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February 15, 2024

Witness

By Breck Stodghill

We’re excited to announce that Haun Ventures is leading the seed round for Witness with participation from other investors including Coinbase Ventures and an amazing group of strategic angels. I’ve known both Sina and Joe, the founders of Witness, long before they decided to start the company. I first met Sina at a San Francisco crypto research meetup. From the get go, it was clear that Sina was a 10x engineer and loved to tackle complicated technical problems with extreme clarity of thought. I first met Joe when he was an investor at Framework, where he focused on crypto infrastructure. Joe thinks from first principles and has built an incredible community around himself since first joining the space as an anonymous bird online. As a pair, they compliment each other exceptionally well, which is why we think they’re exactly the right team to bring web2 scale to web3 ownership.

It’s no secret that high transaction costs and surge pricing have greatly slowed the mass adoption of web3 products. First, they exacerbate the user onboarding problem. Most users barely have enough attention to download a new app and go through a trivial sign in flow. Layering on payment for each product action tightens the aperture of new users willing to test and use a new product. Second, they limit the growth for products that do obtain product-market fit. This is particularly problematic when you consider that the further a product grows, the more sensitive each incremental user is to added friction in their experience. 

Witness is different because there are no transaction fees. Rather than pay to post all data onchain, developers can submit data to Witness instead. Witness compresses this data, forwards it onchain, and outputs a proof that this process was done correctly. We call this witnessed data, and it is permissionless, tamper proof, and fully composable onchain. 

We’re particularly excited about this protocol because across all stages the most important question a crypto product must answer is what part of the product should go onchain? Not anymore. All application data exhaust can be witnessed by default, for free. 

As an example, there are a number of creator platforms that have launched with NFTs as their onchain backends. Mixed media creators can post on Zora. Publishers can post on Mirror or Paragraph. Musicians can drop their music on Sound, Sona, Catalog, or Royal. The core interaction for these products is the buying and selling of some digital content, so most of them feel like platforms with embedded marketplaces. But other forms of engagement outside of purchasing are also valuable and potentially more important to form the backbone for transitioning from a platform to a true social network. On Sound, for example, users can engage with songs by commenting, sharing, and listening to the music. But none of that data is captured onchain. If Sound witnessed all user engagements, then artists could take onchain actions such as granting access to mint new NFTs based on those engagements, and they’d be cross platform by default. 

Farcaster has come at this problem from a different angle. As it stands, only identity data on Farcaster lives onchain. All casts, frames, and interactions live offchain on the Farcaster protocol. And as a result, clients like Warpcast have been able to build web2-like experiences, allowing the app to grow much faster. But if every Farcaster interaction was witnessed, we could supercharge the value of the Farcaster social graph. Any developer could persmissionlessly issue onchain NFTs or tokens based on the social graph. For example, a new onchain game could grant access to a special NFT for the first 1,000 subscribers of their Farcaster channel. 

These are just a couple simple examples of what can be possible when more products use Witness to extend onchain ownership to higher fidelity data. If you’re building a crypto product and interested in learning more about how you can bring your data to Witness, check out the docs here.

If the mission and vision for bringing web2 scale to web3 ownership resonates with you, Witness is hiring! Please reach out here.

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This post is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell securities or to pursue any particular investment strategy. This post should not be relied upon in evaluating the merits of any investment or any particular investment strategy. You should consult your own advisers as to business, financial, tax, legal, and all other related matters concerning any investment. The views expressed in this post reflect the current opinions of the authors and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Haun Ventures Management LP or its affiliates. Certain information in this post may have been obtained from third-party sources, including portfolio companies of Haun Ventures. While taken from sources that the authors believe to be reliable, Haun Ventures has not independently verified the accuracy of such information. Content is as of the date posted and subject to change without notice. Haun Ventures makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of information or its appropriateness for any given situation. Please see https://www.haun.co/disclosures for additional important information.

Breck Stodghill
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This post is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell securities or to pursue any particular investment strategy. This post should not be relied upon in evaluating the merits of any investment or any particular investment strategy. You should consult your own advisers as to business, financial, tax, legal, and all other related matters concerning any investment. The views expressed in this post reflect the current opinions of the authors and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Haun Ventures Management LP or its affiliates. Certain information in this post may have been obtained from third-party sources, including portfolio companies of Haun Ventures. While taken from sources that the authors believe to be reliable, Haun Ventures has not independently verified the accuracy of such information. Content is as of the date posted and subject to change without notice. Haun Ventures makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of information or its appropriateness for any given situation. Please see https://www.haun.co/disclosures for additional important information.