Decentralized finance (DeFi) platform Aave has announced the launch of Lens Protocol, a decentralized social media platform built on the Polygon blockchain.
Named after lens culinaris, a plant that has a symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria, the open-source "Web3, smart contracts-based social graph" is based on an ecosystem of dynamic non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Users create NFT-based profiles that "contain the history of all posts, mirrors, comments, and other content you generate," while content and follows on the platform are similarly represented by NFTs.
1/ Something is blooming... https://t.co/UMUs3qT3SD
— LensProtocol.eth 🌿 (@LensProtocol) February 7, 2022
Users will own their own data on Lens, while applications can plug into the open social graph. Following someone on the platform also generates a "follow NFT," while users can collect published work by creators on the platform and re-publish it through a "mirror" feature—which acts as a referral link, earning the sharer a cut from anyone that collects the original content via the mirror.
Lens Protocol is also exploring ideas including DAODAO profiles and social-based verification, according to its website.
Aave's push into social media
Aave's move into social media has been planned for some time. In July 2021, Aave founder and CEO Stani Kulechov revealed that the DeFi giant was planning an alternative to Twitter (in a tweet, ironically).
The initial plan was for the platform to launch on Ethereum. The recent launch, however, shows that Lens Protocol has been built on layer 2 scaling solution Polygon.
Since @jack is going to build Aave on Bitcoin, Aave should build Twitter on Ethereum
— stani.eth (👻,🌿) (@StaniKulechov) July 17, 2021
At the time, Kulechov told Decrypt, "We believe that content creators should own their audiences in a permissionless fashion, where anyone can build new user experiences by using the same on-chain social graph and data." He added that Twitter users don't own their audience, pointing out that "Twitter makes all the revenue from your tweets and the content you share, and Twitter decides which of your tweets get traction through the algorithm."
Kulechov argued that Twitter doesn't allow its users to monetize their tweets and retweets and that if a user moves to another platform, they have to "start from scratch."
Those principles appear to have been carried through to Lens Protocol; in an open letter accompanying the announcement, Lens' developers argue that "We, the content creators of the world, deserve to hold the power and control over what we publish."