BitTorrent has been sold to the founder of cryptocurrency TRON, who reportedly wants to use the acquisition to “legitimise” the blockchain startup’s reputation.
The torrent tech company is the developer behind the popular uTorrent client, which lets users download files from a distributed network of servers, otherwise known as ‘peer-to-peer’ networks, or P2P for short.
Although there are many legitimate uses for this technology (many popular open-source projects are distributed as torrents to avoid costly server fees, for example), the technology has become known as a means of distributing pirated content, to the extent that British ISPs have started issuing alerts to users that torrent pirated content.
In addition to that, there have also been cases of torrents being used to share much worse content, with New Mexico’s Attorney General having launched an investigation into the use of the service to distribute child pornography.
An attempt to legitimise
However, the company is currently working on more legitimate uses for its technology, such as an iOS app for watching videos, which it expects to be made available on the App Store (which tends to set a high bar for the apps it makes available).
Yet TechCrunch reports that one shareholder says the $140m acquisition of BitTorrent forms part of TRON’s plans to “legitimise” the impression of its business.
The reason is that TRON has been accused of plagiarising FileCoin, a blockchain-based digital storage and data retrieval protocol, as well as Ethereum. It sounds like as well as offering some further degree of legitimacy to its business, BitTorrent might have more than a couple of things to teach TRON about distributed file storage.
It’s a very interesting development for the company, which was first founded in 2004. It’s unclear exactly how its technology will end up being used by TRON, but this is unlikely to be the last we’ll hear about the pair.
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