LBRY is a sharing platform that uses blockchain technology to enable users to publish material and get paid for doing so. People using LBRY’s service can monetize their published material with its built-in payment system. The concept melds together the great technical advantages of both Bitcoin and BitTorrent services for people looking to share content.
Bitcoin.com (BC): What is LBRY.io in simple terms?
Mike Vine (MV): LBRY is a content sharing platform. If you have a film, a song, or an eBook, you can publish it and share it very cheaply on LBRY. If you’re looking for content, it’s so easy to find, your Grandma can do it.
BC: What gave you the idea to start this project?
Jeremy Kauffman (JK): LBRY is a synthesis of many factors. The most obvious inspiration is Bitcoin, and seeing the power of the blockchain in reaching consensus without a central authority. The second obvious inspiration is BitTorrent, an absolutely brilliant protocol with an, unfortunately, flawed incentive structure.
We were further inspired by the fact that governments, ISPs, and media companies seem to want to treat their customers as something between supplicants and criminals. LBRY is also inspired by Airbnb and Uber, as LBRY empowers small-scale entrepreneurs and increases the efficiency of under-utilized resources.
It was inspired by the love of markets and an appreciation for how they facilitate human flourishing. It is inspired by economics, the Coase theorem, and too much time listening to EconTalk. It is inspired by the awful behavior that the biggest torrent clients demonstrate towards their users.
It is inspired by the fact that there has got to be a better way to find, buy, and sell something as simple as a number.
BC: How did you get into Bitcoin and blockchain technology?
MV: The Free State Project has concentrated a bunch of libertarians in New Hampshire. This created fertile ground for Bitcoin to get rolling here. I got involved right after I made the move in 2011. I was initially a skeptical of how Bitcoin could retain value, but my good friend Erik Voorhees patiently addressed my concerns. (Nice having a future Bitcoin Titan as your personal tutor.) Once I got it, I got it – and realized blockchain technology will be as disruptive as the internet. Now it’s just a question of making it accessible to the general public through specific applications, like LBRY.
BC: How does LBRY help people monetize their publishing material?
MV: LBRY has a built-in payment system with its own cryptocurrency called LBRY Credits. When you publish a piece of content, you can set a price for the user to stream or download it. Most of that payment goes to you, and a portion goes to the hosts who store the files. No one else gets a cut.
LBRY Credits allow publishers to earn micropayments. It’s seamless to charge a penny per download – no users having to input credit card information or pay processor fees. In this way, it’s like Bandcamp but with better content discovery and a much more flexible payment model.
BC: What more can we expect from LBRY?
MV: LBRY is well-positioned to be the first mass-market cryptoapp. (We’ll have to come up with a less scary name for this category.) Bitcoin has inspired a lot of programmers and financiers, but its penetration with everyday people is still minimal. That’s not a knock on it; these are still the early days of this technology. Yet the road Bitcoin has to travel to become the currency of choice for most people is a long one. LBRY’s road to being run on a majority of home computers and TVs could be much shorter. LBRY will provide an immediate upfront value in an foolproof package. As the content offerings expand, it could become an irresistible draw to customers of the current $2 trillion media market. In short, this could be big for us, for blockchain tech, for the media market, and for people who don’t care about anything I just mentioned!
BC: What’s the overall goal or mission of LBRY?
JK: To create a global, decentralized network that makes creating, sharing, and accessing knowledge and information easier than it ever has been.
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