In brief

  • Pepo, a video-sharing service, has added livestreaming capabilities.
  • The Ethereum-based service lets creators earn tokens from users who view their videos.
  • The addition comes via increased demand for livestreaming services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pepo, the video-sharing social media app that allows creators to earn Ethereum-backed micropayments, this week unveiled new livestreaming functionality in response to growing demand during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Pepo Live Events feature is based on integration with popular video meetings service Zoom, and is currently only available in beta via the Pepo website—not the mobile apps. For now, only Pepo community admins can begin live events, but even those without Pepo accounts can participate in the live video conversations.

“As the world turns virtual, and all our conversations are happening online, we knew we had to enable live events for all communities on Pepo,” reads the company’s tweet about the added feature.

Pepo’s pivot from solely sharing recorded videos to enabling shared livestreaming experiences comes in the wake of surging interest in livestreaming amidst social distancing measures. Many companies have their workforces at home, students and teachers are away from schools, and friends and relatives are keeping physical distance to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. Group video chats are keeping people connected amidst all of that.

Additionally, livestreamed events have seen an uptick, as musicians and performers take to streaming platforms in the wake of canceled concerts, and even traditional sports leagues are turning to esports broadcasts to maintain connections with fans. 

Livestreams are the new collective social experience at a time in which physical contact is strongly ill-advised. An Instagram dance party hosted by DJ D-Nice and Michelle Obama this week drew over 60,000 people. A 30-minute interview on Instagram Live between the NBA’s Steph Curry and Dr. Anthony Fauci was briefly delayed because so many fans wanted to join.

Pepo launched at Devcon 5 last October, allowing users to reward each other with Pepo tokens. The app is built upon the Ethereum platform, although the blockchain element is largely kept out of sight of users. Pepo is backed by Tencent and runs on the Ost platform, which raised $20 million in a 2017 initial coin offering (ICO) and also powers the token component of popular gay dating app Hornet.

(Disclosure: Decrypt’s own upcoming token is also based on the Ost platform.)