How Odysee and LBRY Work: A Decentralized Youtube

You know how youtube is great, I mean, creators get paid based on how many views their content receives. They can upload whatever they want without getting censored, and users are suggested content based on what they’ve already viewed.

Well, maybe two of these sentences are true. Youtube has a few problems, including scammy comments.

The copyright strike issues and recently the censorship of specific topics on their platform.

Did you know there’s a decentralized video sharing platform that is attempting to solve some of these problems using blockchain technology?

Welcome to Shavuna, the number one website channel for crypto education. Here we explain topics of the cryptocurrency world using analogies, stories, and examples so that you can easily understand them.

In this blog post, I will explain what Odysse is, the blockchain behind it, how it works and how you could earn money for using an alternative to youtube.

First off, a one-liner to fulfill what you’re here for.

What is Odyssey?

Odyssey is a video-sharing platform that runs on the LBRY decentralized blockchain, allowing creators to earn tokens without being censored or controlled by a central authority.

Next, to truly understand how odyssey works, we will need first to cover the blockchain that powers it.

Odyssey is run by the LBRY blockchain. If you’ve ever created a website before, you know that WordPress is a framework that allows you to create a website.

Well, LBRY is like WordPress, and different people can use the same framework to run their websites.

In this case, Odyssey uses the LBRY blockchain to create a platform very similar to youtube.

LBRY is a blockchain specifically created to share almost any file type, although it’s mostly used for video using technology similar to how BitTorrent works.

Basically, the content is uploaded to the network, and then nodes or computers around the world help share the content and keep it online.

Since the blockchain is decentralized, nobody can take it down if you upload something to the network.

What’s really happening behind the scenes is that the data is being sent to cloud servers and the only information on the actual LBRY blockchain is metadata and where to find those files.

Here at Shavuna, we love examples, so let me give you an example of how it works:

  1. First, Ernest wants to release his movie; Ernie runs for president. 
  2. The content that he uploaded is encrypted and sliced into many pieces. These pieces are stored on other computers that are on the network.
  3. Ernest receives a unique URL that looks like this lbry://ernieruns which points to his content. This is very similar to how points to the IP address that our web server is hosted on.
  4. When Ernest reserves that location, he also submits metadata such as a description or a thumbnail to the content.
  5. Hillary, a user, opens her browser, searches the LBRY network, and then decides she wants to watch the film that Ernest uploaded.
  6. Hillary issues a payment to Ernest for the decryption key, allowing her to watch the film and 
  7. Finally, Hillary’s LBRY client connects the pieces all around the world and then reassembles them using the key to decrypt the pieces.

In reality, Hillary doesn’t see any of this; instead, the film streams within a few seconds after purchasing. Now it should be noted that some content is relatively cheap while some are expensive, but it really depends on what the creator wants to charge for it.

Along with charging for content, you can also make it free to view the content, and that’s exactly what all the videos on odyssey have done.

Remember, LBRY is a protocol and blockchain, while odyssey is just one of a few different platforms that are built using the protocol.

Let’s get into a little bit more of what odyssey actually is.

First up, Odyssey is a centralized platform that aggregates and moderates the content on the LBRY blockchain in a similar way to youtube.

But let’s go over some things that differentiate odyssey from youtube.

Odyssey vs Youtube


One of the benefits of Odyssey is moderation. Of course, I’m a fan of decentralization and the censorship resistance of the LBRY blockchain, but Odyssey ensures that you don’t see any not safe for work content while you’re browsing at work.

Unlike youtube, though, Odyssey is much more laxer about removing content. You can check out their guidelines if you want, but one of their great value adds is that they won’t remove your video unless it’s terroristic in nature, inciting violence, abuse, or literal torture.

So we can’t really complain about that.

Think about Odyssey as a way to organize all the videos on the LBRY blockchain in a way that doesn’t censor your political views.

Odyssey also has its suggestion algorithm, which to date isn’t as good as the youtube one, but I’m sure as time passes and they get more data, it will improve.

Right now, they do have a search engine where you can search for videos and channels.

And something that I thought was cool was that those creators who hold and stake their LBRY tokens on the platform get their videos ranked higher, which could help early creators earn early traffic.

Cons of Odyssey 

A decentralized version of youtube does not come without some problems. There are a few problems that I have noticed, and one of the biggest ones is that they don’t automatically upscale and downscale all of your content.

For example, if you upload a 4k video to youtube, you can choose to watch it from 4k to 1080p all the way down to potato mode if you want to save on your bandwidth.

However, this doesn’t automatically happen on odyssey; instead, only videos that get above a certain threshold of views or channels that hold over a thousand LBRY credits receive this feature.

Another problem that I see is that, creators don’t get the best analytics.

For example, a content creator will only see the weekly number of views and followers he has gained on his odyssey account. Nothing about specific videos or even daily views.


Let’s talk about monetization. Right now, each view on a video will earn the creator a certain amount of LBRY tokens; however, soon, they will be introducing an ad program very similar to youtube’s partner program so that creators should earn even more.

Also, they suggest tipping your favorite creators with LBRY tokens yourself to reward good content.

If you’re a viewer of Odyssey, you can actually earn LBRY tokens yourself for doing certain things like watching a daily video or interacting with the site in other ways.

One of the best part of their monetization schedule is that they don’t collect any rent as youtube does with its creators or apple does with its iTunes program.

Now you might be wondering, geez, there are LBRY tokens for doing all kinds of things; where is all the money coming from?

That’s when we get into the tokenomics part of this Article.

LBRY tokens or LBRY credits are the main coins used on the LBRY blockchain. There were around 400 million LBRY credits during the pre-mine, but eventually, there will be around 1 billion tokens according to a release schedule that will stop at around 20 years.

Ten percent goes to organizations and charities, 20% goes to adoption programs, but this is fancy words for advertising, 10 percent goes to the LBRY inc company, which is in charge of running the blockchain, and the last 60 percent is earned by LBRY miners who support the network.

LBRY credits are also the primary token of the network. To send your credits to someone else or to buy the content, you must use LBRY credits. 

This means as the demand for the blockchain grows, so should the token price. Oh, and I forgot something else to talk about.

The consensus model of the LBRY blockchain is proof of work similar to what bitcoin and Ethereum classic use.

The block size is 2 megabytes, and the block time is around 2.5 minutes; and like I said earlier, the rewards will actually stop being given out in approximately 20 years with a unique distribution model.

Another thing I thought was interesting is that the LBRY uses a mix of SHA-512 SHA-256 and RIEPMD hash functions in its proof-of-work algorithm, which I thought was interesting since it uses multiple hash functions.

One last thing to note about the LBRY token is that they are in a lawsuit with the SEC. If you read our blog post about XRP, the LBRY is under the same accusations that their token is a security and the united states government does not like that. The likely outcome is that they’ll probably just have to pay a fine.

But like I said in the XRP article, this says more about the united states government than the token itself.

Ending this post, if you’re interested, you can go through our free DEFI for beginners guide below.

Anyways, thank you guys for reading. I hope you enjoyed this article. I really hope that you’ve learned something, and most of all, we hope to see you in our next blog post.