Why Livepeer Backs Hacks

Doug Petkanics
4 min readOct 19, 2022

What’s going to be the critical driver for the next phase of web3’s development?

I can tell you in a single word: Innovation.

We know that the next video applications to break out at scale will almost certainly include web3 primitives, because the economic incentives embedded within decentralized apps in their early days are superpowers for attracting creators and communities.

But these won’t look like web2 clones. How the world interacts on the centralized Internet is ripe for change, as demonstrated by how different TikTok looks and feels to YouTube, even though its offering is essentially similar. Fresh use cases, plus innovative twists on existing ones, are the order of the day.

This next stage of evolution will require the kind of inspiration and experimentation that is only possible when many different developers are able to test out fresh concepts that are rooted in reliable, affordable infrastructure.

Analysts at Messari reported on Livepeer’s decision to double down on support of organic web3 growth, noting that “instead of further allocating resources to onboarding web2 clients, Livepeer Studio shifted its focus to fund and help develop web-3 native video-enabled projects.”

The numbers say this policy is working. More than 100 new projects were built on Livepeer in the first half of 2022 alone. The launch of Livepeer Studio, a complete solution for developers looking to add livestreaming, video on demand, or video NFTs to their projects, has been a significant step forward.

But there’s another very effective way to promote innovation and growth at grassroots level: the hackathon.

The hackathon ecosystem is a funnel for skill and initiative that incentivizes experimentation from the ground up. Whether virtual or in-person, they push new builders to fast-track their ideas within a collaborative environment.

Nurturing emerging talent at hackathons is fundamental to the Livepeer ethic. This is why members of the core team make it a priority to attend as many events as possible in the web3 calendar. Livepeer co-founder Eric Tang and I regularly share our thoughts and expertise during panels, talks and workshops. As does Shannon Wells, Head of Ecosystem Growth, and Meredith Tretiak, Head of Marketing. Other team members staff Livepeer booths and offer support and friendly encouragement to hackers seeking to integrate projects with the Livepeer network.

Besides honing technical capabilities and stress-testing ideas, competitive hacking offers opportunities for developers to practice teamwork, problem-solving, and time management in a real-time scenario. They also have a chance to hone their communications and storytelling abilities when setting out their project’s purpose and USP for audiences, or creating promotional content for social channels.

They also receive invaluable feedback on their ideas and execution through the judging process. All of this adds up to a powerful combination of benefits that can have real impact on future iterations of great ideas.

The financial rewards we and other sponsors offer are the tangible support outstanding teams need to move their ideas forward. Livepeer offered 118,500$ so far this year: evidence of the depth of our commitment to finding and nurturing the next generation of decentralized apps that incorporate video in exciting new ways.

Livepeer is not alone in incentivizing innovation with financial rewards. ETHGlobal gave away $1.5 million in prizes across all its events in 2022. Virtual hacks continued during pandemic closures but this year’s return to IRL events rapidly rekindled the extra spark of excitement that comes when teams compete toe-to-toe in the same room.

Another way we offer concrete support to new developers is through the Livepeer Grants program, which is similarly focused on building a thriving community of contributors. The program has committed $457,000 since its launch in 2020, funding projects and events that benefit the shared Livepeer ecosystem. Details are available here.

The team has seen so many great hacks that make use of the Livepeer network, it’s impossible to pick favorites. But a couple this year have showcased use cases we know are going to be huge, so it’s worth sharing them here:

Iris is a decentralized social media network enabling creators to share video content on the Lens Protocol, with additional livestream capabilities. Livepeer judges awarded the team a $4,000 bounty at LFGrow in March.

What caught our attention at ETHNewYork in June was a web3 version of Twitch, with pay-per-minute billing and instant replay clips minted for NFT drops. Its builders, team Switch, took Livepeer’s top prize.

These are only two of the potentially game-changing use cases that we’ve seen emerge this year.

All hackathons foster community and promote cooperation. They motivate action and onboard new talent. Skills are shared, lessons learned.

So why does Livepeer back hacks and support new builders?

Because it’s the best investment we can make in web3’s future.

Ready to bring your big idea to life with Livepeer? Here are some ideas for inspiration to get started as you explore the Livepeer Studio toolkit:

  • Join the recorded version of Eric Tang’s workshop on web3 tools available to builders looking to disrupt centralized video platforms.
  • Learn what it takes to make the killer video NFT app with Meredith Tretiak
  • Join the Livepeer community on Twitter and in Discord.

Ready to hack with us? These are the hackathons confirmed for the rest of 2022!

  • NextVideo Build | Livepeer x Encode Club (November 1st — December 1st): Register here.
  • ETHSanFrancisco (November 4th — November 6th): Register here.
  • ETHIndia (December 2nd — December 4th): Register here.



Doug Petkanics

Building live streaming on the blockchain at Livepeer. Previously Founder, VP Eng at Wildcard and Hyperpublic (acquired by Groupon).