In this episode, we speak with Doug Petkanics, co-founder and CEO of Livepeer. Livepeer is developing open source video infrastructure services on top of the Ethereum blockchain. For those interested in learning about how a project tackles the huge challenge of designing token economic systems to properly align incentives of different groups in a network, this episode is for you.

Doug describes what it was like in the early days when he and his co-founder were trying to prove to themselves that it was possible to solve this problem. He shares how they spent time developing unrelated projects on Ethereum to learn what it was like and to understand the limitations of the technology. We also delve into the lessons they learned around things like fundraising from their previous experiences as startup founders.

One of the most interesting topics we discussed was how they are using staking and slashing in their protocol. Overall, it was a fascinating discussion.


Show Notes

  • [0:31] Show intro
    [0:48] Quick overview of Livepeer and Doug’s background.
    [2:35] When Doug and his co-founder Eric realized they wanted to build for the decentralized web.
    [4:27] The frustrating web2.0 experience that inspired them to make the jump to web3.
    [8:22] The problem Livepeer is aiming to solve and how.
    [13:19] How they identified the problem and why they felt it was the right one to solve with decentralization.
    [16:08] What their 6-9 month research phase was like for them.
    [19:42] How Doug and Eric’s long history of working together enabled them to move quickly through assessing feasibility of Livepeer.
    [24:45] When they took on pre-seed funding, why and how that was informed by past lessons learned.
    [26:42] Overview of Livepeer’s token economics and their process for designing the incentives.
    [31:17] Why they chose a target participation rate of 50% in the protocol.
    [34:19] How staking and delegated proof of stake are used Livepeer.
    [38:05] The importance of balancing participating nodes and delegating nodes.
    [41:54] The business model for the Livepeer team.
    [44:16] Who the different user groups of Livepeer and how the team thinks about designing for the different user experience for each.
    [49:23] Lessons learned designing for users early on.
    [52:09] Overview of Livepeer team.
    [55:07] The value of forking from Doug’s perspective.