Web3 enthusiasts are excited about the launch of Lens Protocol, a new blockchain-based network that aims to provide an alternative to social media such as Twitter. But will Lens Protocol grow beyond its initial adoption?
Social media is broken, and finally, someone is trying to fix it. Finnish-born programmer Stani Kulechov created Lens Protocol to give users control over their posts and data. Last week, the network went live on Polygon.
The 31-year-old Kulechov is best known as the founder of Aave, a popular DeFi lending protocol that reached a valuation of $1 billion. The entrepreneur also made headlines after being suspended on Twitter for a joke where he claimed to have been selected as that company’s interim CEO.
“Big tech companies are built in a way that they control users’ data, and the profit goes to the shareholders,” Kulechov recently said in an interview. In Lens Protocol, each piece of content is associated with an NFT that gives users ownership over their information and content.
Lens Protocol is best described as a decentralized social graph that allows developers to launch Web3 social media platforms and users to create metaverse-ready profiles. Currently, only original signers of the network’s open letter can create a Lens profile, but the rest of the crypto community can’t wait to join.
“I have connected my wallet and am trying to get in the door,” said Allen Taylor, an author of “Cryptosocial”, a book that covers how crypto is changing social media. “I’m looking forward to playing around on Lens Protocol and seeing what it has to offer. After studying their website it looks like the image I have of the next evolution of social media.”
Taylor said he loves the fact that it is a Web3 product, unlike many platforms which use Web2 tools to add a crypto component to social media.
“If the internet is moving toward decentralization, then it’s time to ditch Web2 tools and replace them with Web3 tools that protect users’ privacy, sovereignty, and ability to self-monetize,” he said. “Lens Protocol looks like it may be able to do that.”
According to tech geek and enthusiast Simon Courtney, Lens Protocol allows users to share content and communicate in a more secure and censorship-resistant manner.
“Because content is not stored on a central server, but rather on the blockchain, this makes it much harder for governments or other entities to censor or control what users can see,” Courtney said. “Unlike traditional social media platforms, Lens Protocol is decentralized: no central authority can control the platform. Instead, it is controlled by the users themselves. This allows for a wider range of voices to be heard.”
Leo Martinez Daviz, a Web3 builder and Lens Protocol early adopter said he is excited about the network’s potential. He is now creating a Web3 social network for drag performers.
“We have an opportunity to own our content and have a direct relationship with our community,” he said. For content creators like himself, “this often feels like you are trying to satisfy and constantly keep up with algorithms” to get noticed—yet, this hard work could disappear at any point.
“For example, after creating content on TikTok for about a year, they decided to delete my account one day. I lost followers and the content.” Although Lens Protocol might not solve all issues, it could enable users to directly support content creators, Daviz believes. For example, on his platform, users would be able to tip drag performers using crypto.
“I imagine social media platforms as more niche and fitting specific communities and interests versus being a one-fits-all approach,” Daviz added.
Lens Protocol is still a relatively new technology. According to Web3 enthusiasts, there’s no guarantee that it will completely replace traditional social media. But the new approach could eventually disrupt social media business models and further empower content creators.