Blockchain Hype Reaches YouTube Space
Blockchain is coming and it is going to revolutionize the world! Even online video! Or so goes the latest twitter snark alongside sincere hype from the Silicon Valley huckster. Blockchain startups are everywhere and can be used in literally all things involving information sharing and financial transactions. This includes industries where it makes sense — auditing and banking, healthcare, pharmaceuticals and the shopping industry — to where it doesn’t.
When it comes to YouTube, the blockchain hype has hit hard. There are at least 11 blockchain startups (probably more but I gave up looking because *snore*) vying for viability and the chance to take on YouTube as the decentralized, peer-to-peer competitor online content creators so desperately want and deserve.
POPchest, relaunching this month, “hopes to empower creators with more opportunities to gain distribution, viewers, and earn just compensation.” The “just compensation” is a bit of a dig at YouTube’s many demonetization controversies if you couldn’t tell.
POPchest joins the ranks of DECENT GO, Flixxo, Lino, SLATE, StreamSpace, STREAM, Steemit.com, The 21million project, verasity and Viuly, to name more than a few. Forbes’ Roger Atkins wrote about StreamSpace, DECENT GO, and The 21million project here last October. StreamSpace promises “filmmakers set a price for their work and are paid immediately by consumers, disrupting the traditional industry model.”
In February of this year, video blockchain startup Lino closed on a $20 million round of fundingbacked by prominent Chinese seed investor Zhenfund. Lino is reported to launch at the end of this year. In an interview with TechCrunch, Lino chief executive Wilson Wei predicted content creators would earn “three to five times” the profits they currently make on YouTube or Twitch.
If YouTube creators moved over to a blockchain-based startup where the videos were housed on a peer-to-peer based network, that also had its own currency, worries over being demonetized by YouTube’s bots would no longer be a thing. It’s a very modern, democratic and buzzword solution to the Adpocalypse.
Are there too many video blockchain startups to effectively take on YouTube though? Three or four is fine, but more than 11? Which blockchain network has the most content creators? POPchest in an email claimed to have “over 300 Creators” with a price of their POP token “around 2 cents.” Micropayments to content creators could be as tiny as “beyond one billionth of one penny.”
One billionth of one penny is a whole lot less than 1.5 cents the Internet Creators Guild is advocating, but two pennies is better? (really?) The 2015 iteration of POPchest had viewers paying 25 cents a view.
Fans of creators will have to buy individual coins, and then distribute them to their creators after watching, making viewing less of a passive activity. What if you forget to pay for your view? Can you get away with never paying for content you watch? And what if creators want to be on multiple blockchain networks? Multiple currencies in whatever bitcoin wallet you choose will become a must. Will one blockchain network issue a copyright claim on content also housed on a competitor’s network? How is this better, less headache-inducing than Patreon?
Video blockchain networks as an idea is a noble one but current implementation seems an unnecessary hindrance in one’s quest to consume great content. Much of the population is already bored by cryptocurrency and blockchain, having to open a wallet on the regular to pay less than half a penny for content seems like a chore. It could be great system to pay creators, less so as a system used by video consumers.
Then there are the growing calls for regulation of cryptocurrencies.
POPchest CEO Valerian Bennett is not concerned about possible impending regulation, writing “any business model that relies on lack of regulation in modern markets is not sustainable anyway.” He confident in his company’s ability to evolve and “accommodate new methods.” Bennett is also optimistic a video blockchain network “will end up on the right side of innovation” with the benefits being “well worth it in the long run.”
For who, exactly?