The tech media went crazy for Popcorn Time yesterday with headlines like “Netflix for pirates,” “so good it’s scary,” etc.
As everyone has pointed out, it makes Bittorrent as easy to use as Netflix, which is exciting and disruptive for obvious reasons.
It’s a little like Tidbit, the MIT hackathon project that uses a consumer’s computer to mine Bitcoins in exchange for access to media content. Popcorn Time lets you stream movies while turning your computer into a node that provides distribution to a network.
Like Tidbit, this is a clever alternative to subscription based and ad supported models for monetizing media.
What if Netflix offered a discount to customers who opted in to seeding content? It would cut their infrastructure costs and leverage an underutilized resource.
This isn’t a bulletproof analogy. Tidbit generates value that can be extracted from the system in the form of Bitcoin. It actually monetizes the service. Popcorn, on the other hand, creates value in the form of resources. Regardless, both explore the idea of exchanging alternative currencies for access to media. A huge opportunity space.