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As one of the most well-known BitTorrent clients, FrostWire is used to claims that it helps to foster online piracy. So when the developers announced an experimental mechanism to allow users to donate Bitcoins to torrent sharers, it was only natural for the community to assume that this was to allow the monetization of digital piracy. According to FrostWire developer Angel Leon, however, the goal is the exacte opposite.

Speaking with TorrentFreak, Leon explained that the new tool (which also allows donations via Litecoin, Dogecoin and PayPal) is actually aimed at providing new options for monetizing legal P2P content.

We believe piracy is best fought by giving consumers the options of getting legal content, and we want to build solutions that use this technology to empower content creators no matter how big or small they are. We want them to try BitTorrent as an alternative, an additional channel. We think it will be easier to convince more and more artists to join us with the new possibilities.”

In principle, artists would be able to seed their own content and get paid directly by fans. While the same technology could be used to create incentives for illegal downloads, the possibilities for legitimate use are immense. Tipping seeders via Bitcoin is already commonplace on major torrent sites.

Leon sees a future where the “tip-based” virtual currency economy could provide real alternatives to the mainstream options currently available. If it proves successful, it might even convince the bigger content providers to opt in on a system they’ve spent the better part of a decade fighting.

Putting it bluntly, Bitcoin and BitTorrent integration give us the tools to create the P2P equivalents of iTunes and Netflix, which are centralized venues which work great for big content but not so much for the little guys who have to jump through many hoops to get in.”

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