What is Frequency?

Published in
5 min readSep 20, 2022


There is one simple question we will answer here: What is Frequency?

But wait…

There is an even more important question to start with: What problem is Frequency trying to solve?

For too long, large global companies have taken control of the world’s social networks — and dictated the path of innovation. Even as social networking became a critical service, these companies have continued to make the calls, behind closed doors, that shape our digital public square — and our lives.

These centralized platforms are in turn shaped by a need to drive shareholder returns. The result is that social networking today is designed for the purpose of increasing surveillance-based advertising revenues over serving the true needs of the people and communities using it. This model has proven to be devastating to our social fabric. Leveraging blockchain technology to decentralize social networking while giving people more control over their data holds immense promise — but the cost to scale this technology has historically been prohibitive.

Solving this problem requires building a new foundation. It takes infrastructure that not only secures individual data rights and unlocks open innovation to diverse builders, but also enables decentralized social networking to expand freely to global scale.

Frequency will be a new Polkadot parachain that seeks to unlock a new era of open innovation in social networks — and usher in a new generation of diverse apps that give people more agency, choice, and control in their digital lives. Frequency builds on technology that has been in development since early 2019, as well as an ecosystem of people and organizations that believe the time for system-level change is now.

Cracking the scale challenge of decentralized social

Blockchains can unlock an exciting new era of social networking apps that enable people to interact in a public digital space and retain agency over their data. However, decentralized social networking is faced with a kind of success paradox. When blockchain technology is applied to the high-volume, low-value transactions of social networks — messages, posts, and likes — the cost quickly overwhelms business models. Without a new approach, decentralized social will collapse under the weight of its own success.

To get to mass adoption, the economics of decentralized social networking must work at the scale of millions of users. Frequency changes the way blockchain transactions are priced, so blockchain technology can be leveraged for social networking at the scale of network effects.

Instead of paying per transaction, builders reserve an allocation of capacity at a predictable low cost — with capacity replenishing in regular increments. Frequency’s new approach makes decentralized social networks production-ready for the first time. Frequency can be leveraged by Web3 natives, or by Web 2.0 businesses that want to tap into new Web3 features and revenue streams.

Changing the way transactions are priced unlocks a new class of use cases

Frequency makes it possible for builders to lock in replenishing capacity instead of managing often high and volatile transaction expenses. This delivers an essential foundation for the discovery of new business models, and unlocks the use of blockchain technology for an entirely new class of transactions — from social networking and beyond.

Now the technology can be cost-efficiently used for a new range of high-frequency, massive-scale decentralized apps (dAaps) and services. This ability to scale is not only critical to the widespread adoption of Web3, but also for supporting the requirements of traditional businesses seeking to transition to people-centric practices, such as giving users control over their own data.

Frequency builds on years of development in decentralized social

A public social graph completely disconnected from financial incentives is the first essential piece of infrastructure required to unlock the true potential of social networks. This is why Frequency leverages the Decentralized Social Networking Protocol (DSNP) — a protocol that has been in development for nearly three years and with a completed end-to-end proof of concept.

DSNP makes the public social graph possible. The protocol facilitates a secure, open source, universally accessible social graph that is not linked to any financial incentives by crypto tokens or private company database servers. The decoupling of financial incentives from the core protocol is the key distinction that makes DSNP different from all other blockchain-based social networking projects, and is essential to support a healthier third generation of the web.

Polkadot uniquely opens opportunity

Polkadot’s shared consensus model enables DSNP to be implemented for scaled growth. As the first production-grade implementation of DSNP, Frequency leverages Polkadot’s relay chain to deliver block validation at a fixed price. Future improvements in Frequency will continue to lower cost in the future.

Supported by an ecosystem of organizations seeking far-reaching change

This development originated from Unfinished, a social impact organization with a network of partners across technology, academia, social impact, and the arts. Early work was also funded by Project Liberty, an initiative to support a more equitable architecture for the digital world.

The first phase of work focused on delivering the social network as core internet functionality by developing the Decentralized Social Networking Protocol. Frequency is the second stage of this work. This new parachain will give builders a revolutionary pricing model designed to support sustainable businesses, and aims to be a common path to put forth Web3 features that can get into the hands of everyday internet users. Ultimately, it lays a foundation to help us all in reimaging — and rebuilding — social networks to serve people, not platforms, and make it possible for people to discover and connect with each other globally without a centralized platform.

Join us in revolutionizing social networks

→ Join the Discord for access to the Frequency community.

→ Follow us on Twitter.

→ Check out our Github.

→ Drop us an email.




Frequency delivers decentralized social at scale.