Recap of the WebTorrent project – Hacker News
It's so fulfilling to see WebTorrent still popping up on Hacker News after all these years. I started the project in 2013 and devoted most of my 20s to working on it, ultimately becoming a full-time open source maintainer. I started WebTorrent with the goal of extending the BitTorrent protocol to become more web-friendly, allowing any browser to become a peer in the torrent network. Within less than a year of starting the project, I got WebTorrent fully working (see https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8317441). And it worked _well_, beating many native torrent apps in terms of raw download speed and the ability to stream videos within seconds of adding a torrent.
WebTorrent never got as much attention as the cryptocurrency projects selling tokens throughout the mid-2010s, even though WebTorrent _actually worked_, and it had more users than almost all of them :) I was never tempted to add a cryptotoken to WebTorrent, despite many well-meaning friends telling me to do it and cash in. Nonetheless, WebTorrent served as an accessible on-ramp to the world of decentralized tech, along with other projects like Dat (https://dat-ecosystem.org/) and Secure Scuttlebutt (https://scuttlebutt.nz/), playing a role in getting people excited about decentralization.
But WebTorrent is more than a protocol extension to BitTorrent. We also built a popular desktop torrent client, WebTorrent Desktop (https://webtorrent.io/desktop/), which supports powerful features like instant video streaming.
Now that WebTorrent is fully supported in nearly all the most popular torrent clients, including uTorrent, dare I say that we succeeded?
It's been a long and winding journey, but I'm glad to have played a role in making WebTorrent happen. Huge shoutouts to all the open source contributors to WebTorrent over the years, but especially Diego R Baquero and Alex Morais who were critical to WebTorrent's success.