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TRON may be the most active and ambitious blockchain project out there today—or, at the very least, the company has worked hard to build that reputation. In 2018 alone, TRON launched its mainnet and the TRON Virtual Machine, established multiple million dollar funds to encourage on-chain development, and acquired BitTorrent, a purchase that has allegedly made TRON the largest decentralized internet network in the world. Justin Sun, TRON's eager CEO, takes to social media frequently with impressive (and occasionally cavalier) reports of the company's meteoric advances, and promises to outperform Ethereum and EOS by always bigger stretches.
So, what is TRON? What has it achieved so far, how does it compare to EOS and Ethereum, and, could it possibly deliver on its promise to decentralize the internet?
TRON is both the name of a company, and of its own public, DPoS, smart contracts blockchain (native token Tronix, ticker TRX). The company's main goal is to “decentralize the internet” by providing infrastructure and financial support for developers to host their dapps on the TRON blockchain; in other words, to displace Ethereum as the main dapps network, and EOS as the fastest network.
These are TRON’s main stats at press time (check TronScan.org for updated info):
Justin Sun. 28 years old, has 765K twitter followers and 3.4M facebook followers.
$1,797,571,139, the 9th highest (ETH market cap $12,281,344,716 USD)(EOS market cap $2,221,283,197 USD)
$0.0269 today, January 24th, 2019. TRX peaked at $0.3 on January 4th, 2018. This is a 91% loss to the present day price; the same 91% ETH suffered from its peak ($1,432.88 on January 13th) to today’s price ($117,68)
Total supply is 99,256,669,803 TRX, of which 66,657,458,148 are in circulation.(ETH circ supply 104,545,915 ETH, no hard cap)(EOS circ supply 906,245,118 EOS, total supply 1,006,245,120 EOS)
$204M (ETH volume $2,5B USD) (EOS volume $665M USD)
There are 1,562,078 TRON accounts in total, according to tronscan.org. The same source confirms that 14% of all TRX are held by a single account. In total, around 25% of all TRX in existance (not circulation) are held by only 5 accounts. In contrast, Ethereum’s top account only holds 2% of all ETH, and the top 5 accounts hold 6% altogether.
There are 1124 TRON nodes. The United States concentrates the highest number (382 nodes), followed by China (216 nodes). In comparison, Ethereum shows 8,553 nodes on etherscan.io and 9252 on ethernodes.org.
TRON’s favorite point in any argument is always that it can handle 2K transactions per second, making it far more efficient than Ethereum’s 25 TPS. The only real competition that TRON faces in this regard is the EOS chain, which has peaked at 3,996 TPS according to the EOS Network Monitor, although experts are still debating whether this number is the most reliable. In any case, it should be noted that TPS is a metric mostly used for its promotional weight, and it is questionable whether it is in itself a worthwhile measure of a blockchain’s strentgh. Transactions require variable amounts of work: a single one may take up a full block, while another block may fit several lighter ones.
Back in October, TRON’s daily transaction volume briefly surpassed that of Ethereum for the first time, thanks to the addition of their first dapp, TRONbet. Now, TRON hosts 172 dapps, and it took just 6 months after going live to score a place among the top 10 cryptocurrencies (it is now 9th), and boasts 1.5M users. In contrast, however, Ethereum hosts 1535 dapps and around 55.7M accounts (only 280K of which are daily active accounts ), while EOS hosts 344 and 680590 accounts. TRON’s user growth is impressive, and the rate has been faster than Ethereum; but consider that Ethereum was the first in the space. If displacing Ethereum is what TRON wants, it’s on the right track, but still far from the finish line. Far enough that Ethereum needn’t start worrying just yet.
TRON was founded in September 2017 by then 26-year-old Justin Sun, in Singapore. Sun is also the founder of Peiwo (a Snapchat-like app that counted 10M registered users, mostly in China, at its peak), an ex Ripple employee, a member of Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia, and now, the new CEO of BitTorrent Inc.
At its inception, TRON was meant to be a global, free, digital content entertainment system – a place where creators and consumers of digital content could easily store, sell and buy movies, music, and graphic art. Notice how up until June 2018, their website advertised a “global broadcasting platform.” It wasn’t until August 2018 that a different focus – on the blockchain itself – began to show alongside that of the entertainment system. By October 2018, it became apparent that the company had decidedly changed its goal, from being an entertainment-sharing platform, to a crusade for complete web decentralization.
All things considered, any investors present at TRON’s ICO would have gained a ~650% return on investment if they had hodled until today.
TRON’s amazing year actually got off to a rocky start: in early 2018, it was criticized for plagiarism in its whitepaper. The document contained opensource code from Filecoin and IFPS, with no reference to the sources. Justin Sun responded claiming this was just an error in the translated versions of the whitepaper; but the topic remained sensitive for the community (and Vitalik) well into the year.
Surprisingly, the project recovered from the episode with full force. TRON’s mainnet, Odyssey 2.0, launched in May 30th; network independence for TRX (which was originally an ERC-20 token) was achieved in June with the migration of all user funds from Ethereum to the TRON blockchain; and on October 8th, the upgrade Odyssey 3.1 added support for the Ethereum Virtual Machine. For that occasion, Sun tweeted “TRON will be 200x faster vs. ETH, 100x cheaper vs. EOS. dApp developers & users, this one is for you!”. In addition, two funds – TRON Accelerator Program, a $1M fund for innovation and dapp development – and the TRON Arcade – a $100M fund to be invested throughout the next 3 years in game development – were launched.
How does TRON's good year reflect on the price of its token?
The year started with a bang, recording TRX’s all-time high early on. On January 4th, the price of TRX reached $0.254801. This quickly changed, however, and by the third week of January it had decreased to $0.06. Between May and August, the price of TRX steadily decreased from $0.09 to $0.03, and ever since August, has fluctuated between $0.029 and $0.013.
TRX took a 91% loss from its all time high until today – the same as ETH did. At the time of writing, the price of TRX is 0.0269$ USD. Considering that, for the most part, TRX struggled to reach the $0.02 mark during the month of December (after a low of $0.0109 on November 25th), the current price of TRX is an improvement and perhaps a good omen for 2019.
Predictions for 2019 are coming in strong. Analysts have gone as far as to say that TRX might reach $12 by the end of 2019, and $52 by the end of 2020. That’s more on the outlandish side of predictions – other, more mild sources claim that TRX will hit $0.1 or $1.
But one of TRON’s most remarkable achievements was the acquisition of the renowned p2p protocol BitTorrent in July of 2018, and the minting of the new BitTorrent Token (BTT). This has technically made TRON one of the world’s largest online decentralized networks. The acquisition lead to the announcement of Project Atlas, a proposal that aims to tokenize content distribution by merging the BitTorrent protocol with the TRON blockchain. The incentive for tokenizing BitTorrent was to speed up the network by 40%. However, recent insight has cast some doubt on the viability of this plan.
A couple weeks ago, BitTorrent’s ex CSO, Simon Morris, claimed that the TRON bockchain cannot support the transaction volume required by BitTorrent. “We were going to melt Tron. Literally destroy it,” he said, adding that the BTT announcement was “a marketing machine layered on a very thin veneer of technology.” Morris has even voiced suspicions that TRON will attempt to hide the blockchain’s limitations by using “some central server” to pull off BTT transactions.
TRON responded to Morris’s claims saying “Morris appears to have little insight into BitTorrent operational plans since his departure. Actions and execution will prove louder than the words of a disgruntled former employee.”
Justin Sun has become infamous in the crypto community for his particular style of promotion, which has been dubbed “aggresive” and preachy. He has a tendency to tweet passive-aggressively (another example) and to announce upon announcements, driving a steady hype for everything TRON-related.
One might speculate that the marketing style itself had something to do with TRON’s rapid growth in users, developers, and attention in general – perhaps a more quiet CEO would not have been able to pull off such a fast ascension to popularity.
In fact, this idea is a little more than just sheer speculation: a month-old review of Sun’s tweets in correlation to the market showed that Sun’s behavior on social media may have a direct effect on the price of TRX. Specifically tweets in which he makes announcements with limited details for TRON investors and TRX holders were seen coincide with a TRX price surge of up to 129%, with a median 6% surge and an average 23% surge (measured from closing price a day prior to the tweet to its highest price on the day of the tweet). This surge would be followed by a price dump within the day, so that TRX took a 10% loss on average, comparing closing price of the day prior to the tweet and closing price on the day of the tweet.
On November 29th, the company announced Tron Arcade: a $100M fund to be invested throughout the next 3 years that seeks to encourage blockchain-based game developers and empower them to “create and execute on their ideas”. The fund will be a massive step towards enticing both players and developers from the mainstream gaming scene into the world of crypto games. In December, TRON announced a partnership with Gumi Cryptos, a $30 million fund to co-invest in innovative startups and bolster the flourishing scene.
Games that have integrated TRON since last October include Magic Academy, Chibifighters, Everdragons, and Blockchain Cuties – which had some setbacks upon integration that they are still struggling to fix.
Late last November, Cuties announced they would be integrating TRON. In preparation, they developed new content and upgraded its system for a bigger market. This has been Blockchain Cuties’ biggest collaboration to date, and they became thfe first crypto game to support ETH, EOS and TRON all at once.
This milestone, however, didn’t come smoothly. Blockchain Cuties has been experiencing bugs and other problems on the TRON chain. So much so that they included “Perfecting TRON integration” in their 2019 resolutions list.
Soon after its release, the game partnered again with TRON to launch a giveaway, in which they gifted players clothes and other goodies. It also took the TRON players only ten days to discover their first exclusive Tribute Cutie, so things are looking up for the Cuties after a somewhat rocky start.
They announced their integration last November, had their first pre-sale on December 7th and on December 10th celebrated becoming the #1 TRON game. Chibies came into TRON with the intention of reaching a bigger audience.
Starting January 5th, TRON is Everdragon’s third blockchain after Ethereum and POA. “There are marketplaces on all three chains and games on POA and Tron. We (also) launched two new mini games on Tron last night and they have been received really well” said co-Founder Jacqueline Hardy. Their integration is, of course, an attempt to bypass heavy congestion, high gas fees and sharding delays. Everdragons has created bridges connecting ETH to POA, ETH to TRON and POA to TRON, to make switching smoother. 'Players can move their dragons between chains at the click of the button,' Hardy said.
In the past year, TRON’s total amount of accounts surpassed EOS, it reached 1M users in just 183 days and 80+ dapps in 60 days – eventually reaching 1.5M accounts and 172 dapps – and it became the top 9th cryptocurrency. It would be difficult to find a commentator who could claim to be unimpressed by the uncanny force that TRON started the show with.
The question for analysts recently is, however, whether this growth is sustainable. For 2019, Justin Sun has expressed a pretty optimistic agenda; he plans to get TRX up amongst the top 4 cryptocurrencies, make TRON a larger ecosystem vs ETH, get BitTorrent on the blockchain and become the largest decentralized ecosystem. But insights like that of Simon Morris, plus the knowledge that Sun basically runs hyper-induced TRX pump-and-dumps from his Twitter account, can make TRON seem like a delicate house of cards. Could the “personality” of TRON be all that holds the project together?
Consider however, the following: if a naively positive attitude, flashy partnerships, and social media hype can get a project this far, who’s to say it can’t take it all the way to the top?
Coin360 Editorial Team