BTFS Takes Shine Off IPFS in Distributed Storage Wars

UTC by Julia Sakovich · 3 min read
BTFS Takes Shine Off IPFS in Distributed Storage Wars
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BitTorrent File System has shaken up Filecoin, the bearer of the IPFS banner, by shipping its protocol first and integrating it into an established file sharing network.

BitTorrent’s distributed file storage protocol, BTFS, has struck a blow against IPFS-based competitor Filecoin by launching first. Repeated delays to the Filecoin mainnet have enabled BTFS to gain first-mover advantage, launching on June 17 while Filecoin’s mainnet date is still to be confirmed. Coupled with the readymade user base of 100 million that BTFS has the luxury of tapping into, and the distributed storage wars have taken an abrupt turn. The ball is now in BitTorrent’s court, as the reinvigorated file-sharing protocol seeks to demonstrate the benefits of integrating a tokenized economy.

BTFS Flexes on Filecoin

Filecoin isn’t the only file-sharing protocol to utilize IPFS, but it is the most high profile and well-funded effort, having raised $257 million in 2017. Despite having a head start over BitTorrent File System, Filecoin has floundered as the scale of the problem it was attempting to solve became apparent. While investors in Filecoin’s ICO await the day when they can trade their tokens, BitTorrent’s native token has been tradable for 18 months and is listed on 80 exchanges.

The advantages that BTFS has over IPFS aren’t simply limited to having a more established token economy and stronger brand: they extend all the way down to the protocol level. The Host UI used by BTFS is better, for one thing, making the software easier to grasp. UX is seen as one of the key determinants in whether distributed file storage can gain market share from its centralized cloud counterpart.

And then there are nodes. IPFS nodes work differently to those of BTFS. The former are designed to store the content they deem significant, prioritizing data accordingly. As a result, IPFS nodes are liable for deleting data that they have previously stored, jeopardizing access being maintained at all times. IPFS is an impressive framework with significant capabilities, but it is not designed for casual users. A steep learning curve coupled with the challenges of running an IPFS node has served to deter casual users. BitTorrent’s architects are confident that the more user-friendly design of BTFS will help to establish it as the dominant distributed storage protocol.

Loads of Nodes and Millions of Users

Because BTFS plugs into the existing BitTorrent ecosystem, it connects to an existing user base of 170 million and is reinforced by 75,000 nodes. This creates the world’s most distributed file sharing network, and ensures that data is always retrievable. Having recorded over one billion downloads to date, BitTorrent is the daddy of file sharing. Now the stage is set for its tokenized storage system to build upon that legacy, bringing distributed storage to the TRON network and the thousands of dApps it supports.

To many Web3 proponents, IPFS is now “old tech” that has been around for years, but has yet to gain meaningful traction. BitTorrent File System has shaken up Filecoin, the bearer of the IPFS banner, by shipping its protocol first and integrating it into an established file sharing network. If the future of file storage is distributed, the smart money is on BTFS cornering the market.

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Julia Sakovich
Editor-in-Chief Julia Sakovich

Having obtained a diploma in Intercultural Communication, Julia continued her studies taking a Master’s degree in Economics and Management. Becoming captured by innovative technologies, Julia turned passionate about exploring emerging techs believing in their ability to transform all spheres of our life.

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