BitTorrent (BTT) is a token that was launched on the Tron blockchain in early 2019 by the BitTorrent Foundation, which was created after BitTorrent Inc. was acquired by Tron founder Justin Sun. 

BitTorrent Inc. developed the popular peer-to-peer file sharing software of the same name. BTT was launched on the Binance launchpad as a TRC-10 token

Singapore-based BitTorrent Foundation announced that the token would run on the Tron protocol after Sun acquired BitTorrent in 2018. After the acquisition, the Tron Foundation revealed Project Atlas, a new iteration of the BitTorrent file sharing software that aims to integrate BitTorrent token (BTT). In July 2019, BitTorrent introduced BitTorrent Speed, which incentivizes users to seed their files by rewarding them with BTT for seeding and bandwidth, and thus enables faster downloading speed.

In 2019, BitTorrent claimed to have 100 million users in 138 countries, making it the top torrenting service in the world at the time.

BitTorrent 101: How does BitTorrent work?

Vision

Sun acquired Singapore-based BitTorrent for $120 million in 2018, and the company subsequently started working on a token that could be integrated in BitTorrent’s ecosystem, including BitTorrent’s window based sharing software, µtorrent.

Now, when individuals choose to seed their files (the process of sharing files with strangers), they can choose to get rewarded with BTT for torrents using their bandwidth and resources. This process, named BitTorrent Speed, helps with downloading speed and incentivizes users to keep their files on the torrenting software, which, in turn, will give users the ability to download files that they want more easily. Furthermore, BTT tokens have monetary value, meaning that users can convert the tokens into fiat money or spend it to unlock benefits on the network.

Launch & issuance

Project Atlas, was announced by Tron Foundation in 2018 after Sun acquired BitTorrent Inc. The total supply of BTT is 990 billion tokens, all of which were created at the inception of the blockchain. The distribution of the tokens started in early 2019 via several means. 

First, a token sale was launched on Binance where users could pay for their BTT either in TRX (Tron’s native token) or in BNB (Binance’s native token). The sale of 59.8 billion tokens, worth about $7.2 million, sold in minutes. Second, Tron announced an airdrop that will eventually send a total of 10.1 percent of the total supply to TRX holders (Tron Foundation’s native token). The airdrop started in February 2019 and is set to run monthly until February 2025. The monthly airdrop is also set to get bigger as time goes on, increasing in February of every year, ending at 1,402,500,000 BTT in February 2025.

Lastly, 19 percent of the total BTT supply has been allocated to the BitTorrent team and the BitTorrent Foundation. Tron Foundation will receive 20 percent of the issued tokens, the BitTorrent Ecosystem will receive 19.9 percent of the issued token and various partnerships of the project will receive 4 percent of the total token supply.

Network design and security model

BitTorrent is built on top of the Tron protocol as a TRC-10 cryptographic token. 

Within the BitTorrent ecosystem, individuals can act one of two ways, as “service requesters” or “service providers”. A requester offers BTT to a provider in exchange for local resources, such as bandwidth to receive content, storage for remote backup and/or decentralized proxy services. While users are now incentivized to download and seed files for BTT, it should be noted that they do not have to interact with BTT in order to be part of the BitTorrent ecosystem.

Furthermore, BTT is incorporated as an incentive system within the BitTorrent ethos. The purpose of these incentives are to promote the BTT project to current and prospective participants, to allow for governance on the blockchain and to facilitate future discussions about protocol upgrades and extensions.

According to the white paper, the TRON blockchain plays an integral role in processing BTT transactions. BitTorrent uses an “off-chain/on-chain” way to settle transactions where the transfer of tokens are done between private ledgers and the TRON blockchain. The payment channels are opened within these ledgers before being settled and recorded on the TRON blockchain.

Monetary policy/cryptoeconomics

The total supply of BTT is 990 billion tokens, which will be unlocked following a certain schedule until 2028 by the BitTorrent Foundation. The sale of tokens, both public and private, constituted 17 percent of the total token supply, while the airdrop accounted for 20.1 percent of the total supply. The BitTorrent Foundation and its team were allocated 19 percent of the total BTT supply while the TRON foundation received 20 percent of the issued tokens. Finally, the BitTorrent ecosystem was awarded 19.9 percent of the total supply. The remainder of the tokens were given to Tron and BitTorrent foundation partners.

The airdrop that will send a total of 10.1 percent of the total supply to TRX holders (Tron Foundation’s native token), started in February 2019 and is set to run monthly until February 2025. The monthly airdrop is also set to get bigger as time goes on, increasing in February of every year, ending at 1,402,500,000 BTT in February 2025.

Transaction processing

BTT transactions happen once the service provider receives a bid from the service requester, which opens a payment channel on a private ledger. Thus begins the transaction between both parties where the requester receives services and, in turn, sends BTT to the provider. This process, one that has cryptographic signatures every step of the way, continues until the requester confirms that the transaction is complete.

BTT can be used for a variety of services in the ecosystem. Service requester can advertise bids and pay with BTT for more bandwidth to receive content while Service providers will be incentivized to distribute content to more people, ensuring more robust performance. Second, BTT is used to pay for decentralized storage service allowing for users to pay for services over time and to download stored data from these providers for a fee. This can be useful for remote backup and sharing of data among small groups. Finally, users can pay for decentralized proxy service will allow requesters to retrieve content over URL in order to evade IP-level network control.

Lastly, BitTorrent Inc. plans to allow for the transfer of tokens off-chain in order to move the tokens between private ledgers and the public TRON blockchain.