The latest version of Web3 social layer Lens Protocol has been released, introducing improved functionality to support new use cases and shared monetization for its growing Web3 user base.
Decentralized Finance (DeFi) firm Aave Companies announced Lens Protocol V2 on July 17 during EthCC in Paris, with the code powering the protocol reworked to enable improved composability, configurability and functionality.
As Aave and Lens Protocol founder Stani Kulechov told Cointelegraph, Lens is a decentralized protocol built on Polygon featuring a technology stack that allows developers to build and deploy Web3 social apps, as well allowing Web3 social features to be integrated with existing Web2 and mobile experiences:
“Our vision is for Lens Protocol to enable all applications to connect seamlessly across blockchain and non-blockchain applications, and reward both individuals and the collective shared network.”
According to Kulechov, Lens has around 119,000 Web3 users in its beta which also has a lengthy waiting list. Applications built on Lens can leverage this same audience, which is a key component of the protocol’s social graph architecture into which applications plug.
The protocol provides an alternative to conventional Web2 networks and their centralized database models which rule out portability. As Lens’ core documentation explores, Web2 platforms fight a zero-sum game for user attention, with one’s gain equaling another’s loss.
Lens Protocol allows users to own their personal data and carry it across connected or integrated applications. Kulechov added that Lens is designed to enable human engagement across the internet while benefiting contributors and the wider ecosystem:
“We are still in the early days of web3 social. Lens has been working with builders and content creators to attract them to develop consumer apps and publish content on Lens.”
Kulechov said that it’s traditionally difficult for new social platforms to compete with incumbents for audience and funding. Lens intends to remove some risk associated with the “cold start” problem that developers face, with ecosystem apps sharing the same Web3 audience.
He added that recently launched Threads is an example of how Instagram leveraged its existing audience to attract them to a new app that competes with Twitter.
“By utilizing their built-in Instagram users, Threads demonstrated the power of shared social networks when launching a new app. Only, in this case, the shared network is closed — allowing only Meta apps to benefit.”
V2 of the protocol is expected to deliver more ways to share value, allowing users to choose specific algorithms and move freely between communities and applications. For Kulechov, the prospect of new social experiences being built on Lens remains a main draw card as the protocol’s shared user base allows new apps or integrations to leverage the existing network.
Kulechov also stressed that Lens is not designed to be a “front end” app but rather a shared network protocol that hands value back to users, creators and developers.
“Lens utilizes blockchain, smart contracts, decentralized storage and NFTs to reimagine social networks that are open and diverse, offering different types of experiences and communities.”
The likes of Unstoppable Domains and Ethereum Name Service have driven the uptake of Web3 decentralized domain names that act as self-custodial digital identities and human-readable wallets over the past two years.