BitTorrent’s former Chief Strategy Officer has said that the streaming service is “no longer important” in the wake of Tron’s plans to tokenize the platform. Simon Morris, who worked for BitTorrent Inc. for ten years, stated in a piece for Chinese outlet Chainnews that the Tron purchase was made at a time when the platform was becoming less popular due to the proliferation of cheap legal streaming services threatening the BitTorrent business model. Morris said only last month that there was no way Tron would be able to handle the demands of the BitTorrent network.
Media Industry Has Caught up With the Pirates
Morris claims that even though BitTorrent and its associated platforms, such as µTorrent, regularly account for at least 10% of worldwide internet traffic, and sometimes as much as 50%, the media industry has evolved past the point of BitTorrent being a threat – it is easier to, say, pay a small fee to Netflix every month and stream the highest quality content right away than to search, download, and play potentially sub-standard videos that also might carry a virus. Downloading illegally used to be easier, now it’s harder.
BitTorrent Has Been Decentralizing the Internet Since 2001
As well as questioning the merits behind Tron’s plans for BitTorrent, Morris claims that BitTorrent’s peer-to-peer (P2P) technology has been achieving Tron’s stated aim of decentralizing the internet ever since its inception in 2001, and that BitTorrent is “probably the most widely deployed decentralization technology at the moment.” P2P technology involves individuals around the world hosting the same file on the network and new recipients downloading small pieces from all the users simultaneously. Each individual acts as a node within the ecosystem, confirming its own section of the file transfer, with the whole file being recreated at the other end, very much like nodes confirming a transaction together.
Morris Still a Blockchain Fan
Morris adds that BitTorrent was exploring their own avenue into cryptocurrencies in 2017 when Tron “unexpectedly” bought them out, which led to Morris leaving his role. He says that the companies most closely tied to BitTorrent have disappeared in the last 15 years, another sign that the ecosystem is shrinking, and that the few remaining employees are now Tron employees. Despite being skeptical of Tron’s chances in making the reinvented BitTorrent work, Morris is very bullish on the prospects of blockchain and cryptocurrencies, claiming that Bitcoin and Ethereum in particular are “the essence of disruptive technology” and that “once the entire network is started, it cannot be stopped”.
With Morris’ passion for disrupting the status quo and over a decade’s experience in creating software that pushed the boundaries of decentralization, it is hard to see him not being involved in blockchain and crypto in the months and years to come.