Livepeer is a live video streaming network that enables secure, low-cost distribution of one-to-many video broadcasts. Livepeer is an alternative to both existing centralized video CDNs, which require expensive licenses and fragment content access across providers, and hosting through Facebook or other social media, where content creators have less distributional control and ability to monetize views or users. Through a decentralized architecture of transcoding nodes, the Livepeer network incentivizes contributors to transparently process video content into a variety of formats for distribution to different devices and internet connection speeds. Livepeer envisions a variety of use cases and advantages, including per-diem video content consumption and protection against censorship in live journalism. It also functions as an infrastructure layer for dApps to embed live video content, in a similar vein to IPFS for file storage or 0x for decentralized exchange.
Livepeer has four key components:
- Media Server: an open source media server that transcodes live video and audio streams into a variety of end formats and devices. The media server can be used as a standalone application in other contexts, but Livepeer Network will uniquely incentivize development.
- Network: the set of nodes that run the Media Server and utilize the Protocol. Transcoding nodes process the served content into a variety of formats, which is routed through relay nodes to the broadcasting nodes that display to content to users external to the network.
- Protocol: defines the various node roles above, the network consensus mechanism, and the marketplace for live video streaming services. Streaming services on Livepeer are paid in ETH between broadcasters and nodes, and eligibility for future token allocations requires transcoders to include proof of proper transcoding transactions on chain.
- Token: based on the ERC-20 standard, the LPT token functions as a staking mechanism for electing video transcoders in a Delegated Proof of Stake architecture. These elected transcoders are allocated work based on the number of votes received, and play a role similar to a block producer on a DPoS network, such as EOS. Additional LPT tokens are distributed to transcoding nodes and the other nodes with LPT holdings who voted for them.
The Livepeer mainnet was launched on April 30, 2018 with an initial token supply of 10 million LPT that was made available on July 26, 2018. In an effort to promote a wide distribution of LPT, 63% of this supply is allocated to an airdrop to ETH holders, and Livepeer users can claim LPT allocated to unclaimed accounts until late 2019. Once this ‘Merkle Mining’ process concludes, the total supply of LPT will be fixed at 10 million. The remaining supply is allocated to the founders, pre-sale purchasers, and an endowment; there was no public sale of LPT. Livepeer is advised by CoinFund and founded by Doug Petkanics and Eric Tang, who were previous technical leads at Wildcard.