[BitTorrent] Trackerless BitTorrent

apoipoi apoipoi at yahoo.com
Sat Dec 25 00:22:47 EST 2004


I would like to suggest an idea of BitTorrent "network" without
Trackers. The workload on trackers is very heavy. Especially of
successful and famous ones where thousands of peers will bombard them
with requests every few minutes.

Adding new servers will only add to the operation costs which will
hinder expansion. Not to mention restrict effective capability of
not-for-profit organizations to employ BitTorrent. I understand
BitTorrent is one of the most (if not THE most) efficient method, but
we should try to improve ourselves whenever possible. :)

If I am correct, the vital role of trackers is to (1) provide list of
address for a client to connect to, and (2) to maintain
records/statistics. My suggestion is really very simple. Let each
peers transmit the list of address from their active connections (or
even all addresses they know) to anyone that connects to them.

For example there are four people peers: A, B, C, D.
1. A has the complete file and makes the torrent.
2. B downloads and opens the torrent, which contains the address of A.
3. B connects to A.
4. A is now connected to B. Since B already knows A and there's no
other address that might be of interes to B, no address is sent.
5. C tries to connect to A.
6. A is now connected to B, C.
7. A sends C the list of address, which currently only has B.
8. C now knows B and connects to B.
9. B is now connected to A, B. Since there's no connection known to B
that is not know to C, then no address is sent.
10. D comes into the scene by trying to connect to (for something
diffent), let's say to B.
11. B is now connected to A, C, D. B sends the list (A, C) to D.
12. D now knows, in addition of B, of A and C and tries to connect to

The only necessary change to the torrent format is the list of
addresses. Which can be affixed at the end. The creator of torrent
would be the first in the list of course to ensure anyone can connect
and start downloading. As the "network" grows, this addresses can be
added to the torrent. The updated torrent file can be uploaded on the
web. Instead of every new clients connecting to A, they can
(randomly?) try B, C, or D. This will reduce the workload on A.

The other role, as a record keeper. The torrent can contain (optional)
tracker address that peers can send information periodically, e.g. to
update upload/download ratio. This is optional though.

Thus, the tracker can be totally eliminated while everything works as

Admittedly I haven't really thought this through in details so there
may be many mistakes and weaknesses. If this has been raised, my

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