S’pore Users Are Hyping Over New Social App Bondee, But Some Are Skeptical Of Its NFT Plans - Vulcan Post

S’pore Users Are Hyping Over New Social App Bondee, But Some Are Skeptical Of Its NFT Plans – Vulcan Post

If you’re active on Instagram, chances are that aside from all the yusheng tossing and Chinese New Year outfits that you saw, you also saw something else — virtual avatars of your friends, and QR codes inviting you to add them on Bondee.

This new app by a Singapore-based tech company, Metadream, has taken the nation by storm and over the weekend, the app became one of the top free apps in both the Apple App store and Google Play Store. 

It’s not that difficult to see why. The app allows you to create animated avatars and decorate your own virtual room, and adding friends lets you chat with them using an in-app function. You can also visit their rooms and leave notes on their walls.

Why has Bondee captivated so many Singaporeans?

“I’ve been enjoying using Bondee for fun because I get to see what my friends are doing. And it helps that I get to chill with my friends just like we did in university,” quipped Tan Yue Ling, a graduate from Nanyang Technological University’s School of Art, Design, and Media.

“Now that we’ve graduated and not able to meet up as often as we did before, it’s nice to still be able to connect online, albeit represented virtually through an avatar.”

bondee chat
Chatting on Bondee / Image Credit: PhilStar Life

Indeed, social functions on Bondee seem to be a huge part of the app’s appeal. Beyond just adding friends and chatting, the app allows you to join interest groups, or even send messages to meet new friends.

And it doesn’t hurt that the app allows you to add friends by sharing your avatar on social media, showing off your design choices and inviting others to onboard themselves onto the platform either. 

The graphics have also received quite a bit of praise — they’re 3D and customisable, allowing users to pick what they like and flaunt their choices. The graphics are lifelike, but not so human-like as to fall into the uncanny valley and instil a sense of creepiness.

But all these features are essentially only cosmetic and social — it might be great for an hour or two as you scour through all the different decorations and fashion styles, but this in itself is nothing new. 

When I first heard of Bondee, the first thing that came to mind was the question: ‘Isn’t this just like Animal Crossing?’ 

In Animal Crossing, players can do much of the same things as they can in Bondee, except on a larger scale. 

Animal Crossing
Animal Crossing / Image Credit: IGN

“Personally, I feel that Animal Crossing really is a better game overall. There’s more features, like time-limited events. And on top of that, I have an entire island to decorate. And I can add friends to decorate the island with them,” notes Hazel Lim, an avid gamer.

“But to me, what’s probably the most suspicious is that there seem to be plans to introduce NFTs into Bondee.” 

Users voice concerns over upcoming NFT features

As it happens, this concern seems to be one shared by many players, and they have good reason to worry.

Veterans of the crypto space have touted NFTs as one of the cornerstones of the next crypto bull run, and crypto prices have been on the rise over the past two weeks. 

Players who bothered to read Bondee’s privacy policy would find incriminating evidence that NFT integrations are very much in Metadream’s plans. There are mentions of how users will be able to purchase B-beans using fiat currency, and trade them in for NFTs.

bondee nft b-beans
NFT mentions in Bondee’s private policy / Image Credit: Burhan via Twitter

Aside from this, Metadream has also already come under fire for allegedly mishandling users’ credit card information, though the company has denied any wrongdoing. 

How long can Bondee keep its crown?

Bondee has certainly captured the attention of many in the crypto community. For one, its overnight success speaks volumes of how many people can be brought onboard social platforms with the right mix of social features.

Yet, Bondee is not the first of its kind. It already has a competitor: Decentraland. 

music festival decentraland
A music festival in Decentraland / Image Credit: NFTs.WTF

Much like Bondee, you can add friends, chat with them, find new friends, hold meetings, and more. Some of the more creative folk have even managed to hold full-scale events like concerts or virtual fashion weeks on the metaverse.

But for all its functionality, Decentraland has not been able to retain a high number of users because aside from being social, there isn’t much else to do that would keep users online. 

After all, if you want to message someone, especially someone that you know, why not head to the usual messaging apps like Telegram or WhatsApp?

The failure to keep things interesting has meant that Decentraland is now suffering from a lack of users. 

DappRadar estimates that Decentraland sees less than a thousand active users every day, though Decentraland creative director Sam Hamilton has claimed that there are around 8