Viewing Video Though The Blockchain Lens

16. February 2018.

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If decentralization is everything in blockchain, what does that mean beyond just the transaction — for the actual sharing of data, of things of value, of content itself?

One company, Viewly, based in Slovenia, seeks to bring a token and blockchain-based model to the video content realm, leveraging a patronage model to bring together creators and their audience, however niche (and nascent) they might be.

In an e-mailed exchange with PYMNTS, Stefan Furlan, director of Viewly, said that the company’s goal is “to disrupt the traditional ad-based model that currently exists for social video viewing. YouTube and Vimeo have a virtual monopoly, with a combined market share of more than 90 percent.”

And against that backdrop, he said, only large content providers have the scale to monetize their work — and even then, he told PYMNTS, they are forced to give up 45 percent of revenue generated from that content.

“Creators are also at the mercy of the latest whim from YouTube,” he said, citing as an example a recent change from the video giant requiring creators to have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of viewing time over the last 12 months to apply for monetization.

Furlan also stated that the monetization model is flawed. “The typical ad model provides at best a hundred to a few hundred dollars a month for the average creator with an average-size audience and pennies on the dollar for the ones that are truly small and niche.”

But, he said, “what if sub $1 payments were possible, but leveraged at scale?” In other words, payment models untethered to the aforementioned duopoly and traditional card payments (with processing and other fees levied), said Furlan, could be built as hundreds of thousands or even millions of people could employ a pay-what-you-want model.

“As long as creators have a loyal audience – even an audience as small as perhaps 300 people,” said Furlan, “they’ll have the opportunity to monetize their efforts in a number of ways. A typical profile would be a musician, filmmaker, online educator, a travel or cooking vlogger or a gamer/streamer.”

The company envisions creators using a freemium model, he said — and to access premium content, users will use VIEW tokens, along with micro-payments, fan patronage, sponsored endorsements and commerce.

The model is a flexible one, said Furlan. “Though there has to be a direct payment at some point, creators don’t necessarily have to get it from their viewers. They could be sponsored, or revenue sharing via another business that then pays them in VIEW tokens. Cryptocurrencies are essentially programmable money via smart contracts so any business model that creators can come up with could, in theory, be programmed into the tokens and then executed on the blockchain without requiring human staff to do so.”

As for hosting, he told PYMNTS, Viewly notes that host and stream videos can be used by the firm’s customers — and those customers can in turn be rewarded with VIEW tokens. “Smaller businesses, like restaurants, could find local hosts to keep their costs down, rather than having to pay for redundant hosting as if they were a global business,” he said.

Following an ICO that will begin at the end of this month, said Furlan, the company anticipates releasing a demo platform in the coming weeks. Eventually users will be able to recommend creators into Viewly from platforms such as YouTube and introduce them that way. He said Viewly is reaching out to creators and the company is building an initial roster of talent and original content, with an eye on rolling out a content delivery network by the end of the year.

“This could easily up-end the status quo and create a new standard for the means for creators to build a livable income,” said Furlan of the ad-free and decentralized video content platform.

Rally Here, Rally There…Rally, Really?

Rallying prices in cryptos? Who’da thunk it?

After headlines (and yes, even we) breathlessly tracked the swoons that ballooned in bitcoin and its peer digital currencies, a rebound seemed in the offing. Bitcoin on Thursday was changing hands at $10,200 as of this writing, which means that the $6,000 seen last week seems long ago and far away.

What spurred the gains? When it comes to cryptos, the threat of regulatory action comes, the threat of regulatory action goes. Here, then, the headline is that South Korea may be backing off what many observers had considered to be a hardline crackdown on cryptos and now is rumored to be mulling a licensing system that would but in place financial reporting regulations and minimum capital requirements.

Separately, the messaging app known as Telegram is in the midst of planning a 2018 ICO that would bring in as much as $2 billion, ostensibly to create a blockchain-underpinned system that would create a “Visa/Mastercard alternative for the new decentralized economy,” as noted by CNBC.com. Critics at the financial publication smell a scam, and say the endeavor is incompatible with Telegram’s technology.

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