We ask developers in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space for their thoughts on the industry…and throw in some random zingers to keep them on their toes!
This week, Our 6 questions go to Mitch Liu, co-founder and CEO of Theta Labs – a decentralized user-powered video streaming platform built on a new blockchain.
Theta Labs is the organization behind Theta Network – a fast, green blockchain built from the ground up for media and entertainment. In 2019, Mitch launched Theta.tv, a decentralized live streaming platform that leverages tokenized bandwidth sharing to make video content delivery faster and cheaper than mainstream alternatives. Recently, Mitch and his team launched ThetaDrop, an NFT marketplace powered by Theta Network.
Mitch has been a technology investor and entrepreneur since 2007. He received a BS in Computer Science Engineering from MIT, conducted research in the MIT Media Lab’s Interactive Cinema group, and received an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business.
1 — What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in our industry so far?
I think to convince stakeholders in legacy industries that blockchain and web3 technologies have a place in the future of their industry. Understandably, it wasn’t that difficult for the technicians – new technologies and new ideas are their daily bread, so to speak. But you’d be surprised how even people in these rooms can be married to an older way of doing things. It’s hard to completely reinvent your industry. I don’t blame anyone for that.
In the areas of media and entertainment, it was a bit more difficult. The transition from television, radio and web1 to social media and web2 seemed fairly intuitive. We are moving from a one-way type of media to a shared, more collaborative model. Web3 and distributed ledger technology are the same, but supercharged and a little harder to understand. But we are seeing a shift in attitudes among media companies. Once people see how, for example, sharing computer power and bandwidth to reduce the cost and energy consumption of video streaming works, the concept makes sense pretty quickly. One day Web3 will seem as intuitive as the TV. I really think so.
2 — What does decentralization mean to you and why is it important?
To me, decentralization means taking back control and sharing power with the people and the wider community. For the past few decades, we have slept into an internet – even a society – that has placed far too much power in the hands of too few people and organizations. Tech giants like Facebook (or Meta) are starting to realize that, and they’re now trying to innovate and change their narrative to convince users they’re still valued.
3 — When you tell people you are in the blockchain industry, how do they react?
I am lucky. Most of my contemporaries are familiar with my work and respond very well to our work in the blockchain space. I also have a simpler answer that I can use if I want because Theta is in so many ways in the media and entertainment business and easier to understand. Blockchain is just the technology that allows us to add new value to the media industry and not necessarily replace the entire industry.
4 – Which two superpowers would you most like to have and how would you combine them for good…or evil?
I would have to choose one for practical reasons and one for fun. As much as I like to sleep, it can be so annoying when you have so many plans. I would like to be able to spend more time with theta. We have so many exciting projects in the works and instead of spending my nights with my head on the pillow it would be great to turn this into productive time – I wouldn’t have any distractions!
My second superpower would have to be the ability to fly. Sure, it has a handy transport element (is that cheating?), but it would also be the biggest adrenaline rush.
5 — If you didn’t need sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
I want to spend as much time as possible with my friends and family. Life is too short and it’s only after a hard week at your desk that you realize how little time there is for the beautiful things in life. Relaxing and unwinding with the people you love is one of life’s blessings and I would love to spend more time doing it.
6 — What should we teach our children?
Things are almost never as difficult as they first seem.
Unless you’ve been gifted with unnatural confidence, it’s always difficult to take on a new challenge. But I’ve lost sight of all the times in my life when a task seemed impossible but I ended up either doing better than expected or learning from the experience. And that has nothing to do with my natural talent for anything. As far as I can see this is universal. Try your best and it will be infinitely easier next time.
A wish to the young, up-and-coming blockchain community:
I want to wish them luck in this area…and tell them to keep innovating! They are what will lead us to global acceptance. We’ll get there… it’s just about when.
https://cointelegraph.com/magazine/2022/03/27/6-questions-for-mitch-liu-of-theta-labs 6 questions for Theta Labs’ Mitch Liu – Cointelegraph Magazine