Weeks after Aave founder Stani Kulechov was temporarily suspended from Twitter for proclaiming himself “interim CEO of Twitter,” the decentralized finance (DeFi) lender’s long-teased decentralized social media platform is going live.
Lens Protocol opened on the Polygon blockchain mainnet Wednesday, Kulechov announced onstage at the Permissionless conference in Palm Beach, Florida. Built by Aave Companies, it allows developers to build their own decentralized social media networks in which users fully own their data.
“All [Web 3] innovation has been driven by the idea of ownership,” said Kulechov via Telegram. “Web 3 social ensures that users are in control of their content which makes the applications and algorithms compete on bringing the best experience layer to the users.”
The protocol was first announced in February, but today people can starting minting their profiles, an Aave spokesperson said, noting about 50 apps are already built on Lens.
Social graph protocols are popping up across the blockchain space to fight concerns about data ownership. Siloed data-buster CyberConnect said Tuesday it raised $15 million to build out its protocol. And Twitter founder Jack Dorsey has long backed efforts to experiment with decentralized social media concepts, too.
Aave’s Lens differs in its focus on non-fungible tokens (NFTs): each creator gets their own. These “profile” NFTs link to their followers and communities and interact with the 50+ platforms available at launch.
Aave has additionally launched a $250,000 grants program to fund projects seeking to build decentralized applications (dapps) on Lens.
Speaking at the Permissionless crypto event on Wednesday morning, Kulechov said Aave and Lens share the same ethos.
“We believe that the ownership of content and profiles should belong to you in the way that DeFi belongs to you,” he said.
UPDATE (May 18, 13:27 UTC): Adds on-stage Kulechov comment.
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