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Peer-to-peer is a network model in which computers or hardware devices exchange files. Some experts describe it as an “equal client” system where instead of accessing files from a server, the “peer” computers just swap them amongst each other.
Peer-to-peer has been a networking standard for some interesting apps and platforms. Some of the most high-profile peer-to-peer systems developed around the trading of media files, including music files, digital movies and television shows, and other audiovisual content, through platforms like Napster, Kazaa, and others. Eventually, these platforms were shut down by industries with an interest in digital intellectual property, but peer-to-peer is still a useful model for many other kinds of file sharing. For example, peer-to-peer systems have been integral in setting up microfinance programs where individual small lenders can contribute to individual borrowers.
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