What is BitTorrent [OLD]?
BitTorrent (BTT) is a decentralized technology that has revolutionized the way data is distributed over the internet. This peer-to-peer communication protocol has made it possible for users to share large files simultaneously and efficiently, reducing the reliance on central servers. BitTorrent's popularity stems from its ability to make the most of each client's upload and download bandwidth, thereby balancing content delivery across all users.
The BitTorrent protocol functions by enabling peers to make an "announcement" to a tracker, a server that keeps track of which peers have access to a file, or by searching the DHT, a distributed database of peers. This process divides peers into "swarms" of users who have a shared interest in trading parts of a specific file. Before an exchange takes place, the file is broken down into fragments, and clients advertise which parts are available to their users. Those who need the parts download them from the users who have them. The cryptographic hash of the parts ensures that the correct parts are shared.
Peers who participate in productive exchanges are rewarded with more pieces, while those with less productive exchanges are disconnected or banned. After completing a download, users can choose to continue uploading parts by seeding, which is entirely selfless and voluntary.
Despite its popularity, BitTorrent has a few limitations, such as the reluctance of internet users to use traditional currency to pay for digital goods and services. Additionally, there are inefficiencies in the BitTorrent protocol that limit its effectiveness, leading to a shorter lifespan of swarms. Furthermore, the company identified an untapped market for applying BitTorrent technology to new use cases.
To address these limitations, BitTorrent aims to build a platform for decentralized web elements and create a new token, BTT, to support a distributed infrastructure services economy. BTT will act as a general-purpose mechanism for transferring computer resources between BitTorrent clients and the market of service requesters and providers. This way, end-users in the BTT economy can supply infrastructure services in small amounts in exchange for tokens.
BitTorrent was founded in 2001 by Bram Cohen and developed by BitTorrent Inc. The company has created two popular BitTorrent clients, BitTorrent and µTorrent (uTorrent), and the open protocol has also been used to develop numerous independent clients, with strong competition among firms and volunteers who keep these clients up and running. The whitepaper for BitTorrent was published in February 2019.
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