Created in July 2020, video platform Odysee has grown its user base since its launch in December 2020. The YouTube-like platform hosts video content on the LBRY network. Unlike YouTube there are no moderators, and no safety filters for younger viewers – and the content remains on the blockchain permanently.
Odysee is built on blockchain technology and ensures that its creators' channels can never be deleted. When a channel is created, it is recorded permanently in a distributed ledger on the blockchain.
While this seems like a great idea, it could have far-reaching consequences for some content creators years down the line – especially as attitudes change over time. Content creators might be saddled with stupid content that they very much regret as they get older.
Placing video content on the blockchain means that no one entity controls or can change it, making de-platforming impossible no matter how extreme, violent, or untrue the content might be.
Odysee is built using the LBRY protocol which developers use to build apps to interact with content on the LBRY network. The platform's predecessor LBRY.TV has now been retired in favour of Odysee.
When users upload a video, they deposit a minimum amount of LBC (LBRY Credits) starting from 0.01. 0.01 LBC is less than a cent.
Content creators can set an LBC price to watch the video if they choose. Fans of the video can also tip the content creator if they like the video. Each video shows indicate how many credits they have earned for the creator.
The deposit to upload ensures that the content is registered on the LBRY blockchain and will become discoverable by other users.
Users need to have an Odysee wallet associated with their account, which is viewable once they are logged in. They can also use third-party cryptocurrency wallets to store their cash.
Earnings vary for content influencers. Odysee says that the amount typical influencers make varies, and creators "earn $100 per month all the way up to $5,000 per month" for their uploads.
Users can upload any video they want – which could lead to discussions about what should and should not be allowed and regulated – especially as international conversation around social media regulation is growing.
There are concerns that far-right, or extremist content will find it has a permanent home on platforms such as Odysee, with little moderation or takedown.
Guideline number 4 says "It's the internet, we get it; try not to be overtly abusive and nasty toward other users. This extends to continuously harassing other users, encouraging the slander and defamation of other users, and threatening or bullying others in videos."
Does this mean that users can occasionally harass other users? The guidelines seem to encourage people to step over the line.
Using blockchain gives users and creators more control over their content. Just like in a bar, users still have to adhere to some terms and conditions such as not inciting violence. They are otherwise are free to post and engage as they would in a public setting.
Users can issue a command to delist their own content. Odysee itself retains the right to delist extremist or troublesome users. However, the content is not delisted from the LBRY network, but just from Odysee.
There is certainly a lot of interesting content on the platform – as well as the usual conspiracy theories and parody accounts.
Top accounts have hundreds of thousands of support credits, whereas other, less compelling, and downright dumb videos, have earned nothing. Will it become a refuge for extremists and nutjobs? Time will tell.
But for content creators, who want to earn LBC right now, and ultimately convert it into cash from their efforts – without a third party dictating how much they can earn – Odysee could be the platform for them.