What is BitTorrent (BTTC) chain?

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What is the BitTorrent Protocol?

Many individuals have a keen interest in utilizing peer-to-peer (P2P) content distribution protocols to enhance the efficiency and scalability of distributed systems. In this context, a peer denotes a computer connected to the internet, or individuals using online services. A prominent example is BitTorrent, a P2P file-sharing application created by Bram Cohen and David Harrison in 2001 to address the prolonged download times associated with large files on the internet.

BitTorrent stands out as a distributed transfer protocol, distinct from conventional internet transfer protocols like Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and File Transfer Protocol (FTP). HTTP serves as the protocol for transmitting files such as text, images, and videos over the internet, utilized as soon as a user opens their web browser. Similarly, FTP facilitates file upload, download, and transfer between computer systems and across various locations on the internet.

While HTTP typically delivers a file as a single stream from a server, BitTorrent employs a different approach. It requests "random" segments of the file from participating peers, enabling simultaneous downloads from multiple sources. This method yields faster download speeds compared to FTP, nearly quadrupling the transfer rate. In 2005, BitTorrent commanded approximately 35% of total internet traffic, although its popularity waned with the accelerated internet speeds in 2008. Consequently, BitTorrent faced challenges in monetization until its acquisition by the Tron Foundation, creators of the Tron blockchain, in 2019.

Under new ownership, the BitTorrent Token (BTT) cryptocurrency was introduced through an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) to support protocol expansion and incentivize network users. Tokens were distributed to various entities including the BitTorrent Foundation, Tron Foundation, partners, airdrops, and the broader BitTorrent ecosystem alongside the ICO.

This piece explores the BitTorrent protocol, BTT cryptocurrency, the significance of the BitTorrent Chain, and avenues for acquiring and earning BTT tokens.

Introducing the BitTorrent Chain (BTTC)

Launched in December 2021, the BitTorrent Chain, or "BTTC," serves as a blockchain scaling solution and cross-chain interoperability protocol built on Tron. It facilitates the seamless transfer of assets across different blockchains, including Ethereum Virtual Machine-based chains like BNB Smart Chain and Ethereum, via the BTCC Bridge. The BTTC Bridge supports over 100 widely used tokens through a token mapping mechanism, enabling the identification and classification of digital assets.

Furthermore, the network employs independent validators utilizing the Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism, resulting in average gas fees below $0.01, thereby reducing transaction costs significantly. Validators stake BTT to create blocks, validate transactions, participate in PoS consensus, and submit checkpoints. Through cross-chain communication, validators regularly package and transfer BTTC blocks to networks like BNB Smart Chain, Ethereum, and Tron. These regular submissions, known as checkpoints, earn validators rewards alongside transaction fees. Additionally, BTTC participants engage in voting and receive BTT tokens as voting rewards.

Moreover, BTTC supports smart contract extension through sidechains, facilitating seamless migration for developers and the creation of decentralized applications (DApps) on the chain.

Understanding the BitTorrent Protocol

In a peer-to-peer network, files are typically served by peers rather than centralized servers, deviating from the traditional client-server content delivery model. However, ensuring that users possess compatible software to offer desired content for download can be challenging. Moreover, some users, termed "leechers," may exit the P2P network after completing their downloads, hindering file availability for others.

BitTorrent tackles these challenges through a network of seeds, peers, a central tracker, swarms, and tit-for-tat mechanisms. Seeds are fully downloaded files available for sharing, while users who download seeds and share them with others are termed seeders. To initiate a download, at least one seed must be present in the BitTorrent network.

For each distributed file, peers organize into an overlay network called a "torrent," with interconnected links among peers. Users create unique torrents for each file distributed across the network. An overlay network is a virtual network built atop an existing physical network, like the internet.

Moreover, certain tasks related to file tracking are delegated to a tracker or central server, acting as a rendezvous point for all torrent clients without engaging in actual file distribution; instead, it stores metadata regarding active peers.

Typically, a client aims to maintain connections with 20–40 peers, while the tracker provides 50 peers chosen randomly from the active ones. Whenever a client falls below 20 connections, it recontacts the tracker to discover additional peers from a peer set.

A gathering of BitTorrent users, comprising peers, seeders, and leechers linked through a tracker, forms swarms. Swarms participate in piece exchanges within a torrent. They partition the file into uniform-sized chunks, typically 256 kB each, with clients in a peer set exchanging these chunks. The process of uploading and downloading files on the BitTorrent network is referred to as torrenting.

Operating on the principle of "tit-for-tat," a central tracker mandates that a user seeking to download a file from the BitTorrent network must share part of their files for uploading. As the user downloads content from others on the network, BitTorrent simultaneously transfers some file contents to the central tracker, which in turn redistributes the content to other BitTorrent users. A user's ranking under the tit-for-tat method diminishes if they act as leechers or abruptly exit the BitTorrent network after downloading content.

The stepwise process is depicted in the image below:

File Transfer Process in the BitTorrent Protocol

Key Features of the BitTorrent Token (BTT)

Users are attracted to BitTorrent for its efficient and cost-effective file sharing. Additionally, three versions of torrent downloaders are available: BitTorrent Web for Windows and Mac users, BitTorrent Classic for Windows users, and BitTorrent Android and BitTorrent Remote for Android users.

Other distinctive features of BitTorrent include:

  • BitTorrent Speed: Previously, torrent downloaders were not incentivized for seeding content after completing a download. BitTorrent introduced BitTorrent Speed to reward seeders with BTT tokens for seeding torrents. Moreover, BitTorrent Speed users can use BTT to accelerate their download speeds and create a BitTorrent Speed Wallet to store BTT and other cryptocurrencies. BitTorrent Speed is compatible with torrent clients such as BitTorrent Web, Torrent Classic (a desktop client), and Torrent Web.
  • DLive Protocol: DLive Protocol is a decentralized live-streaming platform connecting content creators with their audiences. Besides low-cost streaming, users can earn BTT tokens by watching streams, which can be staked to earn more tokens. During live streams, streamers can receive tips from viewers. No passwords or accounts are required to start streaming; users only need to set up their client. Additionally, no data warehouses or servers are necessary to connect to the network.
  • BitTorrent File System (BTFS): BTFS is a decentralized file storage system where hosts offer storage to earn BTT rewards, and renters consume storage by paying BTT. Moreover, anyone can access stored files on the BTFS network using the BTFS Gateway.

Use Cases of BitTorrent (BTT)

As a TRC-20 utility token on the Tron Network, BTT is compatible with almost all DApps and numerous DeFi ecosystems. For instance, the Sun platform offers several BTT trading pairs for decentralized exchanges (DEXs). Similarly, users can utilize BTT for borrowing and mining on the JustLend DAO. Moreover, by using the BTTC Bridge, users can transfer BTT tokens from Ethereum and BNB Smart Chain to the BTTC Network or exchange them for BTT tokens on DEXs. Like Ether (ETH) on the Ethereum Network, the BTT token serves as the foundation for BTTC transactions. For example, BTTC users can utilize BTT tokens to pay gas fees, crucial in BTT's tokenomics.

Additionally, the Commonwealth of Dominica granted BTT statutory status as an authorized digital currency. Furthermore, participants in the BitTorrent ecosystem can stake BTT tokens to engage in network governance and ensure BTTC's operations, earning BTT tokens in return. On the BitTorrent file system, users can use BTT tokens to store files in a decentralized storage system. Similarly, BitTorrent Speed users can enhance their download speeds by paying BTT tokens.

How to Buy BTT Coins

BTT coins can be purchased on centralized exchanges such as Binance and Kraken, as well as DEXs like PancakeSwap and Uniswap. The general process is similar, involving finding a suitable wallet to store BTT tokens and an exchange to purchase BitTorrent cryptocurrency. After funding the account via options provided by the chosen exchange, users can execute a trade.

The basic steps to buy BTT tokens on Binance are as follows:

  1. Register for a Binance account or log in if you already have one.
  2. Choose your preferred method to buy BTT tokens—credit or debit card, bank deposit, third-party payment, or peer-to-peer trading.
  3. Type "BTT" in the search bar to select from available trading pairs.
  4. Enter the desired amount of BTT to buy and confirm the transaction by clicking "Buy BTT."
  5. Once processed, your BTT balance will be credited to your account almost immediately.

After purchasing cryptocurrency, users can either hold it in their exchange account or transfer it to a personal cryptocurrency wallet for safekeeping.

How to Earn BitTorrent Tokens

Users can earn BTT tokens through various means, including torrenting and streaming content, as well as staking their tokens. For example, the BitTorrent client can automatically earn BTT through seeding once a torrent file finishes downloading. Similarly, hosts on the BitTorrent File System can earn BTT rewards by providing storage to renters.

Additionally, streamers on the DLive Protocol can earn BTT tokens by streaming content, and users can earn BTT by watching streams. Moreover, users can stake BTT with validators to earn passive income, with platforms like Binance offering BTT staking services.

Is BitTorrent a Good Coin to Invest In?

Since its inception, BitTorrent has established itself as the leading method for distributing large files via peer-to-peer networks. Moreover, it has implemented unique strategies like tit-for-tat to facilitate efficient file distribution among participating peers.

However, the decision to invest in any coin depends on individual financial objectives and risk-return profiles. Furthermore, given the volatility of the cryptocurrency market, investors may consider including its native token in their investment portfolio only if they truly understand the project and have confidence in its future performance. Moreover, the safety of cryptocurrencies relies on the security of the wallet holding them. Therefore, securing one's cryptocurrency should be a top priority after purchasing BTT tokens, as with any other investment.

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