*obligatory not financial advice*
What is BitTorrent?
BitTorrent is the oldest and most successful peer-to-peer file sharing platform. BitTorrent has been around since 2001 and it lets users share files with other people without needing a centralized server that controls all the data. The platform is older than cryptocurrencies, but its goal was still always to offer decentralized file sharing. Now that cryptocurrencies and blockchains are a thing, it is using them for incentives and to build additional services. BitTorrent was purchased by Justin Sun in 2018 and so they are now working with his TRON blockchain.
This is roughly how BitTorrent works: Shared files are cut into pieces and when somebody downloads a file they will receive piece per piece, during the download they are also storing the pieces for the network and let other people download their pieces. After the download the users can still keep all their pieces available for other people to download if they want to, this is called "seeding".
However, one big problem with this structure is that there is no incentive for seeding, people offer their files to the network just because they feel like doing it. This is a problem because many desired files could end up not being offered. This is why BitTorrent launched BitTorrent Speed and the BTT token in 2019, people can use it to pay for faster downloading speed and the people that are seeding the downloaded files are being rewarded with BTT. Most people will of course not want to pay a fee to download a file, but they can earn their tokens back by seeding so it’s not that bad. The protocol as a whole is profiting from it because it incentivises users to leave their downloaded files available for the network.
BitTorrent is now also letting its users share the free space of their hard drive so that it can be used as a decentralized alternative to services like Dropbox. The BitTorrent File System (BTFS) works similar to Filecoin and its IPFS. This is also powered by the BTT token and people that rent storage space have to pay the providers with it. Another feature that is planned is a decentralized proxy service that enables users to request a provider to retrieve content by a URL in exchange for a fee.
All this further development and integration of cryptocurrencies started when Justin Sun, the founder of the Tron blockchain, bought BitTorrent. Justin is notorious for his aggressive marketing and he bought it with the intention of bringing one of the most successful file sharing platforms to his blockchain. Tron is fairly fast, cheap to use and scalable and it also survived multiple bear markets, the BitTorrent protocol and the blockchain are both profiting from each other, but Tron is also semi-centralized which is a threat for both projects.
The BTT Token
BTT is the utility token of the BitTorrent network, it is used to pay fees and reward providers in the network. BitTorrent has multiple services that require the BTT token and is adding more. The entire BitTorrent network will likely eventually become completely decentralized and BTT could be used as a governance token.
There is a max supply of 990,000,000,000 tokens. 19% of the supply was given to the BitTorrent Foundation, 20% went to the Tron Foundation, 20.1% were airdropped to TRX holders and BitTorrent users, 17% were sold to investors and 23.9% of the supply is set aside for the ecosystem development and partnerships. So the supply is rather centralized and the BitTorrent and Tron Foundations control a huge share of it.
BitTorrent is a popular file sharing platform that has been used by millions of users for 2 decades now, so its native token has a lot of potential and there is an increasing number of use cases. However, it depends on the Tron blockchain that has a stigma in the crypto community for being rather centralized. The supply is also mostly controlled by the developers of BitTorrent and Tron. It is also competing with many other crypto projects that are also offering decentralized digital storage space like Filecoin, Sia, Storj and Opacity. But if you like BitTorrent and you are using it anyway, then you will maybe want to use BitTorrent Speed and earn some tokens for seeding.
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