Peer-to-peer file sharing service BitTorrent, and little brother uTorrent, have now been downloaded more than two billion times on various platforms. Last year the network accounted for 3% of all downstream, and 28% of all upstream, traffic across the internet.
The company attributes the figures to the “longstanding popularity of its classic desktop torrent clients, as well as its new web-based torrent downloader and player built for the streaming age”. It said the Android version of the service on Google Play Store is the “most popular torrent downloader”.
In the announcement, Sun hinted that BitTorrent would soon be releasing new products:
“We look forward to fulfilling our mission of improving the protocol and introducing new use cases, such as decentralized file storage and live streaming products.”
Acquired by Justin Sun’s Tron Foundation in July 2018 for a rumoured $140 million, the service was said to have had 170 million users. In early 2019, it launched its own token, Bittorrent (BTT), to incentivize users to hold files on the network, which would increase overall download speeds by having more copies of any file available.
By March 2020, the token had dropped 90% from the ATH. The current price of 0.000459 is still 74% down from the ATH.
As with many projects Sun is involved with, the platform has been involved in controversy. Some believe that file sharing service BitTorrent File System (BTFS) copied elements from the Interplanetary File System (IPFS), which came to a head after a recent rebranding of the BTFS logo to something strikingly similar to the IPFS logo.
IPFS’s founder Juan Benet called them out immediately saying “Tron also can’t even think of an original logo.”
In a heated Twitter thread, Benet said “it’s not enough to fork all our code, rebrand it and lie [that] it’s theirs” before alleging that Tron’s BTFS has also copied, “random chunks of our papers, and defrauded their investors with a nonsensical mishmash.”
Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin chimed in, calling out Sun as a dictator that zombified BitTorrent:
“This Tweet is honestly painful to read. It’s like looking at a zombie: the account *looks like* something you’ve grown up with and known and loved for 15 years, but underneath it’s just, well, now it’s just another appendage of the Sun dictatorship”