What Is a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Service?

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What Is a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Service?

  • Marisa

    A peer-to-peer (P2P) service is a decentralized platform whereby two individuals interact directly with each other, without intermediation by a third party. Instead, the buyer and the seller transact directly with each other via the P2P service. The P2P platform may provide services such as search, screening, rating, payment processing, or escrow.

    Jessica

    The modern peer-to-peer concept was popularized by file sharing systems, such as the music-sharing application Napster, which appeared in 1999. The peer-to-peer movement allowed millions of Internet users to directly connect and form groups and collaborate with each other to function as user-created search engines, virtual supercomputers, and file systems. This model of network arrangement differs from the client–server model, where communication is usually to and from a central server.

    Jamarion

    Today peer-to-peer services have moved beyond purely Internet services, though they are mostly thought of as at least Internet-based. Peer-to-peer services involve activities that range from simple buying and selling to those that are considered part of the sharing economy.

    Marisa

    Some peer-to-peer services don’t even involve a paid transaction by the users at all, but they bring together individuals to work on joint projects, share information, or communicate without direct intermediation. These kinds of P2P services may be operated as free nonprofit services or generate revenue by advertising to users or by selling users data.

    Jessica

    When a third party is removed from the transaction, there is a greater risk that the provider of the service may fail to deliver, that the service will not be of the quality expected, that the buyer may not pay, or that one or both of the parties might be able to take advantage of asymmetric information.

    Jamarion

    This extra risk constitutes added transaction costs to a peer-to-peer transaction. Often, peer-to-peer services are created with the intent of facilitating these transactions and reducing risk for both buyer and seller. The buyer, seller, or both might pay the cost of the service or the service may be offered for free and generate revenue in some other way.

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