Saturday, June 3, 2023

The team behind Lens, a Web3 social media protocol, has announced the launch of a new “layer 3” network to scale blockchain social media apps. Called “Bonzai,” the new network processes and stores posts, comments, and shares, taking this data off the Polygon network and thereby increasing scalability for Lens, according to an April 26 announcement viewed by Cointelegraph.

Lens is a blockchain protocol that allows users to form a portable “social graph” or digital set of connections between themselves and others. When a user forms a connection with another person on one Lens app, they can transfer those connections to any other app built on the protocol. There are 17 different Lens-based social media apps listed on the protocol’s official website, including Buttrfly, DumplingTV, Lenster, Lenstube, and others.

Lens runs on the Polygon network, a layer 2 of Ethereum.

In a technical document linked to in the announcement, the Lens team stated that the Polygon network cannot handle the transaction volume or data storage needs of large-scale social media apps, making it necessary for a new “optimistic L3 hyperscaling data solution” to be launched. According to the document, shared blockchain networks can only handle up to 200 transactions per second (TPS), while the previous incarnation of Lens could only handle 40 to 50 TPS. By contrast, it stated that Twitter often does 25,000 TPS during peak periods.

Related: Meta working on text-based decentralized social network codenamed P92

The team anticipated this limitation could prevent the protocol from scaling as its user base grows. To solve this problem, Bonzai has launched as a layer 2 of Polygon itself, or an “L3” of the Ethereum network. Bonzai uses Bundlr, a decentralized storage platform built on Arweave, to store large files while storing verification data about them.

According to the technical paper, the Bonzai network consists of three types of nodes: Submitters, Verifiers, and Timestamps. Submitters validate transactions, build metadata, and submit them to Bundler. Verifiers monitor the data submitted by Submitters and confirm that it is valid. And Timestamps determine what the proper block number and timestamp are for a particular piece of data.

The paper states that this system should “[provide] consumers the experience (instant posts, etc.) they have come to expect from social networks.”

Stani Kulechov, the founder of Lens Protocol, believes Bonzai will be an important step toward spurring mass adoption of Web3 social apps:

“To be competitive with web2, decentralized social must scale. With the ability to support mass consumer adoption, we’ll see continued web3 innovation – new, exciting and compelling features and business models that will spur web3 adoption.”

Several companies in recent years have created decentralized social media protocols, including Lens, Subsocial, DeSo, and others. Developers hope these apps will help broaden the appeal of blockchain networks beyond the financial world. While none of them have attained the success of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other Web2 social apps, some blockchain experts believe decentralized social media will be the next big thing in crypto.