The popular video sharing platform, Youtube, is rated the world’s 2nd most visited website as of August 2019.
Every day more than a billion users watch a total of billion hours of video on the platform. If you were to attempt to watch this amount solo, it would take you more than 114,000 years. It’s an incredible amount of volume that Youtube is pulling in daily. Yet there are still hundreds of thousands of people who are not even allowed access to the platform. Indeed, nation wide censorship is a real issue in countries with very strict government oversight like China, Iran, Syria, etc.
Another serious problem with Youtube is the fact that the entire platform is controlled by a single authority. Google, the company behind Youtube, has direct control over which one of their content creators is allowed to earn revenue. Increasingly over the years Youtube has denied payouts for content creators by demonetizing their videos. At one point in recent history the situation was so dire that a well known Youtube creator known to many by the screen name PewDiePie, got his video demonetized for covering a popular song titled Despacito.
The company that held the rights to the original song reported it to Youtube and just like that the video stopped generating revenue for PewDiePie. Even though cover songs are considered original content if you specifically credit the author, it didn’t matter. What’s worse, the company who opened the dispute started to earn all of the revenue from that video instead. This flaw in Youtube ended up being abused so much that companies emerged providing services to legally “steal” someone else’s Youtube money. Many of these companies are still active today.
These are only some of the problems content creators are faced by putting their trust in a centralized authority. It is the desire of every creator to have their message heard without fearing for censorship and get rewarded for their time fairly. Nobody likes to get their content pulled or revenues “stolen” by shady corporations. Fortunately there is a startup working on a solution right now.
LBRY is essentially aiming to be the world’s library. It’s a fully decentralized protocol without a single point of failure. LBRY allows developers to build apps that interact with digital content on the LBRY network. Apps built using the protocol enable content creators to upload their work to the LBRY network of hosts similarly to BitTorrent. Additionally creators can choose to set an “access” price for their work similar to iTunes or make the content available for free like Youtube, but without ads. What’s more, the content is not limited to video format, but can be anything from audio to ebooks and images. Being the world’s library, anything a creator comes up with can be uploaded to the network and shared with everyone. Forever.
How does it work?
Traditional media sharing platforms like Youtube store content on their own centralized servers. In many cases this can be an issue if the central authority decides that your content is not
advertiser friendly and chooses not to reward you for your work or worse, removes the content altogether. When you use these platforms you are not really in control of your own content.
LBRY does things differently by utilizing the Blockchain technology. When you create a piece of content and upload it to the network parts of that file will be spread across the many hosts in encrypted format. When someone wishes to access your content the client is instructed to download these pieces and put them back together again in a presentable manner. If the creator has chosen to make it a paid service, you are required to make a payment first using LBRY Credits (LBC). If it’s a free service you will be able to stream the content immediately and seamlessly just like you are used to.
What about illegal content?
Since LBRY has no control over what the user shares on the network illegal content will more than likely find its way on the network as well. Just like encryption protects legitimate activists as well as criminals, the LBRY protocol can and will be used for both the good and the bad.
As a transparent blockchain based protocol, the LBRY network stores transaction hashes on the public ledger permanently. In other words it will be public knowledge who uploaded the content and everyone who accessed it at a later date.
When someone reports a piece of content either being illegal or infringing copyright laws the LBRY team can stop it from being discovered through LBRY controlled apps. This does not actually “erase” the content from the network since the original uploader as well as everyone who downloaded the file still holds a copy. This is no different from the internet we have today however because the public ledger mentioned earlier is permanent and immutable, we now have a much higher chance to track down users that publish illegal content. In that sense LBRY is an improvement to the BitTorrent protocol where none of this is possible.
LBRY Credits & how to earn
LBRY Credits (LBC) is the native cryptocurrency for the LBRY network. You can earn LBC by publishing content to the network and either get tips from viewers or if you choose to make your content premium, you get paid every time someone views your content.
If you are a developer you can earn rewards by contributing to the network. You can also earn LBC by referring new users to the network and completing various tasks like testing apps, moderating chat rooms and more. And finally, just like every other cryptocurrency, LBC can also be mined and exchanged on cryptocurrency exchanges.