Theta Labs has now been awarded U.S. Patent 11,153,358 for “Methods and Systems for Data Caching and Delivery over a Decentralized Edge Network”, validating the innovative and novel approaches to decentralized video streaming built by the Theta team. The Edge Network described in the patent is a multi-layer “global cache” comprising peer viewers, Edge Nodes, and CDN servers. The patent can be viewed here.
This patent approval follows previous Theta patents issued for decentralized data streaming and delivery, ultra-high transaction throughput micropayments, methods and systems for peer node discovery, decentralized DRM via NFTs, and preventing denial-of-service attacks in decentralized edge networks, creating a portfolio of patents to further differentiate and protect the Theta technology and ecosystem.
The patented Edge Network comprises peer-to-peer (P2P) connections implemented on top of a content delivery network (CDN) having CDN servers that provide data resources to network nodes. Such a hybrid network includes viewer peer nodes, edge cacher peer nodes (Edge Nodes), tracker servers, and a payment service module. An Edge Node sends its client statistics to a tracker server, wherein the client statistics comprises a cacher location and a performance specification. In return, the tracker server provides caching instructions according to which the Edge Node downloads fragments of a data file from a CDN server, for later transmission to other viewer peer nodes within the decentralized data delivery edge network.
The patent protects several specific techniques used to optimize p2p video and data delivery. For livestreamed video, a caching instruction is generated based on a popularity score for the particular video stream, creating a content priority list that lets Edge Nodes know which content is most important to cache. Nodes will periodically send a ping message to the tracker server to indicate an active status of the Edge Node, which also factors into which nodes will be used to distribute video data to a given user.
After an Edge Node receives a payment authorization certificate from the tracker server, as an authorization to share the video/data file to at least one viewer node in the Edge Network, it will send a signed service receipt to the tracker server from at least one viewer showing it delivered the requested file. In return, the Edge Node receives from the tracker server an updated off-chain transaction that confirms a total payment amount owed for its services to the Edge Network.
In short, the Theta hybrid Edge Network combines the advantages of P2P and CDN techniques to achieve high scalability and high resource availability, and attains the following characteristics:
- Self-organizing, self-adaptive, self-evolving, minimal operational overhead, highly available, and robust
- Plug and play: a network node can join or leave at any time
- Supports delivery of various types of content (e.g., livestream, VoD, data blob, etc.) within a unified data retrieval framework.
- Highly secure, Digital Rights Management (DRM) compatible, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compatible