BitTorrent to issue tokens for prioritized downloads

The BitTorrent Foundation is introducing a token dubbed BTT that will allow users to pay for prioritized access to files, while incentivizing them to continue sharing them.

The file-sharing service was purchased by blockchain startup Tron last July. According to its whitepaper, BTT is a TRC-10 utility token on the Tron blockchain, and will initially be used to encourage users to optimize and prolong the sharing of files.

A new feature in the program, called BitTorrent Speed, will make use of blockchain-based rewards that will get users to allow access to their files.

BitTorrent said that at present, “[o]nce the downloading peer has the entire file there is insufficient economic incentive remaining to continue to make the file available to other downloaders.”

The company said that with BitTorrent Speed allowing prioritized access, the payments of which could be recouped by sharing one’s own files in turn, peers will opt to let their downloaded files be uploaded, which will lengthen the availability of a file and make downloads faster.

Identities of BTT owners will remain unknown, where only associated IP addresses and port numbers are visible, much like how BitTorrent is used at present.

Beyond being a peer-to-peer file-sharing system, BitTorrent said that it plans for BTT to eventually be made available to developers who could then use the Tron chain for launching their own decentralized applications.

“Our longer-term vision is to broaden the usage of BitTorrent far beyond current use cases to provide a distributed infrastructure platform to third party app developers and to enable consumers to continuously distill small amounts of value from their devices by allowing others to make use of their spare resources,” the whitepaper read.

It added that actions of “net neutrality adversaries,” or service providers that select what internet content is to be accessed by subscribers, could be circumvented when such content is made available through the network.

BitTorrent boasts of over 100 million users in 138 countries, and constitutes 22% of global upstream traffic.

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