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Despite Elon Musk's recent takeover of Twitter, co-founder and CEO Stani Kulechov believes the microblogging platform won't be on the blockchain anytime soon.
On the latest episode of Decrypt’s gm podcast, Kulechov spoke about the greater role he expects Web3 to play in social media and outlined his vision for Lens Protocol, a blockchain-based social mediaverse where users can retain and import their social capital across various platforms.
Kulechov defined “social capital” as “followers” and “profile,” adding that under the current Web2 paradigm, users have to leave their social capital behind every time they create an account with a new service.
However, Lens, which launched back in May, is built on the scaling solution and uses smart contracts to tokenize social stats as .
With it, Lens hopes to reinvent the wheel and create a decentralized, interoperable social media protocol.
“So for example,” said Kulechov, “I have an audience on Twitter and I can share my ideas, make connections—that's social capital that I create there. But I can't take my followers or my profile and put it into another application that has a better experience for me, reflects my values better, or I have better alignment with.”
He elaborated that with Lens Protocol “you own your profile” and compared it to , saying the juxtaposition offers a close analogy between Web2 and Web3 technologies: “In Bitcoin, you basically own your money, your store of value. With Lens Protocol, you effectively own your social capital, your social presence.”
When asked about the challenge of scaling Lens Protocol and attracting social media developers to build on it, Kulechov said Lens is ultimately not looking to step on Twitter’s (or any other service’s) coattails: “We have to build new things.”
Twitter recently got taken over by billionaire Elon Musk, who is bullish on and owns millions of dollars worth of Bitcoin through his EV company Tesla.
Many believe Musk will bring Twitter into Web3, however, Kulechov said he doesn’t think we’ll be “seeing anytime soon Twitter becoming completely Web3 based.”
Aave’s Lens and Dorsey’s Bluesky
Blockchain technology has been hailed by proponents as one of the key drivers of Web3–a decentralized iteration of the current internet in which ownership is distributed among users (rather than corporations like Twitter).
Kulechov isn’t the first to propose decentralizing social media either.
Twitter’s co-founder, former CEO, and first user Jack Dorsey, who now heads payments company Block (formerly called Square), wanted to design a decentralized standard for social media platforms before leaving Twitter last November.
In 2019, Dorsey funded an independent initiative called “Blue Sky,” led by Twitter’s then-CTO Paral Agrawal.
Then in August 2021, he tapped Jay Graber, creator of events social network Happening, who took over from Agrawal as project lead. Agrawal became Twitter CEO after Dorsey’s departure until Musk fired him at the end of last month.
Bluesky recently launched a beta test for its new protocol and opened the waitlist for its app, which the team frames as a “browser" for accessing the protocol.
Over 30,000 people signed up within the first two days of the announcement.
Listen and subscribe to the gm podcast wherever you get your podcasts.