While Netflix and other video streaming services rose to prominence, Bittorrent lost a major chunk of its user base, as viewers found Netflix more convenient than downloading large files. Bitcoin-native Brave browser has recently integrated Webtorrent which could pull many consumers back to torrenting and potentially increase Bitcoin adoption.
The Rise of Netflix
In 2008, Bittorrent traffic accounted for roughly one-third of the Internet’s bandwidth. By February 2013, it fell to a low of 3.35% worldwide. Meanwhile, video streaming operations like Netflix took its place. As of 2015, the behemoth video service accounted for 36.5% of all downstream North American Internet bandwidth during peak hours.
Last year, DSLReports researchers noted that “the sharp climb in Netflix usage continues to coincide, rather un-coincidentally, with a notable drop in Bittorrent traffic”.
The reason Netflix has gained Bittorrent’s market share is because “It’s convenient, it’s not that expensive, and the selection is just good enough”, reported Slate. A former Bittorrent user told the publication: “I’m happy to pay $8 a month for not-terrible selection and amazing convenience”.
New Technology, New Opportunities
Webtorrent is a powerful new technology that allows web pages to stream Bittorrent content directly to the browser. Clicking on a torrent magnet link could open up an audio or video player and start streaming it right in the same window, just as if they had paid to watch a Netflix program.
Brave CEO Brendan Eich first tweeted that he was “Excited about #webtorrent coming into Brave” in November. By the 18th, the new feature was added as a default extension but there was no official announcement about it.
At first, there were a few bugs to sort out. However, today Webtorrent works well in Brave and can handle high-definition movies through the browser flawlessly, as tested by Bitcoin.com. Now, anyone with the latest version of Brave who clicks on a Bittorrent magnet link can now either download the file in question, or view/listen to it in their browser window.
Since convenience is reportedly one of the main factors that drove users from their Bittorrent clients to Netflix, the convenience of using the Brave Browser to torrent could also draw many consumers back to torrenting.
Potential New Bitcoin Users
Recently, Brave has been working on adding Chrome extensions to its platform. Soon they will be available, thereby removing one of the largest barriers to users switching from their existing browser over to Brave.
The company has made no secret that they promote Bitcoin, and have even developed their own bitcoin micropayments system to help pay publishers and users alike, growing the bitcoin economy from both sides.
Would you switch from Netflix to Brave with Webtorrenting? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Brave, Google, and Netflix
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