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Questions about spam and content ownership have plagued traditional social networks, but Lens Protocol thinks blockchain is the solution. Photo: Shutterstock

Crypto-based Twitter alternative Lens Protocol addresses problems Elon Musk says he wants to solve, founder says

  • Lens Protocol links user posts to NFTs, giving creators ownership of their content on the platform
  • Founder Stani Kulechov says blockchain-based tools can help verify identities, prevent spam and present an open system
Last month, after Elon Musk said he would acquire Twitter, a Finnish cryptocurrency developer named Stani Kulechov tweeted a joke saying he was selected as Twitter’s interim chief executive officer. Then Twitter briefly suspended his account.
On Wednesday, Kulechov will deliver his response: He built a rival social network based on blockchain technology, which will become available for anyone to access for the first time. The network, Lens Protocol, allows people to post and follow but differs from Twitter in a major way: Each piece of content is associated with non-fungible token (NFT), giving the creator ownership over their posts, said Kulechov, founder and CEO of the London-based start-up Aave.
Musk and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey have expressed interest in creating a more decentralised Twitter and open-sourcing its algorithm. Musk has also raised doubts about whether he will even go through with the acquisition, citing concerns about bots on the network.

YouTube is exploring NFT features for creators, CEO says

Lens Protocol is suited to handling many of the issues that Musk has said he’s worried about, Kulechov said. Blockchain-based tools can help verify identities, prevent spam and present an open system, he said. “Open sourcing comes by default with public blockchains,” Kulechov said.

His own experiences with Twitter, including the temporary ban, helped inform the work on Lens Protocol, Kulechov said: “As a user, you’re very much at the mercy of the platforms.”

Converting enough people to a different social network is a big challenge, whether for blockchain-based networks or more ideological ones, like Gab or former US president Donald Trump’s Truth Social. Then there is the flight from crypto incited by the recent crash of the TerraUSD stablecoin.

Kulechov is undeterred. His team sees potential for social gaming and music sharing to be added to Lens Protocol and will continue developing on the platform. “We’ve been building during bear markets and bull markets,” Kulechov said. “And we just don’t care.”