Popular BitTorrent client Frostwire has integrated an experimental mechanism that will allow users to donate bitcoins to torrent sharers. In addition to bitcoin, the same mechanism can be used for litecoin, dogecoin and even PayPal.
FrostWire believes the idea will allow small content creators to easily monetize their content simply by getting tips from those who download it using the P2P client. Needless to say, Big Content is probably not thrilled by the prospect of decentralised content markets, let alone the fact that the technology could even be used to monetize piracy.
However, that is not what FrostWire has in mind, not even close.
Fighting piracy through P2P?
In fact, Frostwire developers believe they are combating piracy by adding the tip mechanism. FrostWire’s Angel Leon told Torrentfreak:
“We believe piracy is best fought by giving consumers the options of getting legal content, and we want to build solutions that use this technology to empower content creators no matter how big or small they are. We want them to try BitTorrent as an alternative, an additional channel. We think it will be easier to convince more and more artists to join us with the new possibilities.”
“Putting it bluntly, Bitcoin and BitTorrent integration give us the tools to create the P2P equivalents of iTunes and Netflix, which are centralized venues which work great for big content but not so much for the little guys who have to jump through many hoops to get in.”
If piracy scares Big Content, then this idea could leave it shell-shocked. Depending on how it is implemented, it could allow just about anyone to monetize huge amounts of content with relatively little in the way of resources and infrastructure. The P2P network would provide both the hardware and bandwidth, as well as cash.
FrostWire sees endless possibilities
In addition to simply selling content via P2P networks, using P2P currencies, FrostWire believes the concept could be applied to other commercial and non-commercial ideas.
Leon believes it could result in a decentralised media store owned by nobody and available to all. The network would allow content creators to deal directly with customers, eliminating corporate interests in the process.
Cutting out the middleman tends to be good for business, so content prices could go down, while at the same time content creators could earn even more than they would if they used a traditional publisher or distributor.
It would also give content creators more freedom, as they would not have to water down their works to meet corporate standards. In other words, it may lead to even more explicit lyrics, mental bass lines and gratuitous nudity in videos.
Non-commercial efforts could help charities raise more money and more awareness, simply by tapping P2P networks with the help of a few popular artists. Artists could share content, while people who enjoy it could make bitcoin donations to their charity of choice.
It sounds like a very practical and useful concept, but at the end of the day it still relies on people – which might not be a bad thing.
From a moral perspective, it is one thing to rip off a huge corporation by illegally downloading its content – as many people simply don’t care.
However, they might think twice if their cash is going directly to the artist and if the price is much lower without corporate middlemen.
If you are interested, you can check up FrostWire’s GitHub for more information.