Tron, a startup developing a blockchain-based entertainment and content-sharing platform, has officially completed the acquisition of file-sharing software provider BitTorrent. Tron was said to have paid around US$126 million in cash for the company, according to a report by TechCrunch.
The acquisition of BitTorrent, which claims more than 100 million active users worldwide, makes Tron “the largest decentralized Internet ecosystem in the world,” Tron said in a blog post.
Tron is developing a blockchain-based decentralized protocol for easy and cost-effective sharing of digital content. Tron has dual headquarters, in Beijing and San Francisco, but the Tron Foundation, which is responsible for developing and promoting the protocol, is registered in Singapore.
Tron’s cryptocurency TRX rose 12% following news of the acquisition.
BitTorrent Inc., which was founded in 2004 and based out of San Francisco, offers two main products: the original BitTorrent software and BitTorrent Now, the latter focusing on video and music. In 2006, the company acquired µTorrent, a lightweight BitTorrent client, for US$5 million.
BitTorrent will continue operating but from Tron’s San Francisco location, which serves as the center of operations for the company’s global market expansion. The division will provide “support for Tron’s global business development and partnerships while pursuing its vision for the world’s largest decentralized ecosystem,” BitTorrent said in a blog announcement.
Ashwin Navin, BitTorrent cofounder and now a passive shareholder, said the question now becomes how Tron will integrate a file-sharing user base with other distributed computing applications, because the technology becomes more valuable to broader distributing computing platforms.
Created in 2001, BitTorrent is one of the most common protocols for transferring large files, such as digital video files containing TV shows or video clips or digital audio files containing songs. The protocol, based on a peer-to-peer network, enables large amounts of information to travel over the Internet by breaking the files into small bits.
BitTorrent has said it has “no plans to change what we do or charge for the services we provide” and “no plans to enable mining of cryptocurrency now or in the future.”
Commenting on the acquisition, Justin Sun, CEO of Tron, said:
“BitTorrent is the genesis of the decentralization movement. Developers, entrepreneurs, and the decentralized web community regard BitTorrent as the original pioneers of decentralization technology. It is the foundation of an open, transparent, shared Internet protocol.”