Web3, the third iteration of the Internet, is rapidly approaching the mainstream with the promise of disrupting the status quo of digital interactions and creating a new paradigm for democratic engagement.
Lens Protocol is a decentralized social graph built by Aave with the vision of cultivating a Web3 environment where creators are the primary focus.
Focused on non-fungible tokens (NFTs), Lens hosts capabilities for developers to build social media-like applications, as well as analytical tools, integrations of decentralized finance (DeFi) functions, such as lending and staking , and decentralized user-governed autonomous organizations (DAOs).
A Lens protocol mission statement has been cryptographically sign and endorsed by a number of prominent figures in the crypto and DeFi space, including Ryan Selkis, Ryan Sean Adams, Gmoney, Camila Russo, Andrew Wang, and Josh Ong, among others.
Cointelegraph sat down with Aave Companies Head of Growth and Partnerships, Christina Beltramini, at NFT.NYC in June to discuss the intentional growth trajectory of Lens, social graphs in the age of Web3 and of the future of content creation.
After working for JPMorgan and Tidal, Beltramini took on the role of global business development for music partnerships on prominent social media platform TikTok in mid-2019.
It was during this time that she witnessed what she described as an innate lack of autonomy and the bureaucratic constraints that TikTok content creators experience when using the platform, especially during the frequent requests for reinstating accounts disabled by mistake.
The evolution of Web3, coupled with its inherent desire to support the artistic expressions of content creators, was enough to convince Beltramini to continue its contributions to a decentralized social future.
Glad to welcome Christina, coming from TikTok to Aave fam to lead the growth of the decentralized social graph, and all the innovation coming out of Aave. 2022 will bring web3 closer to the general public https://t.co/SksQVdq2QQ
— stani.lens (,) (@StaniKulechov) December 21, 2021
Over the past few years, the industry has witnessed the emergence and adoption of digital identity services such as Ethereum Name Service (ENS) domains, Solana Name Service domains, and NFT.com, among others. . Beltramini shared his thoughts on how the profile aspect of Lens Protocol compares to and differs from these examples:
“Name services do not connect wallets to wallets or social signals. With ENS, I’ll know what your wallet is and can transfer you, but I can’t actually see the connections within your wallet. So, with Lens, your profile is an NFT, [and] when you follow someone, it’s also an NFT. And this is what binds the association.
Profile NFTs are one of the essential components of the Lens model. Issued to an individual’s wallet address, they aim to serve as a kind of Web3 headquarters, allowing for self-curation of data, the ability to publish authentic content items to the channel, and built-in governance capabilities if users want to build their own DAO.
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Logic modules and functions open up a whole ecosystem of interoperable NFTs. Other platform users can get a FollowNFT to follow a profile and CollectNFT to collect unique pieces of content. Additionally, mirroring allows users to share, or essentially reblog, content while recognizing the original owner.
By democratizing user data and tying NFTs to individual action, Lens significantly advances traditional experiences of social media, commerce, and digital consumer interaction.
The name Lens was inspired by Lens Culinaris, the green flowering plant whose seeds produce lentil.
Beltramini said this branding choice was a conscious and deliberate decision to metaphorically symbolize “owning your digital roots” and nurturing a core ecosystem that “we cultivate together as a community” before stating:
“We’re the application layer, and having multiple protocols talking together to create different experiences and applications on Lens is really with the decision-making community and how the protocol will be governed.”
Societal concerns over the environmental expenditures of Bitcoin (BTC) mining and NFT minting have prompted game-changing behaviors from crypto companies seeking to stay on the cutting edge of culture. The Lens protocol was built on top of the Polygon network to inherently focus on “scalability and environmental” factors, Beltramini said.
She also added that there was a “pre-existing deep relationship between Polygon and the Aave companies on the DeFi side” so that “when the protocol was built a year and a half ago, it was really the only way to go. At scale”.
The social graph
Beltramini noted the concept of social graphs, an interconnected map of connections formed by mutual people and friends in a dispersed network. An application built within the Lens ecosystem called Cultivator describes this network as an observatory of the constellations of the night sky.
Decentralized social media has arguably become a buzz phrase within Web3 over the past few years, but according to Beltramini, Lens’ vision incorporates Web3’s most authentic values and principles.
“We at Aave Companies believe that your social media and content should be a public good, and there shouldn’t be big moats that keep you from accessing different platforms,” he said. she declared.
Beltramini also highlighted the importance of users being able to control privacy settings, maintaining many characters across different platforms on a single social graph. In traditional social media, this would be understood as a personality type for business contacts on Linkedin, while others for family and friends on Instagram.
Affirming the point of self-guarding, she continued, “We won’t just use three platforms. We can use any platform we decide and have the ability to truly leave a platform digitally.
“I still have Facebook only because I have my contacts from 10 years ago in college, but not because I align with the values of this platform or want to be on Facebook. is because my social graph is there. So let’s dispel the notion of being tied to a platform just because your social graph is there.
Lens has registered over 100 applications on its server to date. Often, these protocols may have strict application processes or eligibility criteria for developers. The Lens model has a few basic entry points but is wide open. Beltramini said:
“Right now in Web2 it’s very difficult to start a new social app because you basically have the cold start problem that brings people into the funnel. So the idea [with Lens] is that developers will be able to build easier for the experience vs. growth hacking for the social graph and spend millions of dollars on CPA [cost per action] spend.”
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In principle, Web3 social platforms will grant creators the liberal autonomy to own and manage their work like never before. Artists and even journalists will not be strictly tied to the platforms or publications on which they publish, but will have the opportunity to foster and support their own communities.
The integration of NFTs allows the creator to fully capitalize on the data metrics pulled from their profile, providing a more personalized, personalized and unique experience to their audience, while retaining the monetization rewards in cases of virality.
Beltramini concluded by stating that “Social Web3 will accelerate different experiences due to growth hacking, community building and open source nature”.