EU Invests $22 Million in Next-Generation BitTorrent Client

A few weeks ago we reported that the EU Greens launched a pro-filesharing campaign named "I Wouldn't Steal". In a continued effort to support the development of P2P technology, the European Union has now invested $22 million in the development of an open-source BitTorrent client.

The team behind the social BitTorrent client Tribler is responsible for the core P2P technology for the project, dubbed P2P-Next. The project received $22 million (15 million Euro) from the European Union and another $6 million (4 million Euro) is brought in by some of the partners.

One of the biggest names taking part is the BBC, who will use the new BitTorrent client to stream TV programs. Other partners in the P2P-Next project are the European Broadcasting Union, Lancaster University, Markenfilm, Pioneer Digital Design Centre Limited and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. The main goal is to develop an open source, BitTorrent-compatible client that supports live streaming.

Approximately 50% of the people who use BitTorrent at any given point in time download TV shows. The current project will help broadcasters to find better ways to reach this online audience, and offer high quality on-demand television.

“This cooperation with both the British and German public broadcasters indicates that P2P is here to stay. We welcome the decision of the European Union to award this proposal around P2P. This means that Europe can expand it’s roughly two year lead in this important area,” Tribler’s Johan Pouwelse told TorrentFreak.

“Tribler serves as a testing ground for several world-first innovations. It serves as a living lab for P2P research. Key to our endeavor is an academically pure architecture: no central servers exist in Tribler in combination with being backwards compatible with BitTorrent,” Pouwelse added.

As part of the project, the Tribler team, together with Harvard researchers, implemented the “Nobel prize winning” mechanism design theory into their BitTorrent client. The ultimate goal is to encourage people to share as much as possible without imposing share ratio sanctions, and to let users moderate the available content.

BitTorrent sites are watching the P2P-Next project closely, and some might even be interested in experimenting with the new technology. We asked Johan Pouwelse if he sees possibilities to collaborate with BitTorrent sites, and he said: “We are creating tools for traditional broadcasters and also new entrants to the distribution market.”

I guess we should take that as a yes.

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