Lens Protocol Goes Permissionless: What It Means for Decentralized Social Media

Lens, a social graph protocol that allows users to create and own their on-chain profiles, has announced its transition to a permissionless phase. This means that anyone can join the platform by minting a non-fungible token (NFT) for their profile, without needing an invitation or approval from the Lens team.

The permissionless phase, which went live on February 27, 2024, aims to make Lens more accessible and inclusive for users who want to participate in the decentralized social media space. Users can create their profiles for a fee of 10 matic tokens (currently valued at $10.30) or pay a similar amount with a credit card. Once they have a Lens profile, they can interact with various decentralized applications (dapps) within the Lens ecosystem, such as LensChat, LensFeed, and LensMarket.

Lens, which launched in May 2022 on the Polygon blockchain, is one of the leading platforms in the emerging field of decentralized social media. Unlike traditional social media platforms, which are centralized and controlled by corporations, decentralized social media platforms are powered by blockchain technology and give users more control and ownership over their data and identity.

Lens is based on the concept of a social graph, which is a user-owned and decentralized map of connections and relationships between individuals and entities. By using NFTs as user profiles, Lens enables users to have a unique and verifiable identity on the blockchain, as well as to benefit from the value and utility of their profiles. For example, users can monetize their profiles by selling or renting them, or use them as collateral for loans or access to exclusive dapps.

However, Lens is not the only platform that is trying to revolutionize the social media landscape. It faces fierce competition from Farcaster, another prominent platform that also uses NFTs as user profiles and offers a similar range of dapps. Farcaster, which launched on the Optimism blockchain in September 2023, has been ahead of Lens in terms of adopting a permissionless model, which it implemented in October 2023.

According to some analysts, Farcaster has an edge over Lens in terms of scalability and performance, as Optimism is a layer-2 solution that enables faster and cheaper transactions than Polygon, which is a sidechain. However, Lens has a loyal and growing user base, as well as a strong network of partners and developers who support its vision and innovation.

The permissionless phase is expected to boost Lens’s growth and adoption, as well as to attract more users and developers to its platform. Lens’s co-founder and CEO, Alex Lee, said in a blog post that the permissionless phase is a “major milestone” for Lens and the decentralized social media space.

“We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to create and own their on-chain identity, and to participate in the decentralized social media revolution. With the permissionless phase, we are opening the doors for anyone to join Lens and to experience the benefits and possibilities of a social graph protocol. We are excited to see what the community will create and share on Lens, and how they will shape the future of social media,” Lee wrote.

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