UPDATED | January 21, 2019
BitTorrent Inc. announced its expected release of BitTorrent Speed at the 2019 niTROn Summit on Thursday, January 17. BitTorrent Speed aims to increase the speed of uploads and downloads by rewarding users with BTT tokens in exchange for "seeding" files for longer periods. The software is expected to be available on the µTorrent Classic Windows client this summer.
ORIGINAL | January 3, 2019
Today, the TRON Foundation and BitTorrent Foundation announced plans to release a BitTorrent-specific TRON token that will be made available on Binance Launchpad to non-US accounts. The BitTorrent token, called BitTorrent (BTT), will be issued by the BitTorrent Foundation, and allow holders to pay for faster download speeds.
But this is only the beginning, says Justin Sun, Founder of TRON and CEO of BitTorrent:"BitTorrent token is the first in a series of steps to support a decentralized internet."
BTT is more than just a way for BitTorrent to incentivize its platform users to spend more money. BitTorrent says that users who use BTT to pay for downloads will also increase speeds for other BitTorrent users.
To understand why that's the case, it's important to know a bit about how BitTorrent works. BitTorrent clients download media using shared resources from other clients in the network: While a person is downloading media, they are also uploading data for other users in an automated bartering system. Once a download is complete, the client continues to upload data for other downloaders, "but this activity is entirely altruistic and there is no economic penalty for end users switching off their BitTorrent client and stopping."
In other words, BitTorrent suffers from structural problems: "Once the downloading peer has the entire file there is insufficient economic incentive remaining to continue to make the file available to other downloaders." The launch of BTT helps addresses these inefficiencies by providing "blockchain-based rewards for provision of infrastructure services."
The token's white paper also details the BitTorrent Foundation's efforts to develop decentralized applications using blockchain technology like TRON, and what it sees as its unique position to "address the enormous marketing challenge of building critical mass which is a crucial technical necessity for all distributed systems." And with more than 100 million active users who stand to benefit from a network-improving token economy, it might be right.
No date has yet been announced for the token sale, though Binance Launchpad is advertising that it will offer "about one new token launch every month in 2019, starting with BitTorrent and Fetch.AI." TRON and BitTorrent promise to provide more information at niTRON Summit, to be held in San Francisco January 17-18.