AD: Before I begin this post, I’d like to briefly mention Bitcoin.Live, who are sponsoring my blog.
Bitcoin.Live offers regular, detailed content on their free-to-access blog, created by a panel of analysts (including Peter Brandt), and covering all manner of market-related topics. I found both the video material and the blog posts to be genuinely insightful, with many differing analytical perspectives available for viewers and readers. The platform also offers premium content for paying subscribers who find value in the free material, with daily videos, alerts and support provided. Check it out and bookmark the blog.
N.B: In the spirit of full transparency, the following Coin Report on BitTube is a Sponsored Post.
Welcome to the 18th Coin Report. In today’s report, I will be assessing the fundamental and technical strengths and weaknesses of BitTube. This will comprise of an analysis of a number of significant metrics, an evaluation of the project’s community and development and an overview of its price-history. The report will conclude with a grading out of 10. I hope you enjoy the read!
BitTube has been a project on my radar for a long while now, as I found their initial premise both compelling and of great purpose. Given the congestion in my current schedule and the fact that these reports take up to 20 hours to produce, I simply could not find the time to do a deep-dive; that is, until BitTube booked in this Sponsored Post spot. As such, I was very much excited to get cracking and wade into the vast pool of research I knew I’d have to become familiar with – I did not quite anticipate just how much research I’d need to do, and there is likely stuff that I have still missed.
That said, I do believe this report will be comprehensive and provide some insight for those with even a modicum of interest in BitTube. In fact, one of the primary reasons I was interested in doing the research required was to inform myself of whether or not the project is worth investing in, given my aversion to highly inflationary coins (which is the surface-level familiarity I had with the project prior to this report).
I hope the report will prove objective where it must be and fair on more subjective matters. For those who’d like to learn a little more about BitTube prior to reading on, here are some primary links:
Algorithm: CryptoNight Saber (Proof-of-Work/Proof-of-Verification)
Sector: Decentralised Monetization Solutions
Exchanges: Bittrex, Upbit, TradeOgre & Livecoin
BitTube (TUBE) was launched in January 2018, initially branded Interplanetary Broadcast Coin (IPBC), before rebranding shortly after. TUBE operates on the CryptoNight algorithm, but forked to its own variation (CryptoNight Saber) to remain ASIC-resistant. The coin utilises a dual Proof-of-Work/Proof-of-Verification consensus mechanism, where Proof-of-Verification relates to its AirTime facility, which verifies time spent engaging with a given content creator/publisher and rewards viewers and publishers based on that time. There was no premine or ICO, and TUBE utilises a progressively diminishing block reward.
Having only been in existence for a little over a year, there is little price-history for TUBE. That said, it has experienced numerous mini-cycles, all of which we shall analyse in the Technical section. For now, it will suffice to say that TUBE formed its all-time high against BTC at ~6100 satoshis in June 2018, and its all-time high against the Dollar at $0.44 on the same day. It has since lost around 90% of its value against the Dollar, but appears to be beginning a new cycle.
Whilst the project began with a relatively simple concept of providing a peer-to-peer content sharing and streaming platform that was censorship-resistant (to combat the current problems apparent on YouTube), it has since developed with a much broader scope and vision for the future.
As stated in their early whitepaper:
“BitTube is building a worldwide innovative platform, in which performance and reward for copyright are brought to a new level of fair use. In the future, this reward will no longer depend on your living area, advertising companies, data service providers or arbitrary decisions. With BitTube, the owner of the content or the owner of copyright will receive their payment from all over the world, based on how often their content is accessed.”
I am intrigued to see how BitTube is faring with regards to those goals only 15 months on from launch.
Let’s begin our evaluation with some Metric Analysis:
Below are listed a number of important metrics, all of which are accurate as of 8th April 2019. For anyone reading this who has yet to read a Coin Report, it might be worth reading this section of the first report, where any potentially unfamiliar terms are explained. For any terms or metrics specific to this post, I will provide explanations besides the figures.
Price: $0.05 (944 satoshis)
Exchange Volume: $151,118
Circulating Supply: 151,015,095 TUBE
Total Supply: 151,015,095 TUBE
Maximum Supply: 1,000,000,000 TUBE
% of Max. Supply Minted: 15.1%
Network Value: $7.48mn (1425.88 BTC)
Network Value at Max. Supply: $49.531mn
Exchange Volume-to-Network Value: 2.02%
Average Price (30-Day): $0.04
Average Exchange Volume (30-Day): $397,221
Average Network Value (30-Day): $5.325mn
Average Exchange Volume (30-Day)-to-Network Value: 7.46%
Volatility* (30-Day): -0.2101
Average Daily On-Chain Transactions (30-Day): N/A
Average Daily Transactional Value (30-Day): N/A
NVT (30-Day): N/A
% Price Change USD (30-Day): 110.57%
% Price Change USD (1-Year): -68%
USD All-Time High: $0.44
% From USD All-Time High: -89.1%
Premine % of Max. Supply: 0%
Premine Location: N/A
Liquidity (calculated as the sum of BTC in the buy-side with 10% of current price across all exchanges): 5.97 BTC
Liquidity-to-Network Value %: 0.42%
Supply Available on Exchanges: 6.73mn TUBE
% of Circulating Supply Available on Exchanges: 4.46%
*Volatility is calculated by taking the average price over the given time-period, calculating the difference between it and the highest price and it and the lowest price over that same time-period, and multiplying those figures together. The closer to 0, the less volatility during that period, and vice-versa. Read this for more on volatility.
Supply Emission & Inflation:
Block Reward Schedule: Current block reward = ~405 TUBE. Progressively diminishing rewards with each block. Average reward per block for the next 365 days = ~375 TUBE. 45% of block reward distributed via AirTime to publishers and viewers with a 75/25 split.
Average Block Time: 2 minutes
Current Block Height: 310,828
Annual Supply Emission: ~98,550,000 TUBE (930.31 BTC at current prices)
Annual Inflation Rate: 65.26%
Circulating Supply in 365 Days: ~249,565,095 TUBE
Given the integrated privacy of CryptoNote-based coins, Distribution analysis is impossible. Further, BitTube does not have a masternode network, and so the pile of metrics is somewhat lessened for this report. That said, there is plenty to get stuck into, especially given the unique case of AirTime, which I shall discuss at the end of this section, in conjunction with Supply Emission & Inflation.
First, however, let’s run through the General metrics:
To begin with, I’d like to discuss the metrics related to buy-side and sell-side Liquidity. I calculated that BitTube had 5.97 BTC of buy support within 10% of current prices, equating to 0.42% of its Network Value. This is the fourth-highest Liquidity of all coins previously reported on, behind only CloakCoin, Altbet and Stakenet. This is quite promising, but how about its sell-side liquidity?
Well, I calculated that, across all listed exchanges, there was around 6.73mn TUBE available in the orderbooks, equating to 4.46% of the circulating supply. This is actually the third-highest percentage of the circulating supply available on exchanges for all coins from prior reports. Thus, it seems that though there is relatively high demand at current prices, there is a clear disincentive to hold, too. Perhaps this shall be explained when we get onto emission…
Next, let’s take a look at Volatility:
TUBE had 30-day Volatility of -0.2101; the highest degree of volatility found in coins from previous reports – twice that of the second-highest, MonetaryUnit. Now, it must be mentioned that these volatility figures are calculated using the $ price of the coin, as this is the form in which historical data is presented on Coinmarketcap and CoinPaprika. As such, the recent extreme volatility of Bitcoin will have played a large part in the extremity of this figure, thus perhaps it is better to wait until we analyse the chart before making any comments on this. However, I will say that I don’t like to enter positions during times of high volatility; low volatility is the optimum environment for accumulation, which is when smart money buys.
There are a couple more individual metrics I’d like to highlight before moving onto those related to volume:
Firstly, it is interesting to see that price has increased over 100% over the past month in Dollar-terms; something that would also put me off entering a position. However, when we look at price from all-time highs, BitTube is still almost 90% off them. This will be something I unpack in more depth in the Technical section, but it’s worth keeping in mind that, despite recent price movements, BitTube may still be relatively cheap.
Secondly, whilst there was no premine, as is mentioned amongst the metrics, BitTube do have a development fund that is taken from each block reward. I’ll dig into this when we get to supply emission…
Now, let’s have a look at the volume-related metrics:
BitTube traded $151,118 of Exchange Volume over the past 24 hours, equating to 2.02% of its Network Value. Pretty impressive, right? Not nearly as impressive as its Average EVNV, which comes out at 7.46%, based on an average of ~$397k of daily volume traded for the past 30 days, with an Average Network Value for that period of $5.325mn. This is the highest figure for any coin of the previous 17 Coin Reports, beating out NKN, which had Average EVNV of 6.71%. What this tells me is that there is significant and sustained interest in BitTube at present.
Now, what about supply emission? This is the sore point for many with regards to BitTube, but how does it really play out?
Well, TUBE’s block reward time of 2 minutes means that 720 new blocks are minted daily. Looking at the block reward curve provided earlier, we can estimate the average block reward for the next year to be roughly 375 TUBE per block, giving an annual supply emission of about 98.55mn TUBE. This equates to 930.31 BTC at current prices, or $4.881mn, giving BitTube an annual inflation rate of 65.26%; the fourth-highest of any coin previously reported on.
Whilst this paints a rather bleak picture with regards to headwinds for price growth, it isn’t necessarily the annual supply emission that is the be-all, end-all, but whether BitTube is trading enough volume to sustain current prices despite emission.
To determine this, we must look at the relationship between Exchange Volume and Supply Emission:
Given an annual supply emission of 98.55mn TUBE, we can work out that the average daily supply emission will be 270,000 TUBE, or $13,373-worth at current prices. This doesn’t seem so devastating, especially when you put it into the context of TUBE’s Exchange Volume of $151k, and even less so relative to its Average Exchange Volume of $397k, which cover the average daily supply emission by 11.3x and 29.7x, respectively. Thus, there is plenty of sustained trading volume for current prices to be maintained and to soak up daily supply emission. Further, BitTube’s Liquidity of 5.97 BTC is 2.34x greater than the average daily supply emission.
In short, decreasing prices in BitTube are likely not a symptom of inflation, but rather selling from current holders, be it weak hands or smart money distribution. Now, since there is no rich-list and CryptoNote coins have integrated privacy, there is no real way to tell the difference, except to analyse volume on the chart, which we shall do a little later…
Finally, to conclude this lengthy section, let’s talk a little about AirTime.
AirTime is BitTube’s novel feature that allows content creators and viewers on their platform (and beyond) to be paid for time accrued. This is facilitated by Proof-of-Verification, and the rewards are distributed from the overall block reward. 40% of the block reward goes to miners, who continue to maintain the network, but, as of January, 45% (up from 30%) of the block rewards now go to AirTime. The split is 75/25 between content creators (or publishers) and viewers.
What does this mean for rewards distribution and earning power?
Using the 45% distribution and the average block reward of 375 TUBE for the next year, we find that there is 33.26mn TUBE available for publishers and 11mn TUBE available for viewers, equating to $1.66mn and $550k at current prices, respectively. That’s over $2mn of rewards available for simply engaging with content or having your content engaged with. As someone who utilises a blog to distribute material, this is an alluring concept…
And that concludes this section on metrics, onto the BitTube Community:
There are two primary aspects of community analysis: social media presence and Bitcointalk threads. I’ll begin with the former before moving on to the latter.
Concerning social media presence, there are four main platforms to examine: Twitter, Facebook, Telegram and Discord.
BitTube is present on all platforms. To begin, let’s look at the various social metrics that I calculated from the BitTube Twitter and Facebook accounts:
Twitter Followers: 10,838
Average Twitter Engagement: 0.75%
Facebook Likes: 799
Facebook Posts (30-Day): 45
Average Facebook Engagement: 2.44%
As usual, I will be using RivalIQ‘s social benchmark report for evaluation purposes.
As is expressed in this benchmark report, the average engagement rate on Twitter across all industries is 0.046%; BitTube has an engagement rate that is 16.3x greater. Further, the average engagement rate for the Media industry (the most similar industry in the report) is 0.013%; BitTube’s is 57.7x greater. This is despite BitTube’s fairly large following of almost 11,000, which is the third-largest of all coins previously reported on. However, whilst impressive relative to global benchmarks, BitTube’s Twitter engagement isn’t as impressive against other cryptocurrencies: in fact, it is slap bang in the middle of the pack relative to coins from previous reports.
Concerning Facebook, it is great to see that BitTube do not neglect their page, despite having only a fraction of the following that their Twitter account has. In fact, the team posted 45 times over the past month, showing a commitment to engaging with all platforms in equal measure. More impressively, the engagement rate is 2.44%, which is 15.3x the cross-industry average of 0.16%, and 30.5x the Media industry average of 0.08%. It is also the third-highest engagement rate on Facebook of all coins previously reported on. Good stuff.
The BitTube Discord group contains 4264 members; a moderately-sized group.
As is the norm for Discord, there are channels dedicated to all possible relevant (and irrelevant) topics.
Announcements is updated once or twice a week, with progress updates, Medium posts and other useful information. In the past month, there have been announcements on the launch of the AirTime extension on Firefox; the removal of the adult content section of the BitTube platform (voted for by users); significantly, the issuance of a banking license and exchange license for BitTube, allowing for direct exchanges between TUBE, other cryptocurrencies and fiat within the AirTime extension & in time for the debit card release that is upcoming; an update to the Firefox extension; and the AirTime module, which allows publishers to register their domains to receive AirTime rewards from guests and not just visitors that already have the extension installed – a huge step for value generation to the end-user.
Tweets contains all BitTube-related tweets, ensuring the community remain informed, and Dev Updates is yet to be used.
General, being the most used channel, has constant discussion, near enough 24/7. I actually struggled to evaluate this channel, as a stream of messages continued to come through as I attempted to read back and scroll through… no bad thing, mind. There is clearly a strong, engaged community with a genuine interest in the project’s development and growth. Discussion covers all manner of topics, including: AirTime in practice (currently around $0.60 per 1000 views on a 4 and a half minute video for creators); crowd conviction in the product and its advantages over YouTube; YouTubers leaving due to their censorship; the upcoming debit card; the new option for buying TUBE with a credit card directly within the browser extension; price; AirShare, which will allow for peer-to-peer file sharing; and more general conversation.
Support sees community questions and issues answered and resolved promptly; Suggestions has some activity, in which the community do put forth some ideas for the project’s general direction and development (such as a referral link for AirTime traffic); and Community Treasury allows for discussion on what to use the funds distributed from the block reward on.
That pretty much concludes all of the primary aspects of the Discord. Overall, promising stuff. Most significant is the palpable community interest.
There are 11900 members of BitTube Telegram.
The pinned message links to a Telegram channel for BitTube TV – a one-stop hub for all BitTube-related content.
Despite the size of the group, I actually found that it was more inactive than the Discord, with a handful of daily messages but certainly 24/7 discussion. It was great to see Saber (the CEO) active here, however, answering community questions and generally getting involved. A lot of the discussion that does take place reflects that found in the Discord, with much of it centring on the economics of AirTime; some users are dissatisfied with their TUBE payouts, but this is naturally a symptom of low traffic and low viewing time.
Generally, the group is constructive with regards to the development of the project, but I was surprised at the low level of activity. After all, it is almost 3 times the size of the Discord.
The BitTube BitcoinTalk thread was created on January 31st, 2018, and has since generated 1848 posts spanning 93 pages in 428 days. This equates to 4.37 post per day, on average. However, in the past 90 days, the thread has had 70 posts via 32 individual posters, giving an average of 0.78 posts per day; a significant decline in engagement.
PR material, such as development updates and blog posts, are pushed out here, but much of the recent discussion centres around price. That said, there was some interesting debate on the implications of uploading graphic or inappropriate content, and whether that should be censored… I’ll leave you to make up your minds on that question.
And that concludes this section on the BitTube Community.
For the following Development analysis, I will be evaluating project leadership, the website, the roadmap, the whitepaper, the wallets and finally providing a general overview:
There is no information on the website with regards to the team. However, there are 203 Github contributors, and 20+ employees can be found on LinkedIn.
I did find information on the founders here, but, whilst I am aware of the team’s general transparency, I find it an oversight to not include this information on the website.
Anyway, the CEO (Saber Maram), the CMO and the CFO have cumulative experience of around half a century within technology and marketing, so there is clear strength and balance to be found here. It would make sense to leverage this and emphasise it in the places that new users are most likely to be gained.
The website is clean, well-designed and somewhat well-branded, though it could have a stronger identity by utilising its branding a little more. The copy, however, is not as engaging as I expected it to be, with much of it written in list form but presented in paragraphs, so each sentence is somewhat unrelated to the previous – this can work if the copy is presented differently, but much of it doesn’t flow particularly well. That said, it is concise and informative. Also, the AirTime sub-section does not have this issue, featuring engaging, detailed copy and a Find Out More tab to further inform visitors.
The benefits for end-users and advantages of the platform, however, are very clear and well emphasised on the site, with each sub-section featuring relevant links, useful information and accessible visuals. Further, the site makes the process of onboarding new users seamless by placing the Download Extension button front-and-centre, as well as the option to refer friends.
Wallets are clearly linked, but social channels are hidden away in the footer. There is a glossary at the bottom of the homepage, which is very useful for newer, less familiar users. Further, live support is available. There is also a WooCommerce plugin that is visible to encourage merchant adoption.
In general, the UI/UX is appealing and easy-to-navigate but could be refined – for example, the punctuation at the top of the homepage is inconsistent.
There is also a Knowledge Base full of answers to relevant questions, though it is also hidden away in the footer. The native blog is not even visible, and neither is the Medium blog, despite the fact that both exist and are regularly updated – why is there no clearly accessible link to these?
Overall, the site does what it should to encourage user growth but is in need of a little refinement.
Whilst there is no native nor extensive roadmap to be found on the website (or elsewhere), there is a short-term roadmap that can be found via the link above.
In it, users discover that AirTime’s launch within the browser extension occurred in Q1, followed by support for major browsers and a hard fork to change the reward distribution. Q1 was the anticipated period for migration to the new Bittube platform, but this is yet to take place.
In Q2, said migration will occur, followed by platform upgrades to introduce staking and lending of TUBE, a system to determine account reputation and peer-to-peer rewards. There is also an expectation that mobile support for the new platform will become available.
Overall, this is a little disappointing with regards to presentation and lack of detail, but BitTube’s direction is clear.
Beyond this short-term roadmap for Q1 & Q2 2019, there is also one that depicts the history of the project, which I have printed below:
The whitepaper linked above is not to be found anywhere except directly through Proof of Review. I had to search “BitTube Whitepaper” in order to find a link to it, which is bizarre.
Regardless, the document is a 14-page presentation that highlights the main advantages of BitTube; the general purpose of the project; the function of TUBE; and it contains important information on reward distributions and possible future premium features to be integrated to the platform. These include:
- Transactional Video On Demand – paying for premium content with TUBE.
- Subscription Services – TUBE is charged on a time basis for certain channels.
- Viewer retention and optimisation – publishers will pay TUBE to have their content auto-played to viewers following the conclusion of a video.
- Promotion – publishers pay to advertise their content
- Music videos and original content – expected this year, and will involve BitTube getting licences for premium and popular content, as well as producing their own.
Overall, the document is outdated with regards to timelines and certain specific details and updates (which is perhaps why it is not linked anywhere). That said, I found it to be highly informative concerning the use-cases it is developing.
The primary means of storing TUBE is the browser extension, but there is also a desktop wallet for all operating systems, an integrated wallet on the platform, as well as an iOS and Android wallet.
Whilst I feel that I have covered quite a lot already, there is much on the development of BitTube that perhaps doesn’t fit into any one of the above sub-sections and/or that I’d like to discuss at length here, in conclusion of my fundamental analysis. As such, below, I have provided some brief discussion on recent topics of interest related to the project, separated by their central focus.
The OTC Deal:
Firstly, let’s talk about the recent debacle on Bittrex that led to TUBE dumping to around 100 satoshis. I listened to this H4SH48 podcast with Saber that cleared things up. It turned out that an escrow service cheated both parties that were entering into a large OTC deal; one of between 6-10mn TUBE in size. This led to between 35-50 BTC-worth of TUBE being dumped before trading was halted, but the attack was mitigated by the team co-operating with Bittrex and the funds were frozen. Price is now back up above 900 satoshis, and the whole incident seemed to be very well handled by BitTube.
There is quite a lot that seems to be going on at the moment with BitTube, so I took to their Medium blog to summarise recent and upcoming developments:
- The company was granted their banking and exchange licences ahead of their debit card release.
- The Airtime extension also now allows for TUBE conversion to any currency direct to your bank account. This is huge for TUBE’s value proposition, as it streamlines the process for creators getting paid without the necessity to use exchanges. Seamlessness is key to adoption, and publishers no longer need a familiarity with crypto to benefit from it.
- A recent fork meant that AirTime rewards increased from 30% of the block reward to 45%, generating more revenue for publishers and viewers. This fork also implemented a 10% development fund from the block reward, up from 3% prior to the fork. This means that BitTube now has just shy of $500k annually at current prices to sustain development, meet the goals of their roadmap and improve their marketing campaign.
- The AirTime extension had a VPN integrated, which is effectively free to use, as it is subsidised by your AirTime. The extension itself, I found, is currently a little bit buggy, however; Twitter doesn’t seem to enjoy it, for example, and often freezes with it active.
- The AirTime module release allows publishers to generate income from guests without the need for them to have installed the extension – you register your domain and it tracks traffic and pays in TUBE.
- Moving forward, the implementation of staking and lending functionality will increase revenue streams.
- The primary goal of this quarter is to launch the new social video platform, which will be far more feature-rich, with cleaner UI/UX, and that will provide cohesion of the BitTube ecosystem and, most importantly, showcase the benefits of AirTime.
How BitTube Works:
So, given how much I’ve covered thus far, it may be useful to break down what exactly the project is attempting to do and how it works.
BitTube was originally seeking to be a decentralised alternative to YouTube but has since developed far beyond this, with its primary purpose to provide decentralised monetization solutions for all kinds of content; in doing so, also providing censorship resistance for publishers. AirTime allows publishers to get paid for simply creating (via Proof-of-Verification) rather than for having large audiences that ads are later fed to. The current content platform works using the IPFS (Interplanetary File System) protocol, which stores content peer-to-peer and removes the control of centralized storage systems. The platform is native to the web, using browser extensions to facilitate monetization of content. Further, monetization is also integrated for viewers, allowing viewers to be paid for time spent… well, viewing. This opens up the possibility for individuals of low-income backgrounds to supplement their incomes with their leisure time.
And that concludes my fundamental analysis of BitTube. Let’s take a look at the chart:
The BitTube chart is very messy, and that is often the case with coins that have high levels of supply emission early on in their existence. That said, there are clear levels of historical significance here, and multiple mini market cycles have played out over time.
After TUBE set its all-time high above 6k satoshis in June 2018, it followed suit with the rest of the market and bled out, dumping down to just below 500 satoshis in August. Price rallied over 3x from this low, all the way into prior support turned resistance at 1700 satoshis, forming a double top here and dumping back down to 500 satoshis in March 2019. We then saw price explode up and reclaim support around 8oo satoshis, also closing above the 200-day moving average. Prices peaked out again below 1700 satoshis, setting that level up as significant historical resistance, dropping off to where they now sit – the December 2018 range.
Volume had been low for most of winter in 2018, with the only real significant volume coming during the breakout in March 2019. I’d like to see the 800-satoshi support hold firm, and see a decent swing-trade opportunity for entries around 900 satoshis, with a soft stop-loss on a Daily close below 700 satoshis and a target of 1500 satoshis, offering 3:1 reward-to-risk.
This report is now over 5,000 words, and it is time to draw it to a close.
My final grading for BitTube is 8 out of 10.
Here, you can find my grading framework, for reference.
Lastly, here is a link to a Google Sheets file with any significant data from previous reports compiled for cross-comparative purposes. I will keep this updated as I continue to write these reports.
I hope this report has proved insightful and that you’ve enjoyed the read! Please do feel free to leave any questions in the Comments, and I’ll answer them as best I can.
AD: I’d like to conclude this blog post by thanking one of the sponsors of the blog: Nexo.
Nexo is the foremost crypto-backed loans platform, allowing you to get cash without selling your crypto. Nexo delivers you cash or stablecoins via 45+ different currencies direct to your wallet or bank account.
The platform has already processed over $300m, with all client funds secured by BitGo and insured by Lloyds London. Nexo also offers interest on stablecoin deposits of 6.5%, with full withdrawal flexibility; providing a consistent revenue stream for your unused crypto.
If you’ve enjoyed this post and want to receive new posts straight to your inbox, I’ve set up a RSS-to-Email feed that will be sent out weekly; every Monday, 12pm. Just submit your email and I’ll make sure you’re included in the list. Cheers.