Feb 072018

OnLive is a new crypto project aimed at video broadcasting. It is creating a new marketplace for such broadcasting. It has various models in the works, but we’ll discuss one such thing below. Broadcasting itself is fairly centralized today with intermediaries taking fat margins. OnLive is working to decentralize this network, which would mean unlimited scalability and availability. This would be a big win for broadcasters and viewers alike.

OnLive is also building an entire economy along with its protocol. Of course, broadcasting is very bandwidth heavy. It is not easy to route bandwidth (e.g. see Tor nodes that are in such short supply). Video particularly is a very hard problem, because video takes up too much bandwidth. Then, there are challenges of verification, i.e. how do you accurately estimate how much of network capacity has been contributed to the network, and how to reward them appropriately? How do you prevent cheating?

Well, it is hard to answer all these questions, which is why we are happy to see efforts like OnLive

The Broadcasting Economy

The idea behind OnLive isn’t just basic video broadcasting, however. It is to build an entire marketplace around this idea. This is the more challenging part, but also more lucrative. Mostly, this is because there are no limits to this process. Once you can meter the broadcasting usage, you can charge for it. That’s what OnLive aims to do with its ONL token.

So how does it work? Think of it as any regular marketplace, but instead of passively buying something, you’re actually buying expertise or someone’s time via the video broadcasting. Want to speak with a lawyer for some advice? You can use OnLive. Want to get a financial consultant teach you about how to interpret a balance sheet and income statement? You got it. want to have a video call with a piano teacher? You bet.

The whole OnLive concept is industry agnostic. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a lawyer or accountant or gamer or whatever. The only requirement is that it fit into the video broadcasting framework.

OnLive Marketplace and Payments

The marketplace also sets its own price, just like regular two-sided marketplaces. Payments take place in OnLive’s native token, the ONL token. This is built on Ethereum as an ERC20 token.

The OnLive system supports two kinds of payments, both using ONL tokens. The first is a pay-per-view access. This means the app will grant you access based on the view. This is like a video recording or lecture behind a paywall. The other is pay-per-minute. This is usually more live and real-time.

The advantage of this pricing model is that you pay exactly what you use from a network resource perspective and the expert’s time. For example, if someone is helping you solve a problem, say, then you don’t need to pay for a second more than you are on the broadcast. If you drop out, then you don’t pay for any ‘extra’. There are no more ’15 minute blocks’ or ‘1 hour blocks’ that you pay for – just what you use.

Broadcasting is an interesting space. It is hard to know how this will work out in a decentralized fashion, but we see some really popular services (like Twitch, say) in the traditional space.

If you’re interested to learn more about OnLive and how it is tackling the video broadcasting space, check out their website. There are also more details in the whitepaper.

Photo Credit: The Rachel Maddow Show

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