File-sharing software provider BitTorrent Inc. has announced plans to launch its own cryptocurrency which users will be able to use to achieve faster download speeds, the company said on Thursday. The BitTorrent token (BTT) will be issued by Singapore-incorporated BitTorrent Foundation on the Tron Network and will first be implemented into the Windows-based uTorrent Classic client, the company’s most popular client.
“BitTorrent token is the first in a series of steps to support a decentralized internet,” Justin Sun, founder of Tron and CEO of BitTorrent, said in a statement.
“In one giant leap, the BitTorrent client can introduce blockchain to hundreds of millions of users around the world and empower a new generation of content creators with the tools to distribute their content directly to others on the web.”
The BitTorrent token will be available to non-US accounts on Binance Launchpad, the token sale platform launched this week by cryptocurrency exchange Binance. Binance Launchpad aims to offer a safe venue for blockchain projects to launch their tokens and provide investors with the opportunity to invest in high-quality tokens that undergo a rigorous vetting process.
“We created Launchpad to help entrepreneurs launch their best projects and bring more use cases to the industry,” said Changpeng Zhao, CEO and founder of Binance.
“BitTorrent is a decentralized project by nature, with a large user base, that is now adding a new token economy to their use case. Through Launchpad, BitTorrent will have greater access to resources across the Binance ecosystem. This will be a case study for existing projects.”
Tron, a startup developing a blockchain-based entertainment and content-sharing platform, acquired BitTorrent in July 2018 for a rumored price of US$126 million to develop “the largest decentralized Internet ecosystem in the world.”
BitTorrent, which was founded in 2004 and based out of San Francisco, offers two main products: the original BitTorrent software and BitTorrent Now, the latter focusing on video and music. In 2006, the company acquired uTorrent, a lightweight BitTorrent client, for US$5 million. It claims more than 100 million active users worldwide.
BitTorrent invented and maintains the BitTorrent Protocol, the world’s largest decentralized protocol with over 1 billion users.
Moving forward, the company plans to develop BitTorrent into a broader ecosystem leveraging blockchain technology to enable developers of decentralized apps to build on top of it, according to the BitTorrent token whitepaper.
“We will transform BitTorrent to create an infrastructure platform for building elements of the decentralized web enabling app developers to directly reward consumers who provide the underlying resources, and enabling consumers to use this ‘found value’ to transact with publishers and app developers directly without involving fiat currency,” the whitepaper reads.
“We believe that BitTorrent is by far the closest to being able to introduce the infrastructure to support the coming decentralized web and the economy to support it.”
The announcement of the BitTorrent token comes as longtime BitTorrent executive and recent CEO Rogelio Choy has left the company, reports Variety.
A spokesperson for the company said Choy “decided to pursue other opportunities” though a source close to the company suggested that there had been disagreements about the direction of the company.