I’ve been writing about crypto investing for the past few years, with a large focus on my favorite blockchain project, Theta Network. But how did I land on Theta? After deep diving into the majority of the crypto projects on the CoinMarketCap.com Top 100 coins, and experiencing the ICO craze of 2018, I’ve become very focused on finding projects with the greatest real world, global, and immediate utility. For more background on utility tokens, read my post to learn why they grow and retain the most value through the greatest inherent business principle, supply and demand. That article, or a basic understanding of utility-driven market economics will help explain why Theta Network has an edge on fundamental valuation over its crypto peers.
In less than a week, Theta Network will announce their Mainnet 2.0 milestone, the official launch of their decentralized consensus mechanism, the Guardian Node function. Until now, the mainnet has been validated (function of securing the blockchain from fraud and attacks) by Theta Labs, developer of Theta Network. On Wednesday, May 27th, the Guardian Node validation will become decentralized with over 439 nodes (as of 05/21/20).
The security, foundation, and key vulnerability of a blockchain is its decentralized security protocol, commonly known as the consensus mechanism. Theta is a proof-of-stake consensus so having 500+ Guardian Nodes broadly distributed around the world, allows safe and constant functioning of network updates, signing blocks (transactions and computations), and working with Validator Nodes to completely secure the network. Don’t take my word for it, Theta purposely developed a Blockchain Advisory Council with some of the brightest minds in crypto to help design their model for speed, security, and future-proofing.
Thus, Mainnet 2.0 will allow for the Theta Network to expand beyond it’s current functionality, and open it’s network to major enterprise partners, ensuring that the network is completely functional, secure. This is the realization of their goal to create a fully decentralized and entirely new and unique “layer 2” decentralized content delivery network. A great visualization for this layer 2 network, that will work alongside traditional network infrastructure, is a mesh network (pictured below).
Now that Mainnet 2.0 is coming, what can we expect from such a robust network catering to the largest area of data consumption, video content? Per Cisco, video data accounts for 2/3 of all data usage. The Theta team has been working diligently per their roadmap, initially bringing Pre-Guardian node software to allow users to qualify to become Guardian Nodes, as well as for the team to obtain valuable data on block consensus and eventually, beta edge node software!
Recently, Theta Network reached 1,000 edge nodes, which is a great goal, but also just the beginning of a robust incentivized data relay network. Never before has it been so easy to earn real cryptocurrency without using lots of costly hardware and resources (energy/power). Theta Network requires an unlimited high speed internet connection, which is common in the USA, to become a mini-server to neighbors (200–500 mi radius). Edge Nodes will download in-demand data and share it with local users in exchange for real money in the form of TFuel, the dual token of the Theta Network. It is used for microtransactions such as earning TFuel for streaming to neighbors, and for sending Theta and TFuel through the network.
Edge Nodes require the usage of a very low-resource program on the computer, and can be used when your home internet is not being heavily used. Whenever at work, or through the evening/night, the Edge Node can function as an Uber for your home internet. Essentially, your unlimited internet works for you to earn you money, by utilizing your unused bandwidth to send in-demand data to your neighbors. The value proposition for networks is that they can purchase data delivery from the Theta Network at a better rate than traditional CDNs (Content Delivery Networks), thus being economically cheaper, while also rewarding viewers (of streams), and Edge Node (servers) a fiscal reward for offering localized video delivery service!
This new layer 2 network protocol is also beneficial for the ISPs as their networks (think of freeways and traffic) are more free’d up. Imagine the big freeways that carry the largest loads being evenly distributed among the smaller connector freeways (if you don’t live in a big city, imagine you do) and main streets. Now imagine the speed limit of the streets are as high as the freeways… This is what Theta Network does in solving the last mile data delivery issue. The internet highway is built so that same-network (Comcast, AT&T, etc) users can send data in a shorter distance than it takes for the CDN. This saves everybody time and money, and as data becomes richer, costs will only get higher, along with increased usage due to natural trends and current pandemic extremities in consumption.
The Theta Network CEO also mentioned a launch partner on May 27th in the official Theta Network chat. While this is great news, there is a lot of other great news, and as we only know the tip of the iceberg, this Enterprise Validator Node will surely be a great addition to the network. Current Validator Node Blockchain.com Ventures recently added to their Validator stake which is another great sign that they see value in the network.
I’ve long said that the Theta Network has the greatest immediate, global, real world utility among all crypto projects. The ecosystem, tokenomics, partners, team, and value proposition are all working well and as this company has spent the last two years building brick by brick, they have finally reached the level where they can open their network 100%, safely, and with confidence, to the largest tech/media companies in the world.
Now, let’s review what we look forward to from Theta Network for the rest of 2020! According to their roadmap for the the year (copy and pasted below per their most recent road map — https://medium.com/theta-network/announcing-theta-mainnet-2-0-and-the-2020-theta-roadmap-f2fa33494188), there are many noteworthy developments underway:
1) Just today, the team announced sandbox/testnet support for their Smart Contracts which are compatible with EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine). This is very important as the smart contracts allow for an endless possibility of functionality that network video platforms will want in order to customize the end user experience.
2) Support for Video-on-Demand! While the project is focused on the more difficult function of live-video delivery, VoD is complementary and will allow the team to cover all possibility forms of data delivery, whether VR, live, VoD, and even regular files such as large app updates or even video game patches and OS updates!
3) Beta launch of decentralized data storage which will support all types of in-demand, immediate, scalable data delivery. This will allow users to participate on Theta Network in a similar way as BitTorrent where you store files on your computer, and when someone retrieves the file, you earn TFuel for sending the file. The more valuable/demanded content you store, the more possible TFuel you can earn.
4) Beta launch of Theta protocol adapted to Smart TVs and IoT devices! This is next level because while a lot of users are not tech savvy, and may not understand nor want to set up an Edge Node on their computer, they may find it easier to do on a Smart TV. This opens up the network to more nodes which will help create a more robust network.
5) Beta launch of decentralized encoding protocol: This surprised me as Theta Network will soon be able to not just offset data delivery costs but also video encoding processing power alongside data delivery! This will compound the benefit to the video platforms in both data encoding and delivery, while also allowing consumers to earn more TFuel for providing their service to the network.
6) Lastly and possibly most importantly, the production release of the Theta Edge Cacher! This application will allow anybody, anywhere, with an unlimited internet connection, to become a mini server and earn TFuel for distributing video or other data to anybody in their city/state depending on distance and network structure/layout. Ideally, the app will allow for throttling bandwidth, scheduling throttle (allowing full bandwidth overnight, and throttling 50% during post-work hours). This official app will create the fully desired network effect of having millions of nodes around the world creating a dense, efficient, and scalable mesh network. This is the ultimate goal: creating efficiency through interconnectivity, safely, securely, and creating value for all parties!
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Disclosure: This is not financial advice.