THETA (THETA) | Coin Review |
Theta Network is trying to build a decentralized video streaming platform, that aims to revolutionize the way video content is distributed across the Internet by taking advantage of the decentralized nature of blockchain technology. Users of the Theta platform are encouraged to share unused memory and computing power of their computers. In exchange for sharing bandwidth and resources, viewers will earn Theta tokens. The goal is to provide high quality, smooth video streaming while at the same time reduce the cost of delivering video streams.
What problem does Theta solve?
Typically media companies like Netflix, Amazon, CNN, etc. deliver their content through Content Delivery Networks. The CDN providers build data centers in various locations across the world. The closer the viewer to these data centers, the better is the streaming experience. As of now delivering high-quality video streaming to every part of the world is very expensive. Another major concern with the traditional CDN network is their high bandwidth cost for popular sites. In the coming years, the streaming problem will get more complicated with the rise of 4K, 8K and 360 degree VR.
Due to the flawed architecture, problems like low-resolution content, poor loading times and high delivery costs arise and ultimately lead to a limited revenue flow to video content creators. In short, streams are only as good as the infrastructure that feeds into the actual user’s homes, with “last-mile” delivery problems being the main reason for bad streaming performance. Theta came up with a solution to the “last-mile” problem, the main bottleneck for traditional content delivery pipelines, by using blockchain technology. That has led to the world’s very first Decentralized Streaming Network (DSN). However, Theta is not only taking on problems for end users. With sufficient network density, the majority of viewers will pull streams from peering caching nodes (other users in the network who are close by), allowing video platforms to reduce content delivery network (CDN) costs significantly. The network will improve the processes of creating and consuming video content in three ways:
Improving the quality of streams by offering an optimal technology that solves the “last-mile” problem.
Reducing the cost of networks and simplifying content delivery processes to the consumer.
Improving the efficiency of video ecosystem and the transparency of payments and advertising.
Product and Vision
At its core, Theta is enabling users to share their unused memory and bandwidth to improve the overall network by mining Theta tokens and provide cache and relay video streams to others in the network. In doing so, Theta offers incentives to all users taking part in the network. The block reward is not a constant, instead the team has developed a formula to calculate a “reputation score,” the higher a users reputation score is, the bigger the block reward.
Before we’re getting into technical details it is important to mention, that the network is already integrated into SLIVERtv (an eSports video and live streaming platform). SLIVERtv is the parent company of Theta Labs, Inc. In fact, the blockchain platform was created primarily for its needs and introduces three main novel concepts:
Multi-Level BFT: A modified BFT consensus mechanism which allows thousands of nodes to participate in the consensus process, while still supporting very high transaction throughput (1,000+ TPS). The core idea is to have a small set of nodes, which form the validator committee, produce a chain of blocks as fast as possible using a PBFT-like process. Then, the thousands of consensus participants, called guardians, finalize the chain generated by the validator committee at regular checkpoint blocks.
Aggregated Signature Gossip Scheme: Each guardian node keeps combining the partially aggregated signatures from all its neighbors, and then gossips out the aggregated signature. This way the signature share of each node can reach other nodes at an exponential rate.
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.
Besides that, they are implementing a protocol called Proof-of-Engagement to track the delivery of video segments. This protocol 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. 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. 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 Network
Theta team members used to develop streaming video applications. They also participated in projects related to virtual reality. Some of them have received patents on technologies that are used in the media field. The team is led by co-founder and CEO Mitch Liu, previously the co-founder of SLIVERtv, Gameview Studios, and Tapjoy, he also holds an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business. The second co-founder is Jieyi Long, who was also a co-founder at SLIVERtv as well as holding a Ph.D. in computer engineering from Northwestern University. Thetas team is relatively small but seems strong. Most of the team members worked for SILVERtv. The advisory board includes YouTube co-founder Steve Chen, Twitch co-founder Justin Kan and Ripio Network founder Sebastian Serrano.
Tokenomics: What is the THETA Token?
The Theta Network launched with ERC20-compliant tokens and were integrated into the SLIVERtv platform in December 2017. The Theta blockchain mainnet code has been released, and the first live mainnet implementation is planned to launch on March 15, 2019, at which time each ERC20 Theta token will be exchanged 1:1 for native Theta tokens. Besides being used as a monetary incentive for providing resources to the network, the Theta token can also be used in number of different ways:
It can be used as a reward for caching streams and their rebroadcasting
users can donate in Theta to support streamers and video content creators
It can be used for financing advertising campaigns by advertisers
It also can serve as a reward for viewers from advertisers for attention to advertising content.
708.002.689 THETA of a total supply of 1.000.000.000 THETA are currently in circulation.
Growth potential and Roadmap
Cisco reports that live video streaming accounts for over two-thirds of all internet traffic today and is expected to jump to 82% by 2020. The idea of creating a Decentralized Streaming Network (DSN) could potentially be revolutionary and replace the CDN network. If successful (i.e., cost-effective and efficient), the system will attract a lot of the content owners (like Amazon, Netflix, CNN, HBO, etc.) and really change the video streaming ecosystem. My main concern at this point is that the network needs to reach a critical mass of users for it to run smoothly. To safeguard the network’s growth until that point, Theta is planning to utilize a bootstrap mechanism, where instead of end users pulling video streams from CDN servers (Like YouTube’s servers), instead only a subset of caching nodes will pull the stream. This is their approach to solve the chicken and egg problem of their platform.
As I have mentioned before, Thetas first target market is the streaming of gaming and eSports Content and Events. SILVERtv is only one of the platforms adopting the Theta Platform. Others are following: SamsungVR, PandoraTV, a major Korean video streaming platform with 15M+ monthly visits and MBN, a Korean TV Network, are among the first use cases for Theta. Theta also has partnerships with Steam, a video game provider, and with the decentralized cloud computing blockchain Aelf. One other essential partnership is with the startup accelerator Play Labs. Theta’s development roadmap, both, and technology-wise is professional and reliable and covers all of 2019.
From the concept point of view, Theta looks like an attractive and high potential idea because it could revolutionize the video streaming world, and would carve a niche by replacing the flawed CDN networks. No doubt, video streaming has an 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 an excellent foundation through SILVERtv and their early partnerships with big players. The only major downside at this point is reaching critical mass regarding users and nodes.
I have identified three crucial price growth factors are as follows, first one is the excellent reputation and partnerships the project has managed to earn in a short period of time, the blockchain that is being developed is unique and tailor-made for the requirements of the video and stream content delivery industry, and a relatively fast switch Mainnet, even though this one has been delayed.
THETA scored 54 out of 76 Points in our evaluation program.