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JoyStream: a BitTorrent Client that Incentivizes Seeders with Bitcoin

Op-ed - JoyStream: a BitTorrent Client that Incentivizes Seeders with Bitcoin

JoyStream, the world’s first bitcoin-based BitTorrent client is set to have an alpha release for a limited amount of pre-signed users on the Bitcoin Testnet soon.Founded by Dr. Bedeho Mender, JoyStream attempts to improve the levels of bandwidth contribution and the lack of incentives for content providers known as seeders in the original BitTorrent client, by rewarding JoyStream’s seeders with micropayments using multiway payment channels in bitcoin.Users who choose to download content in the JoyStream client are known as leechers, and are required to pay the seeders directly in bitcoin, in exchange for downloading files or streaming large HD audio or video files.The unique feature and payment system of JoyStream provides the seeders with an opportunity to charge higher prices for rare and highly demanded content, thus providing a more competitive market and a more equitable system for seeders than the original BitTorrent client.“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 told Bitcoin Magazine. "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.”As the seeders’ contribution of bandwidth is incentivized directly from its leechers, users are able to download torrents and files at much higher speeds, and stream HD movies or audio without interruptions. Furthermore, users may skip or rewind the HD videos while streaming without having to reload the whole file as required in other commercially available torrent clients.JoyStream will be released on the bitcoin testnet, where pre-signed-up users can use the client without any risk.“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 told Bitcoin Magazine.The highly anticipated bitcoin-based torrent client JoyStream may integrate micropayment platforms for digital currency such as Strawpay or the Bitcoin Lightning Network, in which transactions are “sent over a network of micropayment channels whose transfer of value occurs off-blockchain.”The integration of the aforementioned network of micropayment channels will enable the client to run flawlessly, disregarding the maximum blocksize of the bitcoin blockchain.JoyStream has been receiving a significant number of suggestions from the bitcoin community, including those which propose that the leechers or content downloaders should be able to torrent for free, and upgrade the client only if the torrent fails to sustain its high-speed. Images and screenshots courtesy of JoyStream.