2019 should become the year of greater adoption of crypto-currencies, at least that’s where I stand at the moment. Last year was bearish on the price front, but was filled with positive news on the technical side.
From the anticipation of “big money” entering the cryptosphere, large stock exchanges and investors starting to accept BTC as an alternative store of value, to the prediction of one or more “killer DApps”, possibly a game, everything looks poised to open the door to mass adoption. The possibility of increased adoption through decentralized apps on the blockchain is in my mind one of the best routes to reach many users for whom the technology is too complicated; if they could just use an app without even being aware that it runs on a blockchain, that would surely pump up the usage of said blockchain.
With that in mind, it could be that Tron (TRX) has made a genius move; they bought BitTorrent. BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer hosting service for music and video files. Users can “seed” files by dedicating a small portion of their upstream, so others can download part of the file from your computer; downloaders will then connect to multiple “seeders” to download the file, with speeds being determined by how many seeders there are. There are millions of BitTorrent users right now, who seed their files for free and even leave their computers switched on continuously to offer others the opportunity to download the music and videos.
“The grandfather of Dapp[s] finally finds its decentralized currency and business model. Should be a very interesting case study.” – source: Binance founder Changpeng Zhao
What the people behind Tron have done, is given all these Bit Torrent users an unexpected gift; seeders can now earn money, without ever having asked for the opportunity.BitTorrent could very well benefit as a service too, as it could be that the number of seeders, and consequently the speed of the network as a whole, could increase now that they’re financially incentivized to keep their machines running, much like they’re mining crypto-currency. Or that was my initial reaction, but you’ve seen the question mark at the end of this post’s title…
That’s because is not as simple as it seems on the surface. From the Coindesk article:
Many responders 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 be precise – to improve their user experience. – source: Coindesk
The BTT Whitepaper describes the current BitTorrent system as a bartering economy in which bandwidth is the currency, and argues that currently the outcome in that market isn’t fair and balanced due to “bandwidth asymmetry” causing some users to “get a partial free ride. If too many of the users sharing and downloading the same file shut their BitTorrent clients down after they have completed their download, it can disrupt a swarm and lead to user-experience gaps.” So by introducing a token into this barter system, the economy can expand and improve user experiences by incentivizing users to keep their clients running after the download. In the article this is explained under the heading “Civilizing the BitTorrent economy”.
Also a lot of the 100 million daily users of the service need to be convinced that their free service isn’t going to be transformed into a payed service. So it’s not all that straightforward and there are voices that say Tron have made this acquisition primarily to gain legitimacy:
Ash Egan, who takes the lead on blockchain and crypto at Accomplice VC, told CoinDesk that he saw the acquisition as a bid by Tron for legitimacy.<br><br>”BitTorrent has been well respected and stress tested for 15 or so years,” said Egan. “What better way to legitimize themselves than to make an acquisition of that stature?” – source: Coindesk
Still, 100 million users… If they could all become new blockchain users by this move, that’s got to be a good thing, even if I don’t own any TRX. We’ll have to wait and see if the developers behind Tron can deliver; they haven’t proven themselves yet like Steem or EOS that both have working DApps running right now. So I’m hodling Steem and EOS, but keeping a watchful eye on Tron. Oh, I know the news about the actual acquisition of BitTorrent by Tron is actually old news, that happened last summer; it’s the recent jump in price and the subsequent news-articles that prompted me to write this.
I’m still left with a couple of questions. Like, why do the BitTorrent users have to buy their BTT tokens? All EOS DApp developers perform an airdrop to provide users with the tokens they need for basic functionality of their decentralized apps. The people behind Tron most certainly have a lot of tokens, so if they would have just used the TRX token, they could do the airdrop themselves. The below video by The Modern Investor has a good first reaction with an explanation about the reservations. Let me know me what you think of this development in the comments.