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What is BitTorrent (BTT)? The File-Sharing Token Explained

What is BitTorrent (BTT)? BitTorrent is a decentralised peer-to-peer file-sharing network, and it is the largest network to date that serves millions of daily users.

Posted July 7, 2021
Last updated August 24, 2022

A guy holding the BitTorrent BTT token logo on a grey background with cityscape silhouette.
A guy holding the BitTorrent BTT token logo on a grey background with cityscape silhouette.

What is BitTorrent (BTT)?

BitTorrent is a decentralised peer-to-peer file-sharing network, and it is the largest network to date that serves millions of daily users around the world. BitTorrent is older than Bitcoin; one might even say that its decentralised infrastructure partly inspired the creation of Bitcoin.

Working according to the vision of its creator Bram Cohen since 2001, BitTorrent has significantly reduced the cost of file distribution and has alleviated Internet gridlocking in the early years of the Internet. 

Unfortunately, no matter how useful BitTorrent was, the network was run primarily on the generosity of its users. In 2019, BitTorrent was acquired by the Tron Foundation, and BTT tokens were introduced to provide incentives to users who actively participate in the BitTorrent network.

Thus, BTT is the crypto token that powers BitTorrent, and the network is stronger than ever in more than twenty years of its life.

Read more: What is Tron (TRX)?

Some readers may recognise BitTorrent for its reputation as a platform to download pirated content. Although it was never Cohen’s intention to enable mass online piracy, it is the natural consequence of a decentralised network where anyone can participate without permission.

This is similar to asking whether Bitcoin is legal or not. Like Bitcoin, BitTorrent is only a technology, and the founders of both technologies cannot control how users are supposed to use it. 

It is therefore the responsibility of regulatory bodies to have a system set in place to prevent misuse. For example, crypto exchanges are responsible to follow anti-money laundering protocols to ensure that users cannot exchange illegitimate funds for bitcoin.

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Similarly, artists, content creators, and distributors must secure their products beforehand to prevent end-users from simply extracting files from media such as DVDs and streaming platforms. 

To put it in another way, BitTorrent is just the infrastructure (a road system) that is indifferent to the kinds of data (the vehicles) that travel through it. 

Related: Is Bitcoin Real Money?

Benefits of BitTorrent

BitTorrent has actually served society well. In 2007, BitTorrent, Inc. opened an online video store which sells videos that are already licensed by Hollywood. A year later, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) became the first North American broadcaster to make a full show available for download, using the BitTorrent network.

Throughout 2009 and 2010, the Dutch broadcasting organisation VPRO released four documentaries under the Creative Commons license using the BitTorrent content distribution network.

Free content and patches for Diablo III, StarCraft II, and World of Warcraft, owned by game company Blizzard Entertainment, used BitTorrent to efficiently distribute data across the world to their customers.  

At one point (at an undisclosed date), the British Government used BitTorrent to “distribute details about how the tax money of UK citizens was spent”, according to a tweet by BitTorrent, Inc

Without BitTorrent, distributing large files to millions of users scattered across the globe would become a logistical nightmare, even when data on the Internet can travel literally at the speed of light. 

Black and white logo of BitTorrent (BTT).
How does BTT facilitate the BitTorrent network? Image source:

How BitTorrent and BTT works together

In order to know how the BTT token benefits BitTorrent, we need to briefly review how BitTorrent works.

In the BitTorrent network, there are two distinct types of user — service provider and requester. Service providers upload torrents, or fragments of data of a whole content, to provide additional bandwidth and increase download speeds at the receiving end. This practice is known as seeding.

Requesters receive torrents from many different seeders. This is different from downloading from one computer to another, where the data transmission is limited by the bandwidth of the pathway between the two computers.

Requesters also have the option to seed as they download. Before the introduction of BTT tokens, requesters could simply stop seeding once their download was complete, without giving back to the network. This practice is called leeching.

To discourage leeching, seeders in the BitTorrent network will receive BTT tokens. This free-floating cryptocurrency has monetary value and can be traded for fiat currency at an exchange, or to unlock additional services on the BitTorrent platform.

BTT tokens can also be used to bid for more bandwidth. This enables a BitTorrent requester to receive greater rates of the torrent, thereby increasing the download speed. 

BitTorrent is no longer owned by a private company, and being part of the Tron Foundation, its governance as a decentralised platform relies on a voting mechanism that uses BTT tokens.

Learn more: What are Decentralised Applications (Dapps)?

Banner explaining what Bittorent Token is.

Technical details of the BTT token

The BTT token is a TRC-10 token. It was originally launched (pre-sold) on the Binance launchpad, however now BTT tokens are receivable via airdrop or purchased through a supporting exchange.

All TRC-10 tokens are supported by any type of software such as Tron wallets and multi-currency wallets like Atomic Wallet. Currently, the only hardware wallet that supports BTT is the Ledger Nano.

All BTT tokens were pre-minted with a maximum supply of 990 billion tokens. After the pre-sale, 59.8 billion BTT raised $7.2 million. The next 1.4 billion BTT tokens will be airdropped every month from February 2019 to February 2025 to any Tron (TRX) holder — the size of the airdrop increases every year.

The rest of the supply is distributed amongst the BitTorrent team and foundation (19%), the BitTorrent Ecosystem (20%), and other associated partners (4%).

Learn more: Beginners Guide to Crypto Airdrops

BitTorrent and Tron’s Creative Network

Tron Foundation’s acquisition of BitTorrent actually aligns with their agenda to establish a decentralised system that empowers content creators. 

While Tron already has an infrastructure to make a fair and transparent creative market, distribution was likely the next hurdle given that transmitting data across a distributed network is no easy task.

BitTorrent may be a logical investment option for those bullish on Tron (TRX). With Easy Crypto’s Auto-Buy feature, you can employ the dollar-cost averaging strategy to invest in BTT in a disciplined and consistent manner.

Start today. Invest in BitTorrent (BTT)

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Disclaimer: Information is current as at the date of publication. This is general information only and is not intended to be advice. Crypto is volatile, carries risk and the value can go up and down. Past performance is not an indicator of future returns. Please do your own research.

Last updated August 24, 2022

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