Since the beginning of the pandemic, video streaming content and platforms have expanded exponentially. Though the big names of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime account for much of the content people are consuming these days, social media platforms like TikTok have also experienced an explosion of users and content streamed through the platform. While video streaming has become an integral part of many of our lives, have you ever stopped to think about where the videos you watch actually come from?
All of the content we watch on a daily basis is stored on massive servers located around the world.
Storing large video files on one server can cause long load times and delays for people accessing the content from afar, so streaming businesses rely on systems called Content Delivery Networks. These networks store content on various servers around the world and provide a greatly improved viewing experience, but can be very costly, with costs increasing as viewers increase.
Theta Network offers streaming businesses a better platform to host video content. Backed by Sony and Samsung, the global peer-to-peer mesh network raised $20 million during token sale in 2017 with the aim of bringing a decentralized streaming infrastructure into fruition.
Theta network doesn’t target end-users, but rather helps businesses deliver seamless viewing experiences to global audiences. By leveraging a decentralized network of nodes sharing bandwidth and data, Theta allows businesses to cut costs and reduce the load on existing CDNs.
In a sense, Theta works similarly to BitTorrent, where people share video content via a decentralized network of servers around the world. The network isn’t looking to replace streaming services like youtube or twitch, but offers a way for companies to reduce operating costs and secure streaming networks. When businesses decide to use Theta, the data isn’t completely delivered by the streaming website, but is delivered by local peers providing computing resources to the network.
When users offer computing power to the Theta Network, they’re not required to stream entire videos. Like a BitTorrent, fragments of video files are broadcast from multiple users, and then re-assembled at the recipient’s end.
To encourage network participants to offer resources, Theta rewards users with the Theta Token. In the end, those who pay for streaming are the video sites and not the end-users, and payments by streaming are made through the platform’s second token, TFUEL.
The Theta token has recently debuted, and is the governance token at the core of the network. Still in its infancy, the blockchain’s development is still largely directed by Theta Labs, the development team behind the network. In order to support a truly decentralized ecosystem though, the team plans to give up governance of the coin to the network as the platform matures.
The total supply of Theta is fixed to 1 billion tokens without any inflation, while TFUEL has a maximum supply of 2.5 billion tokens with a fixed rate of 5% inflation.
Theta token holders can stake Tfuel.
Upon launch, Theta was built on Ethereum but has since migrated to run a Proof-of-Stake chain on Tendermint. This enables the network to pay users in near real-time and pay contributors for their computing power.
2 different sets of validators run the Theta Blockchain:
- Validator nodes: these are powerful computing machines that process transactions quickly and verify blocks. There is only a handful of them, and they’re mostly run by bigger corporations — such as Samsung and Sony — who can afford to stake 1 million Theta tokens.
- Community nodes: these are run by network participants who want to help run the Theta network. To start running a community node, users need to stake 1000 Theta. All community nodes work together to verify that validator nodes are only confirming valid transactions. Even if all validator nodes together decided to validate a malicious block, the community nodes would reject it, which keeps the system in check.
To ensure that participants don’t try to stream to themselves, Theta has features in place that don’t allow users to specify whom they stream to and disallow streaming from the same IP address. Video streaming platforms can put further restrictions in place to comply with their internal policies.
Theta Labs is also hosting their own streaming site Theta.tv, with their blockchain solution, which makes it a working product rather than just working in theory. The company has received 3 patents from the US patent and trademark office related to video streaming and keeps expanding from the US to opening an office in Korea.
In 47 days, the Theta mainnet 3.0 will go live, which will introduce new features to the infrastructure, including more professional nodes and the ability for TFUEL holders to stake their tokens.
Exciting times for Theta with demand for video and VR content streaming certainly increasing in the future.
The Theta Token is now trading with BTC on our exchange.