Blockchain technology was tried not only in monetary networks: there are decentralized computers, messengers and even streaming platforms. What is Theta Network, one of these blockchain-powered streaming platforms, and how does it work? We give a rundown on it in this Theta beginner’s guide.
- Theta Network is a blockchain platform that is designed specifically for video streaming. The flagship product of Theta Labs, the developer and backer of Theta Network, is Theta.tv, a live streaming platform;
- The native THETA coin is utilized mainly for staking and on-platform rewards. The second token, TFUEL, is used for transaction fees, and can also be received as a reward or a tip;
- The project is backed by prominent investors and advisers, who include Twitch and YouTube co-founders.
What is Theta Network?
Theta Network was developed to challenge the centralization and the pains that video streaming platforms today have. What is Theta Network bringing to the table to improve on this?
The developers proposed to use blockchain technology to make services built on Theta decentralized, but many blockchains have low throughput. Most video streaming services in the Theta Network have centralized servers but the cache being decentralized makes it so censoring content is impossible.
Several improvements have been made to make Theta blockchain suitable for video streaming.
Multi-level BFT Consensus
Like most decentralized networks, Theta Network has to rely on consensus of the nodes. The “multi-level” in the name of this consensus algorithm refers to two levels at which the network is secured.
The validator committee provides the first level of consensus — with 10 to 20 validators, the committee can come to a consensus quickly. The guardian pool forms the second line of defense.
Validator node network consists of mainly enterprise nodes, while guardian nodes are the community-run ones. Therefore, staking requirements are lower for guardians (1,000 THETA vs 1 million for enterprises) but in return they receive TFUEL.
The most basic kind of node that anyone can run without any significant commitment is the edge node. In return for staking TFUEL these nodes also receive TFUEL.
Resource-Oriented Micropayments Pool
An off-chain “Resource Oriented Micropayment Pool” is purpose-built for video streaming. It allows a user to create an off-chain micropayment pool that any other user can withdraw from using off-chain transactions, and is double-spend resistant.
If a user tried to game the system and stream a video to themselves, the network wouldn’t let it happen. Users do not get to choose to which peers the data is transferred, therefore, it’s more likely that a malicious user would help the network.
History and team behind Theta
Theta Network’s foundations were laid in the whitepaper made by SLIVER.tv in 2017. Sliver.tv would later be renamed to Theta.tv closer to its launch.
Mitch Liu and Jieyi Long founded Theta Labs in 2018. Liu had already had plenty of experience in gaming and video industries prior to founding THETA.tv, the live streaming platform and the first dApp built on Theta.
Jieyi Long, Theta’s CTO, in addition to having similar experience, also brought academic and patent knowledge on board.
THETA blockchain launched in 2018, with the token running on Ethereum. In March 2019, all ERC-20 THETA were converted to native THETA on the mainnet.
Among the advisors to the project are Steve Chen, co-founder of YouTube and Justin Kan, co-founder of Twitch.
What is THETA Crypto?
Theta Network requires users to share cache and bandwidth on a peer-to-peer basis, which is a certain commitment. To incentivize them to participate, Theta Network has a double-token system.
The native currency, THETA, is a reward to nodes for contributing to the network. It circulates in the following way:
- Caching nodes earn tokens for caching and relaying video streams to other viewers;
- Viewers optionally earn tokens from advertisers as engagement rewards, and can in turn gift to favorite influencers and content creators;
- Advertisers fund advertising campaigns with tokens to support influencers, streaming sites and viewers.
The second token is TFUEL. It is a more accessible one of the pair, since both guardian and edge nodes and even users receive it.
TFUEL has a larger supply and a fixed 5% inflation rate. It can be used to tip or subscribe to creators, and to pay for transaction fees in the network.
THETA Use Cases
Therefore, THETA can be used in the following ways:
- Staking for a return on investment. Theta Network relies on Proof-of-Stake algorithm, and participating in the network requires to provide a stake to ensure honest behavior;
- Tipping content creators;
- Use for campaigns on the Theta Network;
- As a governance token on the platform.
Comparison with similar cryptocurrencies
Theta Network is not the only and even not the first platform to utilize blockchain technology to support and monetize video streaming. Livepeer started in 2017 with the same premise.
Livepeer utilizes the Ethereum blockchain to offer pay-as-you-go streaming and video-enabled dApps. This platform only uses one currency (LPT) and is secured with Delegated Proof-of-Stake.
Around the same time, TRON blockchain was launched, but it had a wider scope, targeting online entertainment as a whole. As a result, TRON is more utilized in the gambling sector and there are hardly any video streaming dApps.
What is Theta Network Criticized For?
Despite the lofty proposition, there are legitimate criticisms of Theta as a platform, as well as their practices.
For one, the monetization on the platform is strictly limited and the deposits users make are non-refundable. Essentially, Theta is using users’ bandwidth on unfair terms: giving in return only a fraction of value users provide.
In comments to the same post, users and streamers shared their experience, noting that it is suboptimal in comparison to the centralized alternatives.
Revenue streams on Theta Network also depend on crypto markets, which are, at the end of the day, volatile. A hasty decision to include an NFT marketplace in the 3.0 mainnet version resulted in a delay, which in turn caused THETA to drop 25% in a day.
Partnerships and Future Plans
Theta team has a lot in store for the users, as their roadmap spans at least for a year in advance. In 2022, they plan to launch a new token, TDROP for NFT liquidity mining, governance and rewards.
In other plans, there are cross-chain bridges to Ethereum and Theta video API.
Since the strategic goal of Theta Network is to find mainstream adoption, they heavily push for increasing the number of partnerships. Among the partners listed on their website are MGM, Lionsgate, World Poker Tour, Line, Klaytn and Pandora.tv.
Theta Network on Social Media
1/📢 We are happy to announce a strategic partnership with @Theta_Network to scale our livestream capacity during metaverse events! 📺
Decentral Games and Theta Network recently announced a strategic partnership. The first will provide gaming content, and the second will support streaming of the gaming events.
#Theta is a blockchain powered network purpose-built for video streaming. The Theta mainnet operates as a decentralized network in which users share bandwidth and computing resources on a peer-to-peer basis.
User Woke Crypto shared an infographic which gives an even better look on the current state of Theta’s ecosystem.
Six weeks after @ThetaDrop launch, more than 100,000 NFTs were sold which generated over $2 million for content creators.
Theta News reported how the launch of Theta Drop, the platform’s NFT marketplace went. At the moment, getting to use it is even easier than on Ethereum.
What is the Best THETA Crypto Wallet?
Now that we have covered the fundamentals, let us give you some practical advice in this Theta beginner’s guide. Before you make a purchase, make sure you have a cryptocurrency wallet to store THETA.
What is Theta Network wallet recommended officially? There is an official Theta Wallet for all platforms that supports all the features of Theta Network.
If you want to use a wallet that supports multiple currencies and swap your crypto to THETA right in the app, Exodus is your pick! In case you need a hardware wallet, we can recommend Trezor.
In Exodus and the Trezor Suite companion app, you can swap the assets with ChangeHero without switching between apps or windows.
How to Exchange THETA?
If you want to exchange your crypto to THETA and need a refresher on how exchanging with ChangeHero works, we’re here to help:
- Choose the currencies on the home page, amounts and the type of exchange. Provide your THETA wallet address in the next step and check the amounts;
- Send in a single transaction the sum of crypto currency you will be exchanging. For a Fixed Rate transactions you have a 15 minute limit;
- Sit back and relax. At this step we are doing all the work: checking the incoming transaction and doing the exchange as soon as it arrives;
- As soon as the exchange has been processed, your THETA are on the way to your wallet. That is it!
If you ever run into any issues during your swap, our support team is always available to help you out in the chat or through the email: [email protected].
Many creators want to have an alternative to YouTube and Twitch, and Theta sets out to provide it with extra benefits. Hopefully, you gained an understanding of what is Theta after reading our guide!
If you enjoyed this Theta beginner’s guide, check out our blog for more. Follow ChangHero on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and Telegram for daily updates and more content.
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