What is Gamma? What is the Theta testnet channel? Initial FAQs

With the introduction of Gamma into the Theta protocol and the launch of our testnet channel, we know the community has lots of questions. These initial FAQs should provide some guidance, and we will continue to update the community as we further develop the token economics through the Theta testnet phase. You can also stop by our Telegram channel here for the latest news and to discuss with the Theta team!

Gamma FAQs

What is Gamma and what will it be used for?

Gamma is the operational token of the Theta protocol. Users will use Gamma to complete transactions like paying a relay node to provide you with a video stream, or for deploying or interacting with smart contracts. Relay nodes earn Gamma for every video stream they relay to other users on the network.

How will Gamma be generated? At what rate?

Gamma will be earned by contributing to the network via staking or other productive work. Throughout the testnet period, the Theta team will be working on what is the optimal mechanism and rate of generation.

Will each viewer need to pay Gamma to pull video streams on the Theta Network?

Yes, but most viewers will also share their bandwidth (i.e. serve as a relay node), earning more than enough Gamma from relaying that it will cover the Gamma they need to watch their video stream. If they aren’t sharing and therefore don’t have Gamma, the viewer would simply default back to regular CDN viewing and have no loss of quality of service. At no point is there a new cost to viewers; the cost of Gamma falls on video platforms, since they are the ones directly gaining from more viewers getting their stream from the Theta Network.

What’s the difference between Theta and Gamma?

Staking Theta gives you a proportional right to govern the Theta Network and generate Gamma, while using Gamma allows you to watch video streams or take other actions on the Theta Network, like creating or interacting with smart contracts.

Why introduce a second currency at all?

The primary reasons are to separate the uses of staking/governance (with Theta) and operations/transactions (with Gamma), and to enhance protocol security. You can read more about this reasoning in our blog post on governance here.

Theta testnet channel FAQs

What is the Theta testnet channel?

The testnet channel is the first example of the Theta blockchain and streaming protocol being integrated with a video platform, SLIVER.tv. Users can share bandwidth with other peers, earning (test) Gamma. This channel allows the Theta team to gather data on how the blockchain and streaming protocol are performing, so we can optimize and scale the protocol ahead of our mainnet launch in Q4.

What browsers and operating systems are supported for the testnet?

Currently, the testnet channel supports Chrome and Firefox on PC and Mac. Support for iOS/Safari and Android will also be coming soon.

Why am I not relaying my stream to peers / pulling my stream from peers?

Since Theta Network is a peer-to-peer protocol, it is possible that you don’t have any nearby peers and/or the peers you are connected to are too far away to share bandwidth effectively.

I am sharing streams with my peers, why am I not earning any Gamma?

One reason you may not be earning Gamma is because when users show up on the test channel page, they immediately attempt to pull streams from other users on Theta Network. But, their computer isn’t linked to a specific Gamma wallet until they login to SLIVER. So what’s happening is they are pulling streams from you, you are sharing your bandwidth with them, but because they have no Gamma wallet attached you aren’t getting Gamma in return!

This couldn’t happen on the mainnet of course, because the protocol would require them to compensate you with Gamma! We could cut off the non-logged in users, but for the moment we want to err to the side of maximizing peers so we can maximize bandwidth offload. We are also working on an alternative fix that should make sure each users earns Gamma for the bandwidth they are sharing.

Will Gamma I earn on the testnet be carried over to the mainnet when it launches in Q4?

At this time, we are not planning to carry test Gamma over to the mainnet. The main reason is so that we can maintain flexibility with testing parameters, whereas if test Gamma carried over to the mainnet, any testing decision would need to take into account the long-term consequences on the mainnet token economics.

So why should I bother to share my bandwidth on the testnet?

Sharing your bandwidth on the testnet allows us to gather more data about the Theta protocol, allowing us to optimize and scale the network ahead of the mainnet launch in Q4. Also, we will soon be rolling out incentives for users to share their bandwidth on the test channel. Users who contribute the most to testing (by amount of bandwidth shared, or by length of time spent sharing) will be able to earn actual Theta Tokens and/or other promotional items.

The test channel isn’t working!

If you are having issues with the test channel, please fill out this Google form to tell us about it! Your feedback will help the Theta engineering team improve the protocol and make for a successful mainnet launch in Q4.