With the drive for the decentralization of information gaining momentum in preparation for Web 3.0, content delivery networks (CDNs) are expected to be able to provide reliable decentralized data services soon. Video streaming is one of the key sectors set to undergo a major transformation to keep up with changing viewer habits and user demands in this age of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
Viewers want more control over the displayed content, publishers want a bigger cut from advertisers, and advertisers want to reach real users and overcome ad fraud.
Several projects are working to solve the problems that come with the centralization of video streaming services by offering innovative alternatives. Riding on the wave of disruption caused by cryptocurrencies and blockchain-based technologies in general, new startups are looking to turn the tables on the inefficient and faulty monetization schemes of video streaming websites and break free from their regulations.
Top Four Decentralized Video Streaming Platforms
Odysee is a video streaming platform that works with videos on the LBRY network. LBRY is an open-source P2P CDN that stores content metadata on the blockchain and utilizes the LBC token for transactions, such as rewarding users or boosting content.
Odysee is a good alternative for users who are tired of being demonetized on YouTube or are looking to earn crypto for publishing videos. However, although lbry.tv has a section for live streaming, Odysee does not and currently offers only static video content.
THETA.tv is the current king of decentralized live streaming and is powered by the Theta network. The platform is looking to expand to static video streaming but, at the moment, there is an upload limit of one static video per week for streamers.
Viewers earn TFuel for the time that they watch streams on THETA.tv, and in exchange, THETA utilizes unused upload bandwidth to stream to other viewers as the user watches the stream. Currently, Theta is targeting the live gameplay streaming and video game tournament industry, but it is also looking at other sectors for growth.
AIOZ Tube is very similar to THETA.tv and incentivizes users to earn AIOZ coins by watching their favorite videos and content makers. A portion of advertising revenue that goes through the platform is directed to users, and if users don’t want to watch advertisements they can skip them.
Decentralized streaming, offered by Web 3.0 projects like AIOZ and Theta, is supposed to give content creators access to a fairer revenue share, more control over their content, and better infrastructure for distribution.
BitTube.video is based on the PeerTube project, a self-hosted, federated video streaming platform that uses P2P directly in web browsers. Creators and viewers can earn BitTube cash coins to spend on video-on-demand, premium subscriptions, and channels behind a paywall, as well as for self-promotion or tipping/donation services.
PeerTube uses the BitTorrent protocol to share bandwidth between users by default but leaves open the option to switch back to regular streaming exclusively from the video’s server. Users can even host their own instance, setting their own rules and guidelines. The user has full control but also bears all responsibility for their instance’s video content.
Other Notable Mentions
DTube, the original crypto-decentralized video platform, was built on the Steem blockchain and the IPFS peer-to-peer network. Their team is trying hard to make a comeback after facing reliability issues. Marlin Protocol is another content delivery project that looks to offer good quality, low-latency video streaming at cheap prices, especially targeting Africa and other low network coverage regions.
On the Flipside
While the reliability issues of decentralized video streaming services are being overcome step-by-step and the economy develops around them, creators may still prefer to publish videos on centralized service providers like YouTube, Twitch, or Vimeo.
Some alternatives are now available that give creators more control over the monetization of their content while still publishing on commonly used websites. For example, the patented proof-of-view protocol developed by Verasity overcomes the problems of video and ad monetization by implementing a crypto-integrated solution on top of all the most commonly used video players on the web.
By integrating with web video players, Verasity’s crypto-wallet allows users to earn and store VRA tokens for watching videos. Its blockchain implementation for view confirmation is spoofing and fraud-resistant and makes a space for the development of a fair advertising market across all video streaming websites.
Many of the current major problems of video streaming and content delivery can be solved without complete decentralization of the content. Therefore, it is important to realize that many problems faced by legacy projects may just be due to poor implementation rather than centralization. So if the same model is run on a decentralized protocol, failure will be the most likely outcome. Two important things that should be kept in mind when investing in decentralized projects are:
- Which parts of the service actually benefit from being decentralized, and which parts are better off in a centralized environment?
- What are the problems inherent in the project that will arise regardless of the level of decentralization?
Projects that claim decentralization or blockchain will solve all their problems are likely to run into major hurdles in the future. Be wary of any projects that aim to decentralize things that do not need to be, because most likely, this is a strategy to distract unaware investors from fatal flaws. Many new crypto tokens do not really have a use case and are purely speculative; stress-testing of upcoming decentralized or P2P CDNs is necessary to get an idea of the long-term value of that CDN’s crypto.