BitTorrent, the file-sharing resource rebel is celebrating its 20th birthday this year, but its BitTorrent Token (CCC:BTT-USD) is getting the most attention.
Launched in 2019, BTT flew under the radar until the beginning of this year, when it got caught up in the massive crypto crush. The token, even during its best days, was trading just above 1 cent. Now, it’s trading around 0.0038 cents.
Crypto has a similar dynamic to the wild housing market in the US. What started as a trickle has turned into a frenzy.
In some markets, buyers understand that unless they’re ready to overbid by $100,000 for a house, they’re not going to have a competitive bid.
Crypto is experiencing such a boom. During this kind of run, investors get creative when it comes to alternatives. If their ideal neighborhood or crypto is too rich for their blood, they look for undervalued alternatives that no one has overbid yet.
The Paradox of BitTorrent
BitTorrent was one of those bad-boy protocols that was a shining example of a decentralized web’s capabilities. If you had music or movies, and you wanted other music or movies (or other large, data-dense files), you could share yours on BT and also access other people’s content.
And it was free.
It was also kind of illegal, but it was a powerful tool for early tech adopters in experiencing the power of the free and open internet.
At the time, most big content producers were still trying to wrap their heads around the potential of internet streaming services. And they certainly didn’t have the technical horsepower to track down who was sharing their content and stop them (that came later).
The movie and music industries were still trying to figure out how to deal with digital royalties now that radio and movie theaters weren’t the only platforms where content could be sold. It was a crazy time.
The Crypto of Its Time Versus Today
You could even say that BT was like a crypto during that time, without the blockchain. Its P2P network provided visibility of content, yet it was also private since few people were using their own names.
And BT wasn’t controlling what happened. It simply allowed people to use its protocols to distribute content and data.
Previously, aside from devs and coders, no one perceived a movie or a piece of music as just data. But once you viewed it as that, a whole new level of possibilities opened up.
Now we’re in a place where these early concepts are mainstream, and crypto and the blockchain are the next iteration of these early rebel P2P networks.
But this is the fundamental challenge for BTT and its BitTorrent parent: relevance.
BitTorrent has built a couple of platforms that are only available to subscribers that use BTT in the hope this will boost the circulation of BTT and generate some revenue.
Yet in a world thick with streaming content and more sophisticated content providers that protect their content far more enthusiastically (and state and federal governments that protect that private property) BTT is more a romantic notion than a real contender.
BitTorrent Goes from Black Hat to White Hat
BitTorrent did launch DLive, a channel that allowed the free sharing of content, no matter how questionable. Generally, groups and individuals that have interests that were esoteric or downright repellant to broader society found DLive a safe place to air their views.
But after the attempted putsch on Jan. 6, the pressure was put on platforms that allowed hate speech and seditious information like DLive. BitTorrent went along with the trend and the legendary Black Hat company donned a White Hat and started purging its content.
No only did this hurt its reputation as a tech rabble-rouser, it also took away its niche market, and both these have had a negative effect on BTT.
Today, BTT has consolidated at its current level. The problem is, there’s nothing on the horizon that will drive the crypto up from here, other than crypto investors looking for a cheap token that has a name brand.
Disclosure: On the date of publication, GS Early did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
GS Early has been an award-winning financial writer and editor for nearly three decades, working with many of the leading financial editors and publishers during that time. He’s seen a few things and heard plenty.