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BitTorrent to Launch Public Beta of New Live Streaming App

Janko Roettgers

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BitTorrent is getting ready to open the floodgates for its new live streaming app, dubbed BitTorrent Live: The company plans to launch a BitTorrent Live Android app on various app stores as part of a public beta test late Friday, according to a spokesperson.

BitTorrent Live, which is also known as BLive, is being described as a live streaming app with social networking and instant messaging features. In addition, it also offers virtual gifting through cryptocurrencies.

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“With BitTorrent Live you can create live video content, connect with people who share the same passions, earn money by expressing your creativity and find friends all around the world,” the company said on its website.

In a Medium post, the company proclaimed that the app would be the first to combine live streaming with blockchain tokens and the BitTorrent protocol. However, a spokesperson clarified that BitTorrent Live is using a server-based architecture at launch, with plans to eventually replace this with P2P-based live streaming.

Users will be able to reward creators on BitTorrent Live with gifts based on BTT and TRX — two blockchain tokens operated by BitTorrent and its sister company Tron.

However, there’s a catch: The company apparently plans to take a cut of 70% of those gifts, and only give creators 30%, according to an earlier Medium post. As a comparison, Periscope used to take a 30% cut from virtual gifts, but eventually decided to give broadcasters 100% of their gifted micropayments, save for a small administrative fee.

The BitTorrent Live app is BitTorrent’s third stab at live streaming. Company founder and BitTorrent inventor Bram Cohen, who left BitTorrent last year, began exploring P2P-powered live streaming close to a decade ago, and BitTorrent first tested PC-based live streaming in 2011.

The company refocused on mobile live streaming in the following years, and eventually developed plans to launch a P2P-based TV subscription service, complete with apps for Apple TV and other TV-connected devices. However, BitTorrent shuttered those efforts in early 2017, laying off the BitTorrent Live team in the process.

BitTorrent was acquired by Blockchain entrepreneur Justin Sun a little over a year ago. The company has since moved to integrate blockchain technology into some of BitTorrent’s file sharing apps as well.

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