As a joint project between Tron and BitTorrent Foundation, BitTorrent token was launched in early 2019 as an attempt to tokenize popular file sharing protocol and improve content delivery and bandwidth availability with the help of blockchain.
|Market Cap||Volume 24h||Circulating Supply||Maximum Supply|
|$609,585,287||$383.47||923767696429.0 BTT||990000000000.0 BTT|
What is BitTorrent Token?
BitTorrent is a file sharing protocol with the community of over 100 million users. As such, it has become a household name among the users of the torrent technology and wider file-sharing community. Its acquisition by TRON in 2019 (as part of a USD 140 million deal) was followed by a recent introduction of the BitTorrent cryptocurrency and its BTT token with the aim to deliver at least some of these proclaimed goals:
- BitTorrent (BTT) should become a bridge between content creators and their audience. The BTT team believes in the potential of cryptocurrencies to allow both the creators and users to acquire and spend them with no intermediaries involved. Thus, the users will be able to use the BTT tokens to give new value to their contributed computing resources and the transaction process will not involve the use of fiat currencies.
- Cryptocurrency technology should be familiar to the torrent user community which has a long history of promoting sharing and cooperation while resisting censorship. The BitTorrent token lies at the heart of a future decentralized platform whose goals are to “promote openness, spurn censorship and reward their participants”. Perceiving that the torrent users should be no strangers to these principles, TRON jumps in as a provider of a technological infrastructure that should connect all of these users at a global level.
- BTT token is supposed to bring blockchain closer to becoming a mainstream technology. Making the BitTorrent P2P network and TRON blockchain work like a unified ecosystem should ultimately mean extending the blockchain’s reach to the millions of new users and helping with the blockchain’s mass adoption.
- The BTT token model should unify the efforts to reduce structural shortcomings of the BitTorrent protocol itself. The initial task of the BTT project is to offer market-driven incentives to its users in order to promote their collaboration. The common goal is to have them work together on optimizing and prolonging the lifespan of BitTorrent swarms.
- The BitTorrent token will power the BitTorrent Speed model. Acquired BTT tokens can be offered in exchange for having access to faster downloads. They will be stored in a dedicated wallet and given support for being exchanged for TRON (TRX) tokens through a decentralized exchange.
How Will BitTorrent Protocol and TRON Work Together?
From the technological point of view, the BTT token aims to combine the strengths of two main solutions found at its core:
- BitTorrent (BT) protocol and
- TRON, bearing in mind that the token itself is based on TRC-10 token.
What brings these two technologies together is their focus on peer-to-peer technology (P2P).
For starters, BitTorrent works as a communication protocol which uses P2P as the backbone of its file sharing system. As such, it is the popular platform for the distribution of electronic data and files over the internet. Depending on location, P2P networks are said to account for 43% to 70% of all Internet traffic when observed as a collective. BitTorrent protocol has already proven itself as a platform of choice for the distribution of larger files, such as video clips, TV shows, movies, audio files, games etc.
Similarly, TRON also operates as a P2P-focused network technology. Its ambition is to become a global operating system for unrestricted storing and uploading of data of all types, including audio and video content. Since these content types are already the mainstay with the BT protocol, Justin Sun, founder of Tron and CEO of BitTorrent, describes this unity of purpose and technology as: “Think of Tron and BitTorrent like a razor and a blade. You need both together to create a new internet economy driven by decentralization. We are seeding BTT to deliver a marketplace of innovations and applications across the web.”
How Does the BTT Token Work?
BT protocol is what brings together various providers of online services, such as
- Torrent sites, which keep track of metadata about shared files and serve as gateways to torrents,
- Trackers which are used to introduce peers.
- In swarms, service providers accepting BTT tokens can be seeds (users with the fully downloaded file which is part of a torrent) or peers (users with partial copies of the desired files).
The team behind the BTT token promises to apply the existing expertise in running this long-existing infrastructure to the operation of its token-based system. BTT is supposed to act as the bridge for easier transactions involving available computing resources between the users of BitTorrent protocol and service providers and requesters.
All transactions involving the provision of various services within the future ecosystem will be denominated in BTT tokens. The goal is to make the tokens themselves as broadly divisible as possible in order to accommodate for wide pricing ranges for the provided services. Transfer of tokens will be done via an on-chain/off-chain exchange and it will include both private ledger and the public TRON blockchain.
While the issue of the token adoption among the torrent users is still only in the domain of speculations and projections, the BTT team places trust in the size of the BitTorrent ecosystem itself, with about 1 billion devices in use at the moment. Future price growth for the BTT token is to be ensured by having only about 990 BTT per device (in theory) out of the planned supply of 990 billion tokens.
The tokens will be delivered as part of monthly airdrops organized by the Tron team. Starting in February 2019, they are supposed to run until February 2025, with their size increasing with every passing year as a reward for Tron’s investors.
How Can the BTT Improve BitTorrent’s Performance?
In the world of torrent technology, making one’s files available to others (“seeding”) is one of the central considerations in maintaining the health of its entire ecosystem. BTT token represents an attempt to improve the existing model by making the BTT a provider of much-needed economic incentives for the torrent users to play fairly and be rewarded for it:
- Due to a structural shortcoming in its basic technology, BitTorrent swarms are prone to premature deterioration of their quality or even complete disappearance. The reason for this is the fact that the users can download complete files before being required to upload the same amount of bytes and make them available to other downloaders. The swarms can be left with no penalty, thus reducing their longevity and quality.
- Since the BitTorrent protocol already relies on cutting the files into portions, the BitTorrent Speed system will allow the peers to offer each other BTT tokens as an incentive to continue to seed files even after the downloads have been completed.
- The ability to earn BTT tokens should incentivize more users to dedicate more of their bandwidth and storage resources in support of keeping the swarms faster and resistant to degradation. Instead of relying on mining, the BTT tokens will be acquired and exchanged based on the amount of resources the users provide.
- As the transactions with BTT tokens will go through the TRON’s blockchain network, they are supposed to help with the development of the TRON’s own ecosystem. At the same time, the use of the BTT tokens will not be mandatory and the “regular” users will be allowed to download content from those using the tokens with no technical limitations.
How Does the BTT’s Bidding System Work?
This exchange is to be done via the system of bids which relies on the barter economy already existing on top of the BitTorrent protocol. Once the BitTorrent Speed is integrated with the future versions of BitTorrent and μTorrent clients, the users will advertise their bids within a swarm and trade BTT tokens in exchange for prioritized access to seeds.
- “Prioritized” here refers to the preferential treatment given to particular users by the so-called choking mechanism which controls peer selection and allocates resources within a swarm. This mechanism is the basis of the “tit-for-tat” sharing algorithm by which the BitTorrent clients designate peers as being “choked” or “unchoked”. Only the unchoked peers are able to receive data from the client.
- Users will be able to offer rewards to others for their continued seeding of the files they want access to. In addition to motivating seeds to remain in a swarm, using BTT paired with choking mechanism is supposed to ensure faster download speeds and promote easier content delivery across a higher number of cooperating users.
- The amount of BTT tokens one holds and the available upload speeds will serve as “market inputs” within this system. At the same time, peers will be both service requesters and providers, depending on whether they offer their local resources in exchange for BTT or vice versa. Before being able to make their initial bids, service requesters will be required to give evidence of their BTT balance by placing a certain amount of tokens into the payment channel between them and service providers.
Future BTT Services and Project Atlas
Going beyond its immediate applications, the BTT token should also bridge the TRON blockchain and BitTorrent network in order to deliver the promised features of a “new” and more decentralized internet. The concept of the decentralized web is central to the Project Atlas which also gave birth to the BTT token. Introduction of this crypto token is supposed to open door to delivering the following services in the long run:
- Decentralized content delivery service will allow service requesters (peers) to advertise bids and use BTT tokens to pay for bandwidth and get a desired piece of content. The aim is to create a system for mass distribution of content, particularly that which would be resistant to attackers and censors alike. One of potential issues may be a higher number of service requesters, but the BTT team hopes to see their token playing the role of an incentive for service providers to keep open access to their files to as many requesters as possible.
- Future BTT token ecosystem should also feature a decentralized storage service. It will allow service requesters to utilize their tokens to pay for the data storage. Service providers will be in charge of delivering proofs-of-storage to the requesters and enabling on-demand download of stored data at a fixed predefined price. Providers will be able to search for the content with the payment rates which suit their needs best.
- Finally, the range of offered services will also include a decentralized proxying system which will allow service requesters to pay certain users for URL-based retrieval of content. This is seen as a potentially attractive option for the users seeking to avoid IP network controls, as well as for the mobile users relying mainly on Wifi. The system will allow for breaking content into individual chunks which can be requested by the future users.
BTT Token Availability and Community’s Response
Once the series of planned airdrops started in February 2019, BTT token managed to make headlines, both for its price performance and the community feedback. While the BTT token sale was launched with the help of Binance Launchpad, the Users don’t actually need to hold their tokens on Binance to receive the BTT airdrop. Several crypto exchanges offered their support for BTT airdrops, including include OKEx, Huobi, Bithumb, Upbit, Gate.io, Bibox, BitForex, Coinsuper, Kucoin, Bittrex and others. In addition to them, Tron Wallet and Trust Wallet have also pledged support for other BTT-like TRC-10 tokens as well as the existing one.
Reactions coming from the crypto and torrent-user communities are varied, which is probably unsurprising considering that BTT is a new technology. Some do see it as a great “penny stock” coin for investments while others are more skeptic regarding the BTT’s potential, citing the need for the token to establish itself in the community which is used to “free” stuff coming with the file sharing and torrents.
There is also a potential issue of legality since the BitTorrents are sometimes used to illegally download various types of content. There are also concerns that tokenization of the BitTorrent may lead to easier identification of users who both download and provide this type of content. Skeptics among the users also claim that BitTorrent protocol is already used to distribute legal content, questioning the efficiency of the token model in incentivizing people to share their bandwidth.