One of the more common mistakes made over the past year or so is assuming Bitcoin has something to do with the BitTorrent protocol. Even though both names have “Bit” at the beginning, this does not necessarily mean they are related. However, there is a certain correlation between Bitcoin and BitTorrent, as one tech company wants to use the digital currency to use pirates as informants.
The Fight Against Piracy Continues
In recent times, more and more torrent sites have started accepting donations in Bitcoin. Due to the fact this digital currency is pseudonymous, and no personal information is exchanged, it is a perfect alternative payment to Paypal and credit cards. Especially for users who value their privacy and wish to remain anonymous.
However, this association is not necessarily good publicity for Bitcoin. Granted, torrent sites create an alternative avenue for spending Bitcoin in a somewhat positive manner, but these sites are also the main source of online piracy. And that is one market that government officials around the world have been trying to tackle for quite some time now, to little avail.
South Africa-based Custos Media Technologies think they have the key to the solution, by bringing Bitcoin and BitTorrent closer together. Custos Media Technologies plans to implement a “digital alarm” into movies and music to alter content creators when their copyrighted material is being uploaded to torrent sites or other platforms where file-sharing occurs.
This feature – which is developed by Stellenbosch University researchers – will be dubbed “CustosTech” and aims to discourage leaking of copyrighted material. Furthermore, the company plans to reward users who come across these files by paying them a small amount of Bitcoin.
“Custos embeds watermarks into the analog and/or digital content of media items, which are imperceptible but difficult to remove. Each watermark contains a Bitcoin wallet, with a reward for anyone who anonymously claims it once the media has passed out of the control of the original recipient.”
Let The Bitcoin Bounty Hunting Begin
As soon as watermarked content appears on a website where it does not belong, the first person who downloads the file and views the code will be able to report it using a special Custos tool. Not only would this reward this user with a small of Bitcoin, but the person responsible for leaking the material could face financial or legal penalties.
“Media downloaders who want to search for such rewards (‘bounty hunters’) can do so anonymously, from anywhere in the world. The moment a bounty is claimed – and by the nature of cryptocurrencies, this can only happen once – the transaction reflects on the blockchain, and Custos notifies the media provider of the incident, and to which recipient the content was originally licensed.”
It goes without saying that, while such a system may offer a lot of benefits, its usefulness will entirely depend on the people using it. Even though the torrent community is not exactly about a fraternity, it will be rather difficult to find people willing to snitch on other users, even if they will receive a reward in Bitcoin.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock and