BitTorrent is a great technology to share files both quickly and efficiently, but like most other P2P-technologies it has an Achilles’ heel. The download process relies in part on central servers that can crash or go offline for a variety of reasons. To address this vulnerability the first truly decentralized BitTorrent/P2P client has been developed, meaning that no central trackers, or even BitTorrent search engines are required to download movies, software and music.
BitTorrent is branded as a peer-to-peer technology, but despite this label the downloading process still relies heavily on central servers. In the first place there are the BitTorrent search engines and indexes such as The Pirate Bay and isoHunt. These are needed to search for content and to grab the .torrent file one needs to download a file.
Besides these torrent sites, most BitTorrent downloads are still managed by so-called trackers. These servers coordinate the download process and make sure that people can find others who are sharing the files they want to download. To a certain degree, trackers are no longer needed with ‘trackerless’ technology such as DHT, but even DHT often uses a central server to get a torrent started.
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