What is Livepeer?

Sep 24, 2021 2 min read

Livepeer is a decentralised platform for streaming videos over the internet. Video streaming is a heavy-duty activity for any computer network, and consumes 80% of the bandwidth on the internet today. There are still many problems to solve in this space, where most power is held by large corporations and aggregators.

Livepeer attempts to provide video streaming services to everyone in a manner that is dramatically more affordable and accessible. It achieves this by bringing together a decentralised network, a new cryptocurrency native to its platform, and an economic system which rewards good actors.

The participants on this network consist of developers who want to offer live or on-demand video streaming on their apps (and are willing to pay for it), miners who want to contribute to the network infrastructure and be rewarded in return, and consumers who want to enjoy video content in general.

Much like miners on other blockchains, Livepeer participants may contribute to the functioning and maintenance of the network, and get paid in return. There are two ways to do this: as Orchestrators or Delegators.

Orchestrators supply the network with infrastructure resources such as CPU, GPU and bandwidth — things which are necessary to process and transmit video content. In return, Orchestrators receive fees in the form of cryptocurrencies. While the role of the Orchestrator is open to everyone, the network requires a deposit to be made, to gain the privilege of performing these tasks. This deposit is made in the network’s native cryptocurrency; the Livepeer Token, or LPT.

LPT is used to incentivise participants to make sure the network remains cheap and effective. The more LPT that an Orchestrator deposits, the more opportunity they have to perform important technical tasks for the network and earn matching rewards.

Other than the technically intensive work of being an Orchestrator, there is another way participants can add value to the network — as Delegators. Delegators are LPT holders of any amount, who are willing to back an Orchestrator by depositing, or staking their LPT to them. This gives the Orchestrator the ability to earn greater fees. In exchange, the Delegator receives a portion of the fees earned by the Orchestrator.

As new LPT is minted over time, both Orchestrators and Delegators are rewarded by the system in proportion to their stakes.

In theory, such a design of stakes, fees and rewards ensures that the people aligned with the best interests of the network earn the most. The idea is to create a mutually beneficial, democratic ecosystem around a reliable service with collective ownership.

Stake DAO participates on Livepeer as an Orchestrator, and consistently ranks at the top in terms of performance. On the Stake DAO App, users can easily stake their LPT and participate alongside Stake DAO as Delegators, earning a share of the Orchestrator's rewards.

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