BitTorrent was one of the first to enter the peer-to-peer space and at its peak boasted around 250 million users. It has now been sold to Justin Sun and his blockchain-powered TRON platform for the reported sum of $120 million US Dollars.
The acquisition closed towards the end of June according to inside sources speaking with Variety magazine.
The original fee was said to be $140 million according to those close to the deal who talked to TechCrunch, but, CoinDesk interviewed the former co-founder of BitTorrent, Ashwin Navin, who suggested that this would fall closer to the $120 million mark.
Tron carries a bold mission statement to ‘decentralize the web’ and build one of the largest blockchain-based operating systems in the world. Justin Sun had previously worked for Ripple, but then in 2017 he launched his own startup with its own native cryptocurrency.
TRX coin appears to loosely be a crypto token for the entertainment industry with plans to facilitate payments for content. It is also intended to be used for trading more generally on the Tron MainNet.
It’s not clear yet what Justin Sun has planned for BitTorrent, but on top of its main client it also has BitTorrent Now, which is focused on media and more general creative content. It is possible that this could be useful to the Tron platform.
Speculation as reported by TechCrunch includes the potential for using BitTorrent’s vast p2p architecture and user base to help mine coins, whilst also serving to legitimize Tron as a business.
This signals what has been coming for a long time now; BitTorrent was revolutionary in its infancy, back in 2004, when it developed a decentralized network that uses all systems in a network as nodes to share and store data.
But they have reportedly been looking for a buyer for a while now with unsuccessful business strategies and tumultuous management reshuffles taking their toll. The company never managed to fully capitalize on the buzz surrounding them, so with Justin Sun’s Tron there may be a new beginning afoot.
“We’ve been following this closely at LEXIT, and this acquisitions is exactly why the M&A market needs an update,” says Amir Kaltak, founder and CEO of LEXIT, a platform for startup founders that incorporates blockchain technology. “BitTorrent struggled to find a buyer, and the acquisition by Tron itself took a long time and became quite murky for both parties, so much so they almost ended up in court!”
He adds: “ We feel this process could be made less expensive and more transparent with a distributed platform bootstrapped by blockchain-inspired token economics.”
Sun and BitTorrent signed a letter of intent in January. BitTorrent spoke with other bidders during that time and pushed the deal back. Ultimately, as Sun moved to take BitTorrent to court, Tron acquired BitTorrent.