BitTorrent Client to Reward Users with Bitcoin for Seeding

In order to encourage torrent seeding on its platform, a BitTorrent client called JoyStream is venturing into rewarding its users with bitcoin. For now, it is on alpha release for a limited time for users who have signed up on the Bitcoin Testnet.

The company was founded by Dr. Bedeho Mender who sought to improve the levels of bandwidth contribution and the lack of incentives for content providers known as seeders in the original BitTorrent client. Micropayments to torrent seeders could be made using bitcoin.

Bitcoin Payments for Torrents

This will require leechers or those who download torrents to pay seeders or those who host in bitcoin. With that, seeders can be able to charge higher fees for premium or high-quality content.

“I think the seeding market is very close to a perfectly competitive market, which means that seeders will compete the price down to the marginal cost of supplying the content, which is quite low,” Mender said. “Getting to that sort of situation does, however, take some time, and in the initial stages the first seeders will be able to charge somewhat monopolistic prices. This is temporary, and will give people an incentive to go through the trouble of preparing content and creating torrent files. It is hard to come up with an exact number, but I think the very low monthly prices of VPNs could be taken as an indication of how cheap bandwidth really is.”

With these incentives, leechers might also have the option to pick faster download speeds and pay additional costs to those seeders who support that. This could increase activity in the network and lead to more downloads for the platform.

“The alpha release will be on Testnet, where everyone can try it out without risking any of their bitcoins, after that the goal is to get to a stable and secure version running on Mainnet with real bitcoins,” Mender added.

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In its recently released research paper, European bank Santander claimed to have listed 20 to 25 potential uses of bitcoin. These span various areas such as international money transfers, trade finance, syndicated lending and collateral management as some of the areas where blockchain technology could be applied.

In fact, the institution has claimed that banks could save as much as $20 billion with these uses of bitcoin in their regular operations. Other banks have also been looking into the technology, with some Australian financial institutions already integrating bitcoin applications in their internal activities.

Different Uses of Bitcoin

“For us, the first obvious space to explore all of this in is payments, particularly international payments. Later on we think smart contracts have the potential to transform many of the other things we do,” said Julio Fora, head of innovations at Santander. “We still haven’t made anything official, we haven’t announced anything publicly, but we have an internal team working on this. We’ve done some proof of concepts.”

This has been the main product of the bank’s InnoVentures initiative, which comprises a $100 million fintech investment fund. Insiders say that most of these funds have been channeled into blockchain-related ventures that explore the various practical uses of bitcoin.

“We’re very excited about distributed ledgers and blockchain technology. They really have the potential to disrupt many of the basic processes we have underlying our transactional products,” said Mariano Belinkey, head of Santander InnoVentures. “What we see as the foundation use case, which is international payments, we don’t really need a coalition of 50 banks to make it work. We have ten major geographies. Just us connecting our ten major geographies will allow 100 million customers to make instant payments worldwide. If we partner with two or three banks similar to us we’ve got pretty much global coverage.”