BitTorrent Seeders Might Start Receiving Financial Rewards

Rainberry (previously BitTorrent Inc.), the company behind the popular file-sharing client uTorrent which was acquired by the founder of a cryptocurrency called TRON, is in the news again regarding the merger.

When news started swirling about the acquisition, it was unclear what Justin Sun, the founder of TRON, had in mind for BitTorrent. Opinions that Sun was somehow going to involve BitTorrent in mining cryptocurrency were quickly dashed by Rainberry itself when it released a statement that read:

“Our attention has been drawn to the news items that have appeared in the past few weeks speculating about a change in BitTorrent’s business model. We wish to reiterate that BitTorrent has no plans to change what we do or charge for the services we provide. We have no plans to enable mining of cryptocurrency now or in the future.”

When the acquisition was confirmed and announced, Rainberry put out another rather vague statement in which it said that “joining the TRON network will further enhance BitTorrent and accelerate our mission of creating an Internet of options, not rules.”

But now an announcement from Sun has shed light on what the future might hold for this union

It seems that Sun has plans to offer financial incentives for seeders, something which he believes will improve the quality of the BitTorrent sharing experience.

“By integrating the TRON network into BitTorrent, we aim to improve on the currently existing altruism. At this point, there are no incentives for peers who have completed downloading to continue to seed. We intend to extend rewards to peers who seed torrents, infusing more resources into the torrent ecosystem,” he said.

So far, the torrent community did not need any incentives. It’s been around for 15 years and works just fine. But to be fair to Sun, adding incentive could boost sharing within the ecosystem. This would mean that content would download faster (with more supply) and live longer (not so popular content has a shelf life, after which seeders drop to 0).

There is still no indication as to who will be paying the bills. Will it be downloaders?

Sun also said that this plan will not involve mining, assuring users that the project “will not associate itself with any mining projects, nor will it have any negative impact on BT user experience,” he added.

And though torrenting is almost synonymous with piracy, Sun pointed out that the project could evolve to offer “new possibilities to global payment and settlement of online content. The creators of this content could reach hundreds of millions of global users through this decentralized network without any intermediaries.”