Lens Network to migrate to zkSync

The Web3 social protocol is looking to scale massively

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Avara founder Stani Kulechov | Ben Solomon Photo LLC for Blockworks

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On-chain social network infrastructure Lens is getting a new home.

The new Lens Network will build upon the work of the original Lens Protocol as one of zkSync’s ZK Stack hyperchains.

Lens Lab develops the protocol under the umbrella of Avara, which also built DeFi giant Aave.

But Avara CEO Stani Kulechov told Blockworks that the non-financial use cases of crypto — citing identity and online social interactions — have the potential to be even bigger.

“The way I think about finance and social [spaces] is that there are a lot of people who have financial capital, but everyone on the planet has social capital — the content we create, the relationships we create and the identities we interact with,” Kulechov said.

Read more: Web2 social media kinda sucks. So why aren’t people using Web3 platforms?

The ZK Stack chain will serve as a “central hub” for Lens, which, according to a blog post released Tuesday, will “seamlessly integrate with other EVM and non-EVM blockchains.”

A testnet release of the new network is still months away. The current version of Lens has been operational on Polygon’s PoS chain since May 2022.

The modular, open-source ZK Stack framework, based on the zkSync Era code, will provide Lens with horizontal scaling, connecting as many Lens chains as needed by zk bridges, according to Matter Labs CEO Alex Gluchowski.

“You can add one billion users and you will not lose any of the properties of verifiability,” Gluchowski told Blockworks. “Every single transaction of those millions and billions of users will be verified by every single Ethereum validator — which is the magic of zk,” he said.

Lens pioneered on-chain social infrastructure, but was initially conceived and developed at a time when zk rollup technology was still seen as years away from production at scale.

Read more: ZkSync launches rival to Optimism’s OP Stack

“We want to build something that enables open and fair social spaces that anyone can participate on a network level, and because of the ownership aspect that also means you can own your social capital,” Kulechov explained.

That’s not possible with today’s social networks. User-created content is owned by the platforms, giving users limited ways to monetize without locking them in or relying on advertisers.

“We see Lens as the forebearer of Ethereum values when it comes to social,” Gluchowski said. “Lens is the only network that is actually making users the owners of their identities and their content. Everything is happening on-chain.”

Read more: Empire Newsletter: Here’s where all the crypto users really are

That’s in contrast to Farcaster, where posts and interactions are primarily off-chain, as are user profiles, although they are linked to an on-chain Ethereum address.

Mainstream Web2 social options like Facebook are centralized and silo user-generated content.

“Our mission is to change the relationship to be more fair [and] give more ownership and power to the users. Hopefully that user choice creates more open social spaces where users can choose algorithms and experiences as well, and there’s more competition on the application level,” Kulechov said.

The parties did not disclose any financial terms related to the move, or a strategy to incentivize users to migrate to the new version.

“We haven’t had any thoughts on migration incentives,” Kulechov said, adding: “I think people will organically migrate from the existing structure into the Lens Net fork down the line.”

But Kulechov noted that the phased approach to the rollout would include inviting users to migrate during a testnet phase and then be upgraded into the mainnet when ready.


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