More for Bondee than meets the eye

We have just entered the new year, but there is already a new trend that attracts everyone’s attention.

By now, most of us would have noticed the influx of social media posts showing avatars in doll-like packaging or QR codes requesting in-app friendships. At least that’s what filled my Instagram stories last week.

That latest trend is Bondee, a mobile app launched earlier this year by Singapore-based tech firm Metadream. The app allows users, each represented by an avatar, to interact and socialize.

Users can create and dress up their own avatars, design their avatar’s room and hang out with friends virtually. PHOTO CREDIT: SCREENSHOT FROM BONDEE

Initially, I was apprehensive about downloading Bondee as I thought it was a simple decoration game. But soon people around me became convinced that it could be a fun new tool for communicating and posting status updates.

After only exploring the app for a few hours, I thought Bondee’s appeal probably lay in its customization and personalization features. The process of dressing my character in clothes I wish I had, and It felt cathartic to decorate the room I’ve always wanted.

Among the other features of Bondee that caught my attention is the status update function. Users can choose their preferred actions or emotions and the avatar will act accordingly.

I could easily see updates about my friends’ days with text or image updates in the main center. PHOTO CREDIT: SCREENSHOT FROM BONDEE

Although this is a virtual platform, there are several functions that integrate real life elements. These help provide a personal touch – something I appreciate.

Users can decorate their virtual room with photo frames containing images from their media galleries. Status updates can also include videos and photos.

You can even visit your friends’ rooms and leave post-it notes. I found it amusing to joke with some friends by covering their walls with lots of post-it, ruining their decor and ruining the aesthetics of their rooms.

Bondee also has a messaging platform similar to Whatsapp and Telegram. Features include the ability to create group chats, emotes for you and your friends’ avatars to perform, and the ability to ‘poke’ your friends (psst…2000s’ Facebook wants this feature back).

Bondee has the potential to be a new messaging channel frequented by young people with its ability to send photos and audio recordings. PHOTO CREDIT: SCREENSHOT FROM BONDEE

However, since the app is still in its early stages of development, there have been some bugs and issues affecting its usability.

Several users shared that they did not receive any notifications from Bondee despite activating it. I also faced this notification issue which was causing me to miss messages. Until this is fixed, you may want to stick with your regular messaging apps for important communication.

As someone who enjoys character editing games, Bondee evokes some fond memories as it evokes some of those games. One of them is Zepeto, a South Korean mobile chat app released in 2018. Users similarly interact and interact with others online as 3D avatars.

Just like Bondee, Zepeto allows users to create their own avatars and send them to meet and chat with other users’ avatars in a virtual world. PHOTO CREDIT: ZEPETO

Unfortunately, controversy began to surround Zepeto when users claimed that the app monitors and records user interactions and data from phones. Similarly, Bondee has grappled with such allegations.

Just days after Bondee became popular, rumors began to spread that Bondee would steal personal user information such as credit card information to make unauthorized transactions.

When this controversy arose, many users deleted the app the first time they jumped on the bandwagon.

Users shared on their Instagram stories to warn and warn their friends against a possible fraud. PHOTO CREDIT: INSTAGRAM/@BENXDIXT

Bondee later denied these allegations with a statement reassuring users that the app is safe.

In a statement, Bondee assured that users’ personal data is safe and secure. PHOTO CREDIT: BONDEE

Although it cleared accusations of data misuse, another concern soon emerged – the introduction of non-fiscal tokens (NFTs) to the platform.

Bondee states on its Privacy Policy page that the app will eventually introduce B-Beans, an in-app currency used for the purchase of NFTs.

NFTs will most likely be clothing and accessories for your avatar or decor for your room. PHOTO CREDIT: BONDEE

NFTs are often criticized for how volatile and uncertain the field is. And since Bondee users may be 13 years old, it raises concerns that they may not fully understand the way NFTs and cryptocurrency work and may eventually end up spending beyond their means.

With these controversies and possible pitfalls, Bondee’s future is at stake. I also wonder if it will stand the test of time.

Also, Bondee faces tough competition from many other apps that offer similar functionality. Being idle of the application can also bore users in the future.

Unless Bondee can offer fresh and enticing functions like mini-games, it can be difficult to keep up the hype train.

All in all, Bondee can still be a fun app to explore with friends. Users just need to be alert and sense potential dangers.

In the meantime I will continue to dress up my avatar and ‘poke’ my peers.