BitTorrent is a popular peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing and torrent platform which has become increasingly decentralized in recent years.
Originally released in July 2001, BitTorrent was purchased by blockchain platform TRON in July 2018.
Since its acquisition, BitTorrent has added various new tools, with a dedicated native cryptocurrency token, BTT, released in February 2019. BTT was launched on TRON’s own blockchain, using its TRC-10 standard.
According to its official literature, BitTorrent is currently the “largest decentralized P2P communications protocol” in the world.
The original BitTorrent is the brainchild of Bram Cohen, a developer and entrepreneur who himself has since become well known in the cryptocurrency arena.
Cohen has explained that he designed BitTorrent to usurp the dated entertainment industry, which made obtaining material slow and expensive.
The platform has seen multiple legal battles, with Cohen maintaining that it does not break copyright laws in allowing users to share files such as music and movies among themselves.
In 2018, TRON completed its acquisition of BitTorrent, bringing BitTorrent under the control of Justin Sun. Sun is notorious for his plugging of both TRON as a cryptocurrency and its blockchain technology, bidding $4.5 million at a charity auction to have lunch with Warren Buffett (well-known anti-crypto figure) and discuss cryptocurrency with him.
TRON is also behind the addition of cryptocurrency to BitTorrent, as the BTT token was released on TRON’s blockchain. The move formed part of TRON’s efforts to add further decentralized features to the platform.
BitTorrent’s original goal was to disrupt the legacy entertainment industry and how consumers obtain content.
Expensive and inefficient distribution networks were the main target, with original developer Bram Cohen seeing benefits in allowing internet users to distribute content among themselves directly.
In the early 2000s, BitTorrent became the go-to P2P file sharing platform, with TRON stepping in 2018.
Under TRON, BitTorrent has expanded its user appeal to those interested in decentralized solutions and cryptocurrency, as well as to its own user base.
Among the added features are BitTorrent Speed, which uses the BTT token as part of its operations.
BitTorrent has also branched out into paid services, offering several “premium” versions of its platform which include VPN capabilities and ad-free browsing.
BTT is BitTorrent’s native cryptocurrency, issued on TRON’s blockchain as a TRC-10 standard token.
The total supply, as stated in its whitepaper, is 990,000,000,000 BTT. 6% of that total was available in a public token sale, 2% in a private token sale and 9% in a seed sale.
Another 20.1% are reserved for airdrops, which are set to occur at various points until 2025. The BitTorrent team and umbrella organization, the BitTorrent Foundation, were awarded 19% of the supply. The TRON foundation holds 20%, with 19.9% going to the BitTorrent ecosystem itself.
A final 4% of tokens are reserved for partnership activities.
BTT plays various roles in BitTorrent’s products, including allowing users to pay others for faster downloads with BitTorrent Speed.
BitTorrent says that it employs “the highest level of security measures” in order to secure user funds, but advises that cryptocurrency involves inherent risk.
The company recommends that users protect themselves against theft, in the form of malware or similar programs, by using options such as biometric verification.