The Inside Story of BitTorrent's Bizarre Collapse


What a fascinating read about BitTorrent, a protocol famous for moving big files at high speed across the internet in a peer-to-peer way. Everyone agreed that the protocol was genius, but the company failed to capitalize, and its creator faced its struggle for 10 years:

Amid all of these efforts Cohen had little sway — and little interaction with the rest of people at the company he had created to make something of his invention. His equity had been so diluted that he had little voice; the professional investors controlled 70 percent of BitTorrent.

One quote in this story really stood out to me:

Perhaps the lesson here is that sometimes technologies are not products. And they’re not companies. They’re just damn good technologies. Vint Cerf did not land a Google-size fortune for having helped invent the TCP/IP protocols that power the Internet (though he did get the U.S. National Medal of Technology). What’s more, to be successful, a startup requires both a great idea for a product or service, and a great idea for how to make money off of it. One without the other will fail.

This may also come down to strong vs. weak technologies:

Torrents for music or video basically get beat out by a centralized service with better experience, whether that’s Netflix, Spotify, Amazon, etc.

So the question we should ask ourselves: How can Interledger become a strong technology?