Theta Token and Blockchain were announced on Medium in November, 2017. The first Theta token sale started in January, 2018, as an ERC-20 token on Ethereum. Theta Network launched its own mainnet 1.0 in March, 2019.
With Mainnet 2.0 in May 2020, they introduced Guardian nodes, a two-layer consensus mechanism to complement its Enterprise validators run by partners including Google, Samsung, Binance, Blockchain.com, and Gumi.
With Mainnet 2.0, the capability of the Theta Edge Node network was enhanced with the release of Theta’s peer-to-peer “EdgeCast” technology. This fully decentralized technology stack adds the ability to capture live video, transcode it in real-time, cache and relay live stream video data to users globally. The project claims an edge network run by thousands of community members, without central servers or services.
In July 2021, Theta launched Mainnet 3.0. Adding a smart contract capability, the project hopes to significantly increase the engagement and retention of platform users. For example, leveraging smart contracts on the Theta network could enable fully digitized item ownership, innovative payment-consumption models, transparent royalty distributions, trustless crowdfunding mechanisms, etc. This provides an additional layer of social and economic interactivity that supplements the core functionality of video and data delivery.
Theta Network Proof of Stake Mechanism
The Theta Network is a Proof-of-Stake blockchain, which the Theta Labs team decided will best meet the transaction throughput, storage consumption, and fast consensus requirements of a video streaming platform. The Theta blockchain also introduces a multi-level Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT) mechanism which aims to provide the same network security as Bitcoin or Ethereum with much higher transactions per second validated.
Theta's multi-level BFT designs for a small set of nodes called a validator committee to produce a chain of blocks as fast as possible while the thousands of other network participants, called guardians, can check this chain's validity. Guardians are a superset of the validator committee. Valid blocks require two-thirds of Theta guardians to validate. Theta Tokens were initially distributed as ERC-20 compliant tokens on Ethereum but later were exchanged one-to-one for native Theta Network tokens. The Theta Network mainnet launched on March 15, 2019.
Theta P2P Network
With Mainnet 2, Theta released peer-to-peer “EdgeCast” technology. This decentralized technology stack adds the ability to capture live video, transcode it in real-time, cache and relay live stream video data to users globally. According to the project's vision, all this would happen without central servers, in other words decentralizing video distribution end-to-end.
Theta TV is the main materialization of Theta's vision of streaming video using a peer-to-peer network. Its brand tagline is "Esports Entertainment Platform". Content creators can earn Tfuel from viewer donations, a Tfuel pool paying out according to hours watched, viewer subscriptions. Content creators can also solicit donations from their viewers using credit cards, paid out in USD stablecoin to the creator's wallet. Viewership seems to be limited to below 1000 at any one time.
In June 2021, Theta introduced a new product, Thetadrop. It is a marketplace for NFTs minted on the Theta network, traded in USD or TFuel. Advertised NFT include 3D animations from community artists, World Poker Tour "Moments", Theta-themed collectibles, and the like.
Contrary to popular NFT platforms like OpenSea, the NFTs purchased don't end up in the user's own wallet, just an address associated with that wallet. (Project is still in beta).