Livepeer, a decentralized video infrastructure platform built on the Ethereum network, raised a whopping $8 million Series A venture capital round led by Northzone.
Livepeer is an open source, Video Infrastructure Services provider that is creating a highly scalable Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) for developers who want to add live or on-demand video to their projects.
The organisation’s aim is to increase reliability of video workflows while reducing the costs to scale them. To achieve this, they are building p2p infrastructure that interacts through a marketplace secured by the Ethereum blockchain. The organisation was founded in 2017 by serial entrepreneurs Doug Petkanics (CEO) and Eric Tang (CTO), who wanted to create a platform that connects encoding providers with those who require the power for processing video services. The reason behind such a novel creation is the need for a solution to meet the growing demand for video streaming over the internet: Streaming for TV shows, movies, live events, gaming, entertainment, educational courses, and also large-audience broadcasters who have to deal with high streaming bills or infrastructure costs. (This incoming bottleneck/strain on the current infrastructure and networks in place is further explored in the BlockchainAfrica article on B-CDNs – which discusses another proposed blockchain solution to the problem).
Apart from the greatly accelerating increase in video streaming across the web, there exists a unique compute market for encoding. According to Petkanics, the millions of GPUs bought by crypto miners over the years – used to calculate the hashes for the blockchain – have idle processing units on their chips that handle video encoding. Hence, Livepeer’s model is to bootstrap that excess capacity for processing power.
Livepeer acts as a marketplace between these encoding providers (supplying processing power) and app developers who need video-streaming services (demanding processing power). By making use of the idle processing power, encoding price is driven down to the point that the proposed system is 10 times cheaper than of current streaming providers. Its pricing comes to the equivalent to two streams for roughly 70 cents per day, compared to $3 per stream per hour of traditional streaming services.
Developers can integrate Livepeer in the code of their apps by downloading the node, running the Livepeer media server and funding their account with Ethereum. So far, more than 100 events have streamed their videos using the platform, although Petkanics admits that they have been an “early-adopter, philosophically-aligned crowd.”
David Mendels, the former CEO of the video infrastructure behemoth Brightcove, joined the as an advisor to the company, while Houseparty founder Ben Rubin was part of the Series A round. Other investors that provided funding include, Digital Currency Group — which acquired CoinDesk in 2016 — Libertus, Collaborative Fund, Notation Capital, Compound, North Island and StakeZero also.