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Decentralized AWS challenger secures $35m in funding

Amazon web services

Ledger Insights doesn’t publish ICO stories because this site is not targeted at crypto investors and many ICOS are too immature to justify coverage. Occasionally there will be one worth a mention.

Halsey Minor is a Silicon Valley Veteran who founded CNET in 1994 and was the first investor in SalesForce. He’s the founder of VideoCoin which this week raised $35m in a private token sale. Minor had planned to do a public ICO, but given the amount raised has decided to shelve it, perhaps also related to the recent spate of SEC subpoenas for ICO companies.

The Big Idea

The over-the-air aspect of broadcasting is free, but as users migrate to watching streaming video, bandwidth is becoming a significant cost. And the broadcasters are at a disadvantage to Amazon Video which has vertical integration with its ownership of AWS.

VideoCoin addresses this by crowd-sharing the encoding, storage, and streaming of video.
Encoding has become an issue because of the variety of devices, which each support specific video formats, color, and resolutions.

VideoCoin sees itself as an AWS challenger. Talking to Silicon Angle last week, Minor said: “Nobody today believes that anybody can put Amazon Web Services at risk. If I went to someone and said You know Amazon Web Services which is worth three-quarters of the value of the company, there’s going to be something after that. It would literally be a new concept. And if you said to somebody there IS going to be the next thing, they would look at you like you’re foolish.”

“So we’re going to see all of this decentralization happening. In the world of computing, decentralization means that this is going to be the most efficient that computing can ever be. Compare it to Uber and Airbnb model of saying anything that’s excess, let’s turn it into value.”

Any server with downtime can be used to stream video, and the usage is paid for via VideoCoin. In other words, it is decentralized cloud video hosting, not dissimilar to Filecoin for file hosting. It’s estimated that 30% of data center servers are idle.

According to Cisco in 2016 video accounted for 73% of internet traffic and they forecast an increase to 82 percent by 2021. That’s a substantial opportunity, though the split of ‘internet video’ versus ‘video on demand’ (VOD) is roughly 70:30 and VideoCoin may be more relevant to VOD.


The business model is already proven because this activity is not dissimilar to Bitcoin miners. Encoding seems viable, and VideoCoin is introducing a ‘proof of transcode’ for the encoding part. File storage is a variation of Filecoin, and the streaming is just a Content Delivery Network (CDN).

But perhaps the CDN could be a challenge. It depends on whether VideoCoin ends up really using idle server time. If a user is happily watching a Video On Demand and then suddenly the streaming server needs to be used for its primary task, so the stream gets switched to another server, that might cause a hiccup in the user’s movie watching.

As with all ICO type projects, there are a ton of health warnings re viability.

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