Google is teaming up with Theta Labs in a move meant to help the video delivery network onboard users through Google Cloud.
As part of the partnership, the tech giant is assisting Theta with its Mainnet 2.0 launch, a hard fork happening around noon Pacific time on Wednesday, said Theta Labs CEO Mitch Liu.
“I can’t offer specifics about the technical direction Theta will take, but I can say that we’ll be a good partner,” said Google Cloud developer advocate Allen Day. “Google Cloud is an enterprise validator of the blockchain – participating in the security and governance of the network – while Theta is staking tokens for that node.”
Google will become the protocol’s fifth external validator node. (Here’s the node producing blocks on the chain). Theta Labs is staking 5 million THETA tokens (worth about $2.4 million at a press-time price of $0.48 each) for Google on the network.
Theta rewards network participants for relaying video content to other users using their spare bandwidth and computing resources. The end result should be a “massive decentralized mesh network of relayers,” Liu said.
Google joins the likes of Binance, Blockchain Ventures and gumi Cryptos as external enterprise validators that propose and validate new blocks on the Theta blockchain. Eventually, Theta aims to have 31 external enterprise validators. Google Cloud is also becoming Theta’s preferred cloud provider with today’s announcement.
“I can’t speculate on what will happen in the future, but we’re looking forward to working with users who want to join the Theta network,” Day said. “Users can launch a Theta Guardian node from the GCP marketplace. With a few clicks, they can deploy a Guardian and be peering with the Theta network.”
Google will be Theta’s first European enterprise validator since the tech giant will be hosting the node at its office in Ireland, further geographically decentralizing the network. In February, Hedera Hashgraph announced that Google Cloud would run a node on the blockchain-like network and make hashgraph analytics available for users.
The hard fork will inflate Theta Fuel (TFUEL) – a second token that powers on-chain operations – by 5%, creating a bigger reward for stakers.
In addition, hundreds of Guardian nodes (available to the public) will act as an extra layer of consensus with the Mainnet 2.0 launch by finalizing blocks and checking for bad-actor validator nodes. Liu said he could see Google help Theta scale the number Guardian nodes on the network to the thousands or tens of thousands.
Theta also plans to further collaborate with Google’s artificial intelligence, machine-learning and big-data initiatives. Google also owns YouTube, a key target for Theta’s partnership aspirations.
“YouTube is particularly interesting because they utilize mostly internally-developed technology for video delivery and streaming, which makes experimentation a lot easier without having to rely on external platforms like Akamai or AWS,” Liu said.
UPDATE (May 29, 20:05 UTC): Added additional quotes from a Google Cloud executive, and a block explorer link to the validator node.