When Justin Sun originally envisioned the TRON platform and Tronix, the cryptocurrency it would host, he saw it as a way to revolutionize content sharing by decentralizing the monetary model and putting power in the hands of creators.
With the explosion of the internet creating unlimited forms of digital entertainment, there are still a small handful of gatekeepers to contend with.
Even a “free” internet isn’t free in the sense that content still typically comes from a central authority, such as videos on YouTube, for example.
Sun’s model for TRON was to harness the power of blockchain and enable peer-to-peer content production and sharing. No longer should talented creators be subject to Google or Apple taking a cut of their profits, the TRON blockchain running a smart payment system is the goal to unchain the web for future generations.
What Does a TRON Media Revolution Look Like?
Each subsequent advancement in internet technology creates new industries and new markets, while at the same time making the entire experience better for consumers. For example, the advent of secure SSL transactions enabled online shopping to proliferate and created new billion-dollar enterprises like Amazon.
As the internet progressed further and became integral with the lives of consumers, both young and old, new mediums for content sharing and consumption took shape. Sites like YouTube and Facebook became daily visits for most users, flocking to a central point of new social media content.
The benefits are tremendous, but the downfall comes at the expense of giving up your personal information and data in exchange for new mediums of sharing. If you publish something popular, like a widely shared status update, Facebook takes the monetary reward without so much as a “thank you.”
There are ways to publish on these sites and earn income, but for the majority of the mass user base, this will never happen since the model relies on you (the user) giving Facebook your information in exchange for accessing the service.
From where we sit today, the current model has become stagnant, according to Sun. His vision involves blockchain breaking down the need for a centralized server that controls delivery and distribution.
Rather than leave the FANGs (Facebook, Apple, Netflix, Google) in charge, Sun’s vision will be the catalyst that truly opens a free internet where content flows from user to user and is monetized in a secure ledger on the TRON blockchain.
At least, that’s the plan.
Getting there is the battle, but TRON, under Sun’s leadership, is making waves in the crypto space and visible progress toward bringing blockchain usage to the masses.
Why is TRON Different?
We have blockchains running with fairly wide acceptance already, why do we need another in the form of TRON to bring about this digital media revolution?
There are some key differences between TRON and competitors that make it more suitable to manage this new peer-to-peer digital marketplace than compared to blockchain 1.0 or 2.0 contenders, like Bitcoin or Ethereum, respectively.
While Sun has expressed his appreciation for Bitcoin, saying, “it was the gateway for many into the world of blockchain technology,” his project has already leapfrogged it in terms of technology and features. TRON has moved far beyond the Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus mechanism which drives Bitcoin, and started out of the gate with a Delegated Proof-of-Stake (dPoS) algorithm to validate network transactions.
TRON vs. Ethereum
The dPoS algorithm by itself sets TRON ahead of Ethereum, which is currently playing catch-up in terms of adopting Proof-of-Stake.
In addition the PoS, TRON also features a smart contract layer, called the TRON Virtual Machine, which competes directly with the Ethereum Virtual Machine. TRON has gone the extra step of ensuring that software which is written in Solidity, the Ethereum smart contract language, will be easily transposed to TRON. Sun has decided that Ethereum, not Bitcoin, is the market he’s targeting and his over-the-top marketing has made it abundantly clear.
Back in April, Sun posted a chart on Twitter which claimed several major advantages over Ethereum:
Of course, as you’d imagine, this type of taunting did not sit well with Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum’s creator, who wasted little time in offering a stinging rebuttal:
Buterin’s comment about “Ctrl+C + Ctrl+V” is in reference to the allegation that some of TRON’s codebase has been plagiarized from Ethereum, among other projects, without attribution.
It’s inarguable to say that Ethereum hasn’t paved the way for projects like TRON, and clearly the fact that TRON’s development team closely studied and likely lifted some portions of Ethereum code proves that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. However, emulating or copying small portions of code or logic in the grand scheme of an entire cryptocurrency project doesn’t mean TRON is not revolutionary its own right.
TRON + BitTorrent = Mass Adoption?
That formula is the math that Sun is banking on when it comes to pushing the blockchain industry forward and raising wider awareness for how cryptocurrency can be used.
On July 27, Sun announced that TRON had completed the purchase of the BitTorrent platform, one of the most widely-used client software for peer-to-peer torrent sharing.
For Sun, this marriage was a natural one in a niche where content flows from user to user, but a transactional layer for monetizing the content is still lacking. By joining BitTorrent’s 100 million+ user base with TRON, the goal of a “decentralized internet” is starting to take shape for Sun.
The partnership, with BitTorrent, says Sun, “will extend the lifespan of their torrents’ swarms, offer rewards to peers who seed torrents, infuse resources into the torrent ecosystem, and establish financial rewards in return.”
With this acquisition, the digital media revolution, which Sun originally set out to foster, now has a roadmap to follow, and perhaps some gas in the engine to drive the project forward. Any industrious team of coders can build software to run a global blockchain, but few can then take their chain and immediately apply it to a use case with 100 million existing users.
The adoption part is already moving forward, codenamed “Project Atlas,” which will first connect the BitTorrent user base to the TRON blockchain. This phase will begin the process of allowing TRON to incentive “seeders” to serve up torrent files for longer periods of time. In other words, handing out monetary rewards to strengthen the BitTorrent network.
The result, if all goes as planned, could be millions upon millions of users who suddenly are the owners of a new p2p cryptocurrency token created for BitTorrent, running as a sub-token on the TRON network.
From all appearances, the acquisition of a decentralized file sharing service by a decentralized blockchain company could be a ready-made market for driving wide-scale adoption.
Sun is Hot With Controversy
The cryptocurrency space is filled with outspoken personalities like Sun and Buterin, but sometimes the noise catches up. In Sun’s case, the marketing tactics employed by TRON have frequently come under criticism.
In March, Sun promoted an “exclusive” interview from Reuters and described it as news coverage of the TRON project. Twitter users quickly did some investigating and found that the news story being promoted by Sun was not, in fact, news coverage, but rather was a paid promotional piece which appeared on the Reuters website.
TRON also faced trouble in June when Digital Asset Research (DAR), an organization which provides unbiased cryptocurrency research, hammered Sun for how he has conducted himself in terms of business practices. According to a DAR blog post, TRON’s technical achievements are laudable but are also “far outweighed by accusations of plagiarism, petty feuds, and technical concerns.”
TRON also recently breached into another controversial area of online entertainment: pornography. PornHub, the largest online distributor of pornographic videos, entered a deal with TRON to begin accepting TRX as a payment option for premium content. The move fits in line with the BitTorrent acquisition since PornHub also has users who require anonymity and security.
The Future of TRON
With a leader as ambitious as Sun at the helm, TRON is already looking past the BitTorrent acquisition and may be moving on to even larger markets.
It was recently reported that TRON could be close to inking a deal with Baidu, which is one of the largest IT companies in China and often compared to Google in terms of size and influence.
The reality, however, may be less lofty and more of a collaboration than a business partnership. Following Sun’s vague tweet on the matter, the TRON Twitter account confirmed some connection to Baidu, though the wording implies it may be little more than the project using Baidu’s cloud computing service. As with many of Sun’s announcements, the details and wording always matter, and his track record of exaggerating news is well-documented.
Despite the controversies and bombastic founder, TRON is a project to watch and is breaking down barriers of entry that typically box cryptocurrencies into relatively bland use cases. Rather than focus on having the best technology, or the most elite team of researchers, TRON is going directly after the largest scale of potential users it can find and assuming the rest of the items will fall into place.
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