What is TRON? A perspective blockchain project, one more “Ethereum killer” or just another altcoin destined for oblivion? TRON has been bringing out a lot of emotions among cryptocurrency enthusiasts ever since its ICO in September 2017. It was accused of plagiarized white paper, web experts predicted its failure. And here it stands, with a running mainnet and dozens of working dApps.
Now that its founder, a famous businessman Justin Sun, has acquired BitTorrent and plans to launch one more ICO to revive the world’s most famous decentralized file-sharing system, the hype around TRON has grown even more.
We’ve decided to take a closer look at this controversial project, investigate what advantages it gives to its users compared to Ethereum and other blockchains and what cryptocurrency fans can expect it to become in the future.
What is TRON?
TRON is a blockchain ecosystem for creating decentralized applications. It’s been created as an alternative to Ethereum and it claims to be more scalable and cost-effective than other solutions.
Just like Ethereum, TRON is based on the programming language Solidity and its virtual machine is very much similar to Ethereum’s as well. But if you compare these two projects by other indices, TRON is surely the winner. Here’s what Justin Sun says about his project:
Why #TRON is better than #ETH: 1. 10000TPS vs. 25TPS 2. zero fee vs. high fee 3. consistent Coinburn vs. no coinburn 4. Java vs. Solidity 5. strong extensibility vs. no ex. 6. 1 billion USD developers rewards vs. no plan 7. 100 million users vs. small number #TRX $TRX pic.twitter.com/WvxH5EToa8
— Justin Sun (@justinsuntron) April 6, 2018
Another major difference between these two blockchains is the consensus algorithm.
What is Delegated-Proof-of-Stake (DPoS)?
TRON utilizes a relatively new consensus algorithm called Delegated-Proof-of-Stake (DPoS).
Bitcoin, Ethereum and all their derivatives are based on a relatively simple mining mechanism called the proof-of-work. Specialized machines consume electricity in order to resolve complex computational tasks and get cryptocurrency as a reward for their efforts.
Things are different with PoS-based cryptos. There’s no need to spend electricity to produce new coins. Participants of the network possess some share of coins and get a reward from transaction fees according to the size of their share.
DPoS brings matters further. There is a limited number of supernodes that govern the network. Token holders vote for these supernodes by delegating their rights to them. If supernode holders want to be elected, they have to keep the network running smoothly and they can’t be involved in any unholy action (verifying double-spend transactions, for instance) since their purpose is to win the votes of other people.
How DPoS works with TRON
There are a few other projects such as EOS and Lisk that are based on DPoS. TRON has a few features that differentiate it from others:
- Anyone can become a node. All you need to do is to acquire 9,999 TRX tokens (some 260 USD as of January 2019) and to deploy a node on your server.
27 supernodes are selected out of a pool of many candidates on a rotating basis every 6 hours. A usual node can go to the upper level by either acquiring 110 million TRX tokens more or by gaining the same amount of votes from the community.
- In order to vote for a node, you should freeze your tokens in the system. As a reward, you get TRON Power equal to the number of tokens you freeze. TRON Power is not a token, but an incentive that is used in the TRON network.
- Supernodes get 2 types of rewards: the block reward (32 TRX) for each generated block and the vote reward. Supernodes can monetize their vote rewards for their own profits or distribute them among their supporters to give an incentive to vote for them again.
Now that the technical background is a bit more clear, let’s review other aspects of TRON.
Long before the ICO was conducted, TRON had been the source of a great disturbance in the ranks of cryptocurrency community. The project was accused of plagiarizing the white paper (which was true to some extent, since some parts of TRON’s white paper were simply copied from other projects).
The godfather of Ethereum and the smart contracts technology, Vitalik Buterin, named TRON a scam and trolled the project in the comments on Twitter:
8. Better white paper writing capability (Ctrl+C + Ctrl+V much higher efficiency than keyboard typing new content)
— Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) April 6, 2018
However, Justin Sun managed to conduct an ICO while the cryptocurrency industry was at its peak and most of the investors were oblivious of even such accusations. So despite the negative background, TRON has raised the needed capital (58 million USD) and got to work.
Currently, there are two versions of the white paper on TRON’s website. The team has listened to the social opinion and reworked their manifesto, it seems:
The current state of TRON’s implementation
TRON’s mainnet was launched on May 31st, 2018. And the results achieved so far are impressive.
- 7+ million transactions per day on 5 most active dApps
- Daily transactions with the total value of 15+ million USD
- Transaction costs close to zero (0.00001 TRX/transaction)
- The network can handle 2,000 transactions per second
So despite all the controversy, the project is up and running and taking new heights. Moreover, developers don’t abandon their brainchild and go on adding new lines to their Github repository.
TRON purchases BitTorrent
In June 2018, the crypto community was struck by the news: TRON Foundation acquires BitTorrent! Such huge deals do not happen every day, even in the high tech area.
And indeed, there was something to wonder at. BitTorrent is the biggest free file-sharing platform that has ever existed in the history of the internet. Founded in 2004, the project has passed through thick and thin over the years, being strongly opposed by the governments and finally winning over people’s rights for free access to information.
The technology offered by BitTorrent is really great, but the project has one big flaw: over all these years, it hasn’t found a way to monetization. How can you make money when your main ideology is based on free access to all sorts of movies, music, and pirated software?
Now that the genius of PR and the business strategy, Justin Sun, has joined the ‘A-team’, the project has got one more chance for rebirth.
Despite the current downtrend of the cryptocurrency market in general and ICO in particular, Justin has decided to use exactly this way to raise funds for the new project. Supported by the huge people in the industry, BitTorrent’s ICO (based on TRON’s platform, of course) gains more and more hype:
This is BIG, an ICO for @BitTorrent with 100M users and nice concept for token economics – lead by @Tronfoundation who bought @BitTorrent and partnering with @binance . I promised myself I wont invest in any ICOs for a while, but its interesting… smart move from $TRX… #myidea https://t.co/VVrEBWqxBY
— Yoni Assia (@yoniassia) January 17, 2019
(Yoni Assia is the founder and CEO of Etoro, one of the world’s leading peer-to-peer trading platform).
It’s clear that Justin has all the chances to raise the needed market cap. With listing on Binance afterward, this may be one more token sale that completes in a few minutes after its start. We may even see the good old 2017 scheme of ICO money-making being reborn (raise the hype, list on Binance, sell tokens at the cosmic price, count your profits).
But the questions about the platform’s future monetization are still left unanswered. Will Justin be able to find a way to get the project back to its feet after its key employees’ departure? Only time will tell.
Despite all the disputes and controversies, TRON has managed to launch a really working blockchain that may become a good substitution to slow and buggy Ethereum. It’s been only a few months since the mainnet was launched, but there are already many working dApps with huge amounts of circulating money.
The ICO that Justin Sun plans to conduct for BitTorrent rather raises questions than answers. It will be a very difficult task to revive the project and bring it to a sufficient level of profits. Let’s see how things go and what TRON’s founder will invent.