by Jamie Holmes
Free speech is a popular topic as of late, and one cryptocurrency looks to provide an alternative to YouTube and other media platforms that is uncensorable and offers a more egalitarian reward system. The altcoin, called InterPlanetary Broadcast Coin (IPBC), did not hold an ICO or engage in a pre-mine. IPBC is a new proof of work crypto that utilizes CryptoNote and IPFS to give content creators a new lease of life.
Privacy Under Attack, Now Free Speech?
Concerns over privacy have propelled coins such as monero in the past couple of years or so, reaching new heights in value, awareness and demonstrating great technical progress. More recently, free speech and censorship have become more and more of a concern with popular content platforms such as YouTube demonetizing individual’s accounts based on political ideologies.
Conservative-minded YouTubers are not the only ones affected. After having pretty much all of the videos demonetized, Inner City Press claims that “On this censorship of the Press by denying or delaying monetization, it seems clear that someone or something has gotten Google’s YouTube to do it.”
Their post goes onto state the Google will demonetize ‘controversial or sensitive subjects’ which include those related to war, political conflict and natural disasters, ‘even if graphic imagery is not shown.’ With a heavy-handed approach, YouTube seems to be depriving journalists of revenue too, no matter if they are delivering pressing and valuable news. At the same time, these tech giants are muddying the waters as to what exactly is happening in conflict zones, presumably in an attempt to mold the narrative and keep our perception dumbed down.
A crackdown on ‘inappropriate material’ was initiated by YouTube toward the end of 2017, with Bloomberg reporting that some creators have seen an 80 percent decline in revenues. Without knowing which exact terms or conditions were breached, many users feel downtrodden, and rightly so. While some experts reckon in the long term it will be a beneficial move, many channels have been swept under the rug, with no recourse from YouTube as to why exactly they are being demonetized.
Responding to an organic demand for a platform with no adverts and one that monetizes creations in a fair way, Interplanetary Broadcast Coin (IPBC) has delivered a solution for those who want to exercise their free speech, fight censorship and remain in control of their data. The alpha version was introduced in January 2017, and the platform went live around 12 months later in January 2018. Already, it has a working product, with a platform to view videos, TV channels, and movies.
Even veterans of the cryptocurrency community are starting to migrate away from YouTube to this platform because of the promise it holds. For instance, the cryptocurrency podcast, shitcointalk, has moved to IPBC and popular crypto Twitter personality @anambroid has also started to post trading analyses on the platform.
The team behind the project have a wealth of experience and are based in the Canary Islands, The people behind IPBC have demonstrated their expertise with a previous project, known as Devcups, which is a software development company concentrated on the legal industry.
How Does IPBC Work?
IPBC is based on two key technologies; the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) and the CryptoNote technology used by Monero. The former allows content to be uploaded and censorship-resistant, while the latter enables your computer to mine coins while you are watching content to reward the creators.
With all data stored on the IPFS, data companies are no longer in control. With the data stored in a distributed system across the globe, no country or single entity has control over what content is put on the IPBC platform, and no content can be modified without changing the hash and creating a new file. As stated in the IPBC whitepaper, IPFS was used in Turkey to regain access to Wikipedia when the government shutdown the website.
Content stored on IPFS will be associated with an IPBC address, which enables uploaders to earn the coin for their work. When the content is viewed, the creator is rewarded and assigned proof of ownership.
How does CryptoNote fit in? Similar to how many websites have used in-browser mining of monero on their platforms to use CPU power of visitors, IPBC implements the same idea, but of course, with the knowledge of the users. While you are watching a video, you will be hashing away with your computer, with the rewards mostly going to the creator. The use of the CryptoNote protocol allows the complete elimination of adverts on the platform. With YouTube mulling a more aggressive way of generating revenue by unloading a barrage of ads until people pay for them to stop, this aspect of IPBC is very interesting.
CryptoNote limits the advantage GPUs and ASICs have over CPU miners, making it crucial for the IPBC platform to work, as the in-browser mining is used to reward users. The project will test a fork on April 6 following Monero’s lead to adjust the algorithm to make Bitmain’s CryptoNote ASICs void. The whitepaper clearly shows the parameters used within the CryptoNote protocol.
Just a browser is needed to begin participating in IPBC, similar to Nimiq. And to incentivize adoption, viewers can also earn the coin by viewing content (see screenshots below). Moreover, the egalitarian approach to rewarding users is a unique aspect of IPBC. While with traditional content platforms, those in developed countries can attract greater advertising revenue, the IPBC platform rewards creators evenly based on interaction and not dependent on where you live, leveling the playing field between developing and developed countries.
Watching South Park on IPBC
…and earn some IPBC in the process
While you can mine with your browser and while watching videos, you may get better results by using the XMR-STAK miner and connecting to an IPBC mining pool.
IPBC’s Rapid Growth in March
With a market cap of around $5.5 million, IPBC is still a small fry compared to its closest competitors STEEM and LBRY, which are valued at $366 million and $25.7 million respectively. LBRY is a similar idea. However, firstly you have to convert bitcoin to LBC tokens to begin using the platform, whereas IPBC is instantly accessible to anyone with an internet browser and no investment is required in the coin.
Steemit’s DTube provides a platform similar to IPBC but does not incorporate in-browser mining. Moreover, 80 percent of the supply of STEEM is held by developers, introducing a risk that they will dump them on the market and depress their value. According to Sabar Maram, IPBC’s CEO, none of their perceived competitors “offer a truly fair rewarding objective system like IPBC, where only the number of visitors and viewing time determines the reward for the content publisher.”
The interest in IPBC has also grown rapidly over March, with trading volumes increasing, indicating that the value of IPBC has a bright future. The circulating supply of IPBC is much lower, around 34 million, than the two projects mentioned above and if it can gain some traction, it could certainly challenge these platforms and become a profitable hold over the long run.
While the coin is only traded on two exchanges at present, Livecoin and Crex24, more exchanges are expected to be added, which will further increase visibility and volume, and therefore, interest in the coin and increase its potential for gains. The team have stated that they have applied to KuCoin and Binance.
No ICO, No Premine… Just a Working Product
The project did not go the usual route of an initial coin offering or even administering a pre-mine, which is very common these days. Instead, the team built a working product and receives ten percent of the mining reward to build out their platform, while the remaining 90 percent is distributed to users.
The major challenge for IPBC is to encourage adoption of the platform and ensure that the use cases are attractive enough for people to start switching over from platforms like YouTube so they can generate a steady revenue to improve their offering. To facilitate a faster crossover from YouTube channels, IPBC is due to release a tool that will allow YouTube channels to be ported over to IPBC, making the transition seamless for existing creators.
Furthermore, revealed in a recent interview, the CEO of IPBC stated that the project was in the process of acquiring licensing of television series and movies exclusively to the platform. IPBC’s cryptocurrency would then serve as a mechanism to invest in the rights of these shows and movies and obtain a part of the profits generated. Think Netflix, but decentralized. Eventually, the project plans to challenge incumbents such as Netflix with a paid service, where users can access premium content.
Further along in 2018, a copyright detection algorithm will be implemented to ensure rights to music and other media are not violated and community voting will be introduced to encourage participation in Baseline Improvement Proposals (BIPs). The whitepaper states, “verified users (for example, young composers) can upload their works via IPBC and submit the copyright via a pattern proof entry. If another user is now using this material, the pattern check recognizes the violation and does not allow the registration of this content for this user in the IPBC search engine.”
Summary: 2018 Could be IPBC’s Breakout Year
Currently, IPBC is priced around $0.15 (or 2200 satoshis) and reached a peak of around $0.33 (around 4000 satoshis) toward the end of March. With plenty of room for growth and providing a haven for free speech as YouTube and other platforms crackdown on material deemed ‘inappropriate,’ if the platform can attract a wider audience, IPBC might be one of the best plays for 2018.
With a working product, a team dedicated to constant improvement, a platform that serves a real need (not just in the crypto space) and devoid of any initial coin offering or pre-mine, the project is anticipated to deliver real progress and seems to be a genuine attempt at using blockchain technology for good.
Disclaimer: The author invested a small amount in IPBC on March 19. Please do not take this article as investment advice; it is for educational purposes only. If you are interested in IPBC, please conduct your own research before putting money at stake. The author is looking to add more IPBC to his initial investment if it hits the 1800-2000 satoshi range.