Theta Labs — Telegram QUIZ & AMA — September 08
On Tuesday, September 08, we had the pleasure to welcome to our Telegram chat:
Wes Levitt, Head of Strategy.
We asked him questions about the development of Theta Labs.
Some sentences have been slightly edited for readability but the meaning has been conserved.
Theta is the leading blockchain video protocol, allowing users to earn token rewards for relaying video to other users nearby.
Theta currently carries about 750,000 GB per month of data from thousands of live stream sessions. It is live on the desktop web, Android mobile, and smart TVs via an Android TV app.
Theta’s blockchain allows users to earn TFUEL for sharing videos, giving a percentage of their earnings to streamers.
Q — Alex Raffin from GAINS: What did you do before crypto, how did you get into crypto and did you have any other venture in crypto previous to being involved with Theta?
A — Wes Levitt from Theta Labs: Prior to working at Theta Labs, I worked in real estate finance for a mortgage REIT and a private equity firm. I had followed/invested in crypto for quite a while personally but began looking at the space full-time after I took a blockchain course from Dawn Song (now founder of Oasis Labs) while I was studying at Berkeley.
Q — Alex Raffin from GAINS: How many people are in the team? For how long have you been working on Theta Labs?
A — Wes Levitt from Theta Labs: Yes, our talented team has worked very hard to make that happen. Currently, we are 24 people and growing, primarily engineers, mostly in San Jose / San Francisco with a team in Seoul as well. I started working on the project in late 2017 while still in business school and joined the team full time in February 2018, so about 2.5 years now.
Q — Alex Raffin from GAINS: Did you raise funds so far? If so, how did you handle them? Are you planning to do any future raises?
A — Wes Levitt from Theta Labs: We completed a private token sale for THETA in late 2017, and last year also raised additional funds from Blockchain Ventures and Samsung NEXT (Samsung’s corporate venture capital arm). We aren’t planning to fundraise in the near future, as Theta Labs is funded well into 2022
Q — Alex Raffin from GAINS: What’s your role at Theta and what is the project about in a few simple sentences?
A — Wes Levitt from Theta Labs: I am Head of Strategy at Theta Labs, where I focus on business operations, Theta community relations, and marketing. Theta Network is a decentralized video delivery protocol that lets users earn tokens for relaying video streams to nearby peers. Video platforms that use Theta lower their CDN (content delivery) costs, and gain a more engaged user base.
Q — Alex Raffin from GAINS: How do you compare to torrents?
A — Wes Levitt from Theta Labs: With torrents, users are expected to share data in return for downloading the torrents they want, but they don’t have an incentive to share beyond that. This is where Theta differentiates with token rewards, which means a user is incentivized to continue contributing to the p2p network on an ongoing basis.
Q — Alex Raffin from GAINS: How about Twitch, YouTube and Dlive?
A — Wes Levitt from Theta Labs: Theta Network infrastructure can work for any video site and we are pushing adoption of the protocol on many platforms, but it also powers our own 1st-party video site, THETA.tv. We are looking to Twitch, YouTube, etc. as potential partners to use Theta technology, rather than as competitors
Q — Alex Raffin from GAINS: What’s the current volume you have?
A — Wes Levitt from Theta Labs: Theta currently carries about 750,000 GB per month of data from thousands of live stream sessions, which will start growing even more as new video platforms continue to integrate Theta protocol.
Q — Alex Raffin from GAINS: Is the product live? For how long has it been on the mainnet?
A — Wes Levitt from Theta Labs: Theta mainnet launched in March 2019, and received a major upgrade with Theta Mainnet 2.0, which is when Guardian Node staking went live and Google joined as an Enterprise Validator Node on Theta blockchain. Now, our focus is primarily on driving more adoption of Theta Network, by onboarding video platforms to use Theta video delivery as part of their CDN stack
Q — Alex Raffin from GAINS: What is the token use case? How did you make sure it captures the value of the ecosystem you’re building?
A — Wes Levitt from Theta Labs: There are actually 2 tokens in Theta ecosystem — THETA, the staking token that secures and governs the network, and TFUEL (Theta Fuel), which is used as the ‘gas’ of the protocol to pay video relayers and power other operations like smart contracts. TFUEL carries value by being required for all on-chain transactions, and staking THETA is the only source of new TFUEL
Q — Alex Raffin from GAINS: Is it easy to run a node? What are the estimated gains?
A — Wes Levitt from Theta Labs: Check out more here
Q — Twitter user @Rosanela08: A problem frequently addressed by content creators on YouTube is their algorithm that doesn’t seem to be fair sometimes, which makes their initial growth more difficult. How is it solved in Theta Network?
A — Wes Levitt from Theta Labs: On a fully decentralized video platform, you would not have a central ‘editor’ deciding who benefits from the algorithm and making biased decisions against, for example, crypto content creators. We released the Theta Edge Node in beta as a prototype for this, and community users are working to build this out into a full-fledged video platform. Find out more here.
Q — Twitter user @Gladushka_Tanya: What is the main purpose of Blockchain technology in the Theta content platform? Why do you want to create a decentralized content platform?
A — Wes Levitt from Theta Labs: The main benefits are that with a crypto/token incentive, you can create a decentralized network of devices/users to contribute unused resources (bandwidth and compute). It would be difficult to coordinate a global network of users to do this, but with crypto incentives, users can self-organize. In the cases of video/content, not only can a network like this be more efficient, it can be censorship-resistant for content creators.
Q — Twitter user @pandalucu66: What’s your competitive advantage against other projects in the movie industry and what’s your recipe for success in this highly congested crypto space?
A — Wes Levitt from Theta Labs: It’s true the movie/content industry is quite crowded, thankfully we are not trying to go head to head with creators! We just want to help them distribute video in a better way, so the more content the better for Theta. Crypto is very crowded too, and it’s hard sometimes to cut through the noise. We’ve found success by sticking to our core focus and delivering on products, and we think that’s why Theta is by far the most successful project focused on content/video data delivery
Q — Telegram user Ashwini: Can you explain the main difference between Guardian Node and Enterprise Validator Node?
A — Wes Levitt from Theta Labs: Guardian Nodes are run by a community and can stake with 10k THETA or more and finalize blocks, while Enterprise Validator Nodes produce new blocks and are major stakes of 2m+ THETA.
Q — Telegram user Elly ♂️: What role will 5G play in the Theta Ecosystem? Will there be adoption problems in areas with slow internet speed?
A — Wes Levitt from Theta Labs: Yes. We think there is much less of an established use case for fast 5G upload, so P2P video could make use of it.
Q — Telegram user Aditya: What role does the Multi BFT protocol play in the Theta Ecosystem?
A — Wes Levitt from Theta Labs: Multi-BFT is Theta’s consensus mechanism for nodes to agree on new blocks.
Q — Telegram user COPY PASTERS WILL SUFFER: Can you explain more on Theta’s integration into Ultra and what it means for Adoption and Theta’s plan for NFTs integration?
A — Wes Levitt from Theta Labs: Yes, we’re very excited about Ultra! As Ultra‘s game communities develop, game publishers can use NFTs to incentivize gamers to try their new game, get more involved or stream it to Theta, and other use cases we’re working on.
Q — Telegram user Djani Sala: How does Theta protect copyrights? Where will the contents be stored?
A — Wes Levitt from Theta Labs: Read this article to find out more.
Q — Telegram user B R: Have you encountered any problems since transitioning from testnet?
A — Wes Levitt from Theta Labs: The transition was pretty seamless since we tested on testnet for many months. We originally thought Guardian Nodes would need to be limited to 1,000, but quickly scaled beyond that point and are at 1,330+ Guardian Nodes with no issues for consensus
Q — Telegram user TSG_CRYPT: How is Theta involved in the DeFi space?
A — Wes Levitt from Theta Labs: We’ve got some interesting ideas about how DeFi can benefit streamers. Find out more here.
Q — Telegram user Tanya: How does Theta solve the revenue sharing system? Do you have any ideas on this issue?
A — Wes Levitt from Theta Labs: We built a feature on Theta blockchain that will allow users that earn TFUEL for sharing video and give a % of their earnings to streamers (just like you might donate to a streamer) and that earning is 100% transparent on-chain.
Q — Telegram user Sonia: Does the Theta Network have enough bandwidth for live streaming and streaming?
A — Wes Levitt from Theta Labs: Yes, the network can scale with each new viewer also contributing bandwidth to the network. Each site using Theta is still responsible for content monitoring. Theta Network itself does not censor.
Q — Telegram user anonymous: What devices are the Theta team focused on today? Do you plan to include Theta services next-generation gaming devices?
A — Wes Levitt from Theta Labs: Theta is live on the desktop web, Android mobile, and smart TVs via an Android TV app. More devices are in the works, and in our last Theta Hackathon, someone ported Theta to work on Amazon Fire Stick. Check it out here.
Q — Telegram user Sen: Why should streamers and influencers consider Theta TV instead of other popular platforms like Twitch or YouTube?
A — Wes Levitt from Theta Labs: The biggest benefit of THETA.tv is you won’t be de-platformed. You can earn more via TFUEL sharing and donations.
Q — Telegram user VyachCrypto: How will Theta attract content consumers not just content producers to the platform?
A — Wes Levitt from Theta Labs: Users are driven in part by content, so we think as we attract more content creators, the users that like their content will follow.
Q — Alex Raffin from GAINS: What would you say to someone here who thinks it’s interesting but hasn’t actually tried out the platform?
A — Wes Levitt from Theta Labs: The easiest way is to start watching on THETA.tv, and see how you start earning for relaying video to your nearby peers!
Q — Telegram user Alejandro Urich: Will $TFUEL’s, supply vary or remain at 5% per year? Is it necessary to watch content 24 hours a day or leave my computer as a node without watching the video to get rewards?
A — Wes Levitt from Theta Labs: 5% can vary if adjusted at the protocol level, which will eventually be decided by stake-weighted vote on-chain.
You can leave your computer on and just run an Edge Node! This is for users who don’t necessarily want to watch all day. Find out more here.
Q — Telegram user RAJ Tak: How does Theta Network strive to become a leader in the mass adoption of blockchain platforms?
A — Wes Levitt from Theta Labs: Our strategy is to keep adding platforms for integration since their existing userbases can become influencers/marketers for Theta itself.
Q — Telegram user imearth: What challenges are you facing with regards to adoption and what marketing plans do you have to gain more exposure?
A — Wes Levitt from Theta Labs: There are still issues with companies that fear crypto, using tokens, etc. because of legal or regulatory reasons. That is getting better though, for example, the U.S. government just ruled that banks can custody crypto which is a huge change.
Thanks for your time Wes! Theta is a very interesting project and the fact that it was recognized by Google speaks volumes. Please keep us updated and for those who want to follow Theta, where can they go? — Alex Raffin from GAINS
Thanks for hosting us Alexandre and GAINS. Thanks to your users for the great questions! Thanks, everyone, make sure to follow us on Twitter, website, Telegram, and Medium for the latest news. — Wes Levitt from Theta Labs
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