Live performance and philanthropy naturally fit together. Performers can share their craft while contributing to a good cause, while viewers can make donations as they enjoy some premium music, stand-up comedy, dance, or other performance. This synchronicity explains why charity concerts are so popular. They’re not just opportunities to give, but exciting artistic events that donors and performers love to feel a part of.
But tickets to live charity concerts can be difficult to come by, and ticket revenue alone usually hardly raises enough money to benefit the target charity. Many concerts are aired on television while performers ask for donations from the viewing public, a tactic that can be unreliable because viewers already enjoying the performance aren’t required to donate at all, motivated instead by a combination of altruism and perhaps some guilt. The rising rate of cord-cutters among all age cohorts but particularly among younger groups such as millennials and Generation Z means any kind of televised distribution, whether broadcast, cable, or pay-per-view, will reach a limited distribution.
Content can be packaged and sold as downloads or DVDs, but this approach lessens the live theater value added to performances. Live performances, even experienced through a screen, have a unique quality of intimacy and immediacy, creating “once-in-a-lifetime,” “I was there” events whose full impact can’t be replicated through replayed recordings. People will pay more to experience something live, and live distribution also minimizes income loss stemming from piracy.
What remains as a viable option for charity performances is live streaming. Streaming video is now a prominent element of day-to-day life in the US. About 60% of young adults watch television through streaming services rather than cable or broadcast. Half of US consumers subscribe to paid streaming video services. Streaming video took up 73% of all internet traffic in 2016, and is predicted to take up 82% of all online traffic in 2021. And live streaming use is expected to take up bigger and bigger chunks of online viewers’ habits as time goes on. Facebook’s live video service has 360 million regular users, while Instagram Stories boasts 200 million daily users and video game streaming service Twitch has 9.7 million daily users. Viewers tend to be more engaged with live video, spending 8X longer with live streaming than on-demand video.
If live streaming video is the wave of the future, then Utopi will be positioned at the forefront of charity streaming content. This new platform is a “blockchain-based, live-event, peer-to-peer video streaming platform” that will use access to live streaming content to incentivize frictionless, secure, and transparent charity donations. Content available to donors on Utopi will range from intimate live performances from mega-star musicians to cooking classes from celebrity chefs to videos created by friends and family raising money for local causes. Utopi tokens can be used to buy digital “tickets” for live streamed performances. Those tokens are then transferred to fiat currency for donations to a wide range of verified, credible charity organizations.
It’s a promising premise, but streaming technology and processing donations both present unique technological challenges. Streaming video is only appealing to subscribers and donors when it’s high quality, and that goes double for live video when any attempt to pause or buffer interrupts the “live” factor. Donors only trust a donation platform to the degree that it can receive and transfer funds to actual charities quickly, a process that can be technically challenging to do securely.
Dispatch’s DAN Network
Utopi will deliver scalable, high-quality streaming video by combining traditional CDN technology with emerging P2P networks. Management of the livestream will be provided by Utopi’s Go-To-Live Protocol, a DApp built on top of Dispatch Labs’ next-generation blockchain protocol.
Dispatch’s new Ethereum-compatible blockchain uses blockchain smart contracts to manage off-chain data storage networks (DAN). Access to stored files can be directly controlled through blockchain management. Utopi is integrated with the Dispatch Virtual Machine, which allows the scalable opening of P2P streaming nodes with each new installation of the machine. Utopi thus is able to harness the high scalability of the Dispatch blockchain model to facilitate controlled access, high-volume, and high-quality streaming video.
Blockchain will not only be used facilitate effective live streaming. It will also be used to control access to the streams, thus keeping digital “seats” at Utopi events in limited supply proportional to demand and ensuring the value of those seats stays high. When a Utopi user buys a ticket to a livestream event, the purchase is recorded on the Utopi Token blockchain. That blockchain then becomes their access credentials for opening the livestream on their device.
Utopi plans on launching mechanisms where users can resell or gift their blockchain access passes, thus broadening the market for Utopi event passes (and the donations they bring in) beyond adopters of the platform and token. Because blockchain is immutable, its path through the Utopi platform to the point it becomes fiat currency will be automatic and visible.
While this sounds technical, the actual Utopi experience will be frictionless and user-friendly. Donors will be able to give to charities and unlock exclusive streaming content with a simple click, rather than having to fill out credit card fields or enter access codes. Utopi envisions a dynamic, exciting charity platform where donors are eager to participate and experience high-quality streaming content, provided by the DAN Network and Dispatch Labs’ blockchain technology.
What kind of content would you like to see on the Utopi live streaming platform?