The advent of cryptocurrencies has opened the doors wide to a whole new world of possibilities. They facilitate peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions without any intermediaries on a global, borderless scale. They are unstoppable due to censorship resistance when they have no centralized regulatory authority managing their networks. They have the potential for worldwide scalability and can transform the global financial system. They can facilitate financial integration for everyone and have colossal potential for growth. The list goes on…
All in all, cryptocurrencies have many amazing attributes that enable economies of scale and innovative business models with economic incentives powered by crypto. We are beginning to see this more and more with a variety of projects and one of the most exciting ones involves BitTorrent – the decentralized P2P file-sharing protocol for distributing data and electronic files over the Internet.
BitTorrent, which has more than 100 million monthly users, is the first mainstream business/protocol to issue a cryptocurrency asset – BitTorrent (BTT) – and implement it as a monetary incentive.
As stated on the BitTorrent website, BitTorrent is:
“Tokenizing the world’s largest decentralized file-sharing protocol with BTT.”
In the following article, I provide a comprehensive and subjective look at BitTorrent (BTT) so that you can fundamentally understand how it aims to revolutionize the BitTorrent protocol. I delve into the token’s history, its purpose, level of adoption, as well as its issues and controversies surrounding it.
So buckle up and enjoy this comprehensive guide to understanding the popular digital asset – BitTorrent (BTT).
Before we delve into BTT, it helps to first understand the history of BitTorrent as it was established long before BTT and even Bitcoin.
BitTorrent was created by Bram Cohen in 2001 as a peer-to-peer communication protocol for distributing files and other types of electronic data over the internet. The BitTorrent protocol is similar to that of blockchain, in that it’s a distributed system with no central entity.
The way it works is; seeds host files known as torrents. When hosting these torrent files, the seeds split them up into segments (pieces), so that they can be downloaded more efficiently. It’s more efficient because pieces of the torrent file come from multiple seeds and thus distributes the workload.
Once a user successfully downloads a torrent, they can opt to become a seed as well and contribute to the distribution of the torrent file, thus helping the network. If the user chooses not to become a seed they are known as a leech. Being a leech is frowned upon because the BitTorrent protocol needs seeds for the system to thrive. The more seeds in the network, the more efficient it becomes.
BitTorrent’s distributed architecture enables users to download large files more cheaply and efficiently while reducing Internet congestion at the same time.
As for the BitTorrent (BTT) token, it has been incorporated into the BitTorrent protocol as a financial incentive to seed and thus improve the overall speed and efficiency of the BitTorrent network.
BitTorrent (BTT) History
BTT is the tokenized asset of the world’s largest decentralized file-sharing protocol – BitTorrent. It’s a TRC-10 cryptographic token on top of the Tron (TRX) blockchain protocol and was issued by BitTorrent Inc. and Tron Foundation in 2019.
Prior to BTT’s launch, Tron’s founder Justin Sun purchased BitTorrent for $120 million in June 2018. Sun became CEO of BitTorrent and Cohen along with several original staff members left the company once it was acquired. Sun purchased BitTorrent with a vision to tokenize the protocol and bring cryptocurrency to the mainstream, which he has now done with BTT.
BitTorrent (BTT) Issuance & Token Distribution
In January 2019, BitTorrent held an initial exchange offering (IEO) through Binance Launchpad, raising $7.2 million. The token sale was completed in two simultaneous sessions: one for purchases using Binance Coin (BNB) and another for purchases using Tron (TRX).
59.4 billion BTT out of a total of 990 billion BTT was sold during the IEO. The BTT token allocation is as follows:
- 20 percent went to the TRON Foundation
- 19.9 percent stay with the BitTorrent ecosystem
- 19 percent reside with the BitTorrent team and foundation
- 17 percent were sold in private, public, and seed sales
- 10.1 percent are part of a six-year Tron airdrop program
- 10 percent are part of the BitTorrent airdrop program
- 4 percent are partnership tokens
At the time of writing, the circulating supply of BitTorrent is 212,116,500,000 BTT out of a total supply of 990,000,000,000 BTT. The circulating supply increases every month as BTT tokens are airdropped to TRX holders and others as part of the BitTorrent airdrop program.
Purpose of BitTorrent (BTT)
The primary purpose of the BitTorrent (BTT) token is to introduce a monetary incentive into the original BitTorrent protocol. The way it does this is through BitTorrent Speed, which is a downloadable application that implements the BTT token into the BitTorrent protocol.
With BitTorrent Speed, BTT is used to financially incentivize users to seed torrents by awarding them BTT for seeding. The longer you seed, the more you earn, and the faster the downloads become. Also, BitTorrent Speed enables users to bid BTT in exchange for faster downloads. Therefore, BTT introduces a positive feedback loop that makes the BitTorrent system faster and more efficient.
Also, for users not interested in using BTT, they can still use the free BitTorrent protocol without the token and still reap the benefits that BTT brings to the system.
However, the utilization of BTT is said to be a giant leap forward in file-sharing as the entire system benefits. As stated on the BitTorrent website:
“BitTorrent (BTT) allows content creators to connect with their audience, earn and spend digital currency without a middleman. By connecting the BitTorrent peer-to-peer network to the TRON blockchain, we offer a new experience to over 100M+ users.”
In addition to BTT being used in the BitTorrent network, the project also has plans to expand BTTs use in more business cases such as shared file storage, computing, and resource availability. As well, BTT will be expanded to additional features from BitTorrent including the purchase of content, live broadcast tips, and crowdfunding to create new works.
All in all, the BTT token is still very new (less than a year old) and will, therefore, develop new use cases as the project’s ecosystem grows and matures.
BitTorrent (BTT) Issues and Controversies
There is not a single cryptocurrency out there without some sort of controversy. However, some cryptos are more controversial than others and this may very well be the case for BitTorrent (BTT).
BTT was born into controversy largely due to its controversial founder, Justin Sun, who’s also the founder of Tron (TRX), which is perhaps the most controversial cryptocurrency of them all. Sun is known as a marketing genius that uses questionable tactics to spread awareness and hype up his projects. His projects have been called “vaporware”, his Tron cryptocurrency’s whitepaper is proven to be plagiarized, he is known to lie about partnerships, and there’s a slew of other controversial things about him and his tactics.
Since Sun is now the CEO of BitTorrent and founder of BTT, many people are wary of his intentions with BTT. It has been speculated that the launch of BTT is just another way for Sun to make more money. For instance, though he bought BitTorrent for $120 million, he already raised $7.2 million in the BTT IEO, and he and his team are in possession of over 50 percent of the total supply. Therefore, Sun can milk profits from BTT for a very long time and will easily surpass his initial investment.
Also, even if you put Sun’s and Tron’s issues aside, BTT still suffers from controversy that’s not tied to them at all. Many people proclaim that BitTorrent worked just fine up until now, so why does it need a crypto token? While these people have a point, this argument doesn’t hold much merit because the financial incentivization model of BTT does make sense and users are not required to use BTT. The original BitTorrent protocol is still free to use just as it was.
BitTorrent (BTT) Partnerships and Working Products
The BTT cryptocurrency is less than a year old, therefore, it’s still very early on in the project. However, the primary use case or purpose of BTT already has a working product that is deployed across the globe. BTT's working product is called BitTorrent Speed, which is the downloadable application that enhances the BitTorrent protocol with the BTT cryptocurrency.
With BitTorrent Speed, all existing BitTorrent users and torrent clients reap the benefits of the BTT token. BitTorrent Speed is the application that enables users to be rewarded with BTT in exchange for seeding and bandwidth, enabling faster downloads for everyone. As well, this application enables users to bid BTT tokens in exchange for faster downloads.
Moreover, BTT has various other services and working products planned for release in the future such as a decentralized content delivery service, a decentralized storage service, and a decentralized proxying system. However, it is not clear when these products will be developed and released to the market.
As for BTT partnerships, the only ones listed on their site are with the CoinPayments crypto payments gateway and 38 crypto exchanges that have listed BTT. However, as the BTT ecosystem grows we can expect to see many more products and partnerships.
Despite the controversies surrounding BitTorrent (BTT) and its founder, the project is actually really promising. BTT has a real working product on a global scale and has the potential to reach more than 100 million users across 138 countries that already actively use the BitTorrent protocol. The monetary incentivization that BTT provides BitTorrent seeders actually works and improves the overall efficiency of the BitTorrent protocol. It will be interesting to see how BTT grows in adoption and what new products are released in the future. All in all, BTT is a promising project with a real use case, real adoption, and real potential.
What do you think about BitTorrent (BTT)? Do you think it will become widely adopted by BitTorrent users? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.