Before cryptocurrencies even existed, BitTorrent was already a pioneer in the peer-to-peer protocol space by allowing millions of users across the world to directly swap files without permission. This is done via torrents, a type of metadata that stores files across various locations and allows for easy file-sharing without a central intermediary.
Peer-to-peer protocols have a problem though, they can be difficult to maintain over time. Without an economic incentive, participants are more likely to use the platform rather than actively contribute to it.
This is where blockchain technology comes in.
What is BitTorrent (BTT)?
In 2018 BitTorrent was purchased by Justin Sun, the founder of Tron (TRX), who introduced the BitTorrent token (BTT) into the ecosystem. BTT is built utilizing a TRC-10 token on the Tron blockchain.
The BTT token introduces a token economy to BitTorrent, meaning users can gain direct economic benefit for their contributions. BTT incentivizes users to actively contribute to the network, rather than depending on their kindness.
Read on to learn about all the ways BTT is incentivizing network growth through its unique use cases.
BitTorrent Use Case: Faster Download Speeds
BitTorrent Speed was the original use case for the BTT token and remains the primary use case to this day. It is a unique feature and incentive mechanism that gives both uploaders and downloaders the option to receive and spend BTT tokens while using the platform.
Through BitTorrent Speed, users who are downloading content have the option to pay BTT to uploaders for faster download speeds. Those who have enabled BitTorrent Speed and connected their BTT wallet will have bids automatically placed for them while downloading torrents. When these bids are accepted download speeds are also adjusted automatically, so there is no extra work necessary on the user’s part while downloading.
In addition to giving users the option to increase their download speeds, BitTorrent Speed also incentivizes more participants to upload their content and leave it uploaded for longer periods since they have the chance of earning BTT tokens while doing so. The longer amount of time the user spends seeding the file (allowing others to download it) the more BTT tokens they are eligible to earn.
By allowing users to optimize their experience (through faster downloads) and providing an economic incentive for those uploading files, BitTorrent Speed’s use of the BTT token creates a positive feedback loop increasing both the number of files available and the demand for those files.
BitTorrent Use Case: BTFS (BitTorrent File System)
The BTFS (BitTorrent File System) is both a protocol and a network aimed at achieving a truly decentralized filing system for the internet.
Whereas more traditional file storage solutions are plagued by centralization and censorship, BTFS solves this via BitTorrent’s unique peer-to-peer mechanisms.
In addition, BTFS is stored and run on the blockchain which further enhances its decentralized and censorship-resistant properties. Different peers in the network store different parts of a website, which distributes hosting across the entire web. The file system is also secured by millions of BitTorrent users who are running nodes around the world.
Decentralized filing systems are a key requirement for Web 3.0. and BTFS is promising in this regard, even allowing developers to build decentralized applications (Dapps) on top of the protocol.
On top of this, you can, of course, earn BTT by allowing access to resources that are currently not being used on your computer such as storage, memory, and bandwidth. This incentivizes a larger number of users to dedicate their unused resources, which helps the network to run even faster and smoother than before. BTT tokens are earned and exchanged in direct proportion to the resources provided by the user.
BitTorrent Use Case: DLive
DLive is a decentralized live streaming network built on the Tron blockchain. It was purchased by BitTorrent in 2019. DLive utilizes BTT to financially empower content creators, viewers, and those willing to stake tokens on the platform through its unique rewards system.
Viewers can subscribe to channels and give donations to their favorite streamers using BTT. This form of direct payment from users to creators is a primary driver for the next iteration of the internet (Web 3.0) which hopes to create a more decentralized internet by eliminating advertising as the primary business model of creators. DLive is one of the first social media platforms to implement direct payments at scale.
Creators can also choose to reward users by paying small rewards in BTT based on challenges or the amount of time the user has spent streaming their channel. This incentivizes more engagement and time spent on the platform by users.
In addition, DLive also utilizes staking which means you can stake BTT tokens and earn rewards (in BTT) over time. Those who stake are eligible to earn up to 5% of the transaction value performed on the platform. There are no minimum amount of tokens required to stake, but users must stake for at least 2 weeks to participate.
BitTorrent Use Case: Investment
Like most cryptocurrencies, one of the primary use cases of BTT involves speculating on the price of the token gaining value over time. Those who have held BTT from the beginning have not been disappointed as they currently have a more than 2000% return on their investment (ROI). The current market cap is just over 2.5 billion dollars at the time of writing.
Since BTT is a utility token, some would argue it has an inherent value and will never go to zero. This is because BitTorrent has proven itself as a network and there will likely be continued demand by active users who will need BTT to participate to the fullest extent. Investors looking for a token with intrinsic value to hedge the risk of going to zero on other risky cryptocurrencies may want to take a look at BTT.
However, there are also some regulatory risks related to BitTorrent itself which could negatively affect BTT as an investment. Since torrents tend to revolve around illegally pirated content, some investors worry that BTT token could become difficult to trade out of for dollars on regulated exchanges should BitTorrent find itself in future legal trouble. For now, this is merely speculation though.
BitTorrent in Today’s Market
BitTorrent is a very interesting service that is a true pioneer in the field of decentralization and is still very popular today.
As a utility token, BTT delivers a full range of very tangible use cases on a popular network (BitTorrent). These include incentivizing users to participate on three popular platforms in the BitTorrent ecosystem (BitTorrent Speed, BitTorrent File System, and DLive).
Being a utility token means that BTT is likely to retain some value since there will always be demand from BitTorrent users. However, the nature of the underlying BitTorrent network (in some cases involving illegal file sharing) does provide slight regulatory risk should you want to cash out of the token on a regulated exchange.
If you are a fan of BitTorrent and believe in the continued utility of the BTT token, it may be worth taking a look at.