ShockNet provides a framework and resources for integrating web apps with the Lightning Network, facilitating rapid transactions. Its platform enables Lightning micropayments to be seamlessly integrated into any application, thereby offering users avenues for content distribution and revenue generation. The startup has also unveiled Lightning.Video, a specialised platform that allows creators to pay for hosting services and monetise their content directly with their audience, challenging the existing advertiser model of platforms like YouTube.
In the fiercely competitive online video platform arena, YouTube, Vimeo, and Rumble each present unique opportunities and challenges. YouTube remains the undisputed leader with over 2.56 billion global users as of 2022 and advertising revenues surpassing $29 billion. Despite its vast user base, YouTube's Q4 year-over-year growth for monthly active users (MAU) was a meagre 3.2%, and its revenue actually declined between Q4 2021 and Q4 2022.
Vimeo, though smaller, has shown remarkable growth, with revenues climbing 57% to $89.4 million and gross profit up by 67% between Q1 2020 and Q1 2021, though arguably this could be attributed to an organic increase in audiences during lockdowns. Meanwhile, Rumble, a newcomer with a disruptive stance, promises less censorship and instant monetisation. Its explosive growth—142% in MAU and a 686.2% revenue increase in just a year—is nothing short of astounding. The company went public in September 2022.
Lightning.Video's Unique Offering
Lightning.Video monetises its hosting service directly with content providers, eliminating the need to cater to advertisers or special interest groups to maintain profitability. This strategic focus grants it a stable footing in an increasingly politicised media landscape. The primary challenge lies in enhancing the user experience to enable content providers to not only host but also effectively grow their audiences through the platform.
Ironically, the actions of industry incumbents are inadvertently fueling the rise of alternative platforms, as a growing number of people seek services that accommodate diverse content. They recently announced that they had achieved a >1000% MoM increase in user revenues. Should ShockNet manage to secure even a fraction of YouTube's market share, it could quickly become a scalable and profitable venture.
Product and Roadmap
Our experience testing the service was largely positive. Users must download a Lightning Wallet—like the non-custodial Breez wallet—to transact on the platform. Though the UI is somewhat rudimentary, frequent updates suggest rapid improvements. Upcoming features include self-custody solutions and the ability for users to upload content free of charge and pay hosting fees from their revenue. In addition the team are building out Nostr integrations and a SDK that will allow you to publish and deliver content from anywhere, including decentralised Nostr apps.
CEO Justin Hilton, a staunch libertarian and veteran bitcoiner, brings extensive knowledge in Networks and Systems Architecture and a passion for supporting human rights through the use of technology. Co-founder Hatim Boufnichel specialises in Lightning and game development.
ShockNet was part of the inaugural Wolf Accelerator cohort and secured seed funding through the program as well as undisclosed pre-seed funding from Fulgur Ventures. The company is presently fundraising and interested parties should contact the team https://www.linkedin.com/in/justinhilton/.
ShockNet faces the monumental challenge of capturing market share from established giants like YouTube. However, its resilient technology stack and appeal to disaffected users of existing platforms indicate potential for significant growth.
Lightning.Video by ShockNet presents a unique platform that harnesses the power of the Bitcoin Lightning Network to address the challenges facing content creators on existing video platforms, including geographical payment barriers, censorship, and unpredictable revenue streams subject to external control.
Though a fledgling entity in a competitive market, ShockNet's innovative approach and strong focus on user-centric monetisation make it a compelling alternative. Its robust payment infrastructure and anti-censorship stance place it as a potential disruptor in the online video content landscape. Keep an eye on this team; they could very well be the future of video content sharing.
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