Permacast Tackles Censorship, Gatekeepers and Landlords in the Web3 Creator Economy
If you are a regular on this site, you already know that our rebrand from arweave.news to permaweb.news represents the basis for a much broader evolution towards a different news platform, with all of Arweaves's (and subsequently Web3's) innate characteristics: permanence, decentralisation, censorship resistance, etc. Still, permaweb.news alone covers a rather narrow range content-wise: the written word.
What you may not know (because here we're mainly covering the broader ecosystem and rarely speaking about our own endeavours) is that permaweb.news is just one of two products created by permawebDAO. The other one is Permacast. With these two products, we're aiming to cover the full spectre of web-served content: written (permaweb.news), audio and video (Permacast).
The way we publish content has changed as much in the past two decades as it did since between cuneiform and the introduction of the Gutenberg press.
It's easier to reach an audience on the other side of the planet than ever. But it's introduced enough issues to make users lament the simpler times: censorship, privacy concerns, and debt-collecting behaviour from centralised platforms that prioritise profits over user experience.
After the web2 social bubble burst, solutions that allow users to regain control over their data and express themselves without limitations are on trend. Built on-chain with no "rent" to pay, Permacast offers users personal control and freedom Web2 cannot.
Call it our response to the growing user dissatisfaction with centralised content platforms. Our weapon of choice: an open-source, customisable, and censorship-resistant environment.
Drawing inspiration from the decentralised and uncompromising nature of blockchain, while retaining the familiarity and simplicity of Web2 platforms such as Spotify and Twitter, Permacast aims to strike a balance to accommodate Web2 entrants and crypto natives alike.
For many Web2 podcast and video hosting users, Permacast may be significantly lighter on the budget:
While this is hard for me, because I generally tend to digress, I will try to keep this article concise, explaining the key features of Permacast, contrasting them with real-world examples for context, and showing the advantages they offer over traditional, centralised platforms that suffer from censorship and act as landlord-gatekeeper hybrids between your content and its audience. Let’s dive deep into what Permacast has to offer!
Instant, gasless, and open to all
Built on the instantaneous and gasless Arweave Layer 2 solution called EXM (akin to Optimism), Permacast is what a decentralised Spotify / TikTok hybrid on steroids would look like.
Permacast enables free streaming of content for all users. In the industry of content hosting and serving, it is notorious for getting problematically expensive for the small players, but possible for Permacast because we're leveraging Arweave + Meson (and soon Livepeer transcoding).
Thanks to Arweave’s powerful gateways, not only do they let developers and businesses avoid the many pitfalls and scaling problems small players usually have to deal with, they also take on the costs of serving data (at least for the foreseeable future).
All-familiar look and feel
Permacast boasts a sleek (at least in my book), user-friendly UI reminiscent of Spotify, enabling seamless browsing and consumption of audio and video content. This design offers a familiar experience for long-time Spotify users, which includes the features you would normally expect, like the playback controls, personalised feeds, and a few extra surprises.
Empowering users with open-source access and censorship resistance
Permacast breaks free from the constraints of centralised control by taking a different approach than you'll find in Web2 counterparts by relying on three pillars:
Arweave’s permanent storage
EXM intermittent contract backups
Fully open-sourced codebase
By having these three properties, the tech stack becomes impossible to censor. Power users and developers seeking to improve upon the existing foundation can deploy their instances of Permacast, which in turn only decreases the attack vectors tremendously.
Extensible social identity editor
Permacast recently teamed up with the decent.land team to integrate their open-source social contract called PASoM (you can read more about it in this thread). Aside from providing a neat way to stand out from the crowd with nifty banners, users also get to have followership tied to a user’s Arweave identity.
Import RSS feeds, audio, and descriptions
We all know it’s a pain to migrate to a new platform. Why even consider migrating when it would take ages to re-upload all your content back to yet another platform and, moreover, pay for it?
We have an answer. If you have an RSS feed, it will completely download everything and upload it permanently to Arweave in one fell swoop. In the future, the function could be extended to YouTube and other streaming services alike.
As for the cost of upload, keep on reading this article: the upcoming upgrade will not only address this concern, but reward you for being a pioneer of our platform.
What’s next on the roadmap?
TDamn, I don't like at all the term of "roadmap", but alas, it's too entrenched in the industry to dodge it.
TL;DR: The efforts towards creating the new de-facto alternative for content streaming are accelerating!
Improved video Streaming and Livepeer integration
Video streaming will be enhanced via the integration of Livepeer, a decentralised video streaming infrastructure platform. Behind the scenes, Livepeer would transcode your videos into different formats and resolutions for different devices at all times, to deliver the best possible quality at reasonable prices.
Alongside this improvement, Livepeer will also enable us to build real-time streaming into Permacast! Imagine, hosting Twitter Spaces, or doing streams, all natively on the blockchain.
Token-gating and NFT minting
By far, the biggest improvement incoming to Permacast. It will help distinguish itself from existing solutions by enabling creators to monetise their content in even more ways!
What is token-gating?
In simple terms, token gating enables creators to supercharge their content by making it available only to the most loyal of fans. Think of it as Patreon tiers, but powered entirely by crypto. Instant, gasless, 0 fees for creators or users.
How would NFT minting work?
You will be able to mint NFTs the moment you upload the content to Permacast. Each file could be minted as many times as you wish, but remember: scarcity = value!
The NFT will be minted on Polygon and transferred to your EVM wallet. Minting is gasless, but any subsequent actions with the NFT will require some $MATIC to transfer or sell it on OpenSea.
EVM wallet support!
Currently, Permacast supports a well-established Arweave wallet called ArConnect. By enabling support for EVM chains, we’ll be able to simplify onboarding to newer users, and reduce the number of wallets newer users have to use.
However, that will not be an issue if you’re an Arweave maxi or an Ethereum maxi: the tech allows for interoperable interactions between both ecosystems to happen. The only feature that will require you to use an EVM-based wallet, is NFT minting.
$PWT launch and user rewards
At the end of the Permacast roadmap, the team intends to launch two cornerstone features that would give Permacast the official seal of approval: $PWT, and user incentives.
$PWT will become a built-in economic unit of its own in Permacast’s ecosystem. It will enable users and creators to transfer value in a single, native token. Going cross-chain would require users to manage their various token holdings with the expectation that they work as asset managers right off Wall Street. Not with $PWT, as it will give you a piece of mind to focus on what really matters: creating.
Alongside $PWT’s launch, the team intends to perform a test run for an upcoming PoRT (Proof of Real Traffic) protocol, a lightweight short-term mechanism to reward regular users for discovering new creators. Instead of old-fashioned, annoying ads, users would want to seek out the creators they like the most.
Permacast is poised to provide one of the strongest off-ramps to the dissatisfied communities, wronged by the mismanagement of overfunded, careless streaming services. We're committed to building the best possible decentralised alternative to the existing streaming services. By addressing the limitations and drawbacks of traditional centralised platforms, Permacast empowers users to take control of their online presence, connect with global audiences permissionlessly, and explore new monetisation opportunities.