Theta Network ("Theta" or “the Project”) aims to create a more efficient way to deliver all types of content and data in an incentivized, global, peer-to-peer mesh network.
- Raised $20.0MM via private token sales in 2017
- Facilitated more than 500,000 sessions of video streaming on SLIVER.tv by incentivizing users to share computing and bandwidth resources as caching or relay nodes
- Utilizes Aggregated Signature Gossip Scheme to reduce communication overhead
- Mainnet launches on 15 March 2019
WHAT IS THETA?
The tokens on the Theta blockchain are used as an incentive to encourage individual users to share their redundant computing and bandwidth resources as caching or relay nodes for video streams. This design aims to improve the quality of stream delivery and solves the “last-mile” delivery problem - the main bottleneck for traditional content delivery pipelines, especially for high resolution high bitrate 4k, 8k and next generation streams. With sufficient network density, the majority of viewers will pull streams from peering caching nodes, allowing video platforms to significantly reduce content delivery network ("CDN") costs. By introducing tokens as an end-user incentive mechanism, the Theta Network aims to allow video platforms to deepen viewer engagement, drive incremental revenues, and differentiate their content and viewing experience from their competitors.
Key Features of Theta Network
- Multi-Level Byzantine Fault Tolerant ("BFT"): A modified BFT consensus mechanism which allows thousands of nodes to participate in the consensus process, while supporting high transaction throughput (1,000+ TPS).
- Resource Oriented Micropayment Pool: An off-chain “Resource Oriented Micropayment Pool” that is purpose-built for video streaming. It aims to allow a user to create an off-chain micropayment pool that any other user can withdraw from using off-chain transactions, and is double-spend resistant.
- Aggregated Signature Gossip Scheme: Theta proposes an Aggregated Signature Gossip Scheme which significantly reduces communication overhead and messaging complexity.
BLOCKCHAIN & NETWORK
For end users, Theta’s focus is on providing a seamless way to interact with and contribute to the Theta ecosystem. These include products such as the wallet, block explorer, edge cacher nodes, and Guardian nodes.
The official Theta wallet is available on mobile for iOS and Android, and also on web. The Theta wallet is used for community members to participate in the mainnet token swap, and will operate as a secure way for users to hold THETA and TFUEL.
The block explorer has recently undergone an upgrade, and additional features will continually be added in the future.
Recently, an alpha build of the Edge Cacher was developed. The Edge Cacher will allow users with adequate technical specs to serve as a dedicated relay node, able to serve orders of magnitude more video data than current relay methods.
Guardian nodes allow users to contribute to consensus of the network by finalizing blocks that Validator nodes have proposed. Prior to the full rollout of the Guardian nodes, users have the opportunity to participate in the Guardian Node Onboarding Program, where users’ equipment are evaluated based on tech specs, node uptime, and other criteria.
Across live testnet channels, including SLIVER.tv, Samsung VR, and MBN, there are in aggregate over 500,000 unique sessions where a user shared video stream / bandwidth with another local user, the Theta Network management team states. Each time a video segment was shared, a microtransaction was recorded on the Theta testnet.
Since the mainnet is yet to launch as of writing, the Theta management team was only able to offer an estimation of key statistics:
- The network should be able to support tens of Validator nodes and hundreds to thousands of Guardian nodes
- On chain TPS could reach at least 500 TPS, supporting 10,000+ TPS for bandwidth sharing reward since our blockchain provide native off-chain transaction support
- Average transaction fee could be low, with a minimum of 10-6 TFUEL per transaction
- 6 seconds block period
- Block size of up to 8,192 transactions per block
- 6 second average block finalization time
Token Function and Usage
In Theta’s Multi-Level BFT consensus, 10 – 20 Validator nodes make up a smaller committee to produce and validate new blocks to be added to the Theta blockchain. Guardian nodes are a second node type that make up a “second line of defense” of up to 1,000s of community-run nodes that download and examine the Theta blockchain and try to reach consensus on finalized checkpoints.
The name “Multi-Level BFT consensus mechanism” reflects the fact that the Validator/Guardian division provides multiple levels of security guarantee. With thousands of nodes, it is substantially more difficult for attackers to compromise blockchain integrity, and thus the blockchain has a much higher level of security. The design is aimed to achieve a good balance among transaction throughput, consistency, and level of decentralization.
Validator and Guardian nodes stake THETA and participate in block production and transaction processing. In return they earn TFUEL, which powers bandwidth/video relaying. Video platforms demand TFUEL and provide it to their users to allow video relaying on their platform. Relayers earn TFUEL as a reward for relaying, and spend it back on the video platform for premium content, subscriptions, etc.
Validator nodes have a minimum stake amount of 10,000,000 THETA and will originally be run by Theta Labs, with close partners and video platforms to follow in Q2 2019. Later in this year, when the Guardian node functionality goes live, some Validator slots will be filled by community-run Guardian nodes on a rotating basis.
The minimum number of tokens to operate a Guardian node is 100,000 THETA. The team states that having a relatively high minimum token requirement for nodes would enhance security, as it makes attacks expensive.
The supply of TFUEL token will grow by a rate per year set at the protocol. The initial target is a 5% annual increase in supply, which can be adjusted by protocol consensus. The new supply from each block will be distributed to each Validator and Guardian node on a stake-weighted basis. For instance, if a node stakes 5MM out of a total 500MM staked THETA, it will earn 1% of the new TFUEL generated each block.
Block rewards for Guardian nodes are distributed every 50 blocks since that is the block finalization interval. There is no difference between the stake-weighted amount of rewards for Validator nodes and Guardian nodes; both earn according to their proportion of stake versus total amount of THETA staked in the protocol. By virtue of the large minimum requirement of tokens, Validator nodes will earn much more in TFUEL rewards in nominal terms. There are no tiers to rewards earnings aside from the aforementioned differences.
Four key differentiating factors of THETA when compared to its competitors include:
- SLIVER.tv, with 3MM monthly active users ("MAU"), as first app built on Theta. More than 500,000 users have shared bandwidth on SLIVER.tv, with corresponding microtransactions taking place on Theta testnet blockchain
- Partnerships with live testnet channels with Samsung VR and MBN
- Testnet has been live since June 2018, with mainnet launch set for March 15th
- Relative to Peer5 and other non-blockchain content delivery network competitors, incentivization makes Theta unique in creating a robust community-driven P2P network