Aave (AAVE), the decentralized finance lending platform, launched the Lens Protocol ecosystem on the Polygon (MATIC) blockchain as their way to challenge centralized social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook. What started with an open letter to garner support around the idea that content creators should own and control their digital identities, led to developing a Web3-native social network powered by nonfungible tokens (NFTs).
In a Twitter Spaces conversation the company hosted this week, Stani Kulechov, CEO and founder of Aave, described the mission behind Lens Protocol.
"We wanted to build a social media protocol, or essentially a social graph, and make those profiles on-chain, following the relationships on-chain and creating a permissionless way to distribute content between a creator and the audience."
Kulechov and his developer team dug into the problems with current social media platforms. According to one of the developers who goes by @Zer0dots on Twitter, "We're people. We're not products. We're not numbers nor data points." He's referring to content on users' feeds, whether it's a photo on Instagram or a Tweet, that Meta or Twitter can sell as data to marketers. He described how Lens Protocol wants to make the move away from "users being the products" to giving creators enough ownership to choose how their content is distributed.
Basically, the protocol enables users to create a profile, which is a fully composable NFT. These dynamic NFTs contain the history of all posts, reposts, comments, and other content generated including music, commentary, art, photography and video. A key difference is that profiles are tied to a wallet address, and owners can choose how to monetize their content. A follower can also collect someone else's publication and receive a tradable follow NFT.
"And you can choose who gets to collect them," said @Zer0dots. "You can choose what logic gets executed. Is there is a fee? Is it a bonding curve that is subscription? Or is it only specific addresses you want? There's so many different options."
During the Twitter Spaces session, the Aave team also suggested the possibility of turning profiles into a decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO. A follower can opt in to have voting and delegation power over what could be a DAO profile.
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Aave likened this new ecosystem to an open-source "developer garden" where they invite the community to "grab fertilizer" and build upon the protocol, anything from social apps and analytics platforms to DAO tooling. The company's goal is to mirror real-life social interaction that isn't tied to a platform's changing algorithms and policies.
For now, the Lens Protocol code is available to test on the Polygon Mumbai Testnet. According to Kulechov, Polygon was the chain of choice due transaction speed and cost effectiveness, and since applications can be deployed to any chain because it's Ethereum Virtual Machine compatible.