Why did TRON buy BitTorrent for $120 million?
Why buy when it would have been easier, cheaper and more characteristic to just copy the code?
BitTorrent is the world's largest torrenting platform, and it has spent most of its history being passed around by a slew of companies trying to monetise its giant user base, but walking away empty handed. BitTorrent's user base is brought together by a shared refusal to pay for anything, so this isn't unexpected.
Now the TRON cryptocurrency is BitTorrent's latest taskmaster, splurging $120 million on the acquisition and leaving many wondering why.
The plot thickens
Peer-to-peer file sharing and BitTorrent in particular were prominently mentioned in TRON's white paper, but large swaths of the white paper were plagiarised. Since it's hard to see why exactly BitTorrent would be such a key part of TRON's strategy, a lot of people were hesitant to read too far into it.
The road to purchase wasn't easy either, with TRON dragging BitTorrent through a lawsuit on the way to buy, alleging that it had violated a "no shop" clause in an acquisition letter of intent.
The most peculiar part is that BitTorrent's code is all open source, and by all appearances TRON simply didn't need to pay $120 million for the platform when it could have just copied the code and whipped up its own peer-to-peer file-sharing system.
According to one stakeholder, the purchase is an attempt to add "legitimacy" to TRON, while others speculate that it's hoping for a leg-up through BitTorrent's fickle user base.
But some have speculated that the real target is the vast content library that flows through BitTorrent in line with TRON's goal of "democratising" the Internet's collective content machine and usurping advertising giants like Google and Facebook by inserting itself in their place, and drawing users with profit-sharing mechanisms between content creators and consumers.
True to form, TRON founder Justin Sun has announced that he will be announcing his plans for BitTorrent at a later date.
"Regarding how we can unite with BitTorrent, I will keep it secret first. In July, we will have some activities with BitTorrent, please pay attention to that, thank you," he said.
Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author holds ETH, IOTA, ICX, VET, XLM, BTC and NANO.