Theta Token is taking the blockchain to video streaming, seeking to decentralize video streaming and video on demand.
Their vision is to provide high quality video streams without the buffering issues often seen today. In addition, they plan on utilizing bandwidth and storage from users to reduce the cost of video streaming while also improving the quality. In exchange for sharing bandwidth and resources, users will be compensated with Theta tokens.
It is indeed quite an ambitious project that has some large centralised competition. So, does it have what it takes?
In this Theta Token review, we will take an in-depth look at the project including the team, technology, unique selling points and prospects for the THETA token. Let’s jump in…
Theta Token Overview
We already know that internet users have a huge appetite for video and video streaming services. That’s been proven by the popularity of YouTube, Twitch, Live.ly and the video streaming additions to Facebook and Twitter. In fact, networking hardware company Cisco estimates that over two-thirds of today’s internet bandwidth is taken up by video streaming. That amount is expected to increase to 82% over the next 18-24 months.
While that’s all well and good, today’s video streaming is not perfect. Many video streams suffer from what is known as “last-mile” delivery problems. The Content Delivery Networks have created an infrastructure where large datacenters provide streaming services for specific geographic areas. However, streams are only as good as the infrastructure that feeds into the actual users homes, and this can sometimes be slow and cause frequent lag, rebuffering and choppy streams.
Traditional CDN Network vs. Theta Token “Hybrid” solution. Source: White Paper
Theta Token’s team has come up with a solution to the “last-mile” problem using decentralized blockchain technology. That has led to the world’s very first Decentralized Streaming Network (DSN). In this blockchain network users are incentivized to share their unused memory and bandwidth to improve the overall network. This leads to better overall performance for everyone, all across the globe. According to the Theta labs founder, Mitch Liu
At its core, Theta is enabling users to share their idle bandwidth and computing resources to mine Theta tokens and in turn cache and relay video streams to others in the network
Theta Token Team & Partners
A second co-founder is Jieyi Long, who was also a co-founder at SLIVER.tv as well as holding a PhD in computer engineering from Northwestern University. SLIVER.tv is a video game streaming service similar to Twitch, and is one of the backbones in the Theta Token infrastructure.
From Left: Mitch Liu (CEO), Jieyi Long (CTO), Ryan Nichols (Chief Product Officer), Riz Virk (Head of Corp Development)
The Theta Token team has forged several crucial partnerships, including one with Twitch that will allow viewers to earn Theta Tokens (THETA) by sharing their bandwidth to broadcast streams.
It also has partnerships with Steam, a video game provider, and with the decentralized cloud computing blockchain Aelf. One other key partnership is with the startup accelerator Play Labs.
Technology behind Theta Token
The Theta blockchain network is secured by a Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism, which is far less demanding computationally, and has a higher transaction throughput when compared with Proof-of-Work protocols. By using PoS as the consensus mechanism it’s possible to have many different devices acting as viewers and caching nodes.
You might wonder how Theta Token is handling the issues of scalability in blockchain and video streaming. They have developed a Resource Oriented Micropayment Pool to solve scalability issues. In addition, they are implementing something called Proof-of-Engagement to track the delivery of video segments. The distribution and collection of rewards on the platform is handled by Smart Streaming Contracts, which are a specific type of smart contracts on the Theta Token blockchain.
Here are more detailed explanations of these new concepts:
Resource-Oriented Micropayment Pool
The Resource Oriented Micropayment Pool was created by Theta Token specifically to create off-chain payment pools that users can for off-chain withdrawals. They have been designed to be resistant to double spending and also offer more flexibility than other off-chain solutions.
Resource Oriented Micropayment Pool overview. Source: Whitepaper
If a double spend is attempted it is detected by the validators on the Theta Network. One use case for the Resource Oriented Micropayment Pool is to allow for payments to multiple caching nodes without using on-chain transactions.
The major benefit of using this solution is that it allows for much greater scalability by keeping many micro-transactions off the blockchain.
As you might guess from the name, this is a protocol that proves viewers have actually watched a live video. It’s a means of providing transparency for advertisers, as well as being a means for users to earn Theta tokens in return for their engagement.
The Proof-of-Engagement protocol is necessary to create a reliable measure of video stream engagement and a trustworthy way for viewers and advertisers to measure their video stream engagement.
Smart Streaming Contracts
Smart Streaming Contracts are type of smart contract or incentive contract used to help facilitate reward distribution and collection.
Examples of Incentive Contracts on Theta Network. Source: Whitepaper
There are a number of use cases for Smart Streaming Contracts, including:
- Advertisers rewarding streamers and viewers;
- Viewers gifting rewards to streamers;
- Gift contracts for multiple streamers;
- Premium or paid video content;
- Subscriptions to streamers content or to Decentralized Content Networks;
- Cachers can share rewards with viewers and content streamers.
The Smart Streaming Contracts were designed to be executed by validators, which means the original person or entity who funds the contract doesn’t need to be involved with distributions or validations.
Theta Token Network
The THETA tokens were launched in December of last year and are currently ERC-20 tokens. Once the blockchain launches (est. late 2018) these ERC-20 tokens can be exchanged for native tokens at a 1:1 ratio. These tokens are already a part of the SLIVER.tv platform and are used to reward viewers, streamers and those who share their resources (memory/bandwidth) with the Theta Network.
The network was created with 5 major groups of stakeholders:
- Streamers/Influencers – These are the content producers of the network who produce live content and videos for later consumption. They are rewarded with Theta tokens for their contributions.
- Viewers – The users who come to SLIVER.tv to consume video content. They provide viewer engagement, which is arguably the most important part of the entire video streaming network. Viewers are rewarded for viewing and engaging with videos and can also choose to be rewarded for viewing advertisements.
- Advertisers – They use the platform to promote services and products to the viewers. They spend Theta tokens to buy advertising time in the network, and to sponsor influencers.
- Caching Nodes – These are the computers and servers that provide the network with caching services to improve the quality and delivery of the video stream. They are also rewarded with Theta tokens.
- Ingest Nodes – These are nodes which assist in providing various bitrates, stream resolutions, etc. They provide their services to the caching nodes for live streams and are rewarded for doing so.
Buying & Storing THETA
The two largest exchange services for THETA are being provided by Huobi and Binance’s Exchange. Huobi will allow you to exchange BTC, ETH and USDT for THETA, while Binance offers trades in BTC, ETH and BNB.
THETA is also available on the following exchanges:
Because THETA is currently an ERC-20 token it can be stored in any compatible wallet such as MetaMask, MyEtherWallet or MyCrypto. You’ll get the best security by storing the coins in a hardware wallet however.
A THETA native wallet is scheduled to be released by the Theta Token team sometime in the third quarter of 2018.
THETA Price History
Rather than holding a public ICO, the Theta Token team held a private sale in which $12 million was raised. The pre-sale token price was $0.15 and by the following month the price had more than doubled to $0.31.
Of course that was during the huge rally in blockchain markets in January 2018. Since then the price has dropped back and as of the end of August 2018 it is sitting at roughly $0.10.
Since the launch of the Theta live streaming platform back in 2016 the project has come a very long way. With THETA now live on the SLIVER.tv platform and the testnet working well, the team expects to see the main net launch in late 2018, which will be accompanied by the native THETA tokens.
Video streaming has a huge and increasing demand in the 21st century, and the Theta Token team is looking to make their platform the go-to blockchain for video streaming. It remains to be seen if they can succeed, but they have a very talented and experienced team and a solid vision. Plus they have a very good start compared with some other similar projects.
There are several interesting things being planned after the network is launched, including shared mining rewards to distribute rewards among several users; anti-piracy measures to dis-incentivize piracy; and the inclusion of a general service platform that goes beyond streaming videos, but provides such services as smart streaming contracts.
The THETA token has just moved into the top 100 coins on Coinmarketcap.com and certainly bears watching as it prepares to launch its live network in the coming months.
Image via Fotolia and Theta Token