For better or worse, Tron’s attempt to offer a customized virtual token through BitTorrent will potentially encourage more file sharing. ‘Users who participate will exchange tokens with each other on the basis of resources provided, not mining,’ BitTorrent said.
BitTorrent wants to reward file-sharing with virtual tokens.
The upcoming feature is part of a project to integrate BitTorrent’s network with blockchain technology from Tron, a cryptocurrency developer that acquired BitTorrent for a reported $140 million last month.
The goal is to create a custom token that can be traded as a way to encourage users to host files over fast networks and to do so over longer periods of time. Ideally, this would produce speedier and more stable downloads.
“Users who participate will exchange tokens with each other on the basis of resources provided, not mining,” BitTorrent said on the website for its project, dubbed Project Atlas.
When the feature will arrive isn’t clear. But to promote its adoption, the company is developing software extensions that will let other BitTorrent clients quickly integrate the token system.
Tron CEO Justin Sun has said he wants content creators to share their work over BitTorrent and also get paid. “The creators of this content could reach hundreds of millions of global users through this decentralized network without any intermediaries,” he wrote in a blog post last month.
Currently, producers of movies and TV shows offer them through streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu. But Tron’s concept promises to remove the middleman so content creators can earn more profit.
Whether any of this is realistic is another matter. BitTorrent, which also develops the uTorrent client, has 100 million monthly active users. However, the file-sharing technology has often been blamed for promoting digital piracy. Through the technology, shady websites like The Pirate Bay have been able to share torrents that can let someone download selected bootleg movies, music, and computer games.