Theta enthusiast Jonathan Hope introduces the DeFi video network and its grand ambitions. As always, remember to do your own research before making any investment, and tread carefully throughout the crypto world.
Coming off a huge year, it's the perfect time to dive into Theta. The project is backed by big names and useful technology — what more do you need, right? Early partnerships at the corporate level include Google, Sony, Samsung, Binance, and Blockchain Ventures. YouTube cofounder Steve Chen is an adviser.
The reason for this all-star roster of tech giants is the real-world application of the Theta network. The Theta team has developed a decentralized network that provides video streaming at a fraction of the cost, higher video quality, and increased capacity. This is done by rewarding users for sharing their internet bandwidth and computing power in exchange for currency rewards. The largest computing power deployed on the network comes from the companies above with an added 137,000 individual contributors as of today.
Live video streaming grew over 93% in 2021, with viewers staying engaged up to 20x longer than pre-recorded content. Mind blown? There's more. Projections show live streaming as an industry, holding a value of $187 billion by the year 2027. Streaming service providers have a difficult time determining how much bandwidth they will need, and 25% of all American households will cancel their cable service by 2022.
There is a gap forming between how video content has traditionally been provided and the demand the market is developing. The standard route of large data centers full of servers linked together supporting a platform like YouTube or Facebook simply won't cut it in the near future. No one likes buffering and users expect beautiful video quality.
To keep generating ad revenue, older platforms will have to upgrade. And Theta doesn't want to replace them, but instead to be that upgrade. The idea is for the Theta network to become the backbone of livestreaming content, delivered more efficiently than older strategies can manage.
The project's flagship livestreaming service, Theta.tv, has attracted intriguing partnerships. Some of these partners include NASA, Lionsgate, World Poker Tour, Fail Army, and Pandora.tv. Even Katy Perry. The site has an incentive program for both creators and for users. Creators can get paid in tips and engagement rewards, while users can get paid for using the platform.
Even though it is early on, there is an apparent difference in the speed videos play and transition from one to the other. The NASA and Fail Army streams are my favorite by far. The NASA stream is a mix of live video with awesome pre-recorded content. The Fail Army stream is back-to-back clips of people hilariously crashing their bike or blowing up their science experiment.
The streaming portion of this project is just the beginning. In late June, Theta released their Mainnet 3.0. In this release was a new reward structure for video transcoding services. Transcoding is the process of existing video file conversion for viewing on different devices. I am running the beta version of the Edge Node which is free and easy to set up. The node runs in the background of your computer and pays out monthly. Later this year, updates include a bridge to Ethereum for dApps (decentralized apps) and NFT storage.
All of this growth has led to a massive year for Theta. In September of last year Theta was trading at $0.66 per coin with an all time high of $14.28 in April before consolidating around $5.50 after the early summer crash. Right now it's approaching $7.
The many routes for participation and the reward structure are exciting and accessible. I love Theta's focus on bringing in new users! If you are looking to add Theta to your portfolio you can trade on Binance, Huobi Global, KuCoin, Bithumb, and Gate.io.
As with any blockchain project, there are risks and competition. One of the largest risks is the standalone streaming platform Edgecast (separate from Theta.tv). It is completely decentralized and not moderated by the team. The appeal is that there is no way for content to be censored but also no way for content to be removed. Large institutions may see this as a tough road to cross for great tech.
Naturally, existing platforms are also competing to implement a similar system to deliver livestreaming. Theta has a head start, but a big player could try to undercut their way into the market. However, with a large network, powerhouse partnerships, and determined technology, Theta appears to be in a great position to deliver on the project goals. Check it out and keep this one on your radar!