Creator monetization platform Joystream raised $5.85 million in its bid to create a decentralized online video site.
Digital Currency Group (DCG), Hypersphere, Defi Alliance and D1 Ventures led the round at a $60 million valuation, according to a press release. (DCG is the parent company of CoinDesk.)
Joystream seeks to act as a decentralized YouTube, according to Chief Marketing Officer Robert Neckelius. Creators can mint their videos as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the Joystream blockchain, and each channel has its own native token. Consumers can invest in their favorite creator's success, as well as take profits from their NFT sales on the platform.
It’s part of a broader crypto movement that aims to empower individual creators over corporations. While content stalwarts such as YouTube tightly govern how their creators make money (and grant them limited say in how the platform evolves) Joystream’s planned decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) would hand over the keys.
“Giving the stakeholders the tools required to decide, fund and direct the operation and evolution of the system is a much more durable approach, and one which is going to make it much more attractive for developers to build applications on top of Joystream,” said Bedeho Mender, CEO of the primary company building Joystream, called Jsgenesis.
According to Mender, the startup, which has been around since 2015, was originally building atop the BitTorrent protocol. It pivoted to creating a video platform in 2018 and has been preparing for mainnet launch ever since.
Right now it’s preparing to launch a mainnet in Q2 or Q3 of this year that will allow for a custom DAO, an NFT marketplace for creator’s videos and a platform for creator’s to monetize their videos with their own tokens. Currently on the testnet, there are 3,434 memberships and creators have been paid out $132,301 thus far.
Other decentralized video platforms such as LBRY and DTube are more limited in scope, hosting crypto tipping.
In a phone interview, Neckelius told CoinDesk the funding will help Joystream recruit creators and is setting aside $12 million in JOY tokens as an incentive. The company is “committed to attracting high talent to control the DAO,” he said.
UPDATE (March 23, 22:40 UTC): Corrects the first reference to Robert Neckelius.
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