What is DEGEN chain? The L3 built for the memecoin community DEGEN


Community-focused layer-3 network DEGEN chain launched last week, stirring interest in the memecoin community.

DEGEN chain is the brainchild of Jacek Trociński. After leaving his job as a data engineer and architect at Hedgehog Technologies in November last year, Trociński began thinking of ways to build his own business. At the time, Farcaster, a decentralized social network, was gaining momentum, and Trociński became more active in the degen channel on the app.

According to Trociński, the degen space on Farcaster was not an extremely popular channel when it first launched and was filled with many builder personas. This began to change in December after someone created a points token. 

“All of a sudden, people just started piling into the channel,” Trociński told Blockworks. “That ended up kind of crumbling. Then they created a different token, and it ended up getting hacked, and then someone created a wowow token. I don’t know what happened with that; I think it just kind of fizzled out. But these tokens were just getting astronomic inflows in a very short time span…so I started realizing, well there’s something going on here.”

Read more: Q&A: Dan Romero and Jesse Pollak think this may be Farcaster’s ‘inflection point’

Trociński began working on a token with similar tokenomics to Blur’s token (BLUR) and Uniswap’s token (UNI), eventually launching it on Jan. 8. The idea behind the token would be that users could earn points if they were active in the channel. Points were awarded to users who received likes and comments on their posts or if users held certain NFTs.

One point always equated to one DEGEN token, and users were rewarded through an airdrop. With a growing community interest, Trociński noted that more developers began building applications using DEGEN as its native token.

Read more: Stack ‘points chain’ layer-3 aims to bring loyalty points to Base

“I think they are using DEGEN as the token for various reasons. One is the community, the other is that it is hard to launch a token. There’s a lot of legal issues around tokens, and there’s also a lot of things like trade and liquidity pools…I think [projects] want to focus on building an app, not a token,” he said. 

DEGEN chain itself launched as a layer-3 blockchain to enable community members of DEGEN to enable customization, Trociński explained. He noted that the chain itself is not designed to be able to do anything “technologically different” but act as an “application layer chain.”

“If the community wants, I don’t know, Farcaster pre-compiles, so instead of calling a smart contract, you could have it natively in the blockchain level as a function…we can add that customization,” he said. “I think it makes a lot of sense for us to do some level of customizations, but not necessarily innovate in the way that say Blast is innovating or OP is innovating.”

Trociński remarks that if the DEGEN chain becomes a memecoin chain that enables applications to build games and design fun applications, then it will become extremely valuable. 

Read more: Web3 Watch: Crypto leaders insist memecoins have a purpose

Although Trociński likes the idea of being part of Optimism’s superchain vision, he noted that the OP stack itself did not offer native gas tokens.

“One of the things I really, really wanted was for DEGEN chain to have DEGEN as the native gas token,” he said. 

For this reason, the DEGEN chain itself is built as an Arbitrum Orbit chain, which settles on Base and uses AnyTrust for data availability.

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