As the oldest active torrent approaches 15 years on the pedestal, what is it may just surprise you. The award goes to The Fanimatrix, a fan-film based on The Matrix created by a bunch of friends in New Zealand back in the early 2000s.
Put together with a budget of $800, the New Zealand filmmakers deciding to share the finished movie through torrenting, which meant the group dodged potential bandwidth fees of around $500,000 that they would have faced if they had instead opted to host the movie on a traditional download server.
Torrent files have gotten a bit of a bad rap over the years due to their status as the go-to method for software and media piracy, but the world’s most bullet proof torrent acts as not only an example of how hard torrents are to kill, but how they’re not always used to share dodgy content and have the police knocking on your door in a jiffy.
As Torrentfreak points out, 15 years in internet time is a long time indeed, and things have changed far more than you might think over that period in terms of the world wide web. Due to far slower speeds and expensive bandwidth costs, streaming video was practically unheard of at the time with YouTube still being 3 years away from existence and Netflix being nothing more than a postal rival to the almost mythical Blockbuster.
Sharing large files like movies and games over the internet was difficult for the same reasons, but BitTorrent, an emerging tech at the time, allowed users to share fragments of files between machines to ultimately dodge the costs of bandwidth the initial uploader would incur as more people downloaded the file.
The Fanimatrix movie might not be the most actively seeded torrent available right now, but the fact that the oldest active torrent it’s still kicking around after 15 years is an achievement in itself. Though there are much easier ways to watch the 15 minute fan-film these days, downloading it the old-fashioned way could be a real trip down memory lane.