Sliver.tv, an eSports-streaming Twitch competitor, is launching a new decentralized streaming network powered by blockchain. The resulting network will act like BitTorrent, where files are distributed globally on thousands or millions of computers, and distribution nodes on the system will earn cryptocurrency tokens by caching and relaying video streams.
And the founders have the king of digital video, YouTube, squarely in their sights.
It probably doesn’t hurt that YouTube founder Steve Chen and Twitch founder Justin Kan are advisers.
Currently, 67% of global internet traffic is video, Sliver says. As we continue to watch more video game videos and Facebook Live episodes, that’s going to hit 82% in 2020. Adding to the problem is that VR streams chew up much more data, since they need to send 360 degrees of video content.
The result? Massive network slowdown.
Centralized systems like YouTube have to store all the video in centralized data centers and then shoot it out in millions of streams to individual users. A decentralized network, which Sliver is calling Theta Labs, can theoretically reduce congestion.
YouTube co-founder Steve Chen thinks the idea has legs:
“Theta’s innovation is set to disrupt today’s online video industry much in the same way that the YouTube platform did,” he said in a statement. “One of our biggest challenges had been the high costs of delivering video to various parts of the world, and this problem is only getting bigger with HD, 4K and higher quality video streams.”
The result will be better video delivery at lower costs, Chen thinks.
Using blockchain to manage the system enables a level of trust and cooperation — as well as complete transparency for producers and advertisers. Caching nodes — computers that store and re-transmit segments of video — earn reputation scores for better speed and availability. Viewers, in turn, earn tokens for engaging in content, proving that they actually watched the videos.