LBRY Set To Take On Youtube & Youku
One of the more ambitious functions of blockchain technology will be to decentralize media, taking the profits out of the hands of powerful content distributors, and putting them into the pockets of deserving content creators. This will also eliminate media censorship, corporate influence, and political media bias. LBRY is a platform that aims to do all of this and more, and by the looks of it, they have a good head start, with a YouTube-like UI and decentralized payment channels. On the platform, creators can publish to a unique LBRY URL, upload their content, and set a price for users who can pay to view the content.
The platform also allows participants to monetize unused hard drive space by hosting encrypted slices of the content on LBRY. This will distribute the encrypted content across computers around the world, foregoing centralized hosts (Google, Amazon, Alibaba, etc.), and eliminate the need for energy intensive data centers. When lending your disk space to its blockchain, LBRY users will pay you in LBC, which you can then go spend on content or to obtain a URL. Content will include anything that can be moved around in bits, like movies, music, CAD files, literature, big data sets, games, and more.
The key to success here will be a strong cache of content. As Bill Gates said in his famous essay, “Content Is King”, and it will be up to users to make or break this Youtube challenger. In his essay, Gates wrote:
“One of the exciting things about the Internet is that anyone with a PC and a modem can publish whatever content they can create.”
While this is true, few people have found efficient ways to monetize content, and instead rely on outlets that control most of the profits. But with LBRY, you can earn LBC, and exchange the tokens to any currency. And the publisher receives 100% of the price they specify (minus a tiny data fee, determined by market rates.) In comparison, YouTube takes 45% of every publisher’s profits.
After perusing LBRY’s Github, hanging out in their Slack, and checking our Reddit and other social media channels, I can see the team is building a strong following online. And the developers have been active hosting forums and tutorials. I spoke with the CEO and co-founder of LBRY, Jeremy Kauffman, about the project and the LBRY team’s ambitions.
“Everyone at LBRY is thrilled to work on a project that increases freedom, reduces waste, and empowers artists,” Kauffman told me. “LBRY is fundamentally about increasing freedom and eliminating middlemen. With LBRY, artists earn more, viewers remain in control, and no one is ever censored. And because LBRY is open, decentralized, and trustworthy rather than centralized and controlled by a mega-corp, we literally can’t change the rules even if we want to.”
I was given access to the platform in its early release, and it looks like they’ve been hard at work. The interface is slick, easy to navigate, and makes uploading content simple. This is a pretty good 2 minute video on the platform, in which you get a basic idea of the look, the functionality, and the speed of content delivery.
The biggest challenge LBRY faces will be taking on the big boys such as Google’s YouTube, Apple’s iTunes, Alibaba’s Youku and Netflix. As blockchain technology advances, these traditional outlets will have to adapt if they want to stay in the game. According to Kauffman, blockchain tech is coming head-on to disrupt their businesses, and LBRY just may be the threat that finally gets their attention. How these companies will respond, with the hundred of millions of dollars that they have at their disposal, still remains to be seen.
As for the LBC asset, it has performed well over the last 6 months, rising from $.01421 on December 20th, to $.126 on May 11, for a gain of 787%. And while this may seem overheated, LBRY’s market cap is only $9.85 million. The circulating supply of LBC is 67 million tokens, with 88% of trading volume on Poloniex. Eventually 1 billion LBC will exist, according to a defined schedule over the next 20 years.
I think LBC is a good coin to begin accumulating, mining, and keeping an eye on in the near term. If it continues to appreciate in value, more people will be encouraged to publish their content on the platform. The most recent valuation I could find online for YouTube was $90 billion back in June of 2016. If LBRY can capture YouTube’s market of original content creators, then with an ultimate supply of 1 billion tokens, we could see a lot more upside in this budding digital asset.