A blockchain startup named Tron has bought file sharing company BitTorrent for a reported sum of $126 million (about £96 million, AU$170 million). According to a statement BitTorrent’s will continue to operate from Tron’s offices in San Francisco, “pursuing its vision for the world’s largest decentralized ecosystem.” The acquisition will close off a tumultuous but also interesting life for BitTorrent, founded in 2004 by Bram Cohen and Ashwin Navin to commercialise peer-to-peer networking technology as a way to share and store files.
Tron is essentially a decentralized platform for sharing entertainment content, including music and games. By using blockchain and peer-to-peer network technology, it aims to cut out the middle man between content producers and consumers (ie the tech giants like Google and Amazon).
BitTorrent is one of the biggest names in peer-to-peer file sharing, with 100 million users, it owns both its own branded torrent client and uTorrent. The two clients are free to download, and supported by ads. Last month BitTorrent published a statement to assure users that it wouldn’t be changing its business model to enable mining of cryptocurrency – possibly in preparation for its acquisition by Tron, which has its own TRX currency.