As of April 30th, 2018, the Livepeer Protocol is launched on Ethereum's Mainnet. This significant milestone brings us into Livepeer's Snowmelt alpha. Over time the majority of token will be earned through doing work on the network as a delegator or transcoder. However, as a staking protocol where nodes need token in order to do work in the first place, there must be a starting point. The genesis state will specify the rules for generation of 10,000,000 initial LPT. This initial token will be generated and released to the crowd, team, early supporters, and community in a gradual rollout over the next 36 months. You can use LPT to either 1) delegate your towards a transcoding node who will perform video transcoding on your behalf, or 2) you can run a transcoding node yourself to perform work on the network.
Safety: The Livepeer project will NOT be asking you for ETH, BTC, USD, or any money. Livepeer is not selling anything at this point. If someone claiming to represent Livepeer asks you to send them any currency, please report this as fraud to email@example.com.
Eligibility: Any Ethereum account private key holder with greater than 0.1 ETH in their account on Ethereum block # 5,264,265 can generate token through the MerkleMine starting at network launch through the 500,000 block slow start period.
Timeframe: During the slow start period which will last through Ethereum block # 6034099 users can only generate their own token. After this period, users can generate token on other's behalf, and the amount that they generate for themselves will grow as more time passes.
Alternate ways to get LPT: Users who wish to participate but don’t meet the threshold can MerkleMine token following the 3 month slow start, or can participate in the community campaign to earn LPT by contributing to the network.
The mechanism that participants in the network will use to generate initial token is called a MerkleMine. The MerkleMine will have a 500,000 block (~3 month) slow start period, in which all Ethereum accounts with greater than 0.1 ETH as of block 5,264,265 will be eligible to generate their pro-rata portion of token. And then following the slow start period, all Ethereum accounts will be able to MerkleMine until all initial token has been generated.
As described in the above links, the MerkleMine is an open and technical algorithm, that anyone can follow to create their own proofs for token generation. However there are a couple of community tools available to ease this process. We will update this post as further tools emerge to support new methods. Here are three options:
Merkle Mine Dapp. Your eligible account is accessible through a web3 enabled browser like Metamask, Mist, Toshi, Status, Cipher, Parity, etc: Use this DApp to generate and submit your proof to the MerkleMine generate transaction through your browser. Scroll down to "1. Use the IPFS Gateway" and click the link. Having Trouble? Check this walkthrough.
Merkle Mine Command Line Scripts. You have a JSON Keystore file for your eligible account, and you would like to use the command line to generate your transaction: Use the MerkleMine command line script included in this github repository to generate and submit your proof to the MerkleMine generate transaction. This may be useful if you’d like to automate MerkleMining across many accounts. Having Trouble? Check this walkthrough first.
If you received an error message trying to generate token, it's possible that your address did not meet the eligibility requirements above. However, you can still earn Livepeer token and participate in the network.
After you have generated your token through the MerkleMine, you can either do work, or stake towards someone to do work for you:
The economic model of the Livepeer network incentivizes active participation, and the protocol will allocate token into the hands of active participants — keepers, developers, and node operators. While the MerkleMine will ensure open access to Livepeer across all users who end up wishing to attempt participation later. Over the past 18 months a number of project participants have contributed to Livepeer to get it to the point of launch — early team, founders, developers, pre-sale purchasers, and community contributors. As such, the token pool will be distributed as follows:
The estimated token generation over the next 36 months looks as follows:
Token distribution by month — note that the crowd portion may be generated through the MerkleMine any time between 3 and 18 months.
One important point to note from the above chart is that the ownership in the network will be decentralized and proportional from the get go, with open access to the Livepeer token for the community being baked in from day one. Core team and pre-sale participants will be vesting over time, such that no centralized parties ever control a majority of the distributed token used for staking within the Livepeer network.