At the EthCC conference in Paris, Stani Kulechov, the founder of Aave and Lens Protocol, made an exciting announcement—the launch of Lens Protocol V2. With a primary focus on open standards and profile switching, Lens Protocol aims to revolutionize social media by providing users with greater control and portability.
Escaping the chains of centralization
Kulechov kicked off his presentation by highlighting the limitations of centralized social platforms, which he believes “lock in users” and restrict their data. These walled gardens stifle choice and innovation. In contrast, decentralized protocols like Lens strive to create an open social graph, where identity and content can seamlessly move across applications.
He pointed out the power of portability by referencing Threads, a platform that garnered 100 million users within five days by allowing Instagram imports. Traditional social media platforms control algorithms and user data, reaping the benefits while users themselves often go unrewarded. Decentralized social protocols aim to address this disparity by transforming profiles and content into NFTs, enabling users to have full ownership and control over their digital identities.
Evolution from V1 to V2
Building upon the success of Lens Protocol V1, which simplified the creation of social applications with just a few lines of code, Lens Protocol V2 introduces new features to enhance the social experience. The introduction of “open actions” allows any on-chain behavior, such as NFT minting or trading, to be connected to social content seamlessly. This integration of Web3 activities aims to bridge the gap between the decentralized world and the social realm. Additionally, the concept of “collective value sharing” facilitates the monetization and portability of content across Lens apps.
Lens Protocol V2 introduces a revamped profile architecture, where handles and profiles exist as distinct NFTs. This innovative approach enhances ownership and flexibility for users, enabling the creation of multiple handles within a single profile or the option to attach an ENS name. Kulechov emphasized the transformative power of profile NFTs, as they enable other NFTs to possess profiles and actively engage in social interactions.
Advanced features for social engagement
Collect, the NFT storage feature, allows users to gather and store content on Lens. Mirror, on the other hand, serves as the platform’s equivalent of a retweet. If a mirrored piece of content generates revenue, those who mirror the content will also receive a share.
Kulechov also elaborated on the new profile manager, which enables users to securely store their profiles in cold storage and delegate social actions to a wallet they use daily. This feature empowers users to have future social experiences without the need for signing transactions themselves.
Open standards, limitless potential
Lens Protocol V2 represents a social protocol that prioritizes open standards over closed platforms, granting users greater control and ownership. Additional safety measures have been implemented to safeguard profiles and mitigate issues like phishing.
While the success of the protocol in attracting creators and users remains uncertain, Lens’ open philosophy invites developers to build upon and extend the protocol, unleashing its full potential. Kulechov concluded his EthCC talk by encouraging more developers to leverage Lens as an identity and content layer, fostering innovative social experiences.
The platform is also venturing into more crypto-native actions, allowing builders to integrate activities such as joining a DAO or directly donating to public goods into different forms of content.
Profiles, originally ERC-721 NFTs, have now been upgraded to the ERC-6551 standard. This transition brings them closer to being crypto wallets, enabling users to buy, sell, and store cryptocurrencies, going beyond conventional digital collectibles.
Lens Protocol’s latest release comes at a time of increasing interest in alternatives to Twitter and signifies a step towards a more decentralized, user-centric social landscape.