Initially released in July 2001 as a peer-to-peer file-sharing system, BitTorrent has passed a long way since its introduction becoming the most popular torrent platform worldwide. Having switched to the blockchain rails in 2018 with the help of cryptocurrency entrepreneur Justin Sun, it has eventually transformed into a cross-chain interoperability protocol that leverages sidechains to achieve scalability.
BitTorrent was invented by an American programmer Bram Cohen in 2001 with the key goal of facilitating the transfer of large files across the internet. The new technology that he came up with implied splitting large files into smaller chunks and distributing them across multiple users which enabled faster and easier downloads while the internet connection speed was pretty low. The new approach has quickly gained popularity. Thus, in February 2009, BitTorrent accounted for approximately 70% of the global traffic thanks to various platforms such as The Pirate Bay, μTorrent, BitComet, and others that relied on its protocol.
However, despite the obvious success, the team standing behind the project was struggling with monetization issues all along the way. As the company almost went bankrupt in 2018, it was purchased by TRON’s founder Justin Sun who decided to bring new life to this almost dead project. On January 28th, 2019, he conducted an IEO via Binance Launchpad that helped him raise the required sum of 7 million USD in a record time of only 20 minutes. The native utility token BTT based on the TRC-10 standard is now used across various tools and products offered on the platform adhering to its further decentralization.
BitTorrent Chain features
According to the official white paper of the project, BitTorrent Chain aims to provide a high-performance, scalable, and low-cost solution for blockchain platforms combining these features with superior user experience for dApps without giving up decentralization. Other inefficiencies that it aims to combat include high transaction fees, low TPS (transactions per second), time-consuming confirmation, and high migration costs.
To address these questions, BitTorrent relies on the TRON blockchain which has proved to be highly scalable and user-friendly. As the network uses the DPoS (Delegated Proof-of-Stake) consensus mechanism, it is supported by 21 block producers creating new blocks every 2 seconds and receiving rewards for their support. As a result, the network is capable of processing up to 7,000 TPS with an average transaction fee of less than $0.01. As the network is interoperable with Ethereum, TRON, and Binance Smart Chain, it also supports one-click migration of smart contracts and provides developers with customizable modules. In addition, the team plans to introduce support for other popular blockchains and privacy-oriented transactions as these features are mentioned in the roadmap of the project at the time of writing.
The usage scenarios of the BitTorrent Chain include a few different options. First, the platform can be used as a DEX (decentralized exchange) as it supports all features of a trading platform providing faster and cheaper transactions in comparison with its competitors. Second, developers can use BitTorrent Chain as a basis for DeFi to create different financial dApps with its help. Finally, the platform can be a good fit for gaming and other NFT-based applications enabling users to buy, sell and trade in-game assets in the form of non-fungible tokens.
BitTorrent V2 benefits
On May 15th, 2017, BitTorrent released the v2 protocol specification. The updates were finally implemented only after the TRON acquisition as the new version went live on September 6th, 2020.
From the technical perspective, the new version implies moving torrents from SHA-1 to SHA-256 encryption algorithm, thus adhering to its security. Moreover, the new protocol works faster as it avoids downloading large parts of a file in case a hash check fails. Finally, with v2, torrent metadata is smaller which results in lower latency as fewer bytes have to be downloaded before the torrent download begins.
BitTorrent has developed a robust set of products that are divided into three categories, First, there is a set of torrent downloaders that include BitTorrent Web enabling users to stream while downloading files, BitTorrent Classic which is an original desktop application for bulk torrent downloading, and BitTorrent Android designed specifically for mobile users. Second, there is a number of cryptocurrency-based apps that include a BitTorrent Token (BTT), BitTorrent Speed which is a web-based app helping users download torrents faster and earn BTT in the process, and BitTorrent File System which is a decentralized storage system serving as a foundation for dApps. Finally, there are two more products designed for live broadcasting: DLive and DLive Protocol.
In addition, the separate website devoted to BitTorrent Chain features a number of apps making up specifically the BTT ecosystem. These are BTT wallet, BitTorrent Bridge for cross-chain transactions, Staking, Swap, Explorer, and BTTCScan powered by Etherscan.
During the initial exchange offering, 59,4 million BTT tokens were sold with the following distribution: 20% of tokens were reserved by the TRON Foundation, 19.9% stayed within the BitTorrent ecosystem, 19% of tokens were shared across the team members, 17% were distributed through public, private and seed sales, 10.1% and 10% were left for a TRON and BitTorrent airdrop programs correspondingly, while the remaining 4% were reserved for partners. The total supply of BTT makes up 990 trillion tokens.
Being a TRX-10 token, BTT can be stored on any wallet that supports this standard. Some of the most popular options include Coinomi, Atomic Wallet, and a native wallet of the BitTorrent platform. The token can be purchased on Huobi Global, Binance, KuCoin, and many other reputable exchange platforms.
As mentioned earlier, Bram Cohen is the inventor of torrent technology and the founder of the BitTorrent company based in San Francisco. He is also known as the co-founder of CodeCon, an annual conference for software hackers and other technological enthusiasts, and the P2P hackers’ meeting San Francisco Bay Area.
Justin Sun is another key figure in the project known as the founder of the TRON blockchain. In addition, he’s a prominent political figure as he is a Permanent Representative of Grenada to the WTO and a Chinese-Grenadian diplomat.