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Dump Discord? Nansen Launches Messaging App for Web3 Communities

Analytics platform Nansen aims to take a bite out of Discord’s dominance with a new messenger service for NFT projects and more.

4 min read
Image: Shutterstock

In brief

  • Crypto analytics firm Nansen has launched a messaging app called Nansen Connect.
  • The app requires a crypto wallet to use and is targeted at NFT and crypto communities.

Discord is the reigning chat app of choice for the Web3 community, ranging from NFT projects to DAO communities—but frequent scams are taking the shine off of the service. Now, crypto analytics platform Nansen has a new solution to connect communities in the space.

Today, the firm announced Nansen Connect, a messaging app that lets users log in with a crypto wallet and then connect to groups based on their crypto holdings and which NFTs they verifiably own. The firm describes the app as a “crypto-native communications hub” for Web3 communities.

Nansen has become a favorite of many NFT traders due to its “smart money” leaderboard and other features designed to give users an inside scoop on what top investors are doing with their holdings. Launching a social app is a new endeavor for Nansen, but it will lean on the firm’s existing data and features to enhance the experience.

“Nansen is already a key informational hub for the crypto world, and our core offering—wallet labeling for 120 million Ethereum addresses alone—centers on surfacing the identities and behaviors in the noise of blockchain data,” Product Manager Paul Harwood told Decrypt. “Creating a social product is a natural evolution for these core competencies.”

According to the company, Nansen Connect will draw from on-chain data—including current holdings and transaction data—to provide users and communities with useful context. Connect users will be able to see the crypto net worth of an individual, for example, as well as see the funds in a project’s treasury or find out if an influencer has dumped token holdings.

“Users can hold influencers and other project leaders to account by monitoring treasuries and dumping in real time, and certain members may be elevated because they’re proven holders,” Harwood explained. “All this information will be easily accessible, and we look forward to seeing how it shapes the conversation.”

On top of that added context, Harwood believes that Nansen Connect can “help mitigate some of the security flaws we see across the ecosystem.” The service requires a wallet connection and then enables access to certain groups based on which NFTs or tokens the user holds, which means “only proven members” gain access to certain communities, he added.

With Discord, there have been instances in which community administrators or moderators fall victim to phishing or social engineering schemes. Such hijacked accounts are then able to lure unsuspecting users into scams that can steal NFTs from their connected wallets. Twitter has also seen a number of scams tweeted from hijacked accounts—even verified ones.

While Discord remains ubiquitous in the wider Web3 space as a way to connect collectors and communities, it’s also gaining more vocal critics amid increasingly high-profile scams.

Earlier this month, after the Bored Ape Yacht Club’s Discord server was exploited, pseudonymous project co-creator Gordon Goner tweeted, “Discord isn’t working for Web3 communities. We need a better platform that puts security first.”

A Nansen Connect screenshot. Image: Nansen

Similarly, in May, former Proof Collective (Moonbirds) COO Ryan Carson tweeted, “All of us in Web3 need to stop using Discord and move to a secure and beginner-friendly solution.” He added, apparently in reference to another scam, “This is ridiculous and completely maddening.”

Nansen Connect will start with a limited base of users: subscribers to its analytics service, as well as owners of high-profile Ethereum NFTs like the Bored Ape Yacht Club, Moonbirds, Doodles, Azuki, and CloneX. Gradually, additional communities will be onboarded.

Furthermore, the firm said that some NFT projects have confirmed plans to use Nansen Connect as an official community platform, including Pudgy Penguins, Hashmasks, KaijuKingz, and CyberKongz.

In addition to group features, the app will also offer direct messaging between users with end-to-end encryption enabled. In time, Nansen plans to add more group options, including “smart money” channels, and will also enable trades between users.

Nansen isn’t the first platform to experiment with wallet-based messaging—NFT marketplace Rarible announced a wallet-based messenger feature last November, with plans to open it up across the Web3 ecosystem. Nansen’s offering, meanwhile, seeks to leverage the platform’s existing data and try to deliver a more secure communication tool for communities.

It’s a shift for Nansen, too, signaling growing ambitions from the startup that most recently raised $75 million in December. In Harwood’s view, the launch moves Nansen “from being the go-to informational source for blockchain data to an all-in-one super-app for Web3.”

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