JoyStream is a new BitTorrent client that incentivizes users to make file-sharing both faster and monetarily rewarding. Bitcoin micropayments, enabled by JoyStream's built-in smart contracts, allow seeders to be paid as they contribute their bandwidth to the sharing of a given file.

Founder and developer Dr. Bendeho Mender demonstrates here:

Mender writes:

“The brilliant insight of the BitTorrent system was to mobilize the idle upstream bandwidth of peers which had a mutual interest in acquiring the same content through barter tit-for-tat exchange. However, the problem of how to incentivize bandwidth contribution from peers which had no need for downloading [...] was a serious problem for the quality of the experience.

“JoyStream attempts to solve this problem, with an open peer-to-peer solution in line with BitTorrent itself, by using the new money of the Internet, Bitcoin.”

In other words, JoyStream wants to create a market scenario to solve the tragedy of the commons found  in the torrenting world, where users currently have every incentive to download (leech) but much less incentive to share (seed).

Paid file-sharing has been deployed by numerous large digital entertainment companies like Netflix and Hulu, but no peer-to-peer (P2P) offering has been available. The traditional scenario has been that torrenters sharing bandwidth and content haven't had a consistent way to be compensated for their services. JoyStream may stand to change that.

The combination of file-sharing and digital currency is being explored via other avenues, as well. Last fall the software vTorrent went into its testing phase, “aiming to be Limewire or Kazaa with blockchain at its core.”

Dr. Mender is currently seeking alpha testers to try out the JoyStream client with the Bitcoin testnet. Interested testers can sign up at JoyStream’s homepage.