A Look Into the Current Decentralized Video Platform Landscape
We took the time to write a full DeepDive on Theta. You can find the article here.
Means of communicating have always been able to influence the way people think and behave.
From the Acta Durna in ancient Roman times to radio, television, and, in this era, watching and streaming videos on your laptop or phone. The things that you see or hear can alter the way you think about pretty much everything. From the first moment you can comprehend the information you receive, they are influencing you.
This doesn’t mean these ways of communicating are a bad thing. They are responsible for a lot of essential and significant aspects of your life. Video platforms like Youtube, for example, are increasingly the root cause and source of what people are learning.
However, through history, these mediums have also been used to spread propaganda and false information. Sometimes even diluting its publics’ vision to such an extent that they do things they would usually never do.
The internet created a boon era for freedom of speech. Information and facts are readily available for everyone to find and see, and since what we see isn’t controlled by one single entity, we can receive multiple points of view.
That is, until we get our information primarily of sources controlled by one entity with a specific goal.
In the last decade, the internet has evolved into an environment where people surf a couple of gigantic hubs rather than hopping to many sites that are owned and governed by different companies and people. Sites like Facebook, Youtube, and Google decide what content we see and what is targeted towards us. In most cases, they can do the opposite as well – make sure that information is hidden away and not being picked up by their algorithms.
In the last couple of months, we are seeing an eerie development where these behemoths are blatantly censoring information and content—something we haven’t seen before, at least not at this pace. Whether or not people agree with the opinion of someone isn’t relevant. The success of these platforms was mostly based on the idea of giving everyone a stage to express themselves. This can be something as silly as a cat video all the way to people claiming that any, and all, conspiracies are true.
It isn’t up to a board of directors to determine what we can and can not see. The fundamentals of free speech are being attacked. People with outspoken opinions are getting their videos censored or are even getting banned at an ever-increasing and alarming pace. In April 2020 the CEO of Youtube explicitly stated that removing videos is one of the weapons in their armory to go against messages they don’t agree with or want the public to see.
There is something that can be said about it being a private company that can decide what should be on their platform. Still, it should raise some eyebrows that we are seeing the same people being collectively shunned on a wide variety of media. All of them have an outspoken opinion against the current ruling class.
Luckily we now have blockchain technology and a number of both startups as well as veteran companies (if such a thing is possible in blockchains young age) that think freedom of speech, being censorship-resistant, and giving a podium to all kinds of opinions, are all very important.
It means that people will not be silenced and that there is a way to combat propaganda and one-way media. An increasing number of people are getting more concerned that what they see and hear isn’t always what is really happening. We see more and more people flock to new and blockchain-powered platforms, not only to be able to see content that has been censored on other platforms, but also because it simply is a better deal for them.
With blockchain technology enabling both content creators as well as curators to earn cryptocurrencies instead of digital likes, the choice is easily made. Besides that, these platforms ensure that your data is yours, and is encrypted, that you don’t have to watch 2 ads before even being able to watch a video (and get interrupted every 10 mins by more ads) and that your content is yours. This shift will be huge and will change the way we create and consume content forever. Where legacy platforms only give creators a platform to show and store their content, blockchain-powered platforms will give them the opportunity to actually monetize the attention they create.
In our eyes, it’s only a matter of time before the migration will start.
In this article, we will discuss the video platforms that are currently up and running and that are spearheading the transformation from current-gen video watching to the blockchain era.
Although we plan of giving the most exciting ones a proper DeepDive themselves on a later date, here we will give you a rundown of the most important and interesting aspects of a number of platforms.
We’ll start off our list with LBRY. LBRY is one of the oldest platforms. They launched in June 2016 with the goal of enabling a decentralized platform that is free, open, and fair for both its content consumers and content creators. It has since become a household name in the cryptocurrency space, however, we feel it hasn’t yet been able to really take off and finds itself currently around the 300th place on coinmarketcap.com.
LBRY is a protocol that enables content creators to place their content (which by the way isn’t limited to only videos, it could also be audio, a document or pretty much any other file), and decide if they want to give it away for free or use a pay-per-click model.
Viewers are also able to tip creators in LBC, the native LBRY coin, through their app, even if the creator shares the content for free.
Furthermore, users can earn rewards, in LBC tokens, in a multitude of ways. From uploading content to watching videos, and from increasing your follower count to onboarding new users. The platform makes sure to give you the right incentives.
The platform is ad-free, and LBRY does not take a piece of the pie, calling it themselves to be ‘rent-free’. LBRY is available on both Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS.
They have a plethora of guides to get you started, and if you already have a Youtube channel it is easy to get your content linked with your LBRY account.
It is important to note that nothing can be removed on the protocol layer, but on the application layer illegal content will be blocked!
We feel LBRY is one of the more interesting platforms out there, feel free to use our referral link to make a new account!
Second on our list is Bittube. Besides delivering a platform for content creators and streamers, which also focuses on decentralization, free speech, and being able to monetize your own content, Bittube sets itself apart by also having built a very interesting Blockchain technology called Airtime.
This module has multiple aspects. It detects when you are consuming content of any kind and rewards you with their currency TUBE. It also has a built-in adblocker, a VPN solution, a secure wallet, and you are able to link and monetize your current social media accounts and websites.
BitTube has a couple of defining tools and elements, but so far has also not been able to get enough traction. Sitting at a surprising total market cap of just 2 million dollars, BitTube is one we will keep an eye on, and will probably get their own DeepDive in the not so distant future. The Airtime module is revolutionary and ensures that you will earn simply for browsing the web, something that you already do! And, in the same fashion as Basic Attention token and the Brave browser works, it will also reward the publisher or content creator you are spending time with.
Steem originated platforms
Next up are 3 platforms that originally started on the Steem blockchain. Their goals appear to be somewhat similar but there are a couple of distinct changes between them.
We’ll start with Dlive
Dlive is the first decentralized video live streaming platform that originated on Steem. From the start, its main focus was to build a streaming service similar to Twitch, and in the last 3 years, they have built the platform into something pretty special.
During those years they have migrated from the Steem blockchain to a Lino blockchain, and are now powered by BitTorrent on the TRON blockchain, fusing with Blive – the Bittorrent live streaming service – with the goal of making it possible for streamers and viewers to take advantage of blockchain technology and all its benefits. This also enabled new ways of generating income for its userbase. For example, it’s now possible to stake the BTT generated by your streaming efforts.
DLive has its own currency ‘Lemon’ which can only be used on the Dlive platform, but streamers can be compensated in the well-known cryptocurrencies Tether, Tron and the before mentioned BitTorrent Token (BTT).
However, it has to be said that Dlive being part of the TRON network can be seen as both a positive and a negative. The way Justin Sun has been manifesting himself has been, at least, controversial and it remains to be seen if his marketing efforts can outweigh his sometimes questionable business ethics. Nonetheless, the Dlive team has created an impressive platform and everything that helps us usher into the decentralized and blockchain-powered era, and is also one the most successful decentralized streaming platforms available currently, deserves our honest verdict and sincere attention.
The second platform that runs on the Steem blockchain is D.tube.
The name is clearly derived from two words: Decentralized and Youtube, and that’s exactly what D.tube is gunning for. D.tube has been running on the Steem blockchain for a couple of years now, and they are close to launching their own mainnet, which will include their own native token DTC (D.TubeCoin). DTC will be used to incentivize its content creators, viewers, and influencers to spend time on their platform. Everyone on the platform will be able to generate cryptocurrencies by posting and curating content, whereby the most popular videos and comments will be rewarded most by their blockchain formula, which will distribute DTC every hour.
The platform can be especially interesting for Youtube creators looking for a decentralized platform giving them an honest piece of the attention economy since Youtube videos can be easily transferred over to D.tube.
Being decentralized does give D.tube its own problems though. Videos transferred from other sources than Youtube take a long time to be uploaded, the UI needs an improvement, buffering videos can sometimes take a lot of time and, but that is a common problem among these platforms, the content is still really lacking.
Furthermore, We have read about cases in which entire accounts were lost, and it’s possible that this will again be the case when they move to their own blockchain so we advise people to take a wait and see approach here. We will revisit D.tube after their launch!
The youngest video platform that originated on Steem is 3speak.
3Speak positions itself as a home of free speech. Unless the content is seriously illegal, everything is possible. People are able to talk about any subject, whether it is religious, political, or something as trivial as the weather. Everything is fair game.
3Speak started on the Steem blockchain but has moved to the Hive blockchain after the TRON (hostile) takeover. However, the already existing Proof of Brain concept that originated on the Steem blockchain still helps with granting decentralized rewards. Another aspect of the Steem and Hive blockchain, communities, can be used to create places where likeminded individuals can come together and enjoy each other’s’ content.
For now, 3Speak does use a centralized front end, which includes high-end servers. The reason being that they want to give people the same experience that they are accustomed to by using Youtube.
Although there is a free version available where you can already start sharing your content, there will also be a premium membership subscription option available which enables you to make communities, opens up live-streaming and more.
3speak had a lot of plans that would use the Steem media tokens, but since the Hive hardfork, it isn’t clear to us where 3speak is planning on going. What we do know is that they intended to create their own token, but with all that has happened in the previous months, things seem to have postponed.
Since CryptoDeepDive has decided to implement Hive into their platform strategy we certainly hope that 3Speak will be able to make all the right moves, and we’ll inform you when interesting updates have been launched.
If you want to start using the platform we’ll be happy to get your Hive account setup. Send us a message and we’ll get you up and running. You can also use this link to start your Hive adventure and we will send you a bit of Hive Power!
We’ll finish this overview with Verasity
Verasity has been, somewhat quietly, building a plethora of new technologies and implementations to combine blockchain technology, for a large part, into current-gen video platforms. They focus on creating a fair model between viewers, content creators, and advertisers.
In the same fashion as the Basic attention token in the Brave browser, Verasity wants to make sure that viewers only watch ads when they choose to, which creates a better ROI for advertisers and a better experience for their users. Viewers can earn VRA tokens for watching ads and can decide if they want to disclose personal information. If they do, advertisers can target their ads better, and viewers can earn more VRA.
On top of that, they built a smart attention model for current-gen video platforms. Viewers are able to click on a trophy button to earn some tokens which are then directly sent to their wallet. Since the trophy won’t always be visible it ensures that viewers are actually watching the video. Verasity calls this their Proof-of-view technology, and it’s quite clever.
Verasity started their project in 2017 and launched their token in April 2019. When looking at their roadmap and the milestones they already completed, there simply is too much to digest in a short write-up here. Besides the above-mentioned technologies, they have their own video platform and are trying to conquer the gaming sector. They have added a game store and have signed an Esport team. Verasity deserves its own DeepDive and we’ll give them a full-fledged review soon.
Where to go now?
It’s evident that the video and live streaming sector are moving more and more into a decentralized environment where all parties, content creators, consumers, and even advertisers, are able to earn their own fair share of the attention economy. Legacy operators and platforms are giving all these new platforms an ever bigger chance by postponing the inevitable.
The biggest problem we see so far is that it seems pretty difficult to get a fully decentralized platform that still gives its users the experience they are accustomed to by using, for example, Youtube and Twitch. And although we would love to see everyone migrate to their decentralized counterparts, we see a lack of content and viewers. This may be a chicken and egg situation, and we are confident that the rewards and incentives that are already available should nudge all parties towards this better alternative.
It is also still pretty difficult to decide who will be the clear winners in the coming years, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. There is probably room for multiple winners instead of a winner takes all industry. Furthermore, looking at all the progress, and technical innovation we see on display makes us think that it is only a matter of time before consuming videos on a decentralized and incentivized video platform will become the new standard.
As per usual, we will be sure to follow the sector and give the most promising platforms their own deep-dive.
We’re curious to hear your opinion on this matter, who do you think has the brightest future ahead? Did we miss an interesting platform?
If you have any other remarks or question feel free to post them below, we’ll be sure to respond!
Working towards a decentralized future,
Jamie – Founder CryptoDeepDive.com