Summary of The Inside Story of BitTorrent’s Bizarre Collapse

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What happens when a brilliant piece of technology can’t find a profitable business niche? Consider the case of the BitTorrent protocol – one of the most common protocols for file sharing on the Internet. Journalist Jessi Hempel digs into the strange history of BitTorrent, the company created to monetize Bram Cohen’s groundbreaking invention. In tracing the many attempts by an ever changing cast of executives and investors to transform the BitTorrent protocol into a successful company, Hempel constructs a kind of morality tale for tech entrepreneurs. getAbstract recommends this article to tech investors, executives and inventors.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How the BitTorrent protocol revolutionized data sharing,
  • How the BitTorrent company tried and failed to develop into a profitable business, and
  • Why the company’s late-2016 launch of a BitTorrent Live app offers some hope.
 

About the Author

Jessi Hempel is the head of editorial for Backchannel. She writes about the business and the culture of technology.

 

Summary

When computer programmer Bram Cohen invented his open-source BitTorrent protocol – which turns massive files into small pieces, sends those pieces through a peer-to-peer network and then rebuilds them – he revolutionized the world of data sharing. Surely, Cohen thought, he could leverage this tech to turn a profit. In 2004, he founded the BitTorrent company and raised $8.75 million from venture capital firm Doll Capital Management (DCM) to launch a platform that would allow people to sell bandwidth-intensive content. Unfortunately, the venture floundered, arguably, because BitTorrent couldn’t stop entertainment pirates from using the protocol illegally.

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