Blockchain is the Future of Decentralized Streaming
Online content streaming platforms have quickly grown to become one of the most pervasive internet-based technologies in recent years.
Now, more than a billion people worldwide stream on a regular basis, and a large fraction of these users hold a subscription or membership with a major streaming service — such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube Premium, etc.
Though wildly successful, most streaming platforms are riddled with challenges and are in need of a major refresh — here we take a look at the problems at hand, and examine why blockchain technology might be the answer.
Why Streaming Platforms Need an Overhaul
In the last decade, the online video streaming market has seen meteoric growth and is rapidly catching up to TV broadcasting as the most popular way to deliver content to the masses. Indeed, since 2011, most popular streaming platforms have seen their user base grow parabolically — and several of the largest problems now have upwards of 100 million users.
To put this growth into perspective, YouTube racked up more than 100 billion watch time hours in 2020 for gaming alone, while Netflix pulled in an average of 6 billion watch hours per month that same year. These giant figures have also resulted in immense profits for these firms, with Netflix alone generating $2.76 billion net profits in 2020.
But while these platforms are seeing impressive growth, they are already in need of a dramatic overhaul in the way they operate. Here’s why.
If you’ve ever used a content distribution platform like YouTube or Spotify, then you are likely aware that the vast majority of content creators on these platforms receive little to no remuneration for their content — despite the fact that these platforms may generate revenue from their content either way. On the flip side, creators with monetization rights can expect to lose around 50% to various platform fees or commissions, halving their potential take-home revenue.
These platforms also suffer from potentially severe censorship issues, with many streaming platforms banned in countries like China, Iran, and Sudan, while dozens of other countries have temporarily restricted access to services for one or more reasons. This censorship is faced by its users, who have to jump over numerous hurdles to publish their content, which may or may not be restricted or deleted at any time. This limits the type of user-generated content that is made available while stripping users of their rights and opportunities.
The Blockchain Solution
Blockchain technology poses an attractive solution to the challenges faced by today’s streaming platforms.
Many of the blockchains operating today are completely decentralized, meaning they do not have a single failure point and aren’t hosted in one specific location. This factor makes them highly resistant to manipulation and censorship — ensuring anybody, anywhere can access these services.
Unlike current streaming platforms that act as centralized broadcasting and distribution networks, streaming platforms that leverage blockchain technology can tap a vast network of nodes — each of which helps to power one aspect of the platform and ensures the platform maintains its uptime even in the face of censorship attacks.
Take AIOZ’s blockchain-based content distribution network (CDN) as an example. The platform supports any number of third-party nodes, which can take on one of the multiple roles in the AOIZ network — whether that be transcoding video, storing files, sharing bandwidth, or providing server duties. Anybody can easily take part in the AIOZ network by running the AIOZ app in the background on their device and earn revenue for sharing their spare resources and bandwidth.
This system not only cuts out the profit-leeching middlemen that dramatically reduce revenues for creators but also creates a new economy where anybody can be rewarded for helping to bolster the network, deliver it to new audiences, and increase its resistance to censorship.
The potential of AIOZ is already being recognized by production firms and filmmakers, including Mogul Productions — a decentralized film financing platform that recently partnered with AIOZ to leverage its cost-effective content distribution technology.
Other blockchain-enabled platforms like DLive are also tackling the problems faced by the streaming incumbents. As a TRON-based platform, DLive uses peer-to-peer technology to deliver content to a worldwide audience and is able to boost the revenue share provided to creators by distributing payments over the blockchain — eliminating payment processor fees. As a result, streamers on DLive receive 100% of the revenue they generate.
The Current State of Play
As it stands, most blockchain-enabled content distribution platforms are still very much in their early stages of development and have a number of their own hurdles to overcome before they are ready for primetime.
One of the major challenges they generally face is the limited throughput that most DApp-capable blockchains are capable of. Even the most advanced blockchains today are only capable of sustaining somewhere in the order of 1,000 to 10,000 transactions per second under real-world conditions — which is unlikely to support a DApp that needs to handle hundreds of thousands to potentially millions of simultaneous users.
There’s also the challenge of ensuring that these platforms are not used to disseminate illegal or copyright content, or used to promote radicalism and other similar issues. Most platforms currently either use a centralized sorting and review system to remove such content, but have plans to switch to a community-governed system in the future. This problem is already being faced by platforms like DLive, which has become a hub for far-right and conspiracy theorists — with a recent report finding that 96% of all views on the platform were captured by far-right channels.
Fortunately, with the advent of more powerful DAO-based governance models and rapid progress being made on a variety of potential scaling solutions, decentralized streaming platforms may soon present a viable option for both new and established streamers and content producers looking to reach the largest possible audience.
About Master Ventures
Master Ventures is a blockchain-focused venture studio helping to build the next generation of blockchain-based Web 3.0 system innovations within the crypto industry. Launched in 2018 by Founder and CEO Kyle Chassé, the company’s ethos can best be summarized in the acronym #BeBOLD: Benevolent, Open, Love, Decentralized.
Master Ventures co-creates with entrepreneurs and businesses worldwide to turn the best ideas into innovative and disruptive products. They do this by investing as strategic partners through offering advisory services to the projects they believe in. To date, Master Ventures has invested in over 40 crypto projects, including the likes of Kraken, Coinbase, Bitfinex, Reef, DAO Maker, Mantra DAO, Thorchain, and Elrond.
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