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.  

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.

 

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

 

The end of the centralized entertainment industry by Ashley Turing

 

ENTERTAINMENT 3.0

By Ashley Turing

 

The way we engage with content is changing. In a little over 10 years, we’ve gone from Blockbuster video —remember the days of VHS and “Who taped over the wedding with the football?” — to Subscription and Netflix Video-On-Demand (SVOD the “S” is for subscription). There’s no question that access to content has improved, but we are beginning to see new problems with the digital entertainment model. The centralized internet behemoths are replicating many of Hollywood’s bad old practices that exploit through a lack of transparency. We have come to accept this behavior as normal, but not for much longer. Today we now have the technology to help change the dynamic.

 

Entertainment is a powerful societal force. Great scenes in films and catchphrases from TV shows are part of our cultural fabric, collective consciousness and personal frames of reference. Entertainment guides our culture, our values and, if you believe some Trekkies, our future. No disrespect to Trekkies. I’m a closet one myself.

 

This blog examines the future of entertainment and the learnings we can use to make that future decentralized, better and fairer. I’ve broken it down into what I term the ‘ages’ of the internet, on the basis that the profound change in our relationship with content has been driven by the progression of that technology.

 

Web 1.0: the birth of the hyperlink and email

 

Before 2005 (roughly) the internet was a slow and cumbersome beast. We’d crank up our modems and wait.

 

And wait.

 

And wait.

 

For those of you who were there, this will bring back memories:

For those of you who weren’t, listen and wonder at our patience and fortitude.

 

We lived in a world of progressively loaded images — remember fuzzy-to-clear pic downloads? Gopher and bulletin boards were the norm; receiving emails was an infrequent pleasure. The online universe was positive, optimistic and full of opportunity. Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s vision of an internet built on egalitarian principles had been born.

 

Streaming media was all but non-existent — bar the likes of Winamp (I was fortunate enough to work with the founder of Winamp – but let’s save that for another blog.

 

Back in the early days of Netflix, you may remember its DVD postal rental business. It would mail DVDs to you and you would then have to mail them back. You could also buy DVDs. It’s worth remembering that Blockbuster still managed to blow Netflix away at the time (Blockbuster peaked in 2004).

 

Web 2.0: centralized internet giants dominate markets using your information

 

My background is in computer science/artificial intelligence (AI). The reason AI wasn’t a mainstream proposition when I studied it was because you needed to process a mountain of data to make machines seem intelligent. The truth is that computers are dumb. To make a computer appear intelligent, it needs a considerable amount of processing power (CPUs) to compute and match algorithms (patterns) against huge sets of data. To figure out key features — the things that really matter — it has to process a lot of patterns. And I mean a lot.

 

Information is the key to our markets. As human beings, it is the most valuable commodity we possess. Prior to 2005 (roughly), cloud computing didn’t exist. Networked “big data” hadn’t really been invented. Google was actually a pioneer in this field with the launch of the Google File System, which stores and processes data across multiple machines.

 

With ever-faster internet connection speeds, along with unlimited data storage and processing power (‘big data’) available at giant data centres, we are now in the age of Web 2.0. But we are also facing its less attractive consequences.

 

Web 2.0 also saw the rise of Amazon, Netflix, Facebook and ‘big data’. What we have today is AI used over huge data sets to manipulate markets and dominate industries. Moore’s law — which posits that overall computer processing power doubles every two years — remains true. The tech giants have taken advantage of it. They have hooked up the old AI theories to a network the machines powerful enough and with enough storage capability to imitate intelligence. Intelligence they then use to ‘help’ you into thinking you want to buy what they want to sell you.

 

Web 3.0: the decentralised future of entertainment

 

Web 2.0 is all about centralised trust. You hand over trust in the form of your data to centralized corporations in return for services. We have no option but to trust these centralized companies —internet overloads— because they hold the power. In the entertainment industry, they dial out creativity in exchange for your money. They are building Hollywood within a centralized system, and replicating the “Hollywood Exec’s” bad old ways with algorithms.

 

Is there a solution?

 

I believe there is, which is the reason I founded LiveTree. Our mission is to create a fair, transparent, community-powered film, TV and content network. I’d like to say here that I dedicated LiveTree to Aaron Swartz, the late, great computer activist. I’ll be writing another blog to explain how Aaron’s spirit lives on in our operation.

 

Now the technology is finally here to meet the challenge. It’s called blockchain. No longer do you need to hand over your life and security to a centralized entity in return for the content and services you need to survive in our complex, connected world. Decentralized systems are a way of creating peer-to-peer trust. They enable you to create a contract with someone without the need for a third-party  — a Netflix, a Facebook, a Google — to manage it and, significantly, profit from it. It’s shared, immutable and unchangeable. So it builds confidence, no hiding or dodgy dealing.

 

At the heart of LiveTree ADEPT (Advanced Decentralised Entertainment Platform for Transparent distribution) is digital-rights management. It enables creators to connect and create contracts (licenses) directly with each other. It’s a genuine once-in-a-generation paradigm shift. With ADEPT, you control what gets made, rather than Hollywood, Netflix or one of the traditional content gatekeepers. You then reap the rewards from that content, as well as the community you have created to help realise it. You are in control of the algorithms. Better and better, the whole process is completely transparent and open source. And you earn from entertainment’s digital token — LiveTree Seed — which moves the control from centralized powers to you.

 

In other words, you get to be part of how the content gets created which generates a community, you get to control, your profit and your future.

 

For more information, or to register to participate in the LiveTree ADEPT token sale, please visit: adept.livetree.com and you’ll be directed to a secure server where you can register your interest