Binance founder Changpeng Zhao lauded Tron on Twitter for bringing a crypto-powered business model to the storied file-sharing software it bought last summer, BitTorrent.
The tweet yielded over 100 retweets and over 500 likes, and a decent thread of comments following what he had to say. Many respondents seemed to jump to the conclusion that Tron would make BitTorrent a paid service. Instead, it’s giving users an option to spend some crypto – the new BitTorrent Token (BTT) to improve their user experience.
The white paper promises a broad universe of possibilities. The document read that by introducing a mechanism for value storage and exchange, the company aims to greatly broaden the universe of possible participants. The company will expand itself either through service requesters, service providers or both.
As for whether BitTorrent would move to a paid model, the white paper addresses this directly: “Participation in the BTT transactions is required to be both fully disclosed and optional for end users.”
Critiques of the move generally argued that BitTorrent wasn’t anything but a decentralized exchange for pirated material. The BTT white paper, however, argues that the protocol could find more uses with a token.
The white paper says that optimizing the existing BitTorrent protocol is an obvious first step in the introduction of a cryptographic token but it barely scratches the surface of what is rapidly becoming possible.
Tron and the BitTorrent Foundation are the entities behind BTT envision three core business lines that could potentially be decentralized via BitTorrent if a value instrument were to be built into it: content delivery, file storage and privacy-protecting proxy services.
Elaine Ou, a blockchain network engineer and Bloomberg opinion contributor, has blogged about past attempts to tokenize bandwidth and data storage.
The new BitTorrent activities still run up against the initial friction for existing BitTorrent users: they have become very accustomed to the protocol delivering its services for free.
The white paper goes to great lengths to explain that it’s not actually free. It contends:
“The system essentially implements a barter economy where individual clients collaborate based on trading pieces of a file they each are trying to download, with delivery bandwidth used as the deciding factor for whom to keep bartering with.”