There has been significant progress made by the Theta Network over the last 12 months in growing their relevance to the NFT space. This is reflected in the rising prominence of Theta on NFT-related lists provided by the likes of CoinmarketCap and CoinGecko.
Some of the milestones that have led to this advancement have already been well covered by authors here on Publish0x so this article is aiming to bring us up to date and envisage what may lay ahead.
It is probably fair to say that in the beginning, Theta Network were seen by many as a just a potential rival to the centralised streaming networks (CSNs) such as Netflix and YouTube. The nature of their patented technology meant that Theta was attempting to be a decentralised streaming network (DSN) using nodes around the world to create extra bandwidth.
In 2018, the planned public initial coin offering (ICO) for Theta token was cancelled at short notice after the founders raised $20 million from a raft of private investors including Sony and Samsung.
A year later, Timothy Li (Theta's Head of Platform) explained at the Upbit Developer Conference that Theta should be seen not as a competitor to existing broadcasters but as a collaborative base layer allowing leading players such as Netflix, Amazon and Youtube to utilise the power of blockchain on their platforms and monetise/tokenise their output.
This monetisation aspect obviously works in multiple directions - producer/broadcaster/advertiser/viewer/node holder/etc.
Revolutionary? Certainly. But streaming video content is just one part of Theta.
Although it is its own blockchain, Theta is Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) compatible, available for selection on Metamask and is supported in cross-chain interoperability.
Currently, the Theta network operates with 2 tokens: Theta and TFuel.
Theta token acts as a governance/staking token and TFuel is a utility token on the network which can also be staked.
A third token (TDrop) is scheduled for Q1 2022 and this will be used to incentivise purchases on ThetaDrop NFT Marketplaces.
Depending on an individual's blockchain exposure, all of this talk of Theta's abilities and different token structures can be overwhelming when first seen. So for now, let's focus on the NFT development side of things.
The NFT Aspect
Theta has its own marketplace for NFTs called ThetaDrop.
On this market, anyone is welcome to buy and sell (either using TFuel or US Dollars) but only invited partners of Theta are able to actually create NFTs.
To date, the partners have been an eclectic bunch ranging from digital artists to YouTube influencers and from popcorn producers to the World Poker Tour. Upcoming releases will include mixed martial artists (MMAs) from the ONE Championship and singer Katy Perry.
Regardless of how people personally feel about the merits of the sport or the singer, the popularity of both will lead to an increased exposure of the Theta platform.
Mitch Liu (Theta CEO) has made it clear though that ThetaDrop will keep on embracing NFTs portraying both the real-life physical world and the cutting edge of AI.
*THIS IS NOT FINANCIAL ADVICE
To be clear, I am in no way associated with the Theta team. I buy, hold and sell NFTs on ThetaDrop as an individual collector/speculator- I risk my own money/TFuel for potential gains and that is the experience I am sharing here in this section, there is no guarantee of success if you decide to purchase NFTs.
While this article is not intended to be a plug for any individual creator, it has to be noted that substantial gains have been made by early purchasers of the NFTs on ThetaDrop.
A brief look at the Top Sales on the Marketplace will confirm that (Secret Pineapples were sold initially at $199).
A less dramatic example than Secret Pineapples, is from one of the more recent ThetaDrop partners, digital artist HighsGamingHub. They launched a series of NFTs called BattlePugs that has seen more modest price growth on the secondary market.
Image source: ThetaDrop Marketplace.
Current holders on BattlePugs are far from downbeat though as they also hold onto the promise of a potential airdrop hinted at by the Pugs creator, which could increase the value of their overall NFT portfolio later this month.
I use HighsGamingHub as an example here because his Twitter feed provides a useful segue into a new NFT platform that is built on Theta but is distinctly separate from the official ThetaDrop.
The new platform is called TKETS.
TKETS is ticketing platform that uses NFTs issued on the Theta blockchain to act as admission or participation tickets for events.
The developers say, "We aim to bring more functionality and utility to NFTs than simply collecting and reselling, in a way that is user-friendly and accessible to most people. Therefore, we created TKETS, one of the first fully permissionless and decentralised NFT ticketing platforms on any blockchain."
Their 30 second promo video on YouTube gives a glimpse at how this is achieved...
While TKETS is still in Beta, users should be extra careful in researching the validity of any offers before committing funds to buy tickets for events.
That being said, TKETS is showcasing how NFTs are not just speculative assets but can be used as an effective tool in real-life situations.
Ok, so the segments mentioned above are some of the past and the present public faces of the Theta Network but what about the future?
The published roadmap is exciting enough but we're looking for the hidden rather than the obvious. So here we move into speculation territory - "conspiracy theories" if you prefer.
An unusual Tweet from Google Cloud raised some eyebrows recently...
Google have been running a validator node for Theta for sometime now and hold 5 million Theta tokens...
...this is not new news to Theta holders but it seemed strange that Google Cloud would post a tweet that simply linked back to an old article published in March this year, especially as the tweet followed closely behind another seemingly unconnected event.
A few days earlier the Theta community saw some discussion surrounding a broadcast of That Startup Show on ThetaTv featuring the sibling of Mark Zuckerberg, Randi Zuckerberg.
Coming so close to rebranding of Facebook to Meta, it is perhaps not surprising excitement was generated by a Zuckerberg chatting on a Theta platform.
Despite mainstream media parroting the line of just a name change to Meta, Zuckerberg is attempting to create a Metaverse (hence the choice of name) - which is based around interconnected digital spaces (gaming/social media/content streaming/payments/communication channels/publishing/virtual reality and augmented reality/and much more) which at the outer edges, also blends into the physical world.
To do so, he will need upgraded technology protocols. Can Google Cloud and Theta be the ones to supply that?
Probably, but one TV appearance from Mark's sister and a couple of random tweets are not sufficient to bet the farm on... but personally, I wouldn't bet against it either.