TRON is one of the most popular cryptocurrencies. It really hit the mainstream in the altcoin boom of 2017/2018, when the TRX token rocketed thousands of percentages in a few weeks. But what is TRON? This article is the ultimate beginner’s guide. We have written a comprehensive TRON review with all the key features of TRON explained.
TRON review – one of the biggest platforms
First, let’s place TRON to the correct category in the world of cryptocurrencies. As the title suggests, TRON belongs to the platform category. There aren’t yet any standards for different types of cryptocurrencies, so you might also see terms such as ecosystem and dApp operation system being used.
The king of platforms is Ethereum. It was the first 2nd generation cryptocurrency and really started the whole platform race. Nowadays there are many competitors, which are titled as 3rd generation products. These include EOS, Cardano, NEO, and TRON.
The difference between the 2nd and 3rd generation comes mainly from scalability and mining. Ethereum is still using the Proof of Work consensus algorithm (same as Bitcoin), which requires physical mining devices to be used. Third generation platforms use Proof of Stake, where mining is done through software. This allows platforms like TRON to scale from 20-30 TPS (Transactions Per Second) to 2000-3000 TPS and even further.
TRON is not competing with Bitcoin, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash or Monero, as an example. TRON is trying to win market share against other platforms. Its biggest competitors are currently Ethereum, EOS, and Tezos. TRON is currently (Dec. 2019) the 12th biggest cryptocurrency in the world. Ethereum is 2nd, EOS is currently 7th and Tezos 11th.
Every blockchain has its native cryptocurrency or token. TRON has a token called Tronix, shortened as TRX. In practice, you don’t really see anyone use the word Tronix. People usually say “I bought 1000 TRON coins” or “I bought 1000 TRX tokens”.
Next, let’s go through the history of the TRON project and its founder.
What is TRON? TRON equals Justin Sun
Bitcoin is pretty much the only known cryptocurrency, which doesn’t have a strong spokesperson, CEO or other leaders. TRON is completely the opposite. Everything that happens in the project is communicated through its founder. He is just 29-year old Sun Yuchen, better known as Justin Sun.
Chinese-born Sun is almost a perfect candidate for a spokesperson of TRON. He was educated at the University of Beijing before moving to the United States. There, he started to study in the University of Pennsylvania. Sun left studying in 2013 and started to work for Ripple Labs. Many are unaware of this connection.
Ripple sent Sun eventually to China, where he worked as the representative of the company. Hence, Sun has experience in this industry. His Ripple career ended in 2015. After this, Sun founded a media service called Peiwo, which attracted over 10 million users in China.
Sun has also made the famous Forbes “30 under 30” list twice. This is a collection of the worlds’ most promising under 30-year old business stars. There is no doubt that Sun is a Chinese business and media talent.
This was emphasized in 2018 when Jack Ma handpicked Sun to the respected Jack Ma Hupan University of Entrepreneurs. This school is more difficult to get in than Princeton. If you didn’t know by now, Jack Ma is the founder of Alibaba and one of the richest persons it the world.
Also, the co-founder of TRON, Lucien Chen, has connections to Alibaba. He founded a platform called Kuadi, which is the Chinese version of Uber. Alibaba invested hundreds of millions of dollars to Kuadi in 2013 and it’s nowadays a massive company. Unfortunately, Chen left the TRON project in 2019 due to clashes with Justin Sun.
TRON has been founded by two Jack Ma apprentices, which means Justin Sun has surely good connections to the Chinese business elite. This might be one important factor behind TRON’s success. Next, let’s go through the key TRON events from the past two years.
TRON was founded in 2017
TRON was born through an ICO during the boom of 2017. If you don’t know yet, ICO means crowdfunding in the cryptocurrency world. TRON ICO was held in Binance exchange, which makes it technically an IEO and one of the first IEOs in the market.
Justin Sun has had a strong relationship with Binance founder Changpeng Zhao from the beginning.
TRX token was minted in the TRON ICO. At first, it was an Ethereum-based ERC20 token like almost every ICO-born token at the time. Once TRON finished and launched its own blockchain MainNet, there was a token swap done. This means all TRX tokens were moved from Ethereum to TRON blockchain.
TRON is using TRX10 and TRX20 standards similar to Ethereum’s token standards. This means one can create new tokens to the TRON blockchain, just like you can do in Ethereum.
TRON has been criticized heavily since its birth, especially by so-called Bitcoin maximalists. TRON was titled as a scam and a project without a substance in the beginning. The drama started already when the white paper was released because TRON was accused of plagiarizing the content. Justin Sun explained this was due to poor translation work from Chinese, but this didn’t seem too convincing.
Many analysts also criticized the TRON ICO. There were almost 100 billion TRX token released but only 40% was sold to the public. This meant that the TRON foundation controls a big share of the total supply. The same criticism has been also thrown at Ripple (XRP).
The founder, Justin Sun, has also created several social media stunts by making announcements of announcements, which have created unnecessary hype around TRON. Maybe one could say: all publicity is good publicity?
The development of TRON is overseen by The Tron Foundation.
TRON explained – the mission
TRON has quite ambitions goals as a project. The purpose is to fix the internet and bring back the vision of its founder.
The internet founded by Tim Berners-Lee was quite different from the one we are using today. Information is controlled by giants like Apple, Facebook, and Google, who basically set the rules around the net.
A good example is the case of Alex Jones. He is a popular alt media figure in the United States, who reached over 5.5 million subscribers on Youtube alone. One day the internet giants simply de-platformed Jones.
“Giants, other than users themselves, own the ability to control data. The data no longer belongs to its creator. Due to the inappropriateness of an attempt to retake data initiatives and the difficulty in building websites and Apps, we have to adopt the rules of WeChat and Facebook and the distribution mechanisms of Weibo and Twitter, thus losing our own features. Although an App can be self-made, Apple can easily withdraw it from its platform.”
TRON is an attempt to heal the Internet. We believe users should have ownership of and control over the data they create, rather than have to cede that ownership and control to the platform; users must freely own all digital information.” (TRON white paper)
TRON wants to create a distributed internet, where the power is brought back to its users. Eventually, the TRON protocol makes it possible to share content without third parties. This makes it possible for users to be fully in control and get payments of their work via TRX tokens.
TRON Beginner’s Guide – Remember the long run
According to the official roadmap, there are six major development phases on TRON: Exodus, Odyssey, Great Voyage, Apollo, Star Trek and Eternity.
The first phase (Exodus) run from 2017 to December 2018. The last phase (Eternity) is expected to be finalized in 2025. This gives you some idea of where the project is currently standing.
Justin Sun made the following tweet in December 2017.
TRON is a project for ten years. We want long term investor rather than short term. We will deliver everything we promise to community; we will build decentralized Internet as we dream of; Great oaks from little acorns grow. Keep calm and carry on!
— Justin Sun (@justinsuntron) December 12, 2017
The Exodus phase meant starting the whole project and the TRON blockchain. The biggest milestone was the launch of the MainNet in the summer of 2018. In the Odyssey phase, we’ll see more financial incentives being launched. TRON is calling this content empowerment.
The Great Voyage brings ICOs and in the Apollo stage, content creators can start to launch their own tokens as well. In the final stages, TRON should be heavily involved in the gaming world as well.
“Star Trek: create a decentralized, online gaming platform that can be built by developers freely. This will facilitate the prediction of market functions, fully autonomous gaming and monetizing traffic.
Eternity: developers will have the ability to set up and crowdfund their game development with ease. This will let users invest in games they are interested in and influence the future of the gaming marketplace.” (Source)
When this article is being written (Dec. 2019), TRON has established itself as one of the biggest dApp platforms. You can check the most popular dApps from dappradar.com. There are many popular TRON dApps among EOS and Ethereum apps.
It’s important to understand, that TRON, EOS, Ethereum, and other platforms are only offering the framework and ecosystem to software developers. When we talk about 3rd generation platforms, they can all scale. There are some smaller and some bigger differences, but it’s difficult to claim one platform is much better than the other.
TRON will be eventually a success if it manages to attract the most software developers. Of course, all TRON competitors have the same goal. TRON has done well so far, as you can see from dappradar.com. It has had a MainNet running for quite some time now and there are new apps being built every day.
TRON is currently a real alternative for Ethereum developers, who are struggling with the limitations of this older platform. TRON dApps and smart contracts are programmed using the same Solidity language and the TRON virtual machine is also very much like EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine).
TRON is using the DPoS consensus
Let’s see how TRON compares further with its main competitors.
On paper, TRON has much better scalability than Ethereum. It can reach about 2000 TPS and Justin Sun has claimed that TRON could eventually handle even 10000 transactions per second. Ethereum is currently processing 15-20 TPS and Bitcoin only half of that.
TRON MainNet is up and running but not used that much yet. When we look at the TronScan website, it shows the max TPS to be 748 and each block has about 30-40 transactions in them. This means there are about 10 transactions handled per second.
There is a new block produced in the TRON network every three seconds. Currently, there are about 1000 nodes in the network.
The consensus algorithm used by TRON is called Delegated Proof of Stake. DPoS is also used by TRON rivals and it’s originally developed by Dan Larimer, the founder of EOS. In this system, the network consensus is reached through token holders and software. There is no need for physical mining machines, which allows superior scalability.
Delegated Proof of Stake is a PoS variation, where the network is run by delegates. These are in practice either individuals or companies running a powerful server. They are elected by TRX token holders. The same principle works in EOS. In TRON, these delegates are called super representatives or supernodes.
Each TRX token holder can vote for a delegate if they want. In TRON, there are a total of 27 super delegates, which are picked among 127 candidates every six-hour. These supernodes and potential candidates are rewarded with TRX. Anyone can become a candidate by paying a fee of 9999 TRX.
The TRON foundation will be paying these fees until 2021. Then, small inflation is introduced to the network, which means new TRX tokens are minted during the mining process. You can read more information from this article.
What is TRON as an investment?
By this point, it should be obvious that TRON is no joke. However, there have been more than one case since its launch, which has caused quite a bit of stir in the crypto community. And most of them are related to Justin Sun.
Recently, Sun was criticized for teaming up with Binance against crypto media platform The Block in an “anti-FUD” campaign. He has also apologized for his promotion methods, where he makes announcements of announcements creating unnecessary hype.
Not to even mention the Warren Buffett drama. Justin Sun participated in a charity auction and bought dinner with Mr. Buffett with 4.5 million dollars. When the meeting was getting closer, Sun canceled it, which created speculation of him having problems with the Chinese government.
The latest drama is around the TRON consensus method. It was recently published that Binance is, in fact, controls over half of the voting power in the network. This is due to all the TRX tokens the exchange is holding for its users.
Check also the Coindesk article below.
— CoinDesk (@coindesk) December 4, 2019
Whether you like Justin Sun or not, he has become an influential person in the crypto scene. The Jack Ma connection and his 2.1 million Twitter followers make sure of that.
TRON is an interesting project with big goals. Potential investors surely like the Jack Ma link. TRON also purchased the famous BitTorrent last year, which has 100 million users worldwide to help the adoption of TRX token.
BitTorrent launched also an IEO in 2019 – not a big surprise they used the Binance Launchpad. The BTT torrent is running in the TRON blockchain now.
We shouldn’t also forget the Poloniex exchange. TRON founder Justin Sun is one of the investors, who bought Poloniex in 2019. Their goal is to expand its influence in Asia. As the tweet below informs, TRON and TRX tokens are also strongly present in the new PoloniDEX.
— Justin Sun (@justinsuntron) November 27, 2019
One thing is certain: TRON has a lot of fans and a lot of haters. Justin Sun’s project is not unique in this matter, though. Every other altcoin project has its own share of critics, who are mostly Bitcoin maximalists only accepting Bitcoin as the one true cryptocurrency.
The development of the TRX token price has been quite similar to other major altcoins. It is still over 90% down from the January 2018 peak. However, TRON has still kept its place in the top 15 of cryptocurrencies.
The real-time price of TRX:
Finally, one small piece of information. TRON has got its name from the famous sci-fi movie. There has been a debate about this every now and then, but Justin Sun has confirmed this fact in a couple of interviews.
We also recommend checking the Youtube video below, which is a good presentation of TRON done in early 2019.