You know how Youtube is great, I mean creators get paid based on how many views their content receives, they can upload whatever they want without getting censored, and users are suggested content based on what they’ve already viewed! Well, two of these sentences are true. Youtube has a few problems, including scammy comments, the copyright strike issues, and recently the censorship of certain topics on their platform.
There is a decentralized video sharing platform that is attempting to solve some of these problems with blockchain technology.
Welcome to whiteboard crypto, the #1 Youtube channel for crypto education and here we explain topics of the cryptocurrency world using analogies, stories, and examples so you can easily understand them. In this video, we are going to explain what Odysee is, the blockchain behind it, how it works, and how you could earn money for using an alternative to Youtube.
First off, a one liner to fulfill what you’re here for: Odysee is a video sharing platform that runs on the LBRY decentralized blockchain, which allows creators to earn tokens without being censored or controlled by a central authority.
What is LBRY
Next, to truly understand how Odysee works, we will need to first cover the blockchain that powers it. Odysee is run by the LBRY blockchain. If you’ve ever created a website before, you know that wordpress is a framework that allows you to create your website… well LBRY is like wordpress, and different people can use the framework to run their website. In this case, Odysee uses it to create a platform very similar to Youtube.
LBRY is a blockchain that specifically was created to share almost any file types (although it’s mostly used for videos) using technology that is similar to how BitTorrent works. The content is uploaded to the network and then nodes around the world help share the content and keep it online. Since the blockchain is decentralized, if you upload something to the network, nobody can take it down. What’s really happening is that the data is being sent to cloud servers, and the only information on the actual LBRY blockchain is metadata of where to find the file.
How LBRY works
Here’s how it works. We love examples on this channel, and so let’s just go through a hypothetical use case of the LBRY network:
- Ernest wants to release his movie, Ernie Runs For President.
- The content is encrypted and sliced into many pieces. These pieces are stored by other computers on the network.
- Ernest reserves a special URL that looks like lbry://ernieruns, which points to his content. This is very similar to how whiteboardcrypto.com points to our IP address that our web server is hosted on.
- When Ernest reserves the location, he also submits metadata, such as a description and thumbnail of the content.
- Hillary, a user, opens her browser, searches the LBRY network, and decides she wants to watch the film that Ernest uploaded.
- Hillary issues a payment to Ernest for the decryption key, allowing her to watch the film.
- Hillary's LBRY client collects the pieces from the hosts and reassembles them, using the key to decrypt the pieces. Hillary doesn’t see any of this, instead the film streams within a few seconds after purchase.
Some content is cheap, some is expensive, but it depends on what the creator wants to charge for it. Along with charging for content, you can also make it free to view the content, and that’s exactly what LBRY has done. Remember, LBRY is the protocol and blockchain, while Odysee is one of a few different platforms that is built on top of the protocol.
What is Odysee?
Odysee is a centralized platform that aggregates and moderates the content on the LBRY blockchain in a way that is similar to Youtube. Let’s go over some things that differentiates Odysee from Youtube.
One of the benefits of Odysee is the moderation. Now, of course I’m a fan of decentralization and the censorship-resistance of the LBRY blockchain, but Odysee ensures you don’t see any NSFW content while you’re browsing at work. Unlike Youtube though, they do not remove extremist videos, or videos that include terribly hateful content, and they do this on purpose in the the name of true decentralization and being censorless. Unlike Youtube though, Odysee is much, much more lax about removing content. You can check out their guidelines if you want, but one of their big value adds is they won’t remove your video unless it’s terroristic in nature, inciting violence, abuse, or literal torture, so we can’t complain about that. Think about Odysee as a way to organize all the videos on the LBRY blockchain in a way that doesn’t censor your political views.
Odysee also has its own suggestion algorithm, which to date isn’t as good as the Youtube one, but I’m sure as time passes and they get more data it will improve. Right now they do have a search engine where you can search for videos and channels and something I thought was cool was that those creators who hold and ‘stake’ their LBRY tokens on the platform get their videos ranked higher, which could help earn early traffic.
Problems of Odysee
A decentralized version of Youtube doesn't come without some problems. There are a few problems that I’ve noticed, and one of the biggest ones is that they don’t automatically upscale and downscale all of your content. For example, if you upload a 4k video to Youtube, you can choose to watch it from 4k to 1080p down to potato mode if you want to save on bandwidth, this doesn’t automatically happen on Odysee, instead only videos that get above a certain threshold of views or channels that hold over 1000 LBRY credits receive this feature. Another problem I see is that creators don’t get the best analytics. For example, all I see on my Odysee account is the weekly number of views and followers I have gained, nothing about specific videos, even daily views.
Right now, each view on a video will earn the creator a certain amount of LBRY tokens, however soon they will be introducing an ad program very similar to Youtube’s Partner program so that creators will earn even more. Also, they suggest tipping your favorite creators with LBRY tokens yourself to reward good content. Daily viewers can also earn LBRY tokens for doing certain things like watching a daily video or interacting with the site in other ways. One of the best part of their monetization schedule is that they don’t want to collect any Rent like Youtube does with it’s creators, or Apple does with it’s iTunes program.
You might be wondering “Geez, there’s LBRY tokens for doing all kinds of things! Where is the money coming from?” and that’s when we get into the tokenomics part of the video.
LBRY tokens or LBRY Credits are the main coin used on the LBRY blockchain. Right now there are x coins, but eventually there will be 1 billion tokens, according to a release schedule that will stop in around 20 years. 10% goes to organizations and charities. 20% goes for adoption programs, but this is basically advertising. 10% goes to the LBRY inc company, which is in charge of running the blockchain. And the last 60% is earned by LBRY miners who support the network.
LBRY credits are also the main token of the network, so to send your credits to someone else or to buy content, you must buy LBRY credits. This means that as the demand for the blockchain grows, so should the token price.
Oh, something I forgot to talk about… The consensus model of the LBRY blockchain is proof-of-work, similar to what Bitcoin and Ethereum Classic uses. The block size is 2mb and the block time is around 2.5 minutes. The rewards will actually stop being given in around 20 years, with a unique distribution model. Also, LBRY uses a mix of SHA512, SHA256 and RIPEMD hash functions in its proof-of-work algorithm, which is interesting since it uses multiple hash functions.
One last thing to note about the LBRY token is that they are in a lawsuit with the SEC. If you watched our video about XRP, LBRY is under the same accusations, that their token is a security and the United States doesn’t like that. The likely outcome is that they will just have to pay a fine, but like I said in the XRP video, this says more about the US government than the token itself.