LBRY Protocol is an ambitious crypto project, to say the least. With its sights set on disrupting one of the largest Web2 social platforms on the internet, LBRY Network is a popular decentralized YouTube alternative.
Unsurprisingly, the history of LBRY Protocol could hardly be called light summer reading. Reminiscent of storytime classics like David and Goliath, LBRY Protocol has attracted the attention of The SEC, who have almost crushed the disruptive platform.
Against all odds, the LBRY network has endured. Even after the founding team admitted that LBRY Inc had been “killed by legal and SEC debts,” its decentralized platform lives on a continues the fight against centralized content management.
How has the LBRY protocol managed to survive the onslaught of SEC attacks? What does the future hold for the LBRY network?
Table of Contents
What Is LBRY Protocol?
Since its birth, LBRY Protocol has had one central vision. To liberate publishing and digital content distribution using blockchain technology in the same way that Bitcoin (BTC) revolutionized finance.
At its core, LBRY is a decentralized, blockchain-based protocol that allows anyone to share digital content and build apps on the LBRY blockchain. Like a decentralized, open-source YouTube, creators can upload their work to the LBRY network, set a price per stream or download, or even give it away for free.
Unlike traditional content platforms that store your uploads on their servers, LBRY allows content creators and their supporters to interact directly without the risk of demonization or censorship. In the spirit of cryptocurrency and blockchain as a whole, LBRY.com is a YouTube alternative that’s fair, free, and open to all parties involved.
The LBRY App
The centerpiece of the ecosystem, the LBRY app is a user-friendly interface that allows you to access LBRY’s vast treasure trove of digital content.
The app, which can be downloaded as the LBRY desktop platform and mobile app, is your gateway to the LBRY network. Users enjoy the latest content from their favorite creators without being treated as a product and having their personal information sold to advertisers.
The LBRY app is more than just a content viewer. It’s a tool that allows contributors to upload their work to the LBRY network, set their own prices, and interact directly with their supporters. It’s a platform that respects your privacy and doesn’t meddle with your content.
In a world where content platforms are increasingly controlling and censoring our online experience, the LBRY app is a breath of fresh air.
If you like the idea of LBRY protocol but are not sure you want to take the plunge and download the full app, it’s worth having a quick look at Odysee.
Odysee is a web-browser version of the LBRY Network’s video-sharing platform. It’s free to use and hosts a wide variety of content creators, all sharing their work on the decentralized and open-source network.
The LBRY Blockchain
What does LBRY look like under the hood? The LBRY blockchain is the backbone of the LBRY network, ensuring that all transactions, whether they’re publications, tips, or purchases of paid content, are secure and transparent.
Like Bitcoin, the network is secured using the Proof-of-Work consensus mechanism, with miners adding new blocks to the network in exchange for LBC tokens.
When a creator publishes something on LBRY, an entry is made on the LBRY blockchain and recorded onto its immutable ledger of transactions. Once an entry is made, it cannot be altered or removed.
Blockchain technology offers a unique solution to the major problems plaguing existing centralized services, such as censorship, abuses of user privacy, and unfair revenue-sharing formulas. With the LBRY blockchain, the power is in the hands of the users and the creators.
LBRY Credits (LBC)
LBRY Credits, or LBC, are the native tokens of the LBRY Network that power the LBRY economy. They’re used for various transactions within the LBRY network. For example, creators can set a price in LBC to access their entries, and users can pay in LBC to see, use and interact with their content.
Unlike in centralized platforms, the revenue generated from these activities is fully credited to the publishers in their preferred payment method — whether in LBC or through third-party processors.
LBRY vs. SEC
The future looked dark for LBRY Inc when the US SEC filed a lawsuit against the decentralized platform in March 2021. According to the SEC, LBRY Inc was charged with selling unregistered securities as LBC tokens.
Things took a turn for the worse in November 2022 when the court ruled in favor of the SEC. LBRY was ordered to pay $22M USD in civil penalties. But don’t hand in your library card just yet; this would not be the end of your favorite crypto book club.
The legal battle took a shocking twist when Judge Paul Barbadoro of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire refused to take a position on the case. The judge couldn’t confirm whether the sale of LBRY Credits (LBC) on a secondary market was a moveable security. This was a departure from his previous stance, arguing that LBC should not be considered a security.
The outcome of LBRY vs. SEC has been thrust into the spotlight, with experts arguing the case will set a precedent that influences other issues, such as Ripple (XRP) vs. SEC.
What’s Next For the LBRY Project?
With the legal battle with the SEC ongoing, you might wonder, what’s next for LBRY? The truth is rather convoluted.
According to the LBRY Inc Twitter account, the time has come to throw in the towel and cease operations. But does that mean that this is the end of the LBRY Blockchain and decentralized digital content sharing?
Of course not! Given the decentralized and community-led nature of the LBRY network, platforms like Odysee will continue to exist. The LBRY Blockchain continues to produce new blocks, and the network’s open-source codebase is still available on Github (LBRYio) and lbry.tech, meaning devs can still build applications and contribute to the growth of the network.
Pros and Cons of LBRY
LBRY is built on the fundamental principles of decentralization, direct interaction, privacy, and community involvement. However, it’s not exempt from an objective review. Let’s take a balanced look at the advantages and challenges of LBRY.
- Decentralization – LBRY is a decentralized network, meaning there’s no central authority controlling the content. This ensures freedom from censorship and gives creators complete control over their work.
- Monetization Opportunities – With no middleman cutting the profits, creators can set their own prices for their content.
- Private – Your personal information isn’t sold to advertisers; you have full control over your data.
- Open Source – The LBRY ecosystem is open source, ensuring transparency and allowing anyone to contribute to the development of LBRY.
- Community-Driven – LBRY is a community-driven project. Even though the SEC has crushed the founding team, the platform continues to exist on the back of its users.
- Legal Challenges – Following The SEC’s verdict, LBRY Inc is expected to cease operations. If the community does not make an effort to sustain the platform, the ecosystem will dissipate.
- Complexity – While the LBRY team has worked hard to make the platform user-friendly, the underlying technology is difficult for new users to wrap their heads around.
- Stiff competition – While LBRY is growing, it still has a long way to go to match the user base of traditional content platforms like YouTube and Spotify.
On the Flipside
- The LBRY team boasts that they have millions of users, showing that there is clearly significant demand for this kind of platform. With LBRY Inc winding down operations, we’ll witness firsthand if the community of supporters is up to the task.
Why This Matters
If the LBRY ecosystem continues to provide digital content publishing despite the SEC’s interface, it will prove the strength and resilience of decentralized platforms.
LBRY aims to be a fully decentralized digital content-sharing platform that is censorship-resistant and gives creators full control over monetizing their content.
Jeremy Kauffman and Jimmy Kiselak founded LBRY in May 2015.
If LBC reached $1 USD, it would have a market cap of over $600 million. While this may not seem unachievable, it would still require a price appreciation of more than 10,000% from current prices.