×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

BitTorrent Loses Recent CEO, Adds Crypto-Currency to uTorrent

Longtime BitTorrent executive and recent CEO Rogelio Choy left the company just 6 months after its acquisition by blockchain entrepreneur Justin Sun. Coincidentally, Choy’s departure comes just as BitTorrent is doubling down on blockchain tech: The company announced Thursday that it is adding a crypto-currency to its popular uTorrent client.

Choy had been BitTorrent’s chief operating officer from 2012 to 2015. After a 2-year stint at an on on-demand startup, he rejoined the company in 2017 as its CEO. His departure was confirmed by a company spokesperson Thursday, who said that he “decided to pursue other opportunities.”

The exact reasons for his departure are unknown at this time, but a source close to the company suggested that there had been disagreements about the direction of the company. Choy wasn’t available for comment.

A spokesperson for Sun’s Tron blockchain startup denied that there had been disagreements between Choy and Sun following the initial publication of this story. “The two had a good working relationship,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “People leave companies in normal course of business. Tron has been steadily filling out its executive ranks with hires of seasoned people from Google, S&P and elsewhere.”

One possible point of contention is BitTorrent’s increased focus on crypto-currencies: The company announced Thursday that it was adding a crypto token to its popular uTorrent Windows client. The token will initially allow uTorrent users to achieve faster download speeds.

Ultimately, the company plans to use the token for other use cases as well. “BitTorrent token is the first in a series of steps to support a decentralized internet,” said Sun in a blog post. “In one giant leap, the BitTorrent client can introduce blockchain to hundreds of millions of users around the world and empower a new generation of content creators with the tools to distribute their content directly to others on the web.”

The BitTorrent token will be made available on Binance, but won’t be available to U.S.-based users at launch. BitTorrent emphasized Thursday that users will always be able to opt out of the scheme as well.

In addition to heading Tron, Sun is now also CEO of a newly-founded BitTorrent foundation, which is incorporated in Singapore. Choy had been CEO of BitTorrent until the acquisition, and subsequently became general manager of Tron’s storage business.

His departure is just the latest in a long list of tumultuous executive changes the company underwent in recent years. Most notably, in 2016, two outside investors managed to buy themselves seats on the company’s board and install themselves as co-CEOS.

The duo spearheaded an expensive expansion into the media space, including the opening of a Los Angeles production facility. Those efforts ultimately faltered; both CEOs were fired that same year, and the company shut down its L.A. studio space and effectively shuttered its media operations.

Update: 9:40am: This post was updated with a statement from a Tron spokesperson.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Elite Season 2

    San Sebastian: Spain’s SVOD Players Debate Competition, Brand, Talent

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — Executives from HBO, Netflix, Amazon and Movistar+ and “Elite” co-creator Darío Madrona took to the stage to field questions on the Global Impact of Spanish Series. Here, briefly, are five takeaways: 1.Spain First “La Casa de Papel” was watched by 34,355,956 Netflix accounts over its first seven days,  after a July 19 [...]

  • Tinder - Swipe Night

    Tinder's Apocalyptic 'Swipe Night' Interactive Dating Show Sets Release Date

    Tinder next month will bow its first original entertainment content — “Swipe Night,” an interactive adventure series in which viewers are forced to make dating choices on humanity’s last night on Earth. Variety previously reported details of the location-based social network/dating app service’s foray into original content, which recently wrapped production in Mexico City and [...]

  • Editorial Use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    YouTube Rolls Back Verification Changes, Says Verified Creators Can Keep Their Badge

    A day after announcing significant changes to its verification program, YouTube announced Friday afternoon that it won’t be de-verifying existing creators after all. “We heard loud and clear how much the badge means to you,” said YouTube product manager Jonathan McPhie in a blog post. “Channels that already have the verification badge will now keep it [...]

  • BLive: BitTorrent Live Streaming App to

    BitTorrent to Launch Public Beta of New Live Streaming App

    BitTorrent is getting ready to open the floodgates for its new live streaming app, dubbed BitTorrent Live: The company plans to launch a BitTorrent Live Android app on various app stores as part of a public beta test late Friday, according to a spokesperson. BitTorrent Live, which is also known as BLive, is being described [...]

  • Netflix - Apple TV

    Netflix Stock Drops After CEO Acknowledges 'Tough Competition' Coming From Disney, Apple

    Netflix shares fell as much as 7% Friday to a nine-month low, coming after CEO Reed Hastings commented that the November launches of Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus will introduce a “whole new world” of competition. Hastings, speaking at the Royal Television Society conference Friday in Cambridge, England, said, “While we’ve been competing with [...]

  • Facebook

    Facebook Suspends Tens of Thousands of Apps During Privacy Investigation

    Facebook has suspended tens of thousands of apps ever since it began investigating potential privacy abuses, the company said Friday. The apps in question had been built by around 400 developers, and a suspension doesn’t necessarily indicate actual privacy violations. Facebook began combing through millions of apps that made use of its platform after the [...]

  • tivo logo

    Tivo Plans to Launch Android TV Dongle, Tivo+ Curation App

    DVR maker Tivo is getting ready to release a new device that may not record television at all: The company plans to launch a $50 Roku-like TV dongle early next year, its new CEO Dave Shull revealed in a conversation with CNN this week. The new device will be powered by Google’s Android TV platform, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content