Lens Protocol - The Game Changer for Social Media
- What is it? A decentralized social media on Polygon.
- Wen Token? Well, the new Lens Protocol from the Aave team mentions a “fair launch” in its announcement post, so there must be something on the way…
- Can it be used? Not yet, there’s no actual product out for users to start trying, but the post seems to suggest that Lens is more of a back-end that other social media products can be built on.
- Who backed? The Aave team, Stani Kulechov, the founder of Aave, has changed his Twitter profile to this herb-like avatar.
What is Lens Protocol?
The Lens Protocol is a Web3 social graph on the Polygon Proof-of-Stake blockchain designed to help creators to own the links between themselves and their community, forming a composable, user-owned social graph. The protocol allows new features and fixes to be added while ensuring immutable user-owned content and social relationships. The protocol is designed by part members of WE3, a design collective built on the idea that internet platforms should be more participative, open, and community owned. The founder of Aave, Stani Kulechov posted tons of tweets about this protocol on February 8th, 2022. The protocol is now live on Polygon Mumbai testnet.
Features, TL; DR:
- Tokenization of created contents: Lens Protocol and its content are powered by dynamic Profile NFTs, giving the power and control over content directly to the users, allowing for native content monetization.
- Plugin feature and Modularity of assembly: Allow developers to build their own social applications on Lens using modular components. Developers are encouraged to develop new modules that enhance the product experience. Other external applications can also access (Plugin) Lens and share the benefits of the Lens ecosystem.
- Lens is more like a back-end that other social media products can be built on. This feature makes it developer friendly.
What can Lens Protocol do?
Lens Protocol has a simple user classification. Content creators can post content, share content and comment on content; non-content publishers, can only follow their favorite bloggers, collect (basically in the form of buying NFTs) their favorite bloggers' NFTs, and an overview of Lens' features is provided below.
Create a Profile to Publish
To become a content creator, a user needs to link to the protocol with his wallet and create a Lens Profile as his ID to become part of this decentralized social network (accordingly, he gets his Profile NFT, and the person who holds this NFT holds the ownership of the Profile). Unlike traditional social media, where every account can post content, in Lens Protocol, only users who have a Profile NFT can create content: post, comment and share(Mirror, this is what Lens calls) it, while other users without a Profile NFT can only follow their favorite Profiles and "Collect" content posted by its creators (each collection is displayed in the form of an NFT, as described below) and cannot Post, comment, and Mirror.
- Operations available to Profile NFT holders only.:
- Post, Comment and Share ("Mirror").
- Set the profile's follow-whitelists with following module: for example, some followers may incur a fee to the profile owner via the fee follow module contract.
- Set the profile's image URI and set an address that can act on behalf of a profile's owner.
- Any other regular wallets can:
- Follow profiles, minting the following wallet a "Follow NFT";
- Collect publications, minting the collecting wallet a "Collect NFT".
The Profile NFT is the main object in the Lens Protocol. It is ownership over this NFT that gives users control of their content. Individual addresses own ProfileNFTs, and an address can contain multiple ProfileNFTs. What differentiates the Lens Profile NFT from other on-chain identities is the ability to post Publication to it. The Profile NFT contains the history of all of the posts, mirrors, comments, and other content you generate.
Note: 1. Profile NFT will be linked to Follow NFT (through Follow Module), which is used to record how many users and which users have followed the profile. 2. Profile is temporarily open only to addresses that will be passed by governance voting, in order to avoid some spam users taking up the namespace.
Only for Profile NFT holders: Post, Comments and Mirror
The publication functions' logic is simple, three basics: Post, comments and share(Mirror). All publications are posted directly to a user's ProfileNFTs. Publications have a ContentURI which points to the specific content the publication contains, this can point to text, an image, a video, or other arbitrary content stored on either a decentralized protocol such as IPFS or Arweave, or a centralized storage provider like AWS S3. Publications also have two attached modules, a Collect Module, and a Reference Module. The Collect Module contains the logic that allows other users to mint your publication into an NFT. This NFT will reference the original Publication's URI. The Reference Module is controls references to the publication itself. It contains the logic that determines who can comment and mirror the publication.
Comment and share (Mirror) are similar to the post function. They are first restricted by the original publisher's permissions, and in the case of permissions to comment and share (Mirror), they both have their own permission setting functions (similar to traditional social media, you can share a share, or comment a share, or share a comment, etc., as set in the Reference Module)
Follow and Collect ( Available for all polygon addresses)
When users follow a Profile on the Lens Protocol, they are given a Follow NFT. In the Lens protocol, any address can follow various Profiles, and following a Profile will result in a corresponding Follow NFT, and the owner of a Profile can set whether followers can receive their issued Follow NFT, such as adding some payment terms. For example, a profile could attach a follow module that requires a user to pay 5 MATIC to receive a Follow NFT. This is similar to Only Fans or other paid membership social platforms like Youtube members or channel members.
Note: The ID of each newly issued Follow NFT for given profile increments by 1, such that the first follower's NFT has an ID of 1; the tenth has an ID of 10, and so on. Additionally, Follow NFTs have built-in governance capabilities, such as vote delegation, to allow for the creation of Social DAOs using Lens Protocol. Creators, DAOs, or other organizations can create voting strategies using Follow NFTs and their various properties--for example: "The first 1000 follows have one vote each" or "The longer you have followed, the more voting power you have."
The Collect feature allows creators to better sell their content to the market. For each published content, creators can choose to mint the corresponding NFT, which has access rights to their contents. Also, by using the Collect Module, creators can even set the following: NFTs collecting to be open for a certain amount of time or only allow a certain number of collectors. This is also similar to the traditional paid reading experience.
What are the advantages of Lens over competing products?
Currently, the social media with the largest number of users is still in centralized platforms such as Twitter, Meta (formerly Facebook), Discord, Youtube and other products. These centralized platforms control all the content posted by creators and their revenue.
The advantages of decentralization are obvious: by NFTing and tokenization the content, Web3 users do not need to create a platform account, but directly use the address to interact with other users and create content, ensuring the authenticity of the content, identity, and most importantly, ownership is returned to the content creators themselves. A few typical examples of current decentralized social media are as follows.
- BitClout (DeSo): Like a decentralized Twitter, which has made a public chain of its own, with its architecture similar to the Bitcoin network. It is almost identical to Twitter in terms of functionality, with its own homepage, posting, followers, retweets, etc. after the address link, and uses its own network tokens as an incentive mechanism.
- Monaco Planet: Also similar to Twitter, the only feature that compares to Web3 is the ability to link to your wallet and read and display NFT data. There are no other new features. (Users can also earn $MONA rewards for posting content)
- Only1: Deployed on the Solana network, it allows creators to publish their content as NFTs and earn money by sharing and interacting directly with their followers. Both creators and fan users can earn rewards through social activity on Only1. The project's native token, $LIKE, can satisfy users' need to pay for NFTs and can also be pledged as revenue for mining.
Most of the above products are based on Web2 social media development, with a single framework and low user playability and composability. Lens has the following advantages in comparison.
The core strength and advantage of the Lens protocol is that it is an open source and highly composable decentralized social media tool or infrastructure. All of the above modules (Follow, Reference and Collect) are already developed by the Lens team, who have also written guild tutorials for users to develop new modules. There will be more interesting modular products to help improve the user experience in the future.
Lens Culinaris is a tall, branched plant with pods of lens-shaped, small lentils. It has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria. If the roots are left in the ground, they will provide a source of nitrogen for its neighbor. LENS PROTOCOL is a composable and decentralized social graph. It lets creators to take ownership of their content wherever they go in the digital garden of the decentralized internet.
Official Advertising Contents by Lens: https://lens.dev/garden
By using Lens' modules, developers can develop the products they want. For all new projects built on Lens, including but not limited to social apps, content moderation tools, analytics platforms, verification systems, DAO tooling, etc. Lens calls this eco-building: "Grow the Garden".
In addition, Lens Protocol currently supports funding for early stage projects that want to build on top of it, simply fill out the form: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=_Z8KjzukJ0ya9IkZ1i1a_OmxYApV6qFBmpyTxQ_BrENUQTc1SzROVkdIUzY0VEdYNUJJQVEwOE1LRS4u for up to $250,000. Lens calls the funding prize: "Grab Some Fertilizer" very interesting.
No need for early user base building
Given the combinability described above, any project that accesses Plugin Lens will be able to use the core functionality of Lens and enjoy Fertilizer benefits, so Lens can directly absorb the user base of other products. Also, not all users are required to create an account (Profile NFT) to use Lens, and any user with an address can participate directly in purchases NFTs and followings on Lens, so in theory these addresses are already part of the user base.
The project does not have any tokens at the moment, early bird users (those who signed in the whitelisted Open Latter: https://lens.dev/letter before January 23, 3LAU, Ryan Selikis of Messari, Ryan Sean Adams, Stani of Aave, etc. have signed) can participate in The early bloomer role assignment, currently has 7,810 addresses whitelisted. The protocol is currently live on Polygon's Mumbai testnet.
- Token Information: Lens Protocol
- Open Letter：https://lens.dev/letter
- Designed by We3: https://we3.co/
- Inspired by：https://verses.xyz/
- Polygon testnet addresses：https://docs.lens.dev/docs/testnet-addresses