How to download an Ethereum or Bitcoin wallet.

Still waiting to get started in the world of cryptocurrencies? Look no further! We’ve created a step-by-step guide for you to download your own crypto-wallet and start trading on Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Ethereum

Go to www.myetherwallet.com
You will be greeted by several safety reminders and the option to create a new wallet.

Create a password.
Use a combination of letters, numbers and symbols to make it as strong as possible. Write it down immediately and, if possible, make several copies. Then, click “Create New Wallet.”

Download and store your keystore file.
There can never be too many safety precautions in cryptocurrency trading. Store your keystore file in a secure location and click continue.

Save your private key.
It may look just like a string of symbols, but this is your private key and it is very important to back it up and keep it safe. You can also print it to keep it as a paper wallet. Remember, there is no way to retrieve your forgotten or lost private key and password, therefore, take all necessary safety measures suggested by the page.

Use your private key or keystore file to open your wallet.
There are many ways to unlock your wallet, but to keep it simple let’s stick with the files you just received — private key and keystore file. Select and paste your private key or upload the keystore file to unlock your wallet.

Congratulations, you’ve just opened your fully functional Ethereum wallet.
Next time you want to access it, go to www.myetherwallet.com, click “View Wallet Info” in the top right corner and authorize yourself again. All is left now is to load your wallet up with some Ether. If you already hold some of it, send it to your public address. MyEtherWallet also makes it easy to buy Ether via Coinbase (although it sells at a more expensive rate than usual).

Bitcoin

Go to https://electrum.org/#home.
Electrum is one of Bitcoin’s most popular wallets. Installation will differ depending on the platform you use.

For Windows:

  • Three versions of Electrum are available for Windows. The one labeled “Windows Installer” is the most convenient.

For Mac

  • Choose the download marked “Executable for OS X.”
  • Double-clicking the downloaded file opens a mounted volume. Drag the Electrum.app icon into your Applications folder.
  • Open the Applications folder and double-click the Electrum icon.

Launch Electrum.

  • Double click the icon which will launch the Install Wizard.
  • We would recommend that you Auto connect to a server.
  • Name your wallet file: default_wallet. Accept it, then click Next.

Create default wallet.

Four types of wallet are offered, with the default set to “Standard wallet.” Leave this option selected then click Next.

Keystore.  

A keystore is the set of signing keys you’ll use to make Bitcoin transactions, and is controlled by a seed. Leave the default option “Create a new seed” selected and click Next.

 

 

Generation seed.

The next window displays your seed. The words displayed in your window should be different to those in the figure below. Save these words and keep them very safe.

Type your Generation seed.

Click inside the text area and type the words of your seed. When you have entered the correct words, the Next button will become active. Click it.

 

 

Encrypt.

You may also encrypt the entire wallet file by selecting the “Encrypt wallet file” option. Doing so encrypts all wallet contents, not just the seed. This protects not only your money, but your privacy in the event of an attack.

Congratulations, you’ve just opened your fully functional Bitcoin wallet.

Electrum should present its main screen. The circle in the lower-right corner should be green (or blue if you’re connecting through Tor). If it is, you’re ready to start using Electrum. Otherwise, you’ll need to configure your network settings by clicking on the circle.

Funding your wallet.

If you already keep bitcoin on an exhange or elsewhere, you may now transfer those funds into your Electrum wallet.  You can also purchase Bitcoin via Coinbase (although it sells at a more expensive rate than usual).

 

Interactive TV, Netflix and Community Spirit

Interactive TV, Netflix and Community Spirit

 

Interactive TV

 

There have been so many false starts to interactive television, it has become to seem like an experiment which will never yield results. The craze of interactive comic books and new video game technologies saw some “vote-for-what-you-want-to-see-next” programmes broadcast in 1980s America, but with little appreciation or durability. Some critics place talent shows such as Pop Idol and The X Factor in the interactive TV format, but adaptable narratives have never entered the mainstream.

 

So why all the talk?

 

Interactive TV has reentered the film and TV discussion in recent years, with online video platforms providing the perfect medium for audience reciprocation. The struggling Facebook Watch has announced that interactivity will be unrolled as a major feature of much of their upcoming content, with polls and questionnaires posed to live audiences.

Fully interactive TV narratives, however, are harder to implement. Netflix learned this last year with the half-hearted roll-out of its children’s show Puss in Book. Now, however, Netflix is poised to seriously reinvigorate the interactive TV format. They are introducing a “create-your-own-adventure” episode to its lucrative acquisition Black Mirror.

 

Here’s the thing

 

Black Mirror is appropriate for a foray into interactive TV because it tends to explore the alienating impacts of modern technology. Choose-your-own-story interactive TV fundamentally misunderstands the evolutionary and cultural function of storytelling.

 

Storytelling is a social phenomenon. It allows communities, small or large, to have a feeling of shared experience. Television programmes have become national sensations because people talked about them in dining rooms, playgrounds and offices. Stories are not supposed to be experienced in isolation.

 

Interactive TV 2.0

 

LiveTree’s unprecedented approach to film and TV will make all video content community-based and essentially interactive.

 

When LiveTree users watch films and television programmes on Blossom TV, they can decide what comes next – sequels, new series or brand new projects. Users can back new content with Seed tokens and then hold a stake in the product, earning profits when it hits the screen.

 

LiveTree users will be deciding what content gets made. And creators will have the option to pitch ideas to backers and develop the narrative along with their audiences. LiveTree is returning power back to audiences and control back to creators. LiveTree allows creators to be assured of a fanbase, and allows market demand to manifest directly in production.

 

Discover the true value of storytelling.

 

What is a Blockchain?

What is a Blockchain?


Despite having been invented along with Bitcoin ten years ago by somebody under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, blockchain technology is now beginning to enter mainstream popular consciousness. Blockchains provide records of financial transactions that cannot be altered or corrupted. Soon, however, blockchains will be recording the movement of ideas and information, too.

 

How does a blockchain work?

 

Someone, somewhere in the world requests a transaction. Rather than this request going, say, to a bank, the request is sent to thousands of computers – each being one “node” – from around the world. The algorithms for verifying the amount of value, the type of value and the identities and locations of the individuals involved are divvied up amongst the computers (nodes), which together encode the information in what is known as a “block”. Each block holds this information along with the information from the previous block in the “chain”. As such, if anyone tampers with one block, the entire chain is disrupted and the change is disallowed.

 

How do I use a blockchain?

 

The great thing about blockchain technology is that you don’t need to know that you are using it. When you send money, you let your bank do the work, and blockchains work in the same way. The only difference is that the process is quicker, more efficient and more secure. Hacks have proven to be far less likely, and less money is spent by the participants on intermediary charges.

That said, if you want to get involved, there are tons of blockchain communities you can join. By turning your computer into a node for a blockchain network, you earn a share of the transaction charges each time one is made.

 

What else can a blockchain do?

 

Here at LiveTree, we are reimagining entertainment as a blockchain-based industry. On LiveTree, users can fund film and television projects using “Seed” tokens, the world’s first film and television cryptocurrency. When those projects are successfully completed and then broadcast on television, screened in cinemas or streamed on Blossom TV (LiveTree’s own streaming platform), backers are rewarded with their share of the profits.

Because blockchains move currency so efficiently, small transactions in great numbers are much more valuable than when transmitted by centralised banks. Furthermore, the smart contract technology offered by blockchain providers such as Achain, Infinity Economics and 0chain means that the royalties and rights deals can be organised more fairly and more transparently between cast, crew and backers.

We can even use the network of nodes to host video content. As a result, we do not have to rent server from internet giants like Amazon. The process is cheaper and more efficient, and our users are able to continue sharing LiveTree’s growth.

The alpha version of Blossom TV launches 5th November, so register here and get involved with the future of entertainment.

Discover the true value of storytelling.  

CryptoShare – One of a kind

Imagine earning while watching a game show. This will soon be a reality when our new show CryptoShare comes into fruition. Exclusively premiering on our new online channel Blossom TV, this game show looks not only to entertain but to educate at the same time.

CryptoShare will see 7 ICO Teams competing against one another for the ultimate prize — 1,000,000 Seed Tokens, partially owned by the audience, which shall also pick the challenges. Over a span of 5 weeks the participants shall be pitted against one another, judged by a panel of known Crypto Specialists, until only one team triumphs. The viewers then get to choose what to do with 45% of the Tokens won by their supported ICO team, with 5% being donated to a chosen charity.

CryptoShare will also help to educate millions of people about the potential uses of Blockchain technology and to raise awareness about the impact it has on our society. We are entering a new age of entertainment and we would be delighted to have you join us on this voyage of discovery.

Blossom TV, the home of CryptoShare is our new video streaming platform that is on it’s way to your browser, iOS and Android screens. Blockchain is in the heart of everything we do at LiveTree and we are utilising the many advantages of technology to decentralize the entertainment industry, providing more diverse content, opportunities and a different business model in order to disrupt the industry.

Want to find out more about CryptoShare? You can check out the full breakdown here.

LiveTree Seed Main Sale Starts at 31st of January. Don’t Miss Out on being a part of CryptoShare and other upcoming projects!

CryptoShare – One of a kind

Imagine earning while watching a game show. This will soon be a reality when our new show CryptoShare comes into fruition. Exclusively premiering on our new online channel Blossom TV, this game show looks not only to entertain but to educate at the same time.

CryptoShare will see 7 ICO Teams competing against one another for the ultimate prize — 1,000,000 Seed Tokens, partially owned by the audience, which shall also pick the challenges. Over a span of 5 weeks the participants shall be pitted against one another, judged by a panel of known Crypto Specialists, until only one team triumphs. The viewers then get to choose what to do with 45% of the Tokens won by their supported ICO team, with 5% being donated to a chosen charity.

CryptoShare will also help to educate millions of people about the potential uses of Blockchain technology and to raise awareness about the impact it has on our society. We are entering a new age of entertainment and we would be delighted to have you join us on this voyage of discovery.

Blossom TV, the home of CryptoShare is our new video streaming platform that is on it’s way to your browser, iOS and Android screens. Blockchain is in the heart of everything we do at LiveTree and we are utilising the many advantages of technology to decentralize the entertainment industry, providing more diverse content, opportunities and a different business model in order to disrupt the industry.

Want to find out more about CryptoShare? You can check out the full breakdown here.

LiveTree Seed Main Sale Starts at 31st of January. Don’t Miss Out on being a part of CryptoShare and other upcoming projects!

Do The Right(s) Thing – By Cheryl Clarke

 

The TV distribution market is a complex beast and a valuable one at that – worth £20bn annually, notably it lacks automation. And that’s been for good reason, the human factor of doing commercial business in a creative world is a prized asset and the people with most expertise in deal making and spotting a hit are not from an era of warp speed technological change – and prefer it that way. On a more cynical note, keeping it personal preserves the ability for people to make their cut out of the lack of transparency. But here we are, and if we don’t keep up with the advances technology brings, it will sprint right past us. So in a time of information overload and overkill, the need for transparency — along with communication, humanity and honesty — across all sectors and businesses has never been greater.

 

The globalisation of the content industry has been taking place at an alarming rate. In a mere 15 years, we’ve moved from a nice comfy linear world and a nice easy model — ‘get show, sell show, report, repeat’ — to a multi-layered, digital, cross-territory universe of ludicrous complexity. Managing contracts these days entails juggling up to 50 sets of interlinking rights. What people want in a world that’s difficult to understand is simplicity.

 

Currently it works like this; buyer and seller make contact, sometimes on the phone and sometimes in person using many wo(man) hours and resources to make that contact. They talk about a deal, go back to the office and try to articulate what they think was discussed or agreed in contract form. The seller manually checks availability of rights that a buyer wants (this can take some time, even with the rights management systems many distributors now have in house). The seller arranges access to screeners of the show and buyer and seller negotiate terms and final contracts are drawn up. There are two big problems in this scenario; deals take a long time, the back and forth and complexity of paperwork means that a single deal might take 6-12 months to complete and many deals never happen due to the simple logistics of physically setting your stall out and managing it.

 

Since the process is so labour intensive, sellers have to optimise their sales teams to concentrate on the highest value parts of the catalogue being sold to the richest buyers. The long tail of content often remains unsold regardless of whether there is demand. If you are a buyer from a smaller channel or a VOD platform, good luck getting attention of the major distributors – even if you’ve got a decent budget. The distributors are frequently too busy dealing with the paperwork from their big clients to respond to your email.

 

Automated licensing systems solve both problems and are a perfect use case for the blockchain. Deals can be done in minutes and entire catalogues can be easily bought and sold where previously they wouldn’t have seen the light of day. This simplicity in the face of complexity might just increase the possibility for creative commercial people to exercise more of the creative whilst the commerce takes care of itself.  With LiveTree ADEPT, the platform takes this idea and moves it square in the middle of an entire system of funding, licensing and distribution, through Blossom TV and to a whole new era of simplicity. With a new tool for creators, big and small to test the market, access investment and license and choose options for distribution, a decentralised freedom for creative endeavour is very much in our grasps.

 

For those who’ve bought Seed and wonder how it will make money, this licensing model is key. Seed holders now have an opportunity to own a share in the licensing process around film and television and value is created from other people loving what you love. Seed has been created in a fixed quantity, so any unsold tokens will be removed from circulation in what is called a ‘buy back and depletion’ model. Stuff only has value if it’s scarce, like gold, so your Seed will become a larger part of a smaller pie. But how? It’s all about the fees which are paid in Seed – when something is created, funded or distributed, Seed is paid, increasing demand.  The crucial understanding here though is that it makes no difference whether a project is deemed successful or not, the very transactions around any activity on the platform generate demand for Seed ensuring its value remains intact. This is about bringing together all interested parties on one platform, to provide efficiencies and win wins for the industry, fans and the creators. It all ties back to our values of transparency, fostering mutual benefit and getting great content on to screen.

 

This is a global platform that breaks down the walls that separate us – with a world that now understands it is interconnected, we need storytelling that reflects the needs we have now, plant this Seed and see it grow.

 

 

Visit LiveTree ADEPT for more information

A LiveTree For All Reasons – by Cheryl Clarke

A LiveTree for all reasons
A LiveTree for all reasons

A LiveTree For All Reasons – by Cheryl Clarke

If you’ve heard of LiveTree ADEPT, you’re probably now interested in the compelling mission and values of a business that is about to build a platform which places the power of creative entertainment into the hands of those who create, invest and watch it, rather than the corporates, but what next?

If you’re an investor with a wallet of crypto-currency and blockchain investments, look away, you know what you’re doing and the market is a fascinating and dynamic place, enjoy!

But LiveTree is different, it has clear mass market appeal beyond the crypto-players and this is what differentiates it from the vast majority of blockchain propositions and here’s how:

LiveTree, the reward based crowd funding site is an established revenue generating business that has seen 20% growth month on month. Over the last six months alone, it has crowdfunded some 120 film, TV and content projects. It has also built a network of 14,000 entertainment companies and their employees. That’s great, but there was always a bigger plan in the LiveTree house and finally the time has come to build it.

So why get involved now? For start offs there’s a very attractive discount scheme designed to make the offer feel good to even to the smallest stake of interest.  Whether it’s your great uncle who always keeps a couple of grand to one side ‘for interesting things’, or if you’re an up and coming film director, a TV and film mega fan, an established TV production company or a seasoned film investor, LiveTree ADEPT is for everyone.

Even for the casual observer, the platform will quickly become a fascinating space to immerse yourself in the wonder of our potential creativity, when the arbiters of taste, judgement and culture don’t have exponential company growth to think of.

To the uninitiated, setting up a digital wallet might also seem a little daunting but it’s as simple, if not more so, than opening a bank account, just follow the videos here: https://adept.livetree.com/

Most crucially, the cultural implications are broader and deeper than a speculative flutter. If you believe that the films we make and the stories we tell can change our hearts and minds, then this is for you. As a fan, you can get closer to the creators, have a say in the direction a project goes in, you could even own a piece of it.

As a creator, up and coming or established, the platform is the place to go with all of those ideas and developed projects that you know aren’t going to get commissioned or financed through the traditional routes and gatekeepers. These tend to be the best, ground breaking or frankly diverse stuff which a now risk averse, money obsessed environment can’t take a punt on, obsessed as the system has forced us to be on revenues. These ideas can have a willing audience to pay for it if there was a mechanism to share the story, through word of mouth and decent marketing. That mechanism is LiveTree ADEPT. Or maybe as a producer you don’t want to give up the value of what you create to a massive internet company that doesn’t pay its taxes and in this digital wild-west, is answerable to no one, not even its own algorithms.

As a sales or distribution outfit, you have a new pipeline of content to do deals with if you choose and as a viewer, you have a pre pay per view channel where what you watch is what you and your community have helped to make. If you were to imagine a version of Netflix where your voice is heard on what gets made and you have the chance to share in its success in every way, and so does everyone else in the network, then for me, that’s just a buzz.

When we can see that the power for change is in enough of us coming together to enable this new future. The digital token being offered at the root of LiveTree ADEPT (Advanced, Decentralized Entertainment Platform for Transparent distribution) – is a stake in a new world of entertainment where everyone’s welcome.

 

CREATIVITY UNCHAINED by Cheryl Clarke

CREATIVITY UNCHAINED by Cheryl Clarke

The thing about creativity is that it isn’t a product. You can’t capture and bottle it like an artisan gin or an indigestion remedy. Creativity comes from people’s hearts and minds. It’s about confidence and self-belief, and it’s fragile and elusive and easily scared away.

How strange, then, that a large part of the global entertainment industry — with the noble exception of high-end TV drama — is committed to commoditising creativity. The reason, of course, is money: media corporations run on profit and predictability. Creativity doesn’t. It’s random and erratic and prepared to starve in an attic. From the corporates’ point of view, much easier to reign in those pesky creatives and replace their dangerous, disruptive ideas with nice, safe content that looks much like everybody’s else’s. It may not win you awards or inspire your audience or add to the watercooler conversation, but it won’t frighten the horses — or more to the point, the bean counters who now run the show.

So yes, it makes sense on paper. But it’s still a really bad way to go about creating content that people actually want to watch.

Admittedly, the entertainment industry is up against it at the moment. It’s battling on several fronts, including broadcaster risk-aversion, digital disruption, the crash and burn of the traditional business models, too many successful format franchises clogging up the schedules, and a me-too broadcast culture that no longer has the time or money to invest in development, or the patience to give shows time to take root and grow.

But I believe the core problem is today’s one-strike-and-you’re-out approach to the creative process. Somewhere along the line, we’ve stopped giving our creative talent permission to fail. But those brave enough to dream, and whose dreams are ultimately the stuff of our entertainment, need the freedom to cock up, make U-turns and chase wild geese in their pursuit of the new, the different and the original. What they don’t need is to be punished for putting their hopes and imaginations on the line.

There are two things wrong with this. The first is that judging content purely on the basis of its commercial potential makes life difficult and dispiriting for the creative community. And the second is that it doesn’t work. The irony is that audiences crave the shock and excitement of the new, not the predictability and safety of the old. Which is why those once-in-a-generation shows that come along and change the game are always, always driven by creativity rather than profit.

The blockchain’s ability to take the creative control away from the corporates and hand it to the makers and consumers of content is, for me, one of the most exciting aspects of the LiveTree ADEPT platform. Thanks to the power of the network effect, it will be individuals who decide what projects get made, and who makes them. In this brave new marketplace, the viewers will be the commissioners, and their criteria won’t be profit and shareholders and targets but what they want to see and feel and experience.

At that point, it won’t be about them anymore. At long last, it’ll be all about us.

 

For more information, or to register to participate in the LiveTree ADEPT token sale, please visit adept.livetree.com

 

 

 

 

 

Build it and they will come – by Cheryl Clarke

 

Build it and they will come
Build it and they will come

By Cheryl Clarke– co-founder, LiveTree ADEPT

I’ve earned my crust as an independent in the media and content industry for almost 20 years and in that time have journeyed along a continuum of feeling a mild sense of discomfort to utter rage at the lost opportunity of unlocking the potential of creativity and commerce to work towards a more fair and sustainable world. It seems to be staring us in the face but we’re limited by this powerful language of how things ‘are’.

As a complicit link in the chain of creating blanket discourse that values unsustainable growth over new ideas for a better world, I’ve started looking more systematically into how we’re all susceptible to this language. When you flip the same coin and see the other side – how things could be – with exactly the same people, resources, and profitability, then you start to see the possibility of the magic of change.

But even stronger than the language is the very real way our current global financial system forces commercial enterprise into a process of commoditising and monetising our very relationships, values and of course creative culture. And this is getting worse, with internet giants owning our data and getting into content creation, the dark genius of their business models is chilling at best. At least in the analogue world of broadcast and advertising, I might have been taken for a broadly demographically identifiable mug, but a relatively anonymous one at least. Not one where they know my name, where I live, what I buy and when, where I am at any given moment, what conversations I’m having, if I’m driving – and then trust these same companies to have my best interests, not their offshore profits, at heart.

I’ve been talking to people in influencer roles in media, television and the environmental sector, you might even call them leaders. They have some really interesting things to say when they’re not in the board room. When what they say doesn’t ‘threaten’ the relentless growth juggernaut.

Put simply, apparently people do not want, don’t have the time, money or motivation to contribute to matters of environmental or social change. The media industry doesn’t even seem to be having the discussion in any cohesive way – it’s not in the budget! But is this because we are all held captive to this language of helplessness – that there’s no alternative, the constant buck passing, the resentment of being ‘told what to do’.

Buckminster Fuller, the renowned 20th century inventor and visionary born in Milton, Massachusetts in 1895 dedicated his life to making the world work for all of humanity and operated as a practical philosopher who demonstrated his ideas as inventions that he called “artifacts”. One of his famous quotes says: ‘You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

After over a decade of trying to get under the bonnet of why an industry that holds such potential to tell stories that make the world a better place is so strangled by a singular objective of profiteering and showing at times seeming audience contempt, (rhinoplasty brides anyone?) I’ve been delving into the history and story of money in contemporary society and it’s started to shed some light. It allows us to understand better how we’ve got to this point, coinciding with the development and proliferation of a technology, the blockchain, that has mainly been used to trade digital currency to this point but can now scale and promise undeniably hopeful answers to some of our seemingly relentless free market yet centralised issues.

I’m a business person through and through, I’m fascinated by how humans organise to endeavour to create something and share the spoils so we can make best of our resources. It’s my assumption and it certainly was true for me when I started out, that I wanted to work in the entertainment industries because I wanted to be close to those I saw as having a creative purpose. They wanted to make beautiful films or art, to inspire, educate and entertain and shhhh, make a difference.

If we look over the top of the media garden wall, we know business can’t continue to mow through resources and people in the blind pursuit of growth as it has for the last 50 years, our people and planet simply can’t sustain it. So, do we wait for ‘the people at the top’ to have an epiphany? A few individuals through persistence, action, energy and commitment to get things moving and make some improvements but never shift the balance of power. These are laudable efforts of course, but the separation between ‘I, you, them and us’ helps only to serve this rhetoric of compromising values and leaving your purpose at the door when you come into work.

What LiveTree ADEPT is proposing is a new choice for creative people, companies and fans to come together and build something new, to do as Buckminster said, and render the old model obsolete. This doesn’t mean the old guard comes crashing down from day to night.  Just that, if there’s a real possibility to open up a means for anyone with enough talent and energy to tell stories, that have an audience who want to watch them, decided by that audience, not by a cabal of self-interested studio owners or commissioners, then what possibly is the objection to that?

There is a small percentage of people who got into the media business simply to make as much money as possible and to feel as powerful as possible – just as recent research from the University of San Diego has found there are around 20% of senior managers who are psychopaths. But what about the other 80%, what about them, what about you?

Where’s this perceived resistance in change? Aren’t we all then part of the resistance, calling out others to take the responsibility to enable change, when in the end, in our hearts, we know we’re all one.

The Media CSR Forum is an ‘independent’ body looking at issues of sustainability in the media sector. Its admirable, yet I might suggest limiting work, comprises a cohort of 25 media organisations, including major broadcasters, some publishers and advertising agencies.

It produced a report in 2013 entitled ‘Does It Matter Material, Strategic or Operational?

An analysis of sustainability issues in the media sector’.  The resounding and depressing conclusion was that no, not much. I’m not sure that’s true, I’ve got a hunch. In the foreword of the report, it says ‘Sometimes we need to readjust our social architecture so that it better enables us to make habit patterns out of our good intentions.’ This has never been truer. The media industry has such enormous power and its very existence thrives on the creation of ideas and the ability to deliver these to mass markets. Set it free. Be the leader. Come and set up in the LiveTree, the view of the future is quite beautiful.

 

What’s wrong with Netflix? By Ashley Turing

What's wrong with Netflix

By Ashley Turing

 

Let’s take a trip back into digital prehistory. We’re in 2004 and improved internet speeds and connectivity mean you no longer need a physical DVD to watch your favourite film or TV show. You can stream your entertainment over the net, in your own time, in your own place.

 

Netflix, a Californian entertainment company founded in the late Nineties as a DVD-by-mail operation, has recently gone public (2002), selling 5.5 million shares at a price of $15.00 of common stock (approx. $85million, LiveTree’s current Seed Token Sale cap is approx. $50m more on this later). It is also busy migrating its postal business into a streaming business in an effort not to die with DVD. But to its credit, Netflix persevered. And we all know the happy ending to this particular story.

 

Happy ending for Netflix, that is. The jury is out as to how happy the ending will be for the creative community.

 

Today, Netflix has become a household name, a meme and a synonym for streaming video. It’s on virtually every device with a screen. It’s become a powerful force in modern culture. From an end-user perspective, Netflix provides a great service. But there’s a darker side to the Netflix phenomenon, namely its practice of using your data to maximise its profits.

 

Next time you switch on Netflix, check out your ‘personalised content’ feed. This is compiled via algorithms similar to those used by Facebook’s newsfeed. It works like this: Netflix gathers data from its users’ viewing habits, which it then uses to rate everybody and everything involved in a production — actors, directors, set designers, even romance levels, plot conclusiveness and the ‘moral status’ of characters — to judge whether a piece of content is worthy of transmission. This user-data-based scoring system has a single objective: to maximise Netflix’s profits.

 

I personally find this annoying — I seldom want to watch what Netflix has decided I should watch — but, more importantly, it’s dangerous. It’s dangerous for creativity. It’s dangerous for consumers. And we need to rethink it.

 

Netflix is a centralized operation. In other words, the power resides in the top execs and it is answerable only to its shareholders, not to its users or the creatives who produce its product. In essence, it takes your data and controls it within a non-transparent structure.

 

The unstoppable growth of the centralized online giants — and I’m not just talking about Netflix here, but also YouTube, Amazon, Apple — is creating an entertainment marketplace dominated by content whose sole function is to make money. Brave, thought-provoking, game-changing content that adds to society’s creative and cultural stock isn’t part of their remit. I call that scary.

Netflix doesn’t share the data it uses to drive the algorithms that determine what content it shows to its subscribers. Even the people who create its content aren’t allowed to see the data. This is bad news for consumers, because it limits choice and will ultimately result in a world of cookie-cutter content. And it’s bad new for content-makers, because creativity and originality will be sacrificed on the altar of profit.

Unfortunately, the bad news doesn’t stop there. Digital rights management (DRM) is shaping up to be the next battlefield. Netflix’s DRM policy is to license content in perpetuity. This means that content-makers cannot realize the true value from their IP from any other channel, Which in turn means that their IP’s long-term value is lost. Irretrievably. Again, this is disturbing, not least for the distributors whose job is to navigate the increasingly murky waters of DRM to realize the best price for content. Distributors are also beginning to be cut out of the deal. You may think this is no bad thing — but if the alternative is a single gorilla that could overpower you in a heart beat, it’s a worry.

In October, Netflix had 109 million subscribers worldwide, including 52 million in the US. A rudimentary calculation shows that, at a subscription of roughly $5, it’s netting around $545m per month.

 

Pause to catch breath.

 

I keep thinking that, if just one month of Netflix’s revenue were invested into LiveTree’s new digital token, Seed, it would be enough to reinvent the entertainment industry. It would be enough to create a new marketplace that’s fairer, more efficient and more transparent. More importantly, we could create marketplace that would be sustainable because it would protect and nurture the product — creativity — that drives it, rather than exploiting it for short-term gain.

 

In today’s world, dollars equal power. Netflix is using this power just like the Hollywood studios — themselves centralized ecosystems — to increase their power, profit and control. For example, it is now making lock-in deals directly with Hollywood stars, including Will Smith. Netflix also declines to license to cinemas, which means none of its films will ever be seen on the big screen. Ergo more money and control to Netflix; less choice and diversity for consumers and creatives.

 

All this has me worried about the future of creativity. Imagine if Netflix decided to up its subscription fee to $10? Or $15? Or $50? After all, who’s to stop it? That would put a severe dent in not only your entertainment choices, but your entertainment budget. The spectre of creativity governed by profit rather than passion was one of the reasons we at LiveTree ADEPT started to think about what could be done to turn the ship. It’s possible, achievable and, actually, not that difficult. We’ve got the technology, we’ve got the vision. All we need is your help.

 

For more information, or to register to participate in the LiveTree ADEPT token sale, please visit adept.livetree.com