BitTorrent Turns 10: Happy Birthday!


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When Bram Cohen first revealed BitTorrent on a public message board on July 2nd 2001, he never imagined it would quickly become one of the main generators of Internet traffic. Now, exactly a decade later, BitTorrent is used by hundreds of million of people worldwide. To celebrate BitTorrent’s 10th anniversary, Bram Cohen joins us to look back at the past and ahead to the future.

“My new app, BitTorrent, is now in working order, check it out here,” Bram Cohen wrote on a Yahoo! message board on July 2, 2001.

It was the first time a working copy of the BitTorrent code had been made available to the public, but the initial response wasn’t exactly overwhelming.

“What’s BitTorrent, Bram?” was the one reply he received on the board.

Despite this underwhelming response, BitTorrent was born. In the weeks and months that followed more people started to become aware of its potential. The music-sharing community Etree was one of the first paces where its full capacity was tested in the wild.

“Early tests used losslessly compressed audio files from Etree, a fan community where people could upload self-recorded concert footage by artists who allowed recordings. That kickstarted it all. Also, Slashdot gave us some early coverage that definitely attracted the attention of engineer influencers,” Bram told TorrentFreak.

It turned out to be the start of something big, something really big. Fast forward a decade and BitTorrent is part of the daily routines of millions of people. Hundreds of petabytes of data are transferred over BitTorrent every day and this number continues to rise.

Today, demand for BitTorrent is greater than ever before. Despite the numerous streaming websites and direct-download portals that were launched over the years, BitTorrent continues to expand its user base. An entire generation grew up with BitTorrent and many people can’t imagine an Internet without it, ever.