P2P file-sharing has become a hot topic in the cryptocurrency world recently as Tron announces its planned release of BitTorrent Token (BTT). As of writing this article, there are no widely-scalable torrenting systems that incorporate blockchain and reward seeders. The current system – frequently relying on downloading/uploading ratios – only incentivizes uploading by forcing seeders to upload/seed in order to keep a specific ratio. But what if there was a system that made seeders WANT to seed?
Both Project Atlas (BitTorrent) and Upfiring are two blockchain projects taking on this challenge – albeit with different approaches to the issue. Here are several key differences between the two systems.
BitTorrent’s system, including using a BTT-aware client – will be optional. Upfiring’s will be mandatory.
Users can proceed to use BitTorrent as they have been, even after Project Atlas and the BTT token are released. BTT-aware clients will allow users to offer incentives to seeders and earn BTT themselves through seeding. Meanwhile, Upfiring creates an entirely separate system through the creation of Upfiring files, with the file extension .ufr (jnstead of .torrent). Upfiring files are encrypted and packaged with price information, in UFR, and require downloaders to pay the UFR price in order to decrypt the files and access the contents inside.
Project Atlas uses state channels, Upfiring uses smart contracts
While both projects reward seeders with a token, they have different mechanisms of doing so. Project Atlas has elected not to incorporate smart contracts into their file-sharing method and instead use something called state channels, which allow token transfers to occur between 2 peers – which are then subsequently settled on-chain. Upfiring, in contrast, uses several smart contracts on the Ethereum network. These smart contracts distribute funds between all seeders of a file and allow users several capabilities such as depositing, withdrawing, and several others.
Upfiring is an emerging project, Project Atlas is already building on a huge one
It’s no secret that BitTorrent is extremely widespread. There are, according to BitTorrent, hundreds of millions of users already on the network. Meanwhile, Upfiring is a newer project founded in early 2017 that is still building a userbase. In addition, Upfiring’s (UFR) market cap is nearly 1000x less than Tron’s (TRX). This makes Upfiring a high-risk, high-reward investment – while TRX is generally more “established” and well-known in the space.
One thing is certain – this is an excellent use-case for the cryptocurrency. It solves the long-standing seeder issue – that is, seeders having no reason to continue seeding a file after downloading it. It remains to be seen which of these projects will capture the majority of the market, as both are in their early stages. Right now, Upfiring has a prototype dapp available – found here: https://github.com/upfiring/upfiring-update/releases. Meanwhile, Project Atlas has just released their official BTT Whitepaper, which can be found here: https://www.bittorrent.com/btt/btt-docs/BitTorrent_Token_Whitepaper.pdf