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Lens Protocol: A composable decentralized social graph for a web3-ready community


Building a social media platform from scratch is a daunting task. First, you need to establish a social graph which is a map of the relationships between people. A social graph comprises nodes (individuals or organizations) and the edges (relationships) that connect them.

To create a social graph, you need to have a way to track these relationships between people. This is usually done with some data structure, like a graph database.

There are a few different ways to create a social graph. One way is to use a centralized service, like Facebook or LinkedIn. With a centralized service, all of the data is stored in one place and controlled by that company. This has the benefit of being easy to use, but it comes with a few downsides. First, the company that controls the central service can censor content or delete accounts at will.

Second, these centralized services are siloed, meaning that the data is not accessible to other applications and addons that might want to integrate with the centralized application. Finally, these services are subject to single points of failure. If the server goes down, the service is unavailable.

When social media platforms determine what information we see and don’t see, it’s more important than ever to have a decentralized social graph that will enable the creation of a censorship-resistant Web3-ready social media platform.

Cue Lens Protocol, a web3 social graph built on the Polygon Proof-of-Stake blockchain to empower creators ad communities around the world with the capacity to launch social media platforms and profiles they own.

What is Lens Protocol?

Lens Protocol is the brainchild of the team behind DeFi mainstay Aave, led by Aave’s founder Stani Kulechov and CEO Alexander Svanevik. The team also includes CTO Jan Isakovic, who previously worked on 0x’s smart contracts, and Product Manager Filip Martinka.

Lens is an open-source social graph that allows developers to launch web3-ready social media platforms and profiles. It is built on Polygon’s eco-friendly blockchain and works to enable creators to take ownership of their content wherever they go in a Web3 environment.

Web3 refers to the next generation of the internet where users are in control of their data. In a Web3 world, there is no need for intermediaries like social media platforms because users can interact directly with each other.

Lens Protocol is built with modularity in mind, thereby allowing new features and fixes to be added, thus ensuring that the social graph keeps up with the ever-evolving Web3 world.

How does it work?

With web2 social media networks, all the platforms read data from a unique centralized database. There is no easy way to port data from one platform to another with such a framework. This is where Lens Protocol comes from.

This open-source and composable social graph can empower creators to own the links between themselves and their community and the content they post on the platform through NFTs.

NFTs are used on the platform to represent user profiles. Users can create profiles that interact with each other forming a social graph. The data and user relationships are stored on-chain on Polygon’s Proof-of-Stake Layer 2 solution. This makes it possible to port data from one platform to another without a central authority.

For instance, a profile owner can publish standard content, which points back to the profile owner or follows other profile owners through Lens Protocol’s whitelisted logic embedded in the NFT’s smart contract.

From setting an image for the profile to the setting of the profile’s “dispatcher,” everything about the profile can be managed on-chain, thereby giving users complete control over their data.

The platform also allows for developing social media platforms and profiles compatible with Web3 wallets like MetaMask, Gnosis Safe, and Argent. This compatibility makes it possible for users to log in to their social media accounts using their Web3 wallets without creating a new account on every other platform they interact with.

What problem does it solve?

A few centralized platforms currently control the social media landscape. These platforms determine what users see and don’t see, with the power to censor content they disagree with.

This centralized control over social media leads to several problems. First, it results in the suppression of dissenting voices. Second, it leads to curating content designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Third, it gives rise to echo chambers where people only see content that reflects their same views and opinions.

Lens Protocol is designed to solve these problems by giving users the power to launch their social media platforms and control the online profiles that they carry with them throughout a web3 internet.

With modularity at the core of the Lens Protocol, ownership is guaranteed. The community can also determine the platform’s future by building and developing new innovative features that can be integrated into the social graph.

This way, Lens Protocol can create an ecosystem of social media platforms that are decentralized, open, and fair.

The future of web3 social media

Lens Protocol is designed to be a community-owners and ever-evolving social graph from the ground up. The protocol is open-source, and anyone can contribute to its development.

The long-term vision for the team behind the project is to create a social media ecosystem composed of many small, independent platforms connected through the Lens Protocol.

At the moment, Lens Protocol is running a campaign offering $250,000 in grants to developers to build new apps on Lens. Some potential ideas range from apps and games such as Phaver (a social mobile app with Lens support), Iris (a token-gated content app ), and Clinto, a content personalization app.

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