P2P file sharing communities and cryptocurrency backers collided last month when blockchain startup TRON acquired BitTorrent.
BitTorrent is a file-sharing communications protocol built on a peer-to-peer network which facilitates the sharing of all types of files.
While the BitTorrent protocol and software is legal – and have been used by large companies to distribute files – there are a number of ways which the software can be used “illegally”.
This includes using torrents to share and download pirated content from other users.
With its acquisition of BitTorrent, TRON aims to combine its ambitious blockchain plans and P2P networks to build a large network of cryptocurrency users.
Acquisition and growth
Following the acquisition, TRON founder Justin Sun said the two companies would combine their teams in the United States and work together to build “the future of the decentralised Internet”.
“From this day on, BitTorrent, whose software has been installed on billions of user devices, will become part of the TRON ecosystem, making TRON the largest decentralised Internet ecosystem in the world,” said Sun.
TRON is a cryptocurrency which can be traded on numerous exchanges, with its value driven largely by speculation as to its potential applications.
Following the acquisition of BitTorrent by TRON, many speculated the blockchain startup would integrate its cryptocurrency model into the company’s software.
The extent of this integration was revealed soon after the acquisition, with Sun stating that TRON will incentivise file sharing and seeding by rewarding peers who seed torrents with cryptocurrency.
“At this point, there are no incentives for peers who have completed downloading to continue to seed. We intend to extend rewards to peers who seed torrents, infusing more resources into the torrent ecosystem.”
“BitTorrent will be the largest application on the TRON network, which will allow TRON to surpass Ethereum on daily transactions and become the most influential public blockchain in the world,” said Sun.
Sun’s TRON blockchain has drawn a lot of hype from cryptocurrency investors, and many cryptocurrency advocates on social media regularly reference the coin’s price or increasing transaction volumes as a measure of its success.
Sun also draws comparisons between his cryptocurrency and other major coins like Ethereum, even before a stable implementation of the TRON blockchain protocol existed.
This is shown in his tweet below.
Why #TRON is better than #ETH: 1. 10000TPS vs. 25TPS 2. zero fee vs. high fee 3. consistent Coinburn vs. no coinburn 4. Java vs. Solidity 5. strong extensibility vs. no ex. 6. 1 billion USD developers rewards vs. no plan 7. 100 million users vs. small number #TRX $TRX pic.twitter.com/WvxH5EToa8
— Justin Sun (@justinsuntron) April 6, 2018
The project has drawn fire from several high-profile cryptocurrency experts, however, including Ethereum cofounder Vitalik Buterin and Protocol Labs CEO Juan Benet.
Buterin previously called TRON a scam project aimed at raising as much money as possible, referencing the token’s high valuation when it had no discernible product.
At the beginning of 2018, Protocol Labs CEO Juan Benet called out the project and its founder for plagiarising content in their white paper.
Benet noted that TRON’s white paper mostly comprised of content copied from other projects, including the white papers of his own projects IPFS and Filecoin.
TRON continues to grow and accrue investment despite the criticism, though, and its acquisition of BitTorrent is a big play to bring more legitimacy to its blockchain and its use cases.