File sharing startup BitTorrent is getting ready to give live streaming another go: The company will soon begin the beta test of a new BitTorrent Live app that is being described as a “decentralized social media platform” — a kind of TikTok, run by a P2P company.
The new BitTorrent Live app will allow users to stream live video directly from their mobile device, and chat with their viewers. BitTorrent Live will initially be based on traditional streaming technology during the beta test, but ultimately transition to P2P technology, according to a spokesperson. The company also wants to eventually add Blockchain technology to the app as well to add a layer of privacy, and also allow token-based micro-transactions.
“Imagine chatting with your favorite athlete, becoming immersed in a music festival, or meeting new friends to share your passions – all by simply firing up the BitTorrent Live app,” said BitTorrent CEO Justin Sun in a statement. Sun acquired BitTorrent last summer.
This isn’t the first time BitTorrent has dabbled in live streaming. Company founder and BitTorrent inventor Bram Cohen began exploring P2P-powered live streaming close to a decade ago, and BitTorrent first tested PC-based live streaming in 2011.
The company refocused on mobile live streaming in the following years, and eventually developed plans to launch a P2P-based TV subscription service, complete with apps for Apple TV and other TV-connected devices. However, BitTorrent shuttered those efforts in early 2017, laying off the BitTorrent Live team in the process.
The new iteration of BitTorrent live will eventually be available worldwide, but rolled out in stages, the company said Wednesday. Access to its beta test, which will begin in the second quarter, will be on an invitation-only basis.
Update: 9:53am: This post was updated with additional information on the technology powering BitTorrent Live.