Decentralized Media Comparison: The Best Networks Reviewed
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A new wave of decentralized media networks is being developed which are set to transform the way that we publish, consume and share many different types of information and media. Many of them are still in their early stages and under heavy development, but the movement from centralized global media corporations to true people powered P2P media is rapidly picking up pace.
I’ve written about several of these projects before, and have made no secret about the potential I see in them. But it is clear from forums and other chatter on the internet that it is difficult for people to tell exactly where each project fits into the media landscape, how they compare to each other, what they are each good for and what their individual limitations are. So to help you out I’ve created a condensed comparison table including the most popular projects, along with a short review of each one which you will find below the table. I should also note that I haven’t included Lbry.io – this is not because it isn’t any good, its purely due to the fact that I found it very difficult to get sufficient information about it.
Decentralized Media Comparison Table
(But not necessarily only like)
|Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Prime, Torrents||Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Prime||Facebook, Twitter||Dropbox, The Internet itself.||Wordpress, Blogger|
|Tipping and Other Micro-Earnings||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✘|
|Paid Content (Advertising)||✘||Sort of|
(Coin owners can increase prominence of certain content across the network)
(Including Anonymous Currency)
|Media Specific Apps Planned (music, news etc)||✔||✘||✘||✘||✘||✘|
|Website or Magazine Creation||✔||✘||✘||✘||✔||✔|
Using a combination of torrent and blockchain technology, DECENT is aiming to create a complete media distribution protocol.
If the upcoming ICO reaches its funding goals there will be a range of apps for publishing and sharing everything from music to movies to newspapers or magazines all built on the same underlying network. Publishers can charge for premium content, taking payment for downloads or on a per-view basis with multimedia streaming, or make their content available for free.
This has the potential to create alternatives to services like iTunes or Netflix for high quality and professionally produced media, but also a more reliable (due to network rewards) and privacy enhanced alternative to torrent file sharing, as well as tools for people to create their own blog, newspaper or magazine.
Disclosure: This is the network which Cryptorials has chosen to publish our content.
Steem is a social publishing and content sharing app which works in a very similar way to websites like Reddit. Users submit content and vote on content submitted by others. Although content is published via a decentralized blockchain, the interface is currently limited to a centralized website.
The big difference between Steem and Reddit which serves as the unique selling point is that users earn Steem tokens whenever their content is upvoted, and can even earn coins as a successful curator by being among the first to upvote popular posts. Users who own more Steem tokens give greater earnings to others when they upvote, and also earn more themselves from curation rewards. Bots are able to post and curate on an equal footing with humans.
Steem also features an investment option whereby users can hold the network’s tokens or ‘Steem dollars’ which are pegged to the same value as USD, and earn interest.
The most established network featured here, Alexandria uses IPFS and the Florincoin blockchain.
Users can download or stream media from a wide range of categories, including music, movies, videos, 3D printer designs, recipes and so on. Creators can make their content available for free and accept tips, or they can choose to charge per download or per view.
In addition to the downloadable client, you can both submit and browse content from the Alexandria website, making it easier for beginner’s and the general public to access.
With the development of exciting new blockchain technologies, Synereo allows for a high degree of scaling and advanced smart contracts – making it a more general blockchain project which anybody can use to build a wide range of decentralized apps, rather than specifically a media protocol.
But with a social layer baked in, the flagship app is certainly the social network being built by the Synereo team. At the core of this social network is the ‘attention economy’, which rewards users for interacting with sponsored content and targets advertising based on user attention and interaction without the need to exploit users’ personal information.
Compared to social media giants like Facebook and Twitter, Synereo also offers enhanced privacy and free speech protection.
Maidsafe’s SAFE Network aims to offer ‘Secure Access For Everyone’ – and have the ambitious goal of decentralizing the entire internet.
SAFE is primarily a decentralized cloud storage / cloud hosting network, but from this simple beginning they aim to ultimately replace the need for central servers hosting websites and apps with a network of individual ‘farmers’ all around the world.
There is a strong emphasis on protecting the privacy of both publishers and media consumers, and a range of third party apps already in the works such as the Safex decentralized exchange project.
Combining torrent-like technology with Bitcoin cryptography for securing sites, ZeroNet allows anybody to easily create a decentralized website or blog using html and css.
One of the most notable features is the integration with Namecoin’s decentralized DNS solution, which allows Zeronet to host sites with easy to use domain names.