There are all kinds of entities looking to clamp down on people using BitTorrent these days. In addition to entertainment companies and copyright trolls, some ISPs promising “unlimited” packages still feel the need to throttle, interrupt or otherwise hinder the world’s favorite file-sharing protocol.
As a result, more and more solutions are coming to market that aim to give freedom back to file-sharers while increasing performance and anonymity.
With their own unique skill sets the popularity of seedboxes and VPNs has grown tremendously in recent years, but for those with slightly different needs there are alternatives. Today we take a look at a new service which aims to offer performance, security and convenience, backed up by the anonymity of BitCoin.
BitFetch is a remote BitTorrent downloading service operating entirely within any browser with no torrent client needed. Since it also has its own search engine there is no need to visit a torrent site either, meaning that blocked sites are a thing of the past.
“I created BitFetch as an alternative to BitcoinTorrentz, since its owner went MIA since October and the site was down most of the time,” the owner of BitFetch told TorrentFreak.
The BitFetch interface is clean with a single box requesting one of three types of input.
The first option is simply to enter a search term. We chose TPB AFK and were greeted with 13 short pages of results, conveniently ordered by number of seeds.
Users who already have a magnet link in their clipboard can simply paste it into BitFetch. Equally, those who have a torrent file on their computer can upload it using the same tools.
When ‘fetch’ is clicked BitFetch joins the torrent swarm in question and grabs the files requested by the user and stores them on its own servers. Since users of BitFetch never enter the BitTorrent swarm, privacy is never comprised. This part of the process was so quick on the 974MB file we chose that we had no time to take a screenshot.
Once the files are stored by BitFetch it’s simply a case of transferring them to the host PC. Clicking download brings up a box which allows the user to have all files compressed into a convenient single ZIP file download. Alternatively any of the files from the original torrent can be selected to avoid downloading files that aren’t needed.
We opted to ZIP which took a few seconds and after choosing a hard drive location the subsequent download was on its way. The beauty here is that downloads take place over HTTPs which unlike BitTorrent is not regularly throttled by ISPs and is encrypted by default.
Just like any decent seedbox or VPN service, BitFetch costs money to use. Don’t let that put you off though. All TorrentFreak readers can test the service out for free – we’ll tell you how to access that in a moment. Second, BitFetch wants its users to stay as anonymous as possible and to this end only accepts payment in BitCoins.
“I always thought it was a great idea to take advantage of the instant nature, non-existent fees and pseudoanonymity of Bitcoin for services like this, especially in this day and age where governments and ISPs are the puppets of copyright groups,” BitFetch explains.
“I think that in the coming years BitCoin is going to become absolutely huge. People are slowly waking up to the fact that fiat currencies are a joke and Bitcoin actually puts the power back into their hands.”
Since we’re on the subject of privacy it makes sense to outline what information BitFetch stores on its users. The information is limited to an account token, total bytes downloaded, total BitCoin deposited and last date using the service. Torrent hashes are tied to account tokens only while transfers take place and are deleted once complete. No IP addresses, browser headers, BitCoin sending addresses or other data is saved.
TorrentFreak readers can test the BitFetch service completely free of charge by following this link. It’s limited to 2GB per person for the 24 hours following the publication of this article with no limits on the number of torrents fetched.
After this period users will have to top up with BitCoins. It’s a pay-as-you-go system which means that no credits are wasted at the end of a month as is the case with subscription packages.
Update: For those who are concerned about BitTorrent etiquette, BitFetch’s owner clarifies that all files are properly seeded. “Bitfetch tries to keep a ratio above 1. In fact, in the last 2 months the average ratio has been 1.62 (total BT bytes out / total BT bytes in),” he writes.