DeFi’s Aave Launches Web 3 Social Media Platform ‘Lens’

Composability will be a key feature of the new offering.

AccessTimeIconFeb 7, 2022 at 9:56 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 4:47 p.m. UTC

After months of teasing a possible move into social media, popular decentralized finance (DeFi) lending platform Aave has finally made the leap.

On Monday, Aave founder Stani Kulechov announced the launch of Lens, what he described on Twitter as an “open, composable [Web 3] social media protocol to allow anyone to create a non-custodial social media profile and build new social media applications.”

The launch comes at a time when permissionless social media platforms are once again a hot topic of debate. Over the weekend, Ethereum Name Service core team member Brantly Millegan was removed after old posts condemning transgenderism and homosexuality were resurfaced on Twitter.

The episode launched a heated debate about the nature of censorship in Web 3.

In the case of Lens, interoperability and composability will be key features of the new platform. According to the Lens website, the protocol’s name comes from Lens Culinaris, a “tall, branched plant” that has “a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria. If the roots are left in the ground, they will provide a source of nitrogen for its neighbor.”

In much the same way, Lens serves as a platform on which developers can hypothetically build a wide range of applications – all while growing on and drawing on a shared base of users.

“The cool part is that every app will expand the social graph, essentially there is less need for developers to growth hack for users, instead the focus can be shifted towards better and more humane user experience,” said Kulechov in an interview with CoinDesk.

According to the Lens website, the protocol allows users to create NFT-based profiles that can store posts, publications and follower history; revenue-sharing features for content hosted on IPFS; it also has built-in governance for groups of mutual followers. The protocol is built on Polygon, the blockchain that just raised $450 million in a token sale.

According to the Lens website, a grants program for developers who want to build applications on the protocol is currently open, and a homebrewed social app designed to demonstrate how the platform might be leveraged is “coming soon." When asked about a timeline, Kulechov told CoinDesk that the social app will be released in Q1 2022.

The move from Aave follows last month’s announced hire of Twitter data scientist Julien Gaillard.


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Andrew Thurman

Andrew Thurman was a tech reporter at CoinDesk with a focus on DeFi.

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