BitTorrent, the peer-to-peer file sharing platform, has launched a new cryptocurrency on the Tron blockchain, a move which Justin Sun suggests is a first step in building a decentralized internet.
In collaboration with the Tron foundation, the BitTorrent foundation has revealed its new whitepaper for BitTorrent Token (BTT), a project aiming to create an economy around the usage of storage, networking and bandwidth of computers on the decentralized peer-to-peer platform.
In the long-term, the project hopes to grow beyond the file-sharing platform which has been used by governments, entertainment giants and universities into a larger-scale infrastructure that will allow consumers to create value from their spare resources.
Justin Sun, founder of TRON and new CEO of BitTorrent, explained, “BitTorrent token is the first in a series of steps to support a decentralized internet,” adding, “In one giant leap, the BitTorrent client can introduce blockchain to hundreds of millions of users around the world and empower a new generation of content creators with the tools to distribute their content directly to others on the web.”
The token will be available to non-U.S. citizens exclusively on Binance’s new token sale platform, LaunchPad.
How will BitTorrent Token work?
For those unfamiliar with BitTorrent, it is a peer-to-peer file sharing platform wherein users can download fragments of files from multiple sources. The process encourages those who have downloaded a file (swarms) to remain online in order to contribute to the health of that file, ensuring it remains available for others to download. This process is called ‘seeding.’
The problem arises, however, when users leave a swarm well before they contribute as much bandwidth as they have consumed, impacting the health of the file for future downloaders.
Though BitTorrent functions quite well as-is, the addition of BitTorrent Token aims to optimize the process, especially for rarer files. Users will be incentivized to seed a file with BTT as a reward, encouraging greater longevity of swarms and faster download speeds for all users.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, according to the project’s whitepaper.
Through the same bandwidth purchasing process, users will also be able to buy storage and even proxying services from other participants on the platform.
100,000,000 new crypto users
Though BitTorrent has received criticism over the years, especially from the entertainment industry, there is no arguing that it has become a staple in file-sharing, even paving the way for the modern crypto movement.
Years ago Activision Blizzard jumped on board, distributing the files for its major releases via the platform. Starcraft 2 was a prime example of the platform’s efficiency, allowing users to download the 7-gigabyte client faster without the company having to invest in bandwidth or server capacity.
Facebook and Twitter used it to distribute data to their servers, Florida State University used it to share large scientific datasets with their researchers, and even the UK government got involved, using the platform to share public spending data with its citizens.
According to BitTorrent’s own statistics, the platform boasts over 100 million active users, with more joining every day. The implications of this transition could be far-reaching, bringing cryptocurrency to an entirely new audience.
Moreover, it also creates the potential for a new way to distribute content. Though the streaming movement has taken over modern media, if BTT is implemented in an attractive and intuitive manner, record companies and even the film industry could enter the mix.
It’s clear that BitTorrent is great technology, but its problem has always been in securing real revenue. And now, it is finally making a move to pick some of the low-hanging fruit its always been missing.
Will the tokenization of everyone’s favorite peer-to-peer platform be its saving grace? Or will it be its downfall? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.