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About BitTorrent

BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer file sharing protocol that allows users to distribute and download large files without relying on a central server. Instead, the protocol breaks files into small pieces called shards that are distributed across a decentralized network of peer computers. When a user wants to download a file, they receive different shards from multiple peers and reassemble them into the original file. This distributed nature makes BitTorrent well-suited for efficiently sharing large files.

What Problem Does BitTorrent (BTT) Solve?

In the context of the internet’s evolution, BitTorrent (BTT) emerges as a pivotal innovation addressing a critical challenge. Reflecting on the internet’s foundational structure, it’s a marvel of decentralization, operating without a singular governing entity but rather through an array of interconnected systems. Consider the trajectory of internet adoption: from 16 million users in December 1995 to a staggering 360 million by 2020, escalating to over 4.7 billion individuals today. This exponential growth, marked by an influx of 900,000 new daily users since last year, underscores a burgeoning demand that threatens to precipitate ‘internet gridlock’, potentially eroding billions in global revenue.

BitTorrent stands out in this landscape as a salient solution, optimizing the decentralized nature of the internet for file sharing. Its significance is especially pronounced for publishers needing to distribute large files cost-effectively. By capitalizing on the BitTorrent protocol, these entities can disseminate content at substantially reduced costs, a benefit that cascades to the broader community. The reduced expense of uploading and sharing content naturally translates into lower content acquisition costs for end-users. Therefore, BitTorrent not only alleviates the strain on internet infrastructure but also democratizes access to digital content, making it more affordable and accessible for the global internet community.

History of BitTorrent

The BitTorrent protocol was created by programmer Bram Cohen in 2001 as a way to relieve the bandwidth burden for sites distributing popular content. The first client was released in July 2001. BitTorrent quickly gained popularity for its ability to distribute large movie, music, and software files without the need for expensive infrastructure.

Some major milestones include BitTorrent being used by Linux distros for software distribution starting in 2002. BitTorrent Inc. was founded in 2004 to monetize the protocol via advertisements. By 2009, BitTorrent was responsible for roughly 27-55% of all Internet traffic. While it exploded in popularity, BitTorrent also raised legal issues regarding piracy that I will discuss later.

How BitTorrent Works

The key innovation of BitTorrent was breaking files into small shards that can be transferred from many peers simultaneously. This allows the bandwidth burden to be distributed across the network.

To start, a central tracker coordinates file distribution. When a user wants to share a file they create a .torrent file that contains metadata about the file shards and tracker information. To download, users connect to the tracker which tells them which peers have shards. The downloading client then requests different shards from multiple peers. Once a peer has a complete file they may also redistribute shards.

This parallel downloading from many peers makes BitTorrent extremely fast compared to a central server. The more peers in the swarm, the faster the download. BitTorrent’s distributed nature helps it efficiently scale.

Popularity and Usage of BitTorrent

At its peak, BitTorrent was responsible for a large percentage of all Internet traffic. Though its popularity has waned with the rise of legal streaming services like Netflix, BitTorrent still sees widespread usage today.

Key reasons for its popularity include:

  • Ability to efficiently distribute large files at low cost
  • Access to content not available through legal means
  • High speeds from parallel downloading
  • Lack of restrictions on what can be shared

While BitTorrent facilitates illegal file sharing, it has many legal uses such as distributing authorized content including Linux ISOs, software updates, indie music and film, and more.

Legal Issues Surrounding BitTorrent

BitTorrent facilitates efficient file distribution but does not distinguish between illegal and legal uses. A major legal criticism is that BitTorrent enables casual piracy of copyrighted material.

Movies, music, television shows, and software are often shared without authorization. The volume of illegal material shared via BitTorrent is massive. Attempts have been made to shut down trackers indexing pirated content.

Bittorrent users downloading copyrighted files without payment deprive content creators compensation for their work. However, studies show BitTorrent piracy also boosts legal consumption through increased word-of-mouth marketing. The impact of BitTorrent piracy on sales remains complex and debated.

Justin Sun and the Founding of the Tron Foundation

Justin Sun is a Chinese technology entrepreneur and the founder of Tron, a blockchain platform aimed at building a decentralized internet. Sun established the Tron Foundation in 2017 after having success with previous startups like Peiwo.

Sun successfully raised $70 million in an ICO in late 2017 to fund and launch the Tron blockchain as an Ethereum competitor. Tron’s goal was to allow decentralized applications and smart contracts.

In 2018, Tron acquired the company behind BitTorrent to bring decentralized capabilities to the popular protocol. This acquisition paved the way for adding blockchain features to BitTorrent.

BitTorrent Token (BTT)

In 2019, the Tron Foundation introduced a TRC-10 utility token called BitTorrent Token built on the Tron blockchain. The BTT token is meant to allow BitTorrent users to transact value in exchange for improved uploading and downloading performance.

For example, BTT can be spent to get faster download speeds from BitTorrent clients that support tokenization. Users earn BTT from seeding and contributing resources to swarms.

The BTT token aims to introduce decentralized incentives to BitTorrent’s established peer-to-peer file sharing model. Tron conducted an ICO for BTT in early 2019, raising $7.2 million in 15 minutes. There is a maximum supply of 990 billion BTT.

Advantages and Disadvantages of BitTorrent


  • Efficient distribution of large files
  • Faster download speeds via sharding
  • Lower infrastructure costs
  • Decentralized architecture
  • Democratized access to information


  • Enables and sometimes encourages piracy
  • Malware risks from downloading files from untrusted peers
  • Legal gray area and copyright issues
  • Cryptocurrency aspects add speculation
  • Rewards for seeding may incentivize hoarding of files

There are reasonable arguments on both sides of BitTorrent – it facilitates innovation but also disruption. As with many technologies, sensible policies and norms may need to mitigate downsides of information democratization.

Future Outlook for BTT

The BTT token aims to provide a crypto economic incentive layer atop the base BitTorrent protocol. The performance and adoption of BTT will depend largely on the utility value provided to BitTorrent users.

Some potential drivers of BTT adoption include:

  • Integration into more BitTorrent clients
  • Development of additional token utilities and capabilities
  • Increased legal, licensed content distributed via BitTorrent
  • Speculation and investor interest driving up token valuation

On the other hand, factors such as piracy crackdowns or competition from centralized streaming platforms could limit BTT adoption. Despite risks, BTT represents an ambitious initiative to combine blockchain and peer-to-peer file sharing. The decentralized future of BitTorrent rests on the success of its crypto token experiment.


BitTorrent (BTT) is a popular peer-to-peer file sharing and torrent platform launched in 2019. It allows users to host distributed files and applications on the BitTorrent network.

BitTorrent is commonly used for quickly and efficiently distributing large, popular files like movies, TV shows, music, ebooks, and games. It saves bandwidth for content creators while allowing users to download content faster.

BTT can be purchased on major exchanges like Binance, Huobi, and OKX. It can be traded against cryptocurrencies like BTC, ETH, and USDT.

New BTT coins are created through a process called “airdrops”. The TRON Foundation distributes free BTT to TRX holders to grow the BitTorrent ecosystem. BTT can also be earned through seeding files on the BitTorrent network.

Yes, BTT can be mined by seeding and uploading files to the BitTorrent network. More seeds on a file results in faster download speeds, which earns BTT rewards for miners.

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