ICO Analysis: White Rabbit

The creation of the internet enabled the potential for consumers to have a media paradise, where they could consume only the content they wanted, when they wanted, how they wanted.

If that doesn’t sound like the way things actually shook out, you might be on to something.

The problems stopping this vast potential from being realized have been around in some form since the 1990s but they are only getting worse as traditional movie/television studios and networks dig their heads in the sand (while at the same time Netflix, Amazon, HBO, and their ilk bend the entire industry to their will (creating massive problems themselves in the process.)

The issues with the current approach both decades ago and today can be together summed up in five short statements.

1. Media content is not convenient or cheap enough for consumers to consume it.
2. Consumers turn to pirating media content out of frustration with the status quo.
3. Businesses double down on these failed models which leads to continuously increased piracy rates.
4. Content creators make less and less money out of creating content.
5. The quality and range of available content head towards the gutter.

Rinse and repeat until the end of time.

But does it have to be this way?

White Rabbit thinks not.

White Rabbit is an ambitious proposal to solve all the issues of streaming media content once and for all using blockchain technology.

It attempts to do this first and foremost via a few unique methods.

1. A universal browser plugin that can recognize streaming media content regardless of where it is being streamed (including illicit p2p sites), and send rights holders a native cryptocurrency token (WRT) via smart contract in exchange for the legal ability of the consumer to stream the content wherever and whenever they desire.

2. The Rabbit Hole: A portal for high-quality versions of streamable content, extras, behind the scenes/deleted footage, fan and filmmaker interaction (via VR and other methods), and third-party content, personalized to the user.

3. White Rabbit approved partner streaming sites that will curate unique content and UI to form tailored streaming communities for consumers.

So how does all of this actually work in practice?

Once WRT is accepted by the CRH (content rights holder), it opens access for fans to the high-quality version of the film in the Rabbit Hole, plus all the extras, behind-the-scenes, deleted scenes, fan and filmmaker interactions and third-party innovation.

WRT can, of course, be used to access all of this additional content.

When a film or series is popular enough among fans, it will be difficult for CRHs to resist pulling all the collective tokens on offer (by entering into a smart contract with White Rabbit).

WRT basically enables users to gently nudge the CRH to join White Rabbit and give users access to their art and entertainment but on the fans’ own terms.

According to the white paper, the film industry should not demand fans to change their habits, but instead, adapt themselves to those habits.

White Rabbit believes that the collective power of their token holders will force this long overdue adaptation.

WRT thereby gives users the power and responsibility to prove their willingness to pay and show the industry that it´s a matter of access and convenience.

In fairness to White Rabbit, they do have some data on their side.

In their whitepaper, they cite British and Australian research that interviewed 10,000 illegal streamers.

The research showed that 60% of those interviewed were willing to pay if they had convenient access to content. These same streamers have also been proven to spend significantly more on content than those that do not stream illegally.

What this means is that they are not really pirates, but fans without enough access to content.

This suggests that it is not that content producers “can’t beat free” but rather that a majority of frustrated fans who don’t see a viable alternative in the current streaming environment pirate begrudgingly.

So what are the true benefits to all parties within the White Rabbit ecosystem?

For Fans & Consumers:

  • Freedom to stream on any P2P site: Paying directly to rights holders regardless of where the consumer is watching content.
  • Freedom to pay: P2P is legalized by guaranteeing payment for streaming with the White Rabbit Token (WRT).
  • Freedom to access more content, more artists, and more fan experiences in the Rabbit Hole: This brings consumers closer to the art, artists, and entertainment they love.

Producer:

  • Revolutionary business model: No longer necessary for producers to wait months and years to receive revenue for their content. Instead, they receive payment minutes after the fans pay.
  • Data: Access to all the non-personal consumer streaming data related to your film or series.
  • Control: Price and territory can be adjusted while content relevant steaming sites focus on targeting audiences interested in specific content.

Streaming Industry:

  • White Rabbit revenue shares with streaming sites that agree to their Partner Streaming Sites code of conduct.
  • Illegal streaming sites are encouraged to legalize by a rewarding revenue model (which will, in theory, lead to new legitimate players entering the market.)
  • This incentivizes innovation in UI, search and recommendations, improving the streaming experience and the creation of clear streaming brands, to the benefit of both fans and content creators.

Creatives:

  • Interaction: Talk to their fans directly in the Rabbit Hole. Tell the fans about them, their film and their upcoming projects.
  • Monetization: Offer additional content to the fans’ favorite film and series, Q&A´s, VR screenings and more.
  • Transparency: Receive what they’re due as user payments are written in the immutable blockchain ledger.

In short, The Rabbit Hole tears down the many barriers that keep fans apart today, ensuring fans and filmmakers are able to interact and transact such that revenue and engagement are maximized on all sides.

Today, producers, filmmakers, and their investors are not able to do this effectively because they are not maximizing the true potential of digital streaming. They are not in contact with their fans.

White Rabbit and the Rabbit Hole closes that gap.

Streaming media content is expensive, users have less choice than before, revenue for rightsholders is neither transparent nor reasonable, and White Rabbit argues that by not accepting users’ streaming habits, the industry itself encourages piracy.

Example of unique Rabbit Hole content experience:

1. A cult film with 20,000 fans in 50 different countries could hold a VR cinema screening in the Rabbit Hole with half a million fans from all over the world. Filmmakers and fans could interact live in the VR cinema, merchandise could be bought, and new fans could join.

What was once a niche film that was difficult to monetize due to geographical and regulatory barriers suddenly becomes a viable business model given open access.

White Rabbit by its very design does not seem to distinguish between the rising star and the established filmmakers.

The film itself, its resources within its own habitat, its ingenuity or cash, it´s fans and the campaign strategy of the film will make the difference between success and failure, not uneven control over distribution.

In White Rabbit’s vision of the future, success is no longer about who you know, it´s about what and how you deliver. It´s about innovation in communication as much as technology.

White Rabbit plan to create the Airbnb experience for the content streaming industry.

This, in theory, allows UI designers, branding and film buffs to create streaming sites catered to every and any taste.

Ultimately, producers can release content to specifically target their audience by way of streaming sites that match their content.

To Recap:

Challenge 1

Too few filmmakers make money from digital distribution. There is less choice of content as closed server subscription services produce more of their own and buy less.

Challenge 2

Revenue lacks transparency, accountability and quick transferrence to content creators.

Challenge 3

Fans are forced to break the law to see their favorite film or series because they can´t pay for content.

Challenge 4

There is less choice of content as closed server subscription services produce more of their own and buy less.

Challenge 5

The digital distribution paradox – a lack of competition in global digital distribution slows UI innovation. Yet, more subscription services mean more logins and passwords for users.

The White Rabbit ecosystem brings together users, content rights holders and creators, partner streaming sites, third-party developers and White Rabbit themselves.

By offering users a personalized content library — the Rabbit Hole — and a browser plugin, White Rabbit can fix the content issues plaguing the media industry once and for all.

The White Rabbit plugin recognizes the content being streamed enabling users to offer White Rabbit Tokens (WRT) as a guarantee for payment to content rights holders.

Each time a user streams content a smart contract deducts the tokens from the user’s account and transfers it to the rights holders.

If a smart contract does not exist, rights holders may enter into one and accept tokens or reject. If they reject, the tokens which are kept in an encrypted distribution pool are returned to the user, securing their anonymity.

The Rabbit Hole is user’s personal content library where they can access all the content they have paid for and enjoy exclusive materials, extras, director’s cuts, merchandise, and interviews.

In addition, the Rabbit Hole enables users to interact directly with the creators behind their favorite films, enjoy film screenings in VR together, and use other available third-party applications.

By separating distribution from payment, White Rabbit offers one payment system, but infinite viewing and fan experiences.

Token

The WRT token is the key that unlocks the entire White Rabbit platform.

When streaming their favorite films or series, smart contracts deduct a WRT payment from users and transfer this immediately to rights holders. Utilizing blockchain technology, rights holders are also ensured complete financial transparency.

The token distribution is as follows:

  • 40% Token sale
  • 31.5% White Rabbit Reserve
  • 16% Team (First 1/3 vested to the team after 6 months, second 1/3 vested after 12 months, final 1/3 vested after 18 months)
  • 6% Partners
  • 5% Advisory Board (vested After 6 months)
  • 1.5% Bounty Campaign

Tokens are allocated to:

1. CRH – the first time they accept tokens for content, a 10% bonus on aggregated tokens at time of smart contract commitment

2. Users – loyalty bonus, promotion bonus, allocating space for content, new incentives
Streaming sites – incentives and rewards for development and accomplishments

3. Third party applications in the Rabbit Hole rewards for development and accomplishments

4. Acquisition and Investment in content

Team

The White Rabbit team is absolutely phenomenal.

Not only is it a fairly large team, but each member brings highly specific and relevant experience to bear on the creation of the White Rabbit ecosystem.

Although I hesitate to throw the term “superstar” around, an argument can certainly be made that this team fits the bill.

Highlights of the team’s collective achievements:

  • Worked as producers and sales agents on over 800 films.
  • Won best film awards in Cannes and Venice, sold films to over 70 countries including best selling foreign film 2015 in the U.K. and Australia.
  • Software entrepreneurs behind Milbros Chemical Information System, the industry standard for the safe transportation of chemicals at sea, a $2.3 trillion dollar market. Installed onboard hundreds of chemical tankers and operations offices worldwide.

Team members previously developed security systems for submarines, telecom, and mobile phone industry

Verdict

White Rabbit is an incredibly ambitious attempt to fix the content streaming industry. They appeared to have thought deeply about the correct way to fix the problems and also to have drawn inspiration from other brilliant but flawed attempts such as Popcorn time.

Risks

  • Despite designing an incredibly well thought out platform, I don’t think the White Rabbit team has created strong enough incentives for consumers to actually download the plugin and begin to use White Rabbit.
  • Although users get an extra 5% token bonus for allowing their data to be monetized within the platform, that doesn’t strike me as a good enough sales pitch to get the average person to download this plugin and start paying content creators. -2.5
  • As White Rabbit themselves know well, content is king. You can create the most innovative platform, with the best features, the sleekest UI, and the perfect solution for rights holders, but if a consumer can’t watch their favorite show how and when they want to, the platform is worthless. Hulu is a perfect example of this.
  • The entire premise of White Rabbit is that a majority of people consuming pirated content are actually just frustrated fans who would be happy to pay for content legally if it was simply convenient and affordable for them to do so.
  • It was therefore incredibly puzzling that one of the terms they demanded of partnered streaming sites was to delete media content if rights holders didn’t want to participate and White Rabbit asked them to. Especially at the beginning, this could undermine White Rabbit’s entire purpose for existing and lead to users quitting the platform out of frustration.
  • Although ultimately this would still technically be the fault of the rights holder and entrenched industry players, I don’t see White Rabbit becoming the dominant force unless they are willing to break through the logjam and potentially face litigation from content holders early on. -3.5

Growth Potential

  • Incredibly low fixed token supply that should only increase in value as White Rabbit’s user base grows. +5.5
  • Incredibly reasonable solution to the current logjam that is streaming media.
  • Implemented intelligently, the incentives are aligned to allow consumers to pay for the content that they want, wherever and whenever they want to watch it.
  • This alone is a revolutionary breakthrough that blockchain technology enables that could radically change the entire industry. +6.5

Disposition

We arrive at a score of 6/10 for White Rabbit.

Although it appears to be a project with immense potential, a fantastic team, and favorable token economics, the sheer difficulty of the problems they are trying to solve adds a degree of risk to an otherwise stellar project.

But to quote the whitepaper, “When an entire generation breaks the law, it shouldn´t be a crime, it should be a business opportunity” -Alan R. Milligan, White Rabbit founder

Investment Details

  • Token Type: ERC20
  • Platform: Ethereum
  • Symbol: WRT
  • Token Price: 1 WRT = 0.13 USD
  • Token Supply: 190,000,000 Total Supply
  • Soft Cap: US$ 2,000,000
  • Hard Cap: US$ 10,000,000
  • Pre-Sale: May 7th, 2018-May 14th, 2018.
  • Public Sale: May 15th, 2018-June 10th, 2018
  • Jurisdictions Barred From Participating: USA, Canada
  • Website: https://whiterabbit.one
  • Whitepaper: https://whiterabbit.one/docs/White_Rabbit-White_Paper_v1.0.pdf

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.