The team behind DeFi mainstay Aave has launched Lens Protocol, a decentralized social graph that allows developers to build web3 social media platforms all run on the Polygon network. Using Lens, users can mint a profile, follow others, and create and collect posts all on-chain.
As of May 18, anyone can follow a Lens profile, but the only people able to create a Lens profile are the 30,000 original signers of Lens Protocol’s open letter – including big names in crypto ranging from Royal co-founder 3LAU to crypto influencer Cooper Turley.
Readers may recall that we provided instructions on how to sign the open letter back in February.
Although minting profiles is currently closed, Aave founder Stani Kulechov assured The Defiant that there are plans to open access to more wallets in the future.
Thus far, there are several apps powered by Lens like Lensfrens, an app to discover and follow other Lens profiles based on similar wallet transactions.
$250,000 In Developer Incentives
To increase growth, Lens is offering $250,000 in grants to developers to build new apps on Lens; potential ideas range from a curation app to a gaming app.
The launch of Lens Protocol comes less than a month after Aave founder Stani Kulechov was temporarily suspended from Twitter for tweeting a joke that he was the new interim CEO of Twitter.
Decentralized Social Media
Lens is not the first attempt at decentralized social media.
BitClout first launched publicly in March 2021 before rebranding to DeSo in September. DeSo uses the DESO token and runs on the DeSo blockchain, allowing developers to build social media platforms all running on the same blockchain.
This means that DeSo users can use different platforms with different algorithms, but their posts, likes, and comments still travel to each platform. It’d be like if your Facebook friends were immediately imported into Twitter when you signed up – except you wouldn’t have to sign up because it was all built on the same blockchain.
Due to the similar nature of the projects, there is obviously some tension.
Lens Protocol’s Kulechov told The Defiant that whereas DeSo is “focused on creator coins and the speculative nature of social clout [,] Lens protocol is an open-sourced tech stack for building social apps, and is more focused on helping give ownership of user accounts, followers and content back to the people.”
Regarding Lens Protocol, investor and DeSo member Dylan Lee told The Defiant that “unfortunately the tech is ngmi [not going to make it…] you can’t build a social network on a general-purpose blockchain.” While Lee said it is “awesome to see others building in the space”, he believes Lens Protocol won’t scale due to gas fees and the need to sign transactions for everything.
Aave’s Kulechov assured The Defiant that Lens Protocol “is super scalable and will improve over time as the technology evolves.”