TradFi Billionaires Bet Livepeer’s DeFi Streaming Model Can Disrupt YouTube

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In the latest sign Wall Street billionaires are moving deeper into DeFi, Livepeer, an Ethereum-based video streaming network, has raised $20M in a funding round including Tiger Global, the technology investment firm led by one-time hedge fund manager Chase Coleman, and Alan Howard, the co-founder of Brevan Howard Asset Management. 

Livepeer will use the new funds to expand its live-streaming infrastructure to target eSports, social content, and live shopping, among other niches. Coinbase Ventures and other investors also joined the round. The startup has raised a total of $48M. Tiger Global and Howard, who invested in BitDAO last year, are betting that Livepeer has the potential to disrupt YouTube, Twitch, and other social media streaming giants.

Computational Power

Livepeer’s decentralized model is designed to harness the computational power of holders of its token, LPT. They enable the network to transcode, host, and stream videos. Bandwidth providers earn fees in the form of ETH or stablecoins. Fees are also divided among delegators that stake LPT toward specific providers. LPT is up 244% in the last 12 months, according to CoinGecko.

Livepeer also seeks to reduce barriers to industry participation, offering cost-effective video transcoding and streaming services for developers, broadcasters, and video consumers.

“This rapid Series B extension is another welcome endorsement of how we are executing on our vision of becoming the world’s open video infrastructure,” said Livepeer CEO and co-founder Doug Petkanics, in a statement. “We’ve seen strong organic growth in demand for transcoding, as well as growing awareness of the reliability, value and efficiency of web3 infrastructure.”

Livepeer was launched in 2017, and the protocol distributed 6.3M tokens to its community in October 2018. A further 1.2M tokens were retained by its founders and early team over a 36-month vesting schedule; 1.9M was sold in a pre-sale with 18 months vesting, and 500,000 LPT is held in a long-term development fund. LPT has an inflationary supply as additional LPT is minted to reward transcoders.

The Livepeer network comprises 70,000 GPUs aggregating enough power “to encode all of the video streaming through Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook combined.” Livepeer currently has 32 employees and has raised $48M to date.

Video Fingerprinting

The company saw a six-fold increase in usage since the start of the year, recently streaming a record 2.3 million minutes worth of content over the course of a single week.

Livepeer also acquired content delivery platform MistServer in October, with the firm describing MistServer’s acquisition as aligning with its “R&D work in AI-based smart video, peer-to-peer content delivery, and AI-enhanced content moderation, song detection and video fingerprinting.”

Looking ahead, Livepeer will focus on developing expanded functionality including song title detection, object recognition, and new applications for video NFTs. The team also expects to make progress toward scaling on L2, cross-chain integrations, and decentralizing governance.

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