TRON has recently released it’s new decentralized storage system called BitTorrent File System (BTFS) in collaboration with BitTorrent. The decentralized storage system is based upon the well-know Interplanetary File System (IPFS).
Initially, BitTorrent was released in 2001 and was one of the pioneers of internet-based file sharing. Now in 2019, BitTorrent seeks again to revolutionize the way we share data and how users are incentivized for participating in BitTorrent using blockchain technology.
Introduction to IPFS
Originally, IPFS is based upon the Filecoin ICO project which initially raised $250M dollars with leading investors such as Y Combinator, Naval Ravikant, Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures Sequoia and Winklevoss Capital. Considering how much they raised, we could see a clear need and interest for decentralized interest. At the moment, one of the most matured/supported projects currently is IPFS.
At its core, IPFS is a versioned file system that stores files and their respective versions, very much like Git. It also defines the rules about how the files are stored and distributed over the network, making it a distributed file system.
Every file in the network can be accessed over the IPFS protocol using the content-address system instead of using HTTP requests for requesting data. A file inside the IPFS ecosystem is defined by its hash which forms the basis of the content address system. This hash defines the root of an object and others can be found in its path.
The cool thing about IPFS is the way your requested data is accessed. Whenever you request a file, the protocol will look up which nodes hold the wished data. It will request the file from the node closest to you without going through a central server.
In short, the difference between IPFS and HTTP is that with HTTP you request the data at a certain location and with IPFS you request the location of a certain file.
What about BitTorrent File System?
TRON announced on the 30th of June their BitTorrent File System (BTFS) has passed all internal testing and is due to be rolled out soon. It will act as an important element in the stack of BitTorrent for storing files in a decentralized fashion.
Like IPFS, BTFS is based on the original idea of BitTorrent where data is shared peer-to-peer. With BitTorrent Speed, users are incentivized to take part in the seeding process to encourage the spread of data in the network and reduce the download time. Whenever a user helps to seed data in the BitTorrent network, it is incentivized with BitTorrent (BTT) tokens.
Besides supporting BitTorrent, BTFS will act as the main storage layer for TRON dApps that require decentralized storage. It will help the TRON dApp ecosystem move forward as developers are able to store a state in BTFS and leverage the new TRC-20 token standard TRON has released a while ago.
The official BTFS press release can be found here.
The Reason behind the Creation of BTFS?
BitTorrent, the largest P2P network in the world, still relies on centralized torrent file distribution. These torrent repositories are prone to security breaches, outages, and censorship. There have been numerous instances of attacks on torrent hosting web servers reducing service reliability. With a decentralized repository of torrent files leveraging the version control properties of BTFS, users can more reliably access torrent files.
Traditional file storage systems have many inherent disadvantages, such as centralized trust, overarching control by a single authority or organization, ability of governments to impose censorship, high cost, lock-in effect, and low fault tolerance. For example, Wikipedia has been blocked in Turkey since mid-2017, but with BTFS, websites can be hosted in a decentralized way so that they are censorship-resistant.
Justin Sun’s Vision for 2019
“BTFS is a continuing step in our mission to create a decentralized internet that allows everyone to share in the wealth of web commerce,” Jusin Sun.
“We’re creating a platform with BTFS, BitTorrent Speed blockchain integration and the BTT utility token to let users quickly and privately interact with each other around the world without a middleman or government intervention,” according to Justin Sun.
The reason Justin Sun wants to eliminate middlemen is that 36% of all economic profit is generated by the top 1% of companies with a revenue of over $1 billion. By leveraging TRON and BitTorrents ecosystem, he hopes to bring back part of these excessive profits (from ad sales, data collection, etc.) to the users through the increased usage of dApps.
In late 2019, the BTT token will start integrating with the BTFS network as an incentive to create a healthy, fair, and efficient file sharing and storing marketplace. Also, a comprehensive toolset will be launched while the BTFS Accelerator cultivates tens of BTFS DApps (Q4 2019), leading the BTFS community to grow into one of the largest and most active in the industry.
Currently, BitTorrent has an active user base of around 100 million users, along with more than 1,000 TRON full nodes. The mainnet launch is scheduled for public access only by Q3 2019. TRON hopes to leverage its dApps ecosystem with this launch and grow its user base even further.