What is Theta token? It is an intriguing cryptocurrency project focusing on the ever-growing online streaming niche. There are several streaming pioneers behind the project including strong partnerships with the likes of Samsung. This is a Theta beginner’s guide. We’ll have the Theta token explained for you by going through the project features, history, and technology.
Theta token explained
Let’s begin by placing Theta Network to the cryptocurrency universe. We like to divide cryptocurrencies into three categories: platforms, tokens, and currencies.
Platforms are also called ecosystems or Dapp operating systems. The best-known example of such is Ethereum. Other known platforms include EOS, Tron, and Tezos. You can think of these projects like iOS or Android operating systems.
Tokens are created on these platforms, meaning they don’t have a blockchain of their own. Tokens usually have utility only inside a specific program. Hence, many of them are called utility tokens. Chainlink and Basic Attention Token are the most known ones.
Theta should be placed in the platform category. It is a 3rd generation platform, which supports smart contracts and Dapps. However, we’d maybe move Theta into a sub-category called streaming and media. It is not really competing with traditional platforms. At least not yet.
See the video below for a short Theta introduction.
If you want to refer the whole ecosystem or project you can say Theta Network, but usually, people just talk about Theta.
Theta differs from popular platform projects in an interesting way. It has two native tokens: Theta (THETA) and Theta Fuel (TFUEL). There are other platforms too with similar set-up. For example, NEO and Ontology have an additional gas-token, which can be also bought from exchanges.
The reasoning for two tokens is this: one is for staking and governance (Theta) and one is for gas (TFuel), which means transaction payments. There is gas too in Ethereum, but you pay that with Ether.
When you have a two-token model like Theta, you need to have TFuel in your wallet too in order to send a transaction.
Theta has emerged from Sliver.tv
Theta is a relatively new project if comparing to Bitcoin or many “second wave” project. Many projects were born in the second wave of cryptocurrencies around 2014-2015. Ethereum is probably the best-known one. The third wave was the ICO boom in 2017-2018.
Theta started as a project called Sliver.tv. That was a live streaming platform for eSports. If you’ve never heard about Sliver.tv it means you are probably not part of the target group. This service has over one million users and millions of visits every month.
Sliver.tv was founded by Mitch Liu and Jieyi Long. CPO Ryan Nicholas has also been involved from the beginning. Here is a picture of this trio taking from thetatoken.org site.
All the founders have a strong background in digital media and online gaming. Mitch Liu has also founded his own game studio called Gameview Studios and produced popular mobile games with that.
This is a project located in San Jose, California. Sliver received 17 million USD of funding from the Silicon Valley VCs including global giants Sony and Samsung.
Many feel that the biggest names are on the advisory board. There is Justin Kan, a co-founder of the super-popular streaming service Twitch. Even bigger name is Steve Chen, who is a co-founder of Youtube.
Theta Labs was born in 2017. It started to develop a blockchain solution, which Sliver.tv would be connected to. Theta Labs is owned by Sliver, so we are talking about the same people here. You’ll find a short video presentation of Theta Labs and its background below.
As Mitch Liu says in the video, Theta was actually born as a solution to the problems they run into when working with Sliver.tv and online streaming services.
The idea was to combine Sliver.tv platform with a blockchain and bring in a cryptocurrency. The blockchain part is done by Theta Labs, which has the developers and engineers hired for the task.
Theta ICO and recent events
Theta cryptocurrency was born during the ICO boom of 2017. However, the team decided to cancel the public ICO and only allow private investors to invest to Theta token. In hindsight, this was probably a great idea. The SEC has pretty much considered all ICOs illegal, so Theta dodged a bullet here.
Theta was born as an Ethereum ERC20 token like almost every single cryptocurrency in 2017-2018. The MainNet was published eventually in March of 2019.
We're happy to announce a successful Theta mainnet launch! Theta chain is live (https://t.co/k6Fcq3HYSj), https://t.co/6Tk7ZrF8oY integration done, + Theta Wallets are synced to mainnet! You can now see your mainnet Theta + TFUEL in wallet. Thanks for all the community's support! pic.twitter.com/lbd8YzGsdy
— Theta Network (@Theta_Network) March 16, 2019
When the MainNet was launched, Theta made a token swap. Theta tokens moved from the Ethereum blockchain to Theta blockchain in a 1:1 ratio. This is when Theta Fuel was also introduced as a gas-token.
TFuel was simply airdropped to every Theta holder on a 5:1 ratio. This means there are a billion Theta tokens and five billion TFuel tokens created.
In January 2020, an important re-branding took place. The Sliver.tv platform was re-named as Theta.tv. This made a lot of sense since two different brands were just confusing. This means the name Sliver is now part of the Theta history by not actively used.
Theta has been quite an unknown project to the public since its inception. It’s mostly been known by people, who are interested in the streaming and eSports niche. The launch of the MainNet 2.0 version in May of 2020 finally ignited the project.
Theta Fuel went up over 800% in just a couple of weeks and Theta token also more rose all the way to the top 30. Now it’s definitely on the radar of more investors.
Theta tries to solve CDN issues
Now you know the history of Theta, so it’s time to look at the present and the future. What is Theta really trying to do? No matter how you look at it, this project is competing with popular streaming services like Twitch or Youtube.
Theta is taking a bit different approach, though. It brings some new technology on the table, which solves problems the current CDNs have. The CDN comes from the words Content Delivery Network. Basically, all streaming services such as Twitch, Youtube, Netflix, HBO are CDNs.
The problem is the poor sound and picture quality outside big cities and densely populated areas. The problems go much worse when you also go to poorer countries and areas like Africa, South America, and some parts of Asia.
Not only there are problems already, but they will get much worse in the future. This is a result of ever-increasing video stream quality. We’re already experiencing 4K, which will soon be replaced with 8K and VR (Virtual Reality). The demands for CDNs simply explodes.
Theta is solving this problem by creating a DSN – Distributed Streaming Network. See the picture below (Source: Theta white paper)
In a traditional CDN, there are central servers spread around the world to relay the video streams for viewers. These are obvious bottlenecks and they simply don’t exist in more remote areas.
Theta creates a network of thousands and thousands of nodes, which will relay the video forward they are streaming. When a person is viewing a video, his/her device will automatically locate the nearest relay node.
Theta founder, Mitch Liu, has made the following statement:
”At its core, Theta is enabling users to share their idle bandwidth and computing resources to mine Theta tokens and in turn cache and relay video streams to others in the network.”
Of course, there needs to be an incentive for this kind of system to work. People don’t want to share their bandwidth with others for no reason. This is where the Theta Fuel token comes in.
Many people use their high-speed internet maybe 5% or 10% of the daily hours on average (if even that). If you count 8hrs for sleep, 8hrs for working or school, and a few more hours for hobbies, eating, and such, it means your smart-tv and laptop are probably idle about 20 hours each day.
What if you could put these devices to work and earn you TFuel while you sleep? With the current price of TFuel, you could already cover Netflix and HBO subscriptions each month. More bandwidth you have, the more TFuel you could earn.
Theta beginner’s guide – blockchain and nodes
As mentioned earlier, the Theta project has its root in the Sliver.tv platform. This streaming service has now been integrated with the Theta blockchain enabling the use of TFuel token as well.
Theta blockchain is the validator of millions of microtransactions and all other data related to them. One should understand that Theta blockchain won’t be used to store any videos. The streaming is one part and the token economy of Theta blockchain is another.
This is a 3rd generation platform, which means the generation after Bitcoin (1st) and Ethereum (2nd). It means Theta and other 3rd gen. platforms have solved the scalability issues these older generation blockchains still have.
Almost every single 3rd generation platform is using the Proof of Stake consensus algorithm. PoS, and its variations, don’ require physical mining devices, which create all sorts of bottlenecks. Theta blockchain an, therefore, reach a capacity of 1500 TPS in its current state.
It’s also interesting to know, that Theta is compatible with EVM – Ethereum Virtual Machine. This means that Theta is a proper smart contract and Dapp platform, where you can develop apps using the well-known Solidity language. This could be an especially useful feature in the future since there are lots of Solidity developers in the market.
Theta is using a Proof of Stake variant called multi-level BFT. The multi-level part means that there are two types of nodes in the blockchain validating blocks: enterprise validator nodes and guardian nodes.
There is only a handful of enterprise validator nodes and there never will be more than about 30 of them in the future. These are run by Theta and its strategic partners. One such partner is Binance, which joined in January 2020.
It was also announced in May 2020, that Google had become a partner of Theta. The tech giant will be running one of the enterprise validator nodes.
Using such enterprise validators reminds of the popular Delegated Proof of Stake consensus mechanism, where there is a small number of network validators running the system. Theta differs from DPoS systems because they have guardian nodes as well.
These nodes were running in the TestNet until May of 2020. Theta’s MainNet version 2.0 brought guardian nodes to the MainNet as well. These nodes can be run by anyone, who has a proper server and is willing to stake the required amount of Theta tokens.
The role of guardian nodes is simply to finalize the block validation process the enterprise validator nodes started. Guardian nodes are awarded TFuel, but the staking is done with Theta. Enterprise validators are also staking Theta.
Then there are also cache nodes, which are simple users relaying streams to others. Cache nodes are also rewarded with TFuel.
Theta.tv and tokens (Theta & TFuel)
Let’s dig a bit deeper into the Theta.tv platform and Theta tokens as well. As you probably remember from the history part, Sliver.tv was re-branded to Theta.tv in January 2020. This service is specialized but not limited to eSports live streaming.
In 2019, Theta.tv launched a co-operation with NASA. You could watch the latest SpaceX rocket launch from Theta.tv live, as an example. In May 2020 Theta also announced a partnership with MGM Studios to show Hollywood classics.
Below is a screenshot of Theta.tv.
One could say that Theta.tv looks quite a lot like Twitch or Youtube interfaces. It doesn’t have any magical extra features, but that is all “under the hood” where you have the Theta blockchain and TFuel token integration.
The user can see TFuel statistics below each video. The platform shows how much you have relaying videos to others and how many TFuel tokens you have earned.
With TFuel, you can give tips to other streamers, buy avatars and other products from the Theta shop, and purchase paid content from the platform. You cannot withdraw TFuel out of the Theta.tv just yet, but this will be enabled in the future.
Theta team has lots of experience of live streams. This is what they built already in 2017.
”The 2017 Intel Extreme Masters tournament in Katowice, Poland was another big step for SLIVER.tv. This massive event saw 173,000 fans attend live, and another 46 million watch online. SLIVER.tv’s immersive VR coverage of the event included live stats, replays, and scores and had more than 340,000 unique visitors tune in (the largest VR production in 2017).”
Theta Fuel is the gas token flowing inside the Theta Network. See the image below (Source: Theta white paper).
As you can see from the image, enterprise validator nodes and guardian nodes are staking the Theta token, but everyone is rewarded with TFuel instead. Theta Fuel is also flowing between the parties in Sliver.tv (now: Theta.tv) and other platforms.
Theta wanted to create two tokens because the use cases are so different. TFuel is meant to be used in microtransactions, where a small unit price is practical. The system must also reserve a certain amount of TFuel in pools to ensure lightning-fast transactions.
This system is called Theta Resource-Oriented Micropayment Pool. You can read more about it from this article.
Using two tokens will also add some extra security to the system against potential attackers, who’d try to acquire large amounts of tokens.
Theta as an investment
Theta has just launched the MainNet 2.0 version when this article is being published. This is where the guardian nodes were launched. It probably means the growth of Theta staking, which should be good for the token price in the future.
Theta and especially TFuel had a massive bull run just before the MainNet 2.0 launch. It helped Theta to have some headlines and it certainly got many investors interested in the project. The true ace in the sleeve is Samsung. To have such a corporation as an early investor and a collaborator gives Theta a lot of trustworthiness.
Here’s a Youtube clip of Theta and Samsung’s VR partnership.
There was also an interesting news article published on the official Theta Medium page, which was removed. This article claimed Theta.tv would be pre-installed in tens of millions of new Samsung mobile phones. It might be this is confirmed in the future.
Theta has also other wild cards besides the Samsung co-operation. As mentioned in the history chapter, the project has some massive names in its advisor board. It’s also positive that Theta never held a public ICO, which could cause some legal issues in the future.
There are currently no direct competitors for Theta in the crypto scene, but the platform must compete for viewers with Twitch, Youtube and other streaming services. If Youtube and Twitch would one day integrate cryptocurrencies, how would that impact Theta?
It seems that Theta has a strong team and the leaders of the project know what they are doing when it comes to streaming. It’s also great they have a working platform with over million users from Sliver.tv.
If you are interested in Theta, there is one more brain teaser to solve: should you invest in Theta or TFuel or possibly both? It’s quite difficult to predict how the value of these tokens will develop in the future.
Theta price and how to buy & store Theta
When it comes to buying Theta, you’ll discover the lack of support it has. It’s not available in many popular exchanges, but the partnership with Binance will help A LOT. You can buy Theta and TFuel from Binance, which is the leading cryptocurrency exchange in the market.
If you want to buy Theta or TFuel with fiat money, you can either make a credit card deposit to Binance or buy bitcoins first from Coinbase and move them to Binance. If you need help with Binance or Coinbase, check our beginner’s guides first.
There is a good wallet available for Theta at wallet.thetatoken.org. The wallet is also available on iOS and Android. You can store both Theta and TFuel in it. The GUI is clean and simple making the official Theta wallet a good choice for anyone.
Remember: because TFuel is the gas of the system, you must have a small amount of TFuel in your wallet to make Theta transactions. The standard fee is 0.000002 TFuel, so even if you buy just one TFuel it’ll be enough for all transactions you’ll ever make.
The official website is thetatoken.org. The official Twitter handle is twitter.com/Theta_Network and the Youtube channel can be found from here. The Reddit page of the project is not so active, so we recommend following the Medium page and join the official Telegram channel for daily discussions.
You should also check this Theta review by the Coin Bureau, which is one of the few good ones on Youtube.