Streamr’s mission is to replace centralized message brokers with a global, decentralized peer-to-peer network for real-time data. By relying on cryptography instead of trust, the open-source network enables data sharing and monetization in IoT and smart cities, business consortia, individual crowd selling through Data Unions and the Web 3.0.
Founded in 2017, the Streamr project was launched out of the belief that traditional, centralized data infrastructure cannot meet the real-time data sharing needs of future smart cities, business consortia, and an emerging global and massive machine data economy.
The project mission is to build the real-time data infrastructure of the decentralised web (Web 3.0). Streamr technology is a core service layer which implements an open-source and vendor-neutral publish/subscribe (pub-sub) protocol for transmission of any kind of real-time data. The data travels via a global peer-to-peer network which is scalable, robust, permissionless, and secured by a cryptographic ledger. Streamr protocol enables a data economy where humans, AI, and connected machines and applications can share access to data and monetize it openly, fairly, and transparently.
Incorporated in 2017 and based in Zug, Switzerland, Streamr Network AG is the corporate entity which coordinates the implementation of the protocol. Core team members have a background in coding, software entrepreneurship and finance. Streamr is a distributed open-source software project with contributors in a range of timezones globally.
As for background, there are two major problems with the existing data infrastructure: Scalability and the lack of neutrality. The amount of real-time data is increasing exponentially with the growth of IoT and the ubiquity of connected devices. There will come a point where centralized transmission networks are unable to cope with the quantity of the data. Furthermore, the existing services — each controlled by a large commercial entity — are prone to having a single point of failure and necessitate trust and vendor lock-in.
Streamr solves the scalability issue of broadcast messaging protocols by using a peer-to-peer (P2P) network architecture. Technically, you might think of it as BitTorrent for real-time data streams instead of static files. The throughput capacity of the network scales linearly as the number of nodes in the network increases. Because the data packets are routed from the data producer to the data consumer by several routes, the network is resilient to attacks and fault tolerant.
A decentralized network will not emerge without economic incentives for node operators. Streamr aims to solve the incentive problem by using cryptocurrency, cryptographic proofs, and game theory to incentivize people and organisations to run nodes (known as “brokers”) in the network. The end goal is a self-sustainable network which does not need any central party or company to control its operations.
Streamr DATAcoin, or DATA, is the cryptographic token representing value in the Streamr ecosystem, implemented as an ERC-20 token on the Ethereum blockchain. The companion blockchain is used for value settlement, identity, and permission control, while the actual data transmission is handled by the scalable Streamr Network.
Broker nodes contribute bandwidth and storage to the network, and earn DATA paid as usage fees. Running a broker node is somewhat comparable to mining, but instead of solving an CPU/GPU-bound artificial problem and wasting energy, nodes provide useful network resources which, using the Streamr protocol, collectively produce the message transport service.
The network is decentralized by virtue of the P2P structure and the incentive mechanism. The network is robust and scalable, and it can operate without any central party (not even Streamr) controlling the data or retaining the added value.
Streamr Marketplace and Core are applications made possible and powered by the Network. The Marketplace is a single common interface which brings buyers and sellers of real-time data together. Using a one-to-many off-chain payment scaling solution Monoplasma, the Marketplace also enables crowdselling: large groups of people (say, owners of a connected gadget such as a smartphone) can pool the data they produce into a single product, a Data Union, and get automatically compensated for each purchase of that data. Streamr Core is a toolkit which helps users manage their Streamr resources, explore data, and build integrations and analytics.