What is Theta Network and TFUEL?

Written by Ivan on Tech

Dec 28, 2020

Theta Network is a next-generation video delivery platform powered by blockchain technology. The Theta mainnet is currently in phase 2.0, with phase 3 expected in the spring of 2021, which will bring further utility to the Theta token ecosystem. The project has also developed the Theta token wallet, which is easily integrated with many different devices and hardware wallets. But what is Theta Network and why do we need it?

The demand for high-definition video is increasing rapidly as technology advances. However, much of the video content consumed online is of relatively low quality. While users seek 4k, 8k, and even higher resolution, content delivery networks (CDNs) can’t keep up. The result is a bottleneck in bandwidth infrastructure. This causes slow loading times and unnecessary re-buffering for many users. Furthermore, centralized platforms like Netflix and YouTube take a large chunk of artist and creator revenue.

In this article, we’re going to dive into the Theta Network and explore the various components of this innovative streaming solution. We’ll also look at some of the fascinating ways that Theta is changing the way we consume video content.

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What is Theta Network?

Theta Network is a sharing economy video delivery network. Users can earn token rewards for sharing videos with other users. Also, users can opt-in to allocate any spare bandwidth they may have for computational resources for other users as another way of earning token rewards. All of this can be done through a computer, mobile phone, or smart TV. 

By integrating Theta into an existing video stack, video platforms can reduce delivery costs while expanding viewer engagement. Also, Theta-enabled video platforms can build a user base more efficiently that can help to increase market share.

The Theta Blockchain was launched in March of 2019. Designed specifically for relaying video, the Theta Blockchain uses a bespoke multi-BFT (Byzantine Fault Tolerance) consensus design comprising a committee of several different nodes. Each Node plays a different role within the Theta Network.

Theta Nodes

There several types of node within the Theta ecosystem:

Edge Nodes 

Earn TFUEL tokens by caching popular streams.

Validator Nodes 

Propose and create new blocks.

Guardian Nodes 

Community-run, thousands of these nodes seal the blocks and check for malicious validator nodes and earn TFUEL by staking THETA.

Enterprise Validator Nodes 

Nodes are operated by Binance, Google, Blockchain Ventures, and many other big names. Several new enterprises are also in the process of becoming Theta Validator Nodes.

The Theta blockchain mainnet also supports Turing-complete smart contracts. This allows dApps to be built on top of the Theta Network that could create an array of new user experiences and attribution models. For instance, smart contracts on Theta present innovative payment and consumption models. Furthermore, Theta smart contracts could enhance transparency in royalty distribution and create a platform for decentralized crowdfunding. Not only does this encourage social engagement, but it also increases user retention.

Theta Edge Nodes are hosted by Theta community members. Within less than a month, the Theta Edge Network has already grown to around 3,000 nodes. Theta’s peer-to-peer Edgecast tech stack was introduced with the launch of Theta 2.0. This adds functionality like live video capture, which can be transcoded in real-time and relayed globally (explained later in the article). The Theta Edge Network is completely decentralized, run by its thousands of community members.

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THETA Token Model

The Theta Network uses a dual token model consisting of the Theta Token (THETA), and the TFUEL token. Each token plays a significant role in the Theta Ecosystem:

THETA Token

The Theta Token (THETA) is used to govern the Theta protocol. The Theta token can also be staked by Validator and Guardian Nodes to contribute towards block production. Nodes that stake the Theta token earn TFUEL tokens as rewards. THETA has a fixed supply of 1 billion tokens and this will not be subject to change.

Despite being relatively quiet since its launch in early 2018, the Theta token has seen incredible price action in recent months. Trading at around $0.06 per THETA in October 2020, the Theta token reached an all-time high of $1.73 on December 26th, just 2 months later. This launched the coin into the top 30 cryptocurrencies by market cap.

TFUEL Token

The TFUEL token acts in a very similar way to Ethereum Gas. It is responsible for payments to Edge Node relayers, content sharing, and interacting with smart contracts within the Theta Network. Relayers can also share videos and earn TFUEL as a reward.

At the genesis of the Theta blockchain, 5 billion TFUEL tokens were created. Moving forward, this supply will increase every year by a percentage determined at the protocol level. In December 2020, Theta 3.0 was announced by Theta Labs. Theta 3.0 will bring additional functionality to the TFUEL token, changing the overall tokenomics of the Theta Network with the introduction of token burning.

Theta Mainnet 3.0 

The introduction of Theta Mainnet 2.0 brought a revolutionary two-layer consensus mechanism, bringing in the Guardian nodes to conveniently complement the Enterprise Validator Nodes. The upgraded Theta Mainnet 3.0 will bring us two new innovations to the Theta protocol. 

Firstly, from Spring 2021, users will be able to stake TFUEL tokens to Edge Nodes in order to upgrade to Elite Edge Nodes. Elite Edge Nodes will receive TFUEL tokens as a staking reward for their TFUEL. Additionally, Elite Edge Nodes can earn further TFUEL tokens as rewards for high-performing video platforms.

Secondly, in line with a solid tokenomic model, burning mechanisms will also be introduced for TFUEL tokens with Theta Mainnet 3.0. At least 25% of TFUEL payments will be burned as a ‘network fee’, to grow a self-sustainable decentralized application. 

Theta Wallet 

The Theta Wallet allows you to securely handle and store Theta tokens, along with TFUEL. Also, it is the only recommended app for utilizing the full potential of the Theta Network. In addition to Theta’s web desktop wallet, the app is available on Android and IOS and is easily integrated with Ledger and Trezor hardware wallets.

Earlier this month, the Theta Wallet Chrome Extension went live! This combines the facilities of the mobile app wallet with the ease of Metamask to create a premier user experience for Theta Network users.

Theta Token Minter

An exciting new addition to the Theta Network went live this week. The Theta Token Minter makes it easy to generate TNT-20 tokens without prior experience with smart contracts. The design is simple so that anyone can mint tokens by knowing the name, ticker symbol, and decimal places of the asset you’d like to be created on the Theta blockchain. 

You can determine a fixed supply or the ability for future tokens to be minted. Everything else is taken care of by the THETA token minter! Tokens can be stored in the Theta Wallet chrome Extension, alongside your THETA and TFUEL tokens.

Theta Explorer

Because the Theta blockchain is a public blockchain, all transactions are viewable. Theta Network utilizes a block explorer similar to Etherscan. Here you can view all Theta Network transactions on the purpose-built Theta Explorer.

THETA.tv

THETA.tv site is a global streaming platform where users can view esports, crypto conferences, anime, and many other genres of content! Alongside the THETA.tv site, current options to view content on THETA.tv include using the Android or IOS App. Alternatively, you can access THETA.tv through partnered streaming sites such as the Littlstar PS4 app, G Fuel, and Sizzle Popcorn. The best part – users can earn some TFUEL tokens whilst watching!

In August, YouTube legend FAILArmy partnered with the Theta Network THETA.tv platform. Another recent partnership announced was K-Pop channel NEW K.ID earlier this month. Theta Network is also working on collaborations with COS.tv, Pandora.tv, and Samsung VR amongst others, to develop a peer-to-peer, global video streaming network.

Also, users can earn Theta XP. Similarly to in many popular games, users level-up as they gain experience and contribute to the platform.

Video on Demand (VOD)

Until a couple of months ago, Theta Network was primarily focused on facilitating live-streaming content. However, in October they announced the release of Theta Video on Demand (VOD), which allows content creators to store and create libraries for their content on THETA.tv. Theta Network is continuously working towards new developments and partnerships for THETA.tv, suggesting the future is bright for Theta.

THETA.tv started out completely centralized in its origin. However, it has since transitioned to a hybrid platform. Since its inception in 2017, Theta Labs’ mission has been to create the first completely decentralized streaming platform on the planet.

Theta Edgecast

In November, success was announced! Theta Edgecast is the first completely decentralized video streaming dApp built on the Theta blockchain. Through the use of its 2000+ nodes, not a single central server or service is used. Theta Edgecast is the first dApp to be able to “capture video, transcode it in real-time, cache and relay to users globally” using a peer-to-peer network.

Theta Network recognizes that the future is decentralized, with users wanting a choice of the content they consume. In a similar way to how YouTube and Netflix have created a platform for creators to share their content, Theta Edgecast is a completely decentralized application paving the way for content creators believing in the adoption of web3. 

THETA Labs & Fighting Online Video Ad Fraud

Theta Labs are the creators of Theta Network and THETA.tv. In September this year, Theta Labs were granted a patent of their innovative decentralized video streaming network, ensuring Theta Network as “the first and only successful blockchain-based decentralized video protocol.”  The Theta protocol still remains open-source, allowing any developer to implement and use the infrastructure within their own project or dApp. 

Theta Network has been working over the past few months with the number one oracle Chainlink to develop a blockchain-based approach to combat online video ad fraud. According to Statistica.com, the cost of digital ad fraud will be more than $44 billion in 2022. Theta Network and Chainlink have devised a protocol that is now live on Theta Testnet. 

By integrating BigQuery (Google’s Big Data solution) which monitors the performance of viewership on Theta Network, viewers will receive a relative reputation score. These scores will be broadcast to the Ethereum blockchain using Chainlink where they are immutably stored. Online advertisers can use these reputation scores as references when deciding on financial and demographic assignments. In the future, Theta hopes to use Chainlink to combine scores with off-chain data to create a ‘multivariable reputation’ score. 

What Is Theta Network? Summary

The Theta ecosystem is expansive and broad. However, if someone asks you “what is Theta Network?”, you can now advise them how Theta Network has become a pioneer in the blockchain and crypto space by creating the first 100% decentralized, peer-to-peer video streaming platform. 

Content creators and consumers alike are rewarded for their efforts while receiving a larger share of the revenue. By sharing bandwidth between a dedicated, incentivized community, the Theta Network is changing how we consume media with the use of blockchain technology.

If you have an idea for your own decentralized application but no idea where to start – Ivan on Tech Academy is here to help! Between the Blockchain Business Masterclass course, Ethereum Smart Contract Programming, and Unity Blockchain Game Development 101 courses, the Academy can equip you with all the knowledge needed to launch your own dApp!

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