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Theta (THETA) is a blockchain powered network purpose-built for video streaming. Launched in March 2019, the Theta mainnet operates as a decentralized network in which users share bandwidth and computing resources on a peer-to-peer (P2P) basis.The project is advised by Steve Chen, co-founder of YouTube and Justin Kan, co-founder of Twitch.
Theta features its own native cryptocurrency token, THETA, which performs various governance tasks within the network, and counts Google, Binance, Blockchain ventures, Gumi and Samsung as Enterprise validators, along with a Guardian network of thousands of community-run guardian nodes.
Developers say that the project aims to shake up the video streaming industry in its current form — centralization, poor infrastructure and high costs mean that end users often end up with a poor experience. Content creators likewise earn less revenue due to the barriers between them and end users.
Theta was co-founded by Mitch Liu and Jieyi Long in 2018. Liu has a long history in the gaming and video industries, co-founding video advertising firm Tapjoy, mobile social gaming startup Gameview Studios, and THETA.tv, the live streaming platform whose DApp was the first to be built on the Theta protocol.
Long is Theta’s second co-founder and CTO, following similar multi-year experience in design automation, gaming, virtual reality, and large scale distributed systems. He authored multiple peer-reviewed academic papers and holds various patents in video streaming, blockchain and virtual reality.
Theta now has a modest team, and its official website lists strategic corporate investors as Samsung NEXT, Sony Innovation Fund, media investors BDMI Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, CAA Creative Artists Agency, and traditional Silicon Valley VCs including DCM, Sierra Ventures and the VR Fund.
Theta’s main business concept is to decentralize video streaming, data delivery and edge computing, making it more efficient, cost-effective and fair for industry participants.
The network runs on a native blockchain, with two native tokens, known as Theta (THETA), Theta Fuel (TFUEL), powering the internal economy.
Theta’s appeal is threefold: viewers get rewarded with better quality streaming service, content creators improve their earnings and middlemen — video platforms — save money on building infrastructure and increase advertising and subscription revenues.
Users have an incentive to both watch network content and share network resources, as rewards come in the form of TFUEL tokens.
The platform is open source, and token holders receive governance powers as with many proof-of-stake (PoS)-based blockchain ecosystems.
In addition to video, data and computing, Theta caters to developers looking to launch decentralized applications (DApps) on its fully featured EVM-compatible Smart contract platform.
Theta involves two tokens: THETA and TFUEL. THETA exists only for governance purposes, with 5 TFUEL tokens issued per 1 THETA held at the time of the mainnet launch in 2019.
THETA itself launched in 2018, at which time it was distributed to buyers as an ERC-20 token on Ethereum. Afterwards, all ERC-20 THETA were converted to native THETA on the mainnet.
The total supply of THETA is capped at 1 billion (1,000,000,000) tokens. It is distributed in various proportions among all network participants, as well as the Theta team itself and a reserve pool.
TFUEL is used to power transactions in a similar way to gas on Ethereum (ETH). Its total supply is 5 billion (5,000,000,000) tokens.
Theta uses a financial incentive scheme to ensure user participation in governance activities, and hence its network is secured by its own users.
The network relies on proof-of-stake (PoS), and employs a multi-level Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT) consensus mechanism to balance security with high transaction throughput.
With the launch of Guardian nodes in June 2019, Theta ensured that no single entity controls the majority of THETA tokens being staked at any one time.