8th Nov 2019
Guest: Wes Levitt — Head of Strategy
Q: Please briefly introduce yourself and #Theta to our community?
A: Theta Network is a decentralized video delivery network, that integrates with video platforms to allow their users to really video streams peer-to-peer among their users. Users earn tokens on the Theta blockchain for contributing to the network, while platforms benefit by reducing their video delivery costs and gaining a more engaged, loyal userbase with rewards.
I serve as Head of Strategy for Theta Labs, and focus on marketing and PR, business operations, and business development of the Theta platform and partners.
Q:1. Plans for Cool Tshirt with Theta logo in fluorescent paint that reacts to night club music for young people? (Fun idea for advertising).
2. Plans to create viral snowboarding video with big Theta logo on bottom of snowboard, (Fun)?
A: Both very innovative ideas haha! We haven’t focused on this type of marketing yet, because if you think about it Theta’s go-to-market strategy is more of a B2B2C strategy. What I mean by that is the Theta protocol is first integrated with video platforms like the ones we are partnering with and in beta with like Samsung, CJ Hello, DLive, etc. Then the users of those platforms can benefit from Theta. But it’s not a product that a consumer goes and adopts directly, it’s through a video platform.
So because of all that our marketing has focused on video conferences and more enterprise focused, rather than mass marketing. But that could change in the future as Theta’s brand recognition increases
Q:There a lot of E-sports and livestreaming startups are already there in the market . How will you attracts the customers towards theta network?
Tell me its 3 main killers points that makes it better than its peers?
A:Our strategy at this point is for Theta, the underlying video delivery infrastructure, to be integrated with as many video platforms as possible. Even if they are a competitor to SLIVER.tv, that’s ok, but our focus is on the Theta side. So to that end we see other e-sports and livestreaming platforms as more potential partners than competitors.
As far as how Theta can succeed over other blockchain video delivery protocols, I would say that we are the furthest along in that we have a product that works already and is live on SLIVER.tv, we have real traction (signed MOUs with video platforms like DLive and CJ, featured at Samsung Dev Conference with the Smart TV group https://twitter.com/Theta_Network/status/1191519519333683200?s=20) and because media/tech companies like Samsung and Sony have invested in Theta, we have an easier path to gaining wide scale adoption
Q:With Theta Network, how do you think the project will change the traditional video streaming economy in the next 10 years?
A:We think Theta will move distribution of video streaming closer to the edge and user’s devices. Our long-term vision of Theta is a dense edge network of devices (computers, phones, TVs, etc.) that all are capable of sharing video and other data securely, so that the network looks less like one-to-many, and more like a true P2P network. By doing this you get a network that’s much more efficient and less wasteful, as you have fewer redundant data transfers
Q:How Important is Indian market for Theta Network? Have you identified any key areas of interest in the Indian Market?
A:We haven’t made the Indian market a focus yet, but that’s mostly a function of our investor base — with Samsung and Sony, they helped make many introductions for us to other key companies in Korea and Japan. Korea has been especially successful for the project so far. We haven’t had the benefit of that in India yet, but we definitely would like the opportunity to if we could make inroads with the top video sites and tech companies of India.
One concern we’ve also had is that Indian regulators have at times been negative toward cryptocurrencies, but I am hopeful on this front because Theta is in the video delivery space, which is less regulated than banking/fintech/etc. Hopefully that means Theta would be viewed more as ‘tech’ and less as a financial product
Q: As theta proving video content facility can you explain why theta is better compared to youtube? Why YouTubers should shift in your platform?
A:Theta is infrastructure that is meant to work with video platforms like YouTube, it’s not meant to be a video platform itself. So as the protocol develops and can scale to their size, eventually we’d like to see YouTube using Theta to help delivery their video content to users
Q: Which factors/ key points of theta will you want YOUR strength in future but now it is your project theta weakness? How will change to weakness into strength ?
A:Weakness — blockchain adoption is tough, many companies are scared of legal, custody issues, regulatory etc. But we are a pioneer here in helping enterprise get comfortable with these things
Q: Can you please share your technology architecture for peer-to-peer decentralized CDN?
A-WebRTC over desktop, in Android SDK it’s native to our apps. We built a proprietary tracker software to route video segments P2p
Q: Youtube co-founder Steve Chen said that Theta’s innovation is ready to bring the video industry to the top. Did these words make you happy? attaches great importance to the Theta project.
A: Yes definitely, Steve is an adviser and friend of our CEO Mitch. Obviously respect what he’s done a lot so we appreciate that comment
Q:How does Theta provide the least expensive video-related services? Because cost is always an important issue. Thank you?
A:We are releasing dev tools to build dapps on Theta, but Theta is not a general smart contract platform. You can build a video platform or other site delivering data that can integrate the Theta p2p network for infrastructure
THETA — staking/governance token that generates TFUEL as reward. TFUEL — payment currency, used as the ‘gas’ and for paying relayers for video segments
Edge Cacher — software that let’s you relay video
Enterprise VN — these are the core nodes that form consensus, currently run by Theta Labs and key partners, intended to decentralize over time as TL’s role diminishes
We are working with Littlstar app in PS4 to include SLIVER.tv esports streams, that’s coming soon
To a video platform, it’s always cheaper to have your users deliver video that to pay for it yourself. For many users, they already have uncapped upload bandwidth they are paying for as a sunk cost, which they can use to earn tokens with Theta
Q: Are content creators protected with intellectual property rights when participating in Theta? Outside of videos, does Theta develop anything else?
A: Yes, Theta only works through platforms which can then control content rights just like they do now. It’s not like BitTorrent or Kazaa where you can just upload anything. Theta doesn’t control content rights just like AWS doesn’t when they deliver content, they are just the ‘pipes’
Q:How does Theta keep criteria such as speed, security at a stable level? When are these criteria so important to projects like Theta?
A:Speed is a priority over security for micropayments for video segments, so instant finality is not critical for our use case and many micropayments can be pushed to Layer 2 / offchain with periodic onchain settlement
Q:Can you tell us something about the adoption of Theta? Like where you would love to see the usage of Theta?
A:I’d like to make inroads with a live sports platform, major matches have perfect characteristics for p2p — lots of concurrent users, tend to be clustered in dense areas (i.e. popular sports matches between two cities/countries will have many users in those areas near each other, good for relaying video)
Q: Many projects have tried or are trying to create mesh networks competing with centralized CDNs. Many of them offer cool tech, but aren’t able to put their developments into life, just because they aren’t able to incentivize and organize people on whom the network would be based. How does Theta intend to solve this problem?
A-Token incentives give users a reason to keep contributing to the network, and by working with video platforms with existing userbases they already have a ready made audience, we don’t have to build it from scratch
Q:How Theta is protected from intrusion of a malicious actor (DDOS, abusing, forgery etc)? Does the separation of tokens play a positive role in this regard?
A:Cost of tx does mean that DDOS attacks have a real cost, just need to set it so that they are uneconomical. Also, video platforms validate users on their end making it harder to launch an attack — you need to sign up, there’s probably a captcha on their site, etc.
Q:In the field of traditional video distribution, who is Theta’s biggest competitor? What are the differences and strengths of Theta compared to other traditional platforms?
A:In traditional, Akamai and AWS are the biggest. Keep in mind though, our pitch is that you ADD Theta to your delivery stack. We can’t ask a platform to go 100% p2p because it doesn’t make sense, you need some form of centralized CDN for stability. But if you have both it’s the best of both worlds, you can offload to p2p Theta when network conditions are right, and if not (lack of users, brand new video stream, etc.) you have the traditional CDN as backup so there’s no loss of Quality of Service to the end users
Q:In the future, what is the main goal of Theta? Does the project have any plan to raise the value of token theta?
A:Our main goal of Theta is to generalize to any device with interconnectivity and any data form, so abstracting away video to any data transfer that would work better on a p2p network
Q:As per website, Samsung VR, CJ, MBN, SliverTv, etc are the partners of Theta token ! So, can you explain which types of partnerships are done by Theta project with these projects ? and whats the benefits of these partnerships to theta token ?
A:Each is a little different, but the common thread is that they have some type of video platform that can benefit from integrating Theta protocol
Tokens earned can be spent back on platforms, donated to streamers, plus they are traded on exchanges so they simply have value if that’s what your goal is by relaying
Q:There are two big problem right now on content reward field: Cheater and Bad content so how will Theta solve these problems?
A:Cheating is a big one, we have to think of 100s of edge cases where someone will fake that they relayed video (or relayed to a bot farm they own) and then claim token rewards. We program our p2p tracker to ID a lot of unnatural / suspicious behavior so that you can’t earn if it looks artificial. I’m not sure what you mean by bad content specifically?
Q:It is seem that Sliver.tv doesn’t have too much abilities, functions like Twitch so in what is your next step to attract users and streamers to use Sliver.tv? (More users = More streamers) And how you will improve Sliver.tv?
A:We are always making Sliver improvements, but again our focus is not making Sliver beat Twitch — it’s to export Theta tech to all video platforms, even Twitch eventually. But Sliver is an important part our strategy because it’s where we test Theta improvements and prove out the value prop
Q:I knew your first Theta integration with Smart TVs focuses on TVs running on Android and Samsung’s Tizen operating system so when can i see THETA in IOS operating system?
A:We are working on it but it’s trickier with iOS dev environment. But in technical sense it works. Also harder to get an app involving crypto approved in App Store which is frustrating
Q:Whether a project succeeds or not depends on the investors. So can you name some investors for THETA? And the reason why the team chose to cooperate with those investors?
A:Samsung, Sony, DHVC, BDMI, Sierra Ventures, DCM Ventures. A good mix of media, tech, traditional VC means we have lots of paths to working with traditional media/video platforms
Q:Recently, dirty YouTube videos have become a hot topic in the world, with content not suitable for users, especially children. Does THETA take any precautions against the negative use of the platform and content products it creates, especially for children?
A:No, Theta does not regulate video just like centralized versions (AWS, Akamai) don’t today. That’s still the responsibility of the video platform. Theta is just infrastructure
Q: I watch streamers in sliver.tv which makes earning TFUEL possible, which I feel is a great way towards mass adoption. You are holding one of the tough positions in THETA NETWORK and no product how good will not succeed unless and until it is properly marketed and has targets planned with deadlines. So, what strategy and milestones do you have to make THETA NETWORK global-not only make people believe in THETA NETWORK but also make them use it?
A:This will come from integrating with video platforms, showing the benefits they get and their users get, then using those as case studies to gain integration in the larger video platforms. The users come along with the platforms
Q:There are several projects on digital content such as Steem, Contentos, .. They also initially achieved success and work quite well. So the question is, what are the basic and core differences between THETA compared to them?
A:Key difference is our go to market is to work with video platforms with existing userbases, not trying to build a decentralized userbase from 0
Q:Can THETA beat others top coin like trx, ltc,… about the lowest transactions fee and confirmation transactions time? What streng can help THETA do that?
A:No, that’s not what we are competing on. We are optimizing for video segment delivery, not fastest TPS. We need to scale Theta blockchain up of course, but much of micropayments can be moved offchain in our case (like a Lightning Network or Plasma)
Q:How does Samsung support Theta Labs? Who are Theta’s major partners?
A:They invested twice in the company, we’ve signed MOUs with multiple Samsung groups, featured us at conference twice. Still growing, Mitch and Bruce from our team are in Seoul/Suwon for follow up meetings with them this week
Q:Can you please explain more on the partnership of THETA with D-LIVE streaming platform?
A:Yes, they are a startups like we are so they are facing same problem of huge CDN costs, we hope to solve that for them with Theta protocol
Q:What are the minimum requirements to run a complete node of THETA?
A:32gb RAM, 8 core CPU, 1mb/s upload speed. We are just getting started with an initial group of 100 nodes on testnet soon
Q:Theta is the only public ledger network that uses the hashing consensus algorithm, what are the advantages and disadvantages of the algorithm?
A:Do you mean the two stage node consensus? Adv — you can have fast block times but still retain decentralization in the form of the larger second tier of nodes. Disadv — any time you add complexity to a system more things can go wrong
Q:How to earn Theta by watching video? Do you plan to create a platform that will be integrated into mobile phones in the future? On average how much theta is earned per video watch? Will there be a staking program?
A:Yes, Theta works in Android mobile and working on iOS as well. You earn just by logging on to a platform, it’s integrated at platform level. You typically earn 0.025 TFUEL per video segment (a few seconds)
Q:You partners with DLive to bring decentralized video streaming to over 5 million users, please how robust are you to even go beyond 5 million as you gain more and more adoption
A:We are constantly working on scaling the network, but we see adoption as a tougher problem so too many users is a good problem to have