On January 3, 2019, the BitTorrent foundation announced the launch of the BTT token for the BitTorrent network. The token will serve as a medium of value betwee BitTorrent users to incentivize and prioritize transactions. In a Tweet, Justin Sun, Tron’s CEO (The parent company of BitTorrent) called the launch “A giant leap” towards mass adoption of crypto. However, critics of the Tron network argued against the news calling BitTorrent “A decentralized exchange for pirated material.” The dispute raises questions about the legitimacy and viability of the project as a real use case versus another marketing scheme by Tron.
Tron is often the target of criticism for lacking native, distinct, technology, that differentiates it from other projects like Ziliqa, Ethereum, Cardano, IOTA, etc. Similar to Dogecoin, it lacks a clear purpose or a specific problem that it tries to solve. Instead, the company focuses on adapting or recreating existent features like privacy, Daaps platform, content creation and distribution, etc. In addition, Jutin Sun is notorious for making ostentatious marketing claims in an effort to hype the project and its value. But the biggest controversy is the legality in the exchange of data through BitTorrent.
According to the BitTorrent Token whitepaper, the BTT token intends to create a “token-based economy around the usage of networking, bandwidth, and storage” on computers in the internet. In short, the company intends users to use BTT to collaborate instead of compete with each other. As of now, the exchange of files (music, video, movies, etc) depends on the free sharing of files among users.
However, users who want the same files must share bandwidth and are often disconnected when the owner of the file closes the connection. The BTT token offers an incentive for organization. Users can pay each other to prioritize their downloads and keep the connection open.
The problem is that BTT will monetize an otherwise free environment. And worse, people will pay each other for content that is inherently copyrighted and therefore owned by it’s creator.
Something Out of Nothing
In July, 2018, The Tron Network bought BitTorrent for $126 million in cash. With the acquisition came an estimated one million daily active users. This is the end game that Tron is pursuing; to claim that it is creating adoption by having the largest crypto user base in the world.
However, as with past declarations, this allegation is also unwarranted. Adoption can only work by free will, not by forcing users into adopting a system to satisfy a corporate agenda. Nevertheless, in a fast-growing economic system of digital assets, the pursuit of money will always be the ultimate endeavour for all developers. And no one can blame a company for using its investments to facilitate this goal.