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Tribler Lab Pays in Bitcoin to Buy 14.4 Petabytes of Bandwidth for their Project

Written by Bill Toulas
Last updated July 14, 2021

The Tribler Lab of Delft University of Technology has just spent part of their Bitcoin stash to add a humongous amount of “fresh” bandwidth to their Tribler torrent client. Tribler is the only genuinely decentralized torrent client that was created almost a decade before in the context of a research project in Delft. Being open source, it receives contributions from people from around the world, while 15 scientists engineers in the university are working on the project full-time. Tribler uses a Tor-inspired onion routing approach and thus ensuring the anonymity of its users.

However, this is precisely what was causing speed-related problems to Tribler users so far, as onion routing means that the data packages that were shared had to get through multiple connections before it reached its target. Moreover, while users enjoyed their staying behind the encryption proxies, exit nodes still had to be used as there is no way around this. With the acquisition of 14.4 petabytes of internet bandwidth from Leaseweb, the operation of Tribler will now be scaled up, and the exit nodes will be handled by intelligent, autonomous, and self-replicating bots called “Dollynators”.

The leader and founder of the Tribler project, professor Johan Pouwelse, has made the following statement on TorrentFreak: “We create swarms of intelligent bots to manage bandwidth. These bots do as they are programmed, they can make smart decisions. We believe robots can’t be as easily corrupted as humans or forced to act against their own will. They can autonomously buy servers using Bitcoin, self-replicate, operate a Tor-like exit node, and sell Tribler bandwidth coins to survive another month.”

Still, Tribler’s pioneering mentality is not limited to the above, as the project was the first to treat bandwidth as currency, allowing users to “mine” bandwidth tokens, similarly to what BitTorrent has done with their own approach recently. However, Tribler was doing this since January last year, and so this bandwidth scaling means greater opportunities for investment. Tribler has spent a lot to acquire the newly incorporated bandwidth, with the Bitcoin amount reaching a three-digit number. However, the University was mining Bitcoin since the early days of the crypto-fever, so they thought this was worth the investment. The project has also been supported by multiple internet research European grants, receiving over the years more than 3.5 million in Euros.

All this awesomeness was combined with a new version release (7.2.0) of the torrent client, so if you are interested in testing out Tribler, now is a great moment to do so.

Do you believe in the future of connecting file-sharing with crypto-coin mining? Let us know where you stand in the comments below, and share your thoughts with our socials community on Facebook and Twitter.



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