BitTorrent's Employees Already Leaving, After Tron's Acquisition In June

Omar Faridi
  • BitTorrent, a peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing platform, was acquired by blockchain-based digital content entertainment network TRON in June.
  • BitTorrent's employees have already started leaving the company because they feel uncomfortable working with the new management's "controversial" leadership style.

BitTorrent’s employees have reportedly started leaving the company after its recent acquisition by TRON, a blockchain-based digital content entertainment platform.

Bram Cohen, a well-known computer programmer and creator of BitTorrent, a peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing protocol, recently left BitTorrent Inc. Although neither Cohen nor TRON have officially said anything about why he resigned, the BitTorrent founder had earlier reflected that there are many problems with the way cryptocurrency networks are implemented.

BitTorrent Founder Leaves

According to Cohen, the process of mining digital currencies such as bitcoin and ethereum is very inefficient. Moreover, the software architect appears to have been following the ongoing development of the Bitcoin protocol since 2011. He has also claimed that bitcoin is “so busted at a higher layer”, meaning that its source code has not been written properly.

While it’s still not clear exactly why Cohen left BitTorrent, several other employees of the company have also left after Justin Sun’s TRON network acquired the P2P file-sharing platform in June. Sources currently working closely with both BitTorrent and TRON have said that some of the employees resigned while others may have been dismissed.

Questionable Leadership, Marketing Strategy

Notably, many members of the crypto community have criticized Tron’s leadership by noting that their aggressive marketing strategy via social media can be misleading at times. This is one of main reasons why several BitTorrent employees have left, according to inside sources.

As many crypto enthusiasts may have observed, there has been a lot of hype surrounding the TRON platform, with its founder Justin Sun constantly tweeting updates regarding its ongoing development and new partnership announcements. Sources claim that this type of leadership has reportedly made BitTorrent employees feel uncomfortable working with the company.

The work environment at BitTorrent before Tron’s acquisition was reportedly quite relaxed, however, the new reports suggest that workers at the San Francisco-based company felt pressured by the new management.

It also appears that Tron is looking to aggressively expand BitTorrent’s operations as there are currently around 30 new positions (advertised on LinkedIn) for which the company is hiring. BitTorrent, Inc. wants to employ more product marketing managers and directors, software engineers, technical writers, and accounting managers.

Tron's Controversial "Supernodes"

While BitTorrent’s Tron-led management seems to be trying to recruit more people, the reports suggest that its current staff members do not approve of many decisions taken by its new leaders after the acquisition.

In particular, BitTorrent’s employees are reportedly uncomfortable with how Tron has chosen to elect its “supernodes”, which are appointed to validate transactions on TRON’s Delegated proof-of-work (DPoS) based blockchain network. There are a total of 27 elected nodes for the TRON platform with Justin Sun controlling one and Tron controlling four under the names µTorrent, Raybo, Peiwo, and BitTorrent.

Despite inside sources claiming that BitTorrent’s staff members are uncomfortable working with Tron’s leadership team, a Tron spokesperson told Coindesk that the cryptocurrency platform is:

committed to the BitTorrent product and user community. We have been growing rapidly since the acquisition, as one family, to meet our vision for a decentralized future.

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Trans-Fee Mining Crypto Exchange 'FCoin' Insolvent After Mistakenly Being Too Generous

One of the first cryptocurrency exchanges to adopt the controversial trans-fee mining (TFM) model, which has been called a “disguised ICO” has paused trading and withdrawals over a shortage of crypto worth up to $130 million.

According to a statement published by FCoin’s founder Zhang Jian, a former Huobi CTO, the exchange is now unable to process withdrawals as its reserves are down by between 7,000 to 13,000 bitcoin, worth over $130 million at press time, over an issue that’s “a little too complicated to be explained in a single sentence.”

Zhang’s statement details the cryptocurrency exchange wasn’t hacked, nor is it pulling an exit scam on its users. He detailed that an internal system error gave users more mining rewards than they should have received, noting the error wasn’t detected for a long period of time.

The transaction-fee mining model, which saw FCoin’s trading volume surpass $5 billion per 24 hours numerous times, sees the cryptocurrency exchange incentivize trading via its own token, FT. FCoin reimbursed users for transaction fees paid in BTC or ETH with FTs until 51% of the coin’s supply was distributed, and redistributed 80% of the BTC and ETH it collected to those holding FT tokens.

The controversial model drew criticism and saw Zhang defend it, claiming it was a misunderstood invention. At the time, he said:

If you look back at history, all new things were not recognized at the beginning. Many were believed to be fraud. Jack Ma was recognized as a fraud when he first promoted the internet in China.

Various cryptocurrency exchanges started adopting the TFM model shortly after, with research showing these platforms had unusually thin order books and low traffic taking into account the trading volumes they had.

According to Zhang, the errors in FCoin’s system gave away too many tokens in mining rewards from mid-2018 to mid-2019, when a complete back-end auditing system was implemented. As throughout 2019 the price of FT kept on dropping, Zhang and his team reportedly used their own funds to buy back tokens and drive up demand, a decision he claims was an error.

This, as it gave users a chance to sell their FT tokens and withdraw as much as possible from their accounts, while FCoin bought up tokens that kept on losing value. Zhang’s announcement came shortly after FCoin suspended its platform over a risk-control issue.

Zhang is now reportedly manually processing users’ withdrawal requests sent via email. The founder of the exchange claimed he will “switch tracks” to start again, and noted he hopes he can use the profits made from new ventures to “compensate everyone for their losses.”

Featured image via Unsplash.