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Could Lens Put Crypto-Based Social Networks on the Map?

By Evan Jones06/07/2024

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In the wake of the takeover of Twitter (now X) by Elon Musk, there were many who left the social media application and began looking for decentralized alternatives such as Mastodon and Nostr. Though these decentralized social networks haven’t taken over much market share, that doesn’t mean that the concept isn’t still viable and that’s why Lens is set to launch their own layer-2 blockchain. 

Let’s discuss Lens and their goals.

Lens Protocol

The Lens Protocol is a Web3 social graph built on the Polygon (MATIC) blockchain network. Lens is designed to empower creators to own the links between themselves and their community, forming a fully composable, user-owned social graph. The Lens protocol is built from the ground up for modularity. This allows new features and fixes to be added while ensuring fixed user-owned content and social relationships.

Lens Protocol aims to solve major issues with current social media networks. One of the main issues is that Web2 networks all read from their specific, centralized database. There is no portability. Your profile, friends, and content are locked to that specific network and owned by that network’s operator. This means each network competes with each other for your attention.

The Lens Protocol is a user-owned, open social graph that any application can plug into. Since you as a user own your data, you can bring it to any application built on top of Lens Protocol. As the true owner of your content, you no longer need to worry about losing your content, audience, or livelihood based on changes to an individual social media company’s algorithms and policies. 

Profile NFT

The Profile NFT is one of the main components of the Lens Protocol. Ownership over this NFT gives you control of your social graph and content. Individual addresses own ProfileNFTs, and an address can contain multiple ProfileNFTs. 

The Lens Profile NFT is different from other on-chain identities because of the ability to post Publications to it. Publications are all of the original content, comments, quotes, and mirrors produced by creators, curators, and users. Publications come in four primary types: posts, comments, quotes and mirrors. The Profile NFT contains the history of all of the posts, quotes, mirrors, comments, and other content you generate.

Migrating to zkSync and the Lens Network

Lens Lab, an entity under Avara, has announced the Lens Network. The Lens Network is being developed on the ZK Stack utilizing zkSync technology on Ethereum. Development of the Lens Network on the ZK Stack helps to address and overcome scalability challenges faced by blockchain technologies. The Lens Network aims to match conventional social networks’ user experience while retaining web3’s distinctive features, such as user ownership and secure transactions.

The Lens Network will create and enhance user empowerment, with features allowing users more control over their online presence and interactions. The network supports already existing Lens Profiles and offers new minting options, ensuring users can effortlessly maintain or expand their digital identities through Lens.

The Future for Lens Network

The rollout of the Lens Network will occur in three phases. This starts with Validium. Validium is a scaling solution that enforces integrity of transactions using validity proofs like ZK-rollups, but without storing transaction data on the Ethereum Layer-1. It uses ZK compression techniques on Ethereum to ensure robust data accessibility. 

The next phase will introduce separate Validium chains designed to cater to different social network use cases and levels of privacy. It will use a public data availability provider to guarantee the security of public state data. The final phase will culminate in a Volition network that blends roll ups and Validium for enhanced security and flexibility. 

Volitions combine ZK-rollup and Validium chains to allow users to switch between the two scaling solutions. With volitions, users can take advantage of validium’s off-chain data availability for certain transactions, while retaining the freedom to switch to an on-chain data availability solution (ZK-rollup) if needed. 

Closing Thoughts

The centralization of social media and user data is certainly worth disrupting, as it affects so much of what you see and whether you are seen on various applications.

The Lens Network aims to help disrupt this centralization while also providing a way for you to keep all of your data no matter which network you go to. Assuming good social media apps are built on top of the Lens Network, it will be interesting to see just how many users look to start migrating to them.

Article tags

adoption
cryptocurrency
social media
Evan Jones

Author

Evan entered the crypto scene in 2017, attracted to the many disruptive possibilities that blockchain could have on current world systems. He has a keen interest in decentralized services, payment processing, and viable NFT use cases such as event ticketing. He spends his days writing with his dog Kobe under his feet, if not on his lap.

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