​BitTorrent releases beta of its peer-to-peer browser Project Maelstrom

BitTorrent's peer-to-peer browser from its Project Maelstrom has hit beta, offering publishers a new way of distributing content without relying on a web server.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

BitTorrent has released its own peer to peer browser as a public beta.

BitTorrent published the alpha of the browser, known as Project Maelstrom, last December. Project Maelstrom uses the same distributed protocols behind its torrent clients to build a browser that can draw content from other users' browsers rather than a web server. It's a strategy that might be useful for websites like The Pirate Bay, which had its servers seized by Swedish police last year. In the event of a similar raid, the site would still be available via other users' browsers.

The Project Maelstrom browser is based on the open source version of Chrome and can access normal HTTP websites, alongside its own BitTorrent P2P protocol. According to BitTorrent, the browser is a way of making the internet more open while also removing it from the clutches of the web's "gatekeepers".

"We believe this project has the potential to help address some of the most vexing problems facing the Internet today. How can we keep the Internet open? How can we keep access to the Internet neutral? How can we better ensure our private data is not misused by large companies? How can we help the Internet scale efficiently for content?" BitTorrent said in a blog post.

According to BitTorrent, since the alpha release of the browser, 10,000 developers and 3,500 publishers have got involved with the project. Along with the beta, BitTorrent has released a new set of developer tools on GitHub for supporters to test out. The tools support the creation and seeding of torrent files that contain static websites.

"The developer tool for publishing will help you build for Project Maelstrom easily, even from the command line. This will streamline the process for creating and publishing content for other users to access while using Project Maelstrom," the company notes.

Among the tools is a generator to optimise website files as a torrent for the browser. Publishers can seed their torrent from a client like upturned or BitTorrent while browsers users would reach the content though a magnet link.

The beta browser is currently only available for Windows, however, the company is working on a Mac version.

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