Half a century ago, file sharing was done by a few computer enthusiasts. Today, massive amounts of data are transmitted every second. Movies, music, and book are available from torrents at the click of a mouse.
Take idope, which offers content free of charge and users circumvent limitations, unlike decades ago. How have torrent services evolved?
The Bulletin Board System marked the dawn of digital file sharing in the early 1970s. The system resembled an intranet. Users exchanged messages and files by dialing-in through modems. Remarkably, the system is still working.
Established at the end of the same decade, Usenet was similar to BBS, and it still exists. Its servers received files and re-distributed them, thereby generating copies of files and messages. It worked across hundreds and thousands of servers.
3. FTP & FXP
Topsites, a private network of FTP resources, emerged in the 1990s. These were invite-only communities sharing many features with Usenet. Release groups uploaded new content, later distributed by couriers across servers. For uploading unique and suitable files, they earned credits.
In the 1990s, IRC had a major role to play in file sharing and politics. It offered a DCC protocol, allowing direct connection between clients.
By the end of the decade, Napster had gained popularity due to the rise of MP3. A peer-to-peer network, it was focused on music.
7. Gnutella, eDonkey2000 and Kazaa
These three appeared in early 2000s and used different protocols with no central server. Eventually, they failed as a consequence of commercialization, and the Kazaa developers went on to create Skype.
8. DC++ AND I2HUB
These were closed networks focused on file-sharing, which were popular with universities and colleges. Students shared files based on hub/server addresses, and the speed was high.
Created in 2001, BitTorrent has been used by pretty much everyone on the Internet. Adopting the best features of predecessors, it became a simple but powerful platform. It is speedy and efficient, although its processes have raised privacy concerns.
Megaupload, Rapidshare, and the like have been present since the 2000s. They provide a direct path for sharing. First, files are uploaded to such locker, and a URL to the file is generated using HTTP/HTTPS.
What does the future hold for file-sharing services? The future of visual entertainment is associated with immersive technologies, so how about file sharing?
Today, after a period of decline, BitTorrent is still in fashion. The growth is attributed to the streaming services available online. Instead of paying for Netflix or HBO, users are turning to torrents in order to find and download the content.
Platforms like µTorrent and Vuze are enjoying a surge in popularity, which is reminiscent of the 2000s. Experts see the need for subscribing to several services as the factor driving people to torrents. After all, universal access is more convenient than paying for a dozen subscriptions.
In countries like the Netherlands, torrenting is legal. Others try to shut down the platforms, although VPNs and other online anonymity tools render restrictions useless.
The scale of international torrent communities makes bans difficult to enforce. Torrenting may further integrate with blockchain for distribution across nodes, which also use P2P. Centralised servers will likely become obsolete. What is clear, however, is that torrents won't disappear any time soon.