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LBRY

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LBRY
Lbry-logo.svg
Founded2015; 6 years ago (2015)
OwnerLBRY, Inc.
Founder(s)Jeremy Kauffman, Jimmy Kiselak, Alex Grintsvayg, Mike Vine, Josh Finer
Key people
  • CEO: Jeremy Kauffman
  • CTO: Alex Grintsvayg
URLlbry.com
LBRY protocol
Developer(s)LBRY
Stable release
0.17.3.3 / April 30, 2021; 54 days ago (2021-04-30)[1]
Repositorygithub.com/lbryio
Written inC++[2]
PlatformWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS[3]
LicenseMIT License[1]
Websitelbry.com
Odysee
Odyssey logo 1.svg
Founded2020; 1 year ago (2020)
OwnerLBRY, Inc.
Founder(s)Jeremy Kauffman, Jimmy Kiselak, Alex Grintsvayg, Mike Vine, Josh Finer
Key people
  • CEO: Jeremy Kauffman
  • CTO: Alex Grintsvayg
URLodysee.com

LBRY is a blockchain-based file-sharing and payment network that powers decentralized platforms, primarily social networks and video platforms. LBRY's creators also run Odysee, a video-sharing website that uses the network.[4] Video platforms built on LBRY, such as Odysee, have been described as decentralized alternatives to YouTube,[5] and have become popular among members of the far-right.[6][5][7][8] The company has described Odysee and other platforms it has built utilizing its LBRY protocol as platforms for free speech, and lightly moderates content including to remove promotion of violence and terrorism.[4]

Technology[edit]

The LBRY protocol is a decentralized file-sharing and payment network built using blockchain and BitTorrent technology.[9] It allows anyone to create an account and register content that cannot be deleted by the company.[10] LBRY uses BitTorrent technology to serve content without relying on their own servers by using peer-to-peer file-sharing.[11] Creators can record video content to the LBRY blockchain, as well as other digital content including music, images, podcasts, and e-books.[9] The LBRY projects are open source.[9]

In October 2017, LBRY, Inc. released a media hosting site built atop the protocol called spee.ch.[12][13] It stopped being supported in December 2019, in favor of LBRY, Inc.'s LBRY.tv website.[14][13] Odysee, another video website built by LBRY, Inc. using their LBRY protocol, entered beta in September 2020 and officially launched that December.[4]

LBRY, Inc. also maintains their own cryptocurrency, "LBRY credits" (LBC), which they use as a part of a digital store they have built based on the LBRY blockchain. Using this currency, creators can charge viewers to stream their content or earn tips. Users of the platform earn LBC through using the platform and inviting others to it.[9] On March 29, 2021, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged LBRY, Inc. with selling unregistered digital asset securities.[15][16] The SEC alleged that LBRY, Inc. had sold LBRY credits (LBC) to fund their work without registering them with the SEC as a security, a violation of securities laws. In response, LBRY's CEO began a public relations campaign to gather support among blockchain and cryptocurrency enthusiasts, and to argue that the SEC had mislabeled LBC as a security.[15]

Content and users[edit]

The LBRY platform's video sharing websites have been described as an alternative to YouTube.[5] spee.ch, a media hosting site built atop the LBRY protocol, was used by groups such as Deterrence Dispensed to upload 3D printed firearm blueprints.[13][14] When LBRY, Inc. stopped supporting spee.ch in 2019 in favor of their new site, LBRY.tv, Deterrence Dispensed moved to LBRY.tv.[17]

The LBRY platform experienced a surge in popularity in late 2020 and early 2021, and LBRY, Inc. said in January 2021 that their new user sign-ups had increased 250% from the previous month. Nathaniel Popper writing for The New York Times reported that many of the new users appeared to be supporters of former United States president Donald Trump, white supremacists, and gun rights advocates who were suspended from YouTube.[5] Robert Hackett and David Z. Morris writing for Fortune attributed the increased interest in LBRY and other blockchain-based platforms to the choice by Twitter and other popular social networks to ban Trump and many others after the 2021 United States Capitol attack.[11]

As of April 2021, Odysee hosted 10 million videos, the most-viewed of which was a video questioning the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.[7] A May 2021 report by The Guardian found "scores of extremist videos" on the Odysee platform that promoted antisemitic conspiracy theories, glorified Adolf Hitler and other Nazis, shared COVID-19 misinformation, and depicted meetings and rallies by extremist groups including the white nationalist and antisemitic National Justice party and the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement.[6]

Megan Squire, a computer scientist and researcher of right-wing political extremism, described challenges faced by blockchains such as LBRY and the social networks built atop them: "As a technology it is very cool, but you can't just sit there and be a Pollyanna and think that all information will be free ... There will be racists, and people will shoot each other. It's going to be the total package."[5] Extremism researcher Eviane Leidig, writing for the Global Network on Extremism & Technology (GNET) at The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence, described Odysee as "the new YouTube for the far-right", and wrote that although Odysee was "not inherently a platform for far-right or extremist content creators", it had become popular among them.[8]

Moderation[edit]

Because the LBRY network is built on a blockchain, there is no way for LBRY, Inc. to moderate at the blockchain level their users or the content that they upload.[5] LBRY, Inc. is able to moderate content on the websites they build on top of the protocol.[5][18] On LBRY's Odysee platform, guidelines prohibit content including pornography and promotion of violence or terrorism.[5][4] Rule-breaking content can be delisted from Odysee, which leaves the channel and content in place and continues to allow it to be shared, but prevents it from being found via search or browsing channels.[19] Most people access the protocol through the LBRY platform: websites including Odysee and LBRY.tv which are built on top of the LBRY blockchain.[5][4]

Todd Bookman writing for New Hampshire Public Radio described Odysee's approach to content moderation as "no censorship, no-deplatforming, no matter what users say."[7] When asked in July 2019 about the use of LBRY, Inc.'s sites to host blueprints for 3D printed guns, LBRY, Inc.'s CEO Kauffman has said that he would only remove the files from his websites if courts deem them illegal. Champe Barton writing for The Trace has said Kauffman "signal[ed] his support" for the distribution of such blueprints by sharing them on his personal Twitter account.[20] Kauffman criticized YouTube's content policies in December 2020 as "far too strict", pointing to the platform's decision to remove an interview with Scott Atlas, formerly a healthcare policy advisor to the Trump administration, that allegedly contained COVID-19 misinformation.[4] On May 14, 2021, The Guardian reported that LBRY executive Julian Chandra wrote to Odysee site moderators that a "Nazi that makes videos about the superiority of the white race" was not grounds for removal from Odysee. The email was accidentally sent to a user who had complained about neo-Nazi content on the platform.[6]

Company[edit]

LBRY, Inc., which builds the LBRY protocol and the platform based upon it, was founded in May 2015 by Jeremy Kauffman and Jimmy Kiselak.[5][21] The company is based in Manchester, New Hampshire.[7] Both the company name and the LBRY project are pronounced "library".[4]

Through 2015 and 2016, Kauffman and Kiselak were joined by Mike Vine, Josh Finer, and Alex Grintsvayg, who they also described as co-founders.[22][23][24] Kauffman, Kiselak, and Grintsvayg all attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where they played ultimate frisbee together.[24] Kauffman remains LBRY's chief executive officer, Grintsvayg is chief technology officer, and Finer is the director of operations and analytics.[4][25] Julian Chandra is the company's chief marketing officer.[26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "lbryio/lbrycrd". GitHub. Lbry. Archived from the original on March 22, 2021. Retrieved May 31, 2021.
  2. ^ "Contributor's Guide". LBRY.tech. Lbry. Archived from the original on February 1, 2021. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  3. ^ "Get LBRY". LBRY. Lbry. Archived from the original on January 23, 2021. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Ha, Anthony (December 7, 2020). "Odysee aims to build a more independent video platform". TechCrunch. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Popper, Nathaniel (January 28, 2021). "They found a way to limit Big Tech's power: Using the design of Bitcoin". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 2, 2021. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  6. ^ a b c Wilson, Jason (May 14, 2021). "Video platform chief says Nazi posts on white superiority do not merit removal". The Guardian. Archived from the original on May 14, 2021. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  7. ^ a b c d Bookman, Todd (April 19, 2021). "From Cooking Videos to QAnon, N.H.-Based Video Platform Attracts Users Banned Elsewhere". New Hampshire Public Radio. Archived from the original on June 2, 2021. Retrieved May 31, 2021.
  8. ^ a b Leidig, Eviane (February 17, 2021). "Odysee: The New YouTube for the Far-Right". Global Network on Extremism & Technology. The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence. Archived from the original on June 2, 2021. Retrieved May 31, 2021.
  9. ^ a b c d Prakash, Abhishek (April 5, 2020). "LBRY: A Blockchain-based Decentralized YouTube Alternative". It's FOSS. Archived from the original on January 24, 2021. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  10. ^ Ovide, Shira (January 26, 2021). "What is a Blockchain? Is It Hype?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on January 28, 2021. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  11. ^ a b Hackett, Robert; Morris, David Z. (January 27, 2021). "Tesla, GameStop, and the power of 'meme stocks'". Fortune. Archived from the original on January 27, 2021. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  12. ^ Slattery, Brinck (October 30, 2017). "Always GIF Responsibly: Introducing Spee.ch". LBRY. Archived from the original on January 23, 2021. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  13. ^ a b c Hanrahan, Jake (May 20, 2019). "3D-printed guns are back, and this time they are unstoppable". Wired UK. ISSN 1357-0978. Archived from the original on February 16, 2021. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  14. ^ a b Zarebczan, Thomas (December 8, 2019). "lbryio/spee.ch@ad87e2b". GitHub. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  15. ^ a b Matthews, Chris (April 7, 2021). "Blockchain firm LBRY tries to rally sector against SEC; critics allege a 'cryptocurrency suppression program'". MarketWatch. Archived from the original on April 8, 2021. Retrieved April 9, 2021.
  16. ^ "SEC Charges New Hampshire Issuer of Digital Asset Securities with Registration Violations". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. March 29, 2021. Archived from the original on April 2, 2021. Retrieved April 9, 2021.
  17. ^ "Deterrence Dispensed". Archived from the original on January 28, 2021. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  18. ^ O'Sullivan, Andrea (February 23, 2021). "The Best Way for Florida to 'Take on Big Tech' Is to Keep Welcoming the Crypto Community". Reason. Archived from the original on February 26, 2021. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  19. ^ Brown, Eileen (April 8, 2021). "Blockchain-based Odysee keeps your social media content online". ZDNet. Archived from the original on April 12, 2021. Retrieved June 15, 2021.
  20. ^ Barton, Champe (July 25, 2019). "As Social Networks Crack Down, 3D-Printed Gun Community Moves to New Platforms". The Trace. Archived from the original on February 3, 2021. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  21. ^ Kauffman, Jeremy (May 24, 2015). "The LBRY Opens". LBRY. Archived from the original on January 23, 2021. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  22. ^ Vine, Mike (October 22, 2015). "Mike Vine Joins LBRY as Technology Evangelist". LBRY. Archived from the original on January 23, 2021. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  23. ^ Bryan, Samuel (January 6, 2016). "LBRY Means Business With Addition of Josh Finer, MBA". LBRY. Archived from the original on January 23, 2021. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  24. ^ a b Bryan, Samuel (June 7, 2016). "New Core Teammate Is An Ultimate Wizard: Meet Grin". LBRY. Archived from the original on February 3, 2021. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  25. ^ "The Team". LBRY. Archived from the original on February 1, 2021. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  26. ^ Romaine, Jenna (May 14, 2021). "Social media executive says Nazi posts on white superiority should not be removed". The Hill. Archived from the original on May 28, 2021. Retrieved May 31, 2021. [Chandra] also clarified his title as chief marketing officer, not vice president of growth.

External links[edit]