BitTorrent and P2P are the first things that come to mind for many people when they think of Bitcoin. After studying the distributed ledger of Bitcoin, many developers feel that it is really similar to P2P downloads and BT.
They do share some features:
As Bitcoin’s key technology, distributed ledger is a database that is shared, replicated, and synchronized among members within the network. Distributed ledger records transactions between network participants, such as the exchange of assets or data; in P2P downloads, the so-called BT seed is actually just an “index” for obtaining files, which is essentially a “file directory ledger”.
BitTorrent protocol is a P2P file sharing protocol, which perfectly solves the problem of slow speed of sharing bandwidth in the traditional file sharing. When sharing files using the BT protocol, the downloader is also the uploader. When the new user wants to join, he/she can download from the client of existing BT users. Besides, the more people download, the faster the speed is, thus greatly improving the efficiency of file distribution. Obviously, BT is a product with the earliest decentralized concept.
The file distribution and decentralized design are so similar to those of Bitcoin, which also leads people to speculate that Nakamoto may get inspiration from BT to invent Bitcoin. Since BT is the most classic application of decentralization in the PC era, such conjecture is not unfounded.
[Rise and fall of BT]
Born in 2003, BT now has a history of 15 years. In the era of PC Internet, BT technology has developed continually and once occupied one-third of the traffic of the whole network, thus enjoying popularity for a time.
BT and P2P download technology is absolutely a top-ranking application. In China, with the application of P2P technology, Thunder and FlashGet have always been the top of the software download list; Qvod also became one of the most popular video players.
Qvod was banned because of piracy and porn-spreading, after which various downloading tools disappeared as well. BT is also making a difficult transition – it tried lots of approaches and even the paid software pattern since 2007, expecting to increase revenue streams through the paid software, which turned out to be unsuccessful.
The sentence “technology is not shameful” from Wang Xin’s trial has been forwarded many times. However, people have to admit that sometimes technology can be “both good and evil.”
With the depletion of piracy bonus, the rise of genuine video sites and the lack of business models, downloading tools eventually faded out of the ordinary users’ vision. However, as a technical solution, BT, P2P and the resulting P2P streaming media technology are supporting almost every large video website and even global top-ranking websites.
Facebook and Twitter have been using BT protocol for internal updates; Blizzard has also used BT client for game updates and patch downloads; in China, from iQiyi’s Blu-ray resolution movies to CCTV HD video live, P2P technology has been integrated deeply into the entire Internet. Filecoin, which raised $52 million in 2017, used the P2P data transfer protocol.
Although BT and P2P can’t be seen by people, they are being used all the time. BT has spent 14 years and failed to find a business model that suits itself. While BT technology has already co-existed with the Internet.
[Key issues of blockchain: insufficient scenario]
Technology and business model are two essential aspects of a successful Internet project.
For example, as one of the most successful projects in the blockchain history, Bitcoin is the perfect combination of technology and business model. The distributed ledger-based technology and the setting of halving the output in four years and remaining the total amount unchanged make Bitcoin a non-depreciating currency that can compete with the legal tender; the mining incentive mechanism makes the whole business model a closed-loop business, which can be developed in a healthy manner.
Despite that BT has a distributed storage technology similar to Bitcoin and a solid landing scenario, it is too biased towards users and away from copyright owners on the balance of value. As a result of extracting the interests of copyright owners to please users, it is getting farther away from being a successful business company.
More blockchain projects after Bitcoin have stepped on another trap – insufficient scenario. In the past six months, with various dazzling technical terms, most blockchain projects actually couldn’t land due to lacking usage scenarios. Besides, some projects even became air coins that are hated by investors.
The scenario is the product, and the product without the scenario is nothing. No matter in the traditional Internet era or in the blockchain era, a product lacking real scenarios can hardly meet the real needs of users, not to mention the product value and commercial value. Although the self-financing property has made the blockchain rich enough, the lack of scenarios has brought credit crisis to the entire blockchain industry.
[Prospect of TRON’s acquisition of BT]
Recently, the TechCrunch website reported that Bittorrent, a longstanding distributed computing architecture and distributed storage company, was acquired by Justin Sun and TRON, his blockchain media startup, for $140 million in cash. According to the media, Justin Sun’s acquisition of BitTorrent was completed last week, and the news of the acquisition was spread for at least one month.
In addition to the same decentralized concept, intimateness between BT and the blockchain has already been symptomatic.
Bram Cohen, the founder of the BT protocol, has released a blockchain project, Chia. Similar to Bitcoin’s mining mechanism, Chia uses a time-space certificate mechanism that gives users the opportunity to be rewarded as long as they are willing to “farm” with idle hard disk resources. Since Chia provides computing power without consuming electricity and almost everyone has idle hard disk space, it is more decentralized and more environmentally friendly than Bitcoin.
For most people in the industry, TRON’s acquisition of BT has many considerations:
The first thing is that the infrastructure of the public chain requires BT’s technical support.
Almost all PCs are designed using Von Neumann’s architecture, for which storage and processor are essential resources. Bitcoin’s mining mechanism has locked in the enormous computing power of the Internet, which has become the core competitiveness of Bitcoin. In sharp contrast, storage capacity is often regarded as a shortcoming of many blockchain projects and even becomes a bottleneck affecting the trading experience.
BT is the originator of decentralized storage. Its founder Bram Cohen’s Chia project shows the infinite possibilities of combining decentralized storage with blockchain. With the mission to build a truly decentralized Internet infrastructure, the acquisition of BT undoubtedly helps TRON gain a very professional distributed storage solution, which is equivalent to a comprehensive upgrade of the underlying infrastructure of the blockchain.
What BT brings to the blockchain is not only technology but also users and brands. Born in 2003, BT has affected a generation or two. Over ten years of accumulation has made many people feel that BT is like an old friend, so kind and familiar. As a top-ranking application of the year, BT has accumulated hundreds of millions of users and the popularity of the blockchain project behind BT.
Secondly, the blockchain-enabled BT will usher in a rare opportunity.
TRON’s acquisition has allowed BT’s turmoil to come to an end, thus the technical team will be able to focus on developing distributed storage technology without worrying about the difficulty of commercialization. Combined with the blockchain, it is apparently a new track and a rare opportunity for this top-level project.
On the one hand, opportunities come from the market. Since the needs of users are endless, new opportunities are rising in the field of high-definition video, i.e., the development of VR, 3D, and AR industries, as well as the popularization of 2K, 4K and even screening devices, have made the storage contradiction of ultra-high-definition data increasingly prominent, which can be solved by BT with its technology precipitation in distributed storage for many years.
The maturity of the copyright content market has pushed BT, the piracy tool, to gradually withdraw from the market. In terms of protecting genuine, the blockchain has a unique solution. Specifically speaking, the blockchain solves the problem of ownership confirmation in the transaction process based on mathematical principles, and the records, transmission and storage results of the value exchange activities are all credible. Once the information recorded in the blockchain is generated, it is permanent and cannot be tampered with. As a result, various problems encountered in copyright registration, confirmation and verification can be solved easily.
On the other hand, the blockchain incentive mechanism’s combination with BT’s technology makes decentralized storage technology easier to form a complete business closed loop. For each user node of the traditional BT, the storage resources provided by the user are not proportional to the gains obtained, which is a very extensive incentive method. As a consequence, the new users can get the technology freely, while the old users’ hard disks can’t bear.
Blockchain token’s introduction of BT will bring more effective distribution and realization to the user’s storage resources and bandwidth; the increase in storage efficiency will result in a substantial improvement in the overall experience. BT technology’s combining with the blockchain is faced with a period when market prospects are more imaginative, i.e., resource providers and copyright parties are real profit-seekers instead of victims in the PC era. Once they are fully initiated, the potential of the whole industry will be thoroughly stimulated.
The blockchain represented by Bitcoin has always developed in both technical and commercial aspects, i.e., the incentive mechanism of mining solves the structure of the infrastructure; the distributed ledger solves the key problems of the industry from the algorithm and technology. The double success of technology landing and commercialization has contributed to Bitcoin’s sudden rise.
Nowadays, BT-related P2P distributed storage technology has been integrated into various scenarios of Internet video instead of existing as a separate toC product.However, we have to admit that this is a technology that is as powerful as the Bitcoin distributed ledger. Nevertheless, BT always favors users rather than business, thus losing too many commercial opportunities.
TRON and BT’s connection is not only the blockchain’s acquisition of the old traditional Internet technology, but also the bridging between the decentralized storage technology and the blockchain business model. Once the traditional technology brand realizes the landing of commercial model, a remarkable success will come into being.