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Powerful entertainment industry execs back blockchain-based entertainment marketplace BitMovio

Tony Zerucha

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BitMovio today announced the close of a $600,000 pre-seed round of equity funding with participation from Silicon Valley-based IMO Ventures, Basis Set Ventures, BlockCentury, NorthBay Solutions, the Play Labs Fund, and Seraph Investments.

With a hybrid blockchain architecture and support of both fiat currency and crypto tokens, BitMovio creates a transparent marketplace enabling independent film producers and professional streamers to have complete control of their content distribution, flexible and instant monetization, and engaging audience interaction. The marketplace will initially focus on gaming, events, sci-fi, fantasy, horror and thriller-themed content for millennials and Gen Z audiences.

BitMovio was co-founded in early 2018 by Simon Zhu and Riz Virk during the MIT Play Labs summer accelerator program. Its advisory board includes technology and entertainment industry leaders: Bill Guttentag, two-time Oscar winner and lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business; Namrata Ganatra, senior director of engineering payments at Coinbase; Jerry Kowal, former head of content strategy at Amazon Video & Netflix; and Sheau Ng, former head of technology, R&D and IP at NBC Universal.

Mr. Zhu was previously the executive director at Vobile, an Emmy Award-winning technology company serving many Hollywood Studios. 

“We’re focusing on the intersection and power imbalance between today’s content distributors and the millions of content creators and consumers around the world,” Mr. Zhu explained. “Our vision is to transform the power concentration and inefficiency within the video entertainment industry. We recognized early on that the existing video entertainment distribution approach hasn’t offered content creators the flexibility and freedom to create, publish and monetize their content in the market, nor has it provided consumers with the best means to directly support their creators and be involved in content creation process.”

In addition to running MIT’s Play Labs accelerator, Mr. Virk is a founding member of Theta Labs, a leading cryptocurrency-based blockchain for decentralized video.

“We believe that blockchain technology has the ability to fundamentally change the video entertainment industry by breaking this pseudo monopoly, among gated-providers such as Netflix and Amazon, and replacing the model with a decentralized community-run marketplace especially for independent film producers and professional streamers,” he said.

BitMovio provides a decentralized video streaming marketplace leveraging blockchain’s built-in incentives for peer-to-peer bandwidth sharing that drastically reduces streaming costs and enhances the viewer experience at the edge of the network. The marketplace also offers smart contracts simplifying the supply chain of content rights management and distribution with built-in consensus mechanisms enabling autonomous execution of agreements for content creators. Its distributed ledger technology enables instant and transparent reporting and royalty payout, giving each participant equal opportunity in the value chain. In its initial release, BitMovio will support Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Theta tokens.

The marketplace creates a community connecting forward-thinking content creators with passionate consumers for storytelling and engagement, without editorial censorship from distributors. BitMovio enables fundamentally new ways for content creators to engage and monetize audiences, and involve audiences in the creative process. As BitMovio’s platform progresses in development, it offers creators numerous ways to monetize content, such as through gifting, transactions, subscriptions, advertising, and crowdfunding.

“There’s no question that the platform that will ultimately disrupt centralized market-leading OTT services, such as Netflix and YouTube, will be built upon blockchain,” Mr. Kowal predicted. “BitMovio is trailblazing an exciting path forward toward creating a decentralized content community meant for everyone.”

Tony Zerucha

Tony Zerucha is an alternative finance journalist with more than seven years experience in the space. The author of more than 1,000 articles, Tony was named LendIt's 2018 Journalist of the Year.

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