While BitTorrent and the TRON ecosystem may be celebrating the launch of the BitTorrent decentralized file sharing protocol mainnet, a new report shows that Netflix has dwarfed the filesharing platform in terms of usage. 

TRON Promoting BitTorrent

BitTorrent, the world’s largest peer-to-peer filesharing platform, has been synonymous with decentralization and subverting authorities in the distribution of content. In June 2018, it was officially announced that TRX founder Justin Sun and the TRON Foundation had acquired BitTorrent for $140 million. 

At the time, the move was hailed as a natural progression for both BitTorrent and the TRON platform. The industry of crypto has had a significant overlap with BitTorrent, both in decentralization and its format of distribution. Since publishing its whitepaper, TRON has established the goal of creating a network that supports a total-media experience: from social media to games and entertainment.

The recent announcement of TRON TV only provides further evidence that Sun and the TRON Foundation are interested in more than operating a cryptoasset. 

Netflix Dominating Torrenting

On the other hand, streaming service Netflix has become almost antithetical to BitTorrent. While torrenting platforms distribute content freely and between peers, Netflix is a centralized platform that also institutes a paywall.

Nonetheless, the company has undergone explosive growth over the last half-decade, with client usage dwarfing that of its filesharing competitors.  According to a report by South African Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Netflix usage has all but “killed” torrenting in the country. The ISPs claim that the rise of Netflix, with its monthly subscription model to access content, has rendered BitTorrent insignificant. 

RSAWEB said that peak time data usage for Netflix is doubling every six months with traffic volume more than twenty-times that of BitTorrent.  An RSAWEB spokesperson compared the two platforms, 

The ratios have significantly changed compared to a few years ago. The current ratio would be for every 50Mbps of aggregated torrent traffic we observe 1Gbps of aggregated Netflix streaming traffic.

Webafrica’s Greg Wright said that the rise of streaming services such as Netflix have made it not even worth tracking the traffic generating by BitTorrent, 

The growth of Netflix in recent years has been truly phenomenal, to the point where we no longer track torrent traffic separately. Google (including Youtube) and Netflix are dominating the content currently.

Torrenting Could Make a Resurgence

While torrenting platforms may have lost the short-term battle for client volume, some are predicting that filesharing services could see a resurgence. For one, Sun and the TRON Foundation are attempting to integrate blockchain and crypto onto the platform in an innovative way. The recent launch of BitTorrent’s mainnet, which utilizes the BitTorrent Token (BTT), has proven that the TRON Foundation is serious about growing its acquired asset. 

In addition, continued fragmentation of the video streaming marketplace may lead users back to filesharing. According to a survey conducted by Broadband Genie, the abundance of subscription platforms is leading to market saturation.

Netflix may have a strong foothold in content streaming, but the rise of Amazon, YouTube, Google, Hulu, and now Apple is fragmenting the marketplace. Clients are forced to pay for multiple subscription services to see their favorite shows and movies which could lead to users once again turning to torrenting as the most cost-effective, albeit illegal, alternative. 

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