference

Though SocialFi and Decentralized Social Networks (DeSoc) share similarities, they differ fundamentally in their core focus. SocialFi prioritizes monetizing social interactions, resembling the contrast between Patreon and Instagram. While both serve as platforms for content and community engagement, their purposes vary: SocialFi revolves around financial transactions, while DeSoc leans toward fostering social connections.

Why SocialFi Matters

Social media has transformed how we connect, share, and monetize, but Web2 platforms have limitations. These platforms centralize control, undermine personal brand value, and raise concerns about censorship, privacy, and data use.

SocialFi, rooted in Web3 principles, seeks to address these issues. It revolutionizes online social interactions by incorporating social tokens reflecting individual brand value. In this model, users are not just passive participants in a platform's revenue scheme; they can actively monetize their influence, content, and engagement. This tokenization concept shifts power away from centralized entities and gives it to individual users. "Social capital" is no longer an abstract idea but something that can be quantified and monetized through social tokens.

SocialFi merges personal branding, content creation, and commerce in a decentralized context. It envisions a more equitable and transparent social ecosystem where individuals have greater control over their online identities and interactions. Additionally, SocialFi offers a potential solution to the tension between freedom of speech and censorship. By adopting decentralized curation, content moderation becomes a shared responsibility, reducing the biases that can arise from centralized decision-making.

SocialFi Projects to Watch

Here are some prominent SocialFi projects worth noting.

Friend.tech (Base)

Friend.tech is an innovative decentralized app on Base, allowing creators to earn from their content using social tokens. Its "Keys" system functions like shares, providing access to private chats and other exclusive content from creators.

While Friend.tech has the potential to redefine how creators engage with their communities, it's still in its early stages, so caution is advised. Its popularity and the buzz surrounding it make it one of the most talked-about SocialFi projects.

Stars Arena (Avalanche) 

Stars Arena, a Web3 platform on the Avalanche network, lets users monetize their content by linking to their X (formerly Twitter) accounts and conducting transactions using AVAX. As a fork of Friend.tech, Stars Arena offers influencers a way to profit from exclusive content and fan interactions. Despite gaining traction, Stars Arena has faced setbacks. A recent exploit resulted in a $3,000,000 loss, though the team claims to have resolved the issue.

Advantages of SocialFi

SocialFi offers several notable benefits:

  • Decentralized Storage: In SocialFi, data is stored on the blockchain, reducing the risk of misuse by centralized parties. This setup minimizes the chances of personal data leaks and unauthorized use.
  • Token-Based Rewards: Both creators and regular users can earn tokens for engaging with content and sharing it, creating new avenues for monetization.
  • Tokenizing Attention: Users are rewarded for producing quality content that attracts interactions and attention, motivating content creation.
  • Content Ownership: SocialFi ensures users retain rights to their content, alleviating concerns about losing ownership after uploading materials.
  • Protection from Deplatforming: With governance managed by a DAO, there's less risk of sudden deplatforming due to decisions by a single entity.
  • Freedom of Speech: SocialFi can be an important tool for promoting freedom of expression and reducing censorship, thanks to its decentralized nature.

Challenges for SocialFi

Despite the promise of SocialFi, there are significant hurdles to widespread adoption:

  • Scalability: Major social media platforms like Facebook and X have invested millions in infrastructure to handle vast amounts of data. Facebook alone processes millions of comments, statuses, and photo uploads, generating around 4 petabytes of data every day. The question is, can Web3 social media platforms manage this scale without centralized servers? To address this, developers are exploring techniques like sharding and off-chain storage.
  • Sustainability: SocialFi platforms attract users with generous token rewards, but this model might not be sustainable over time. The concept of tokenizing social capital is innovative, yet the value of these tokens is tied to the behavior of influencers. If an influencer's actions are perceived negatively, it could lead to a rapid decline in token value, potentially triggering a negative feedback loop.


SocialFi is redefining social media by combining decentralized finance with social networking. Its core aim is to empower users, granting them control over their data and true ownership of their content, while enabling direct monetization without intermediaries. Platforms like Friend.tech and Stars Arena are at the forefront of this trend, though they face hurdles such as scalability in a decentralized setting and the sustainability of their business models. Despite these challenges, SocialFi's vision of a more equitable and transparent online environment, where users can directly benefit from their social capital, marks an intriguing shift in the way we interact on social platforms.

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