Initially created as a peer-to-peer communication protocol for distributing files and other types of electronic data over the web, BitTorrent was purchased by TRON in June 2018 and now has switched to the blockchain track. In its new version, BitTorrent implements tokenization with the help of its native token BTT that helps content creators connect with their followers and earn money without sharing their income with any middlemen.
One of the greatest BitTorrent’s advantages compared to the majority of other blockchain-based projects is the ready userbase. Invented by a young programmer Bram Cohen in 2001 and established as a company 3 years later, BitTorrent is the most popular file-sharing protocol nowadays. Its community counts 250 million people worldwide with 100 million of them making up specifically BitTorrent’s audience alone while the rest belongs to other projects based on this protocol.
Another benefit of the project is the TRON blockchain support. Based on the Delegated-Proof-of-Stake (DPoS) consensus algorithm, TRON has managed to overcome the scalability issue inherent to all Bitcoin and Ethereum’s derivatives. It can handle up to 10,000 transactions per second and doesn’t impose any transaction fees which gives it much better chances to get adopted at the mass scale.
The history of BitTorrent
The project emerged back in 2001 when the adoption of internet technologies spiked after the dot-com bubble. At that time, the World Wide Web was monopolized by two huge corporations, Apple and Microsoft. The prices for the software produced by these giants were pretty high, so it’s no wonder that the internet was flooded with pirated software, as well as with movies, music, books and all other types of digital content.
The technology invented by BitTorrent facilitated the process of downloading and sharing files of a big size (1+ Gb). It implied splitting these files into small segments and distributing these segments among multiple users who kept those files within their storage for faster download. Thus, one can say that BitTorrent was already decentralized long before the blockchain was invented.
Despite its huge popularity, BitTorrent creators haven’s found a way to monetize their brainchild over the years. Eventually, the company has found itself at the edge of bankruptcy and was purchased by TRON’s founder Justin Sun who set a new goal to revive this almost dead project.
Blockchain features implemented by BitTorrent
As it’s been mentioned above, BitTorrent is already decentralized, so there’s no need to switch the whole platform to the blockchain. However, there are some features that the project has made use of in order to find a way towards its monetization:
BTT wallets. All new BitTorrent users will get themselves a wallet upon signup for storing and spending their tokens. They will receive rewards to these wallets for sharing the downloaded content with the network.
Payments in cryptocurrency. Users can conduct instant transactions on a peer-to-peer basis with zero fees.
Airdrop for new users. Free BTT will serve as an additional incentive to join the network.
The BitTorrent ICO
The ICO took place on January 28th, 2019, and despite the whole blockchain industry was in the deep downtrend at that time, it managed to close the hard cap of 7 million USD in less than 20 minutes. In fact, the hype around the ICO and the demand for its tokens was so high that many potential investors simply couldn’t have got through due to the network overload when the public sale began.
Tokens were distributed via an initial exchange offering (IEO) through Binance Launchpad. 59,4 million of tokens were sold during the IEO with the whole token distribution set in the following way:
20% went to the TRON Foundation
19.9% were left in the BitTorrent ecosystem
19% more were distributed among the team members
17% were sold in public, private and seed sales
10.1% were reserved for a 6-year TRON airdrop program
10% were allocated for the BitTorrent airdrop program
4% were left for partnerships
BTT is a utility token based on the TRC-20 standard. It comes with the following use cases:
A monetary incentive for the BitTorrent protocol. Users are rewarded with BTT for seeding the torrents. The longer you seed, the higher are your earnings and the faster your downloads become.
Payment for faster downloads. Users can bid BTT to increase the download speed even more.
The reward for content creators.
Payment for shared file storage, computing, and resource availability.
Payment for additional features such as live broadcast tips and crowdfunding for new works’ creation.
Apart from BitTorrent’s native wallet, BTT can be stored on all other TRON-compatible wallets including Atomic wallet and Trust Wallet. It can also be kept on the Tron Wallet which is available for Chrome, Android and iOS. It is traded on most of the popular cryptocurrency exchanges such as Binance, Upbit, CoinEx, Huobi Global and others.
The team behind BitTorrent
While the company itself resides in San Francisco, the key members of its team are spread across different regions.
Bittorrent’s new CEO Justin Sun is a very famous persona in the blockchain world. He is a tech entrepreneur with a number of successful projects such as TRON behind his shoulders. He is the founder of Callme (Peiwo), the largest voice streaming app in China, and in 2013-2016 he was a Chief Representative and Advisor at Ripple.
His colleague Justin Knoll has been a part of BitTorrent since 2007 having grown his position from a Web Application Architect to the VP of Product Management.
BitTorrent and governmental investigations
Although TRON has been heavily suspected of being a scam, the platform has proved to be one of the most viable in the whole blockchain industry. The project has never been really a subject to any governmental investigations, but after purchasing BitTorrent, it has inherited all its 3,300 lawsuits that have piled over the years. At the time of writing, the payment of all these debts has not been completed yet.