CRYPTO MOVERS AND PRICES
Crypto was selling off this morning, with THETA being the exception in the Top 10. Spot volumes are on par with the 30-day average on the move.
Crypto Story of the Day
Since the beginning of the year, THETA coin, native to the Theta Network, has seen its market cap grow from USD 1.9 billion to 10.4 billion, reaching an all-time high overnight. THETA has now entered the Top 10 cryptocurrencies by market cap and becomes a new competitor in the smart contract network subsector of crypto.
The THETA token was launched via a 2018 ICO conducted by California-based Theta Labs. The sale, from which U.S. and Chinese residents were barred, raised USD 20 million.
Theta Network describes itself as a “video delivery network powered by blockchain technology.” The network’s users “opt-in to volunteering their spare bandwidth and computing resources to relay video to other users and earn token rewards for their contributions.”
The Theta Network launched the initial version of its Ethereum Virtual Machine compatible mainnet March 2019. This compatibility makes it easier for ETH-based applications to redeploy to the network, among other things.
The network relies on a consensus mechanism that employees “20-30 Enterprise Validator Nodes”— entities that will be responsible for processing transactions on the network— and “Guardian Nodes,” which serve as a check on Validator Nodes.
According to the firm, “[a]s of December 2020, Enterprise Validator Nodes on Theta are run by Google, Blockchain Ventures, Samsung, Binance, gumi Cryptos, and Theta Labs.” In addition, Theta Edge Nodes serve to relay video streams while users who wish to stream their own videos can do so via these nodes in a peer-to-peer fashion.
The Theta Network relies on a “dual token design” which includes THETA and Theta Fuel (TFUEL). THETA is used for staking by Guardian and Validator nodes. In return for staking and performing associated activities, node operators receive TFUEL, described as the “operational token” of the protocol and is used in activities such as paying Edge Node or interacting with smart contracts. TFUEL has seen similar performance to THETA, with its market cap growing from 176 million to 2.1 billion since the beginning of the year.
The network’s 3.0 mainnet is scheduled to launch in 29 days and will introduce new network features such as TFUEL burns. In a whitepaper of the 3.0 mainnet, the Theta network is described as being able to go beyond “data delivery” by giving Edge Node operators broader tasks, such as “finding novel protein structures to help fight COVID-19.”
In its previous significant technical upgrade, smart contract capabilities were introduced to the network in Q4 2020.
THETA's move into the Top 10 cryptocurrencies by market cap makes it the 5th network with smart contract capabilities in that group. This coincides with elevated recent Google search volume for the term “smart contract.” While the network was originally billed as a network for decentralized video streaming, its 3.0 whitepaper introduces a greater focus on smart contract capacities, describing its Edge Nodes as possibly acting “as a generic computational platform which can host various software.”
As such, THETA has likely found buoyancy in broader demand for smart contract platforms that promise sophisticated capacities.