Seth James Nielson, Caleb E. Spare, Dan S. Wallach. Building Better Incentives for Robustness in Bittorrent

Natural Sciences / Computer Science / User interfaces

Submitted on: Aug 26, 2012, 06:45:56

Description: BitTorrent is a widely-deployed, peer-to-peer file transfer protocol engineered with a "tit for tat" mechanism that encourages cooperation. Unfortunately, there is little incentive for nodes to altruistically provide service to their peers after they finish downloading a file, and what altruism there is can be exploited by aggressive clients like Bit- Tyrant. This altruism, called seeding, is always beneficial and sometimes essential to BitTorrent's real-world performance. We propose a new long-term incentives mechanism in BitTorrent to encourage peers to seed and we evaluate its effectiveness via simulation. We show that when nodes running our algorithm reward one another for good behavior in previous swarms, they experience as much as a 50% improvement in download times over unrewarded nodes. Even when aggressive clients, such as BitTyrant, participate in the swarm, our rewarded nodes still outperform them, although by smaller margins.

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