Web3, the third iteration of the Internet, is fast approaching the consumer mainstream with a promise to disrupt the status quo of digital interactions and create a new model of democratic participation.
Lens Protocol is a decentralized social infographic created by Aave with the goal of growing a Web3 environment where creators are the primary focus.
Centered around non-fungible tokens (NFT), Lens hosts capabilities for developers to build apps similar to social media, as well as analytics tools, integrating Decentralized Finance (DeFi) functions such as loans and staking, and Decentralized User-Governed Organizations (DAO).
The Lens Protocol’s mission statement has been cryptographically signed and endorsed by a number of prominent figures within 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 Corporate Growth and Partnerships Christina Beltramini during NFT.NYC in June to discuss the intentional growth trajectory of Lens and Social Charts in the Web3 era and the future of content creation.
After working with the likes of JPMorgan and Tidal, Beltramini took on the role of global business development for music partnerships at prominent social media platform TikTok in mid-2019.
During this time, I’ve witnessed what I describe as an innate lack of autonomy and bureaucratic constraints that TikTok content creators face when using the platform, most notably during repeated requests to bring back accidentally deactivated accounts.
Web3’s development, along with its intrinsic desire to support the artistic expressions of content creators, was enough to convince Beltramini to pursue contributions toward a social, decentralized future.
Over the past few years, the industry has seen the emergence and adoption of digital identity services such as Ethereum Name Service (ENS) domains, Solana Name Service and NFT.com domains, among others. Beltramini shared her thoughts on how the profile aspect of the lens protocol compares and differs from these examples:
“Names services do not link wallets to wallets or social signals. With ENS, I will know what your wallet is and be able to transfer to you, but I won’t actually be able to see the connections within your wallet. So, with Lens, your profile is NFT, [and] when you follow Someone, that’s NFT as well. That’s what ties the bond together.”
Profile NFTs are an essential component of a lens model. Released to an individual’s wallet address, it is intended to serve as a Web3 headquarters of sorts, enabling data self-retention, the ability to publish original pieces of content on the chain, and built-in governance capabilities should users want to build their own. DAO.
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Logical modules and functions open an entire ecosystem of interoperable NFTs. Other users of the platform can have FollowNFT to follow a profile and CollectNFT to collect unique pieces of content. In addition, mirroring allows users to essentially share or re-record content while acknowledging the original owner.
By democratizing user data and linking NFTs to the individual action, Lens is significantly ahead of the traditional experiences of social media, commerce, and digital consumer interaction.
The name Lens is inspired by Lens Culinaris, the green flowering plant whose seeds produce lentils.
Beltramini expressed that this choice of branding was a conscious and deliberate decision to metaphorically symbolize “owning your digital roots” and nurture a core ecosystem “we cultivate together as a community” before stating:
“We are the application layer, and we have multiple protocols that talk together to build different experiences and applications on Lens that is really with the community making decisions and how the protocol will be controlled.”
Societal concerns about environmental spending on Bitcoin (BTC) mining and NFT have sparked critical behaviors from crypto companies seeking to stay ahead of the culture. The Lens Protocol is built on the Polygon network with an inherent focus on “scalability and environmental factors,” Beltramin said.
She also added that there is a “deep, pre-existing relationship between Polygon and the Aave companies on the DeFi side” such that “when the protocol was created a year and a half ago, it was the only scaling solution.”
Beltramini referred to the concept of social graphs, an interconnected map of connections formed by people and mutual friends in a scattered network. An app built within the Lens ecosystem called Cultivator depicts this network as an observatory of night sky constellations.
It can be said that decentralized social media has become popular within Web3 in the past