Everyone is always looking for a faster and cheaper alternative to the Ethereum blockchain; among the many contenders, one that has gained notoriety is the TRON blockchain and its native cryptocurrency TRX. TRX has successfully claimed a market cap that hovers around the top 10 cryptocurrencies, further solidifying the TRON blockchain.
Before I do a deep dive on the founder of TRON and the projects built on top of it, it is imperative to grasp the essence of the blockchain. So, what exactly is TRON?
Created by Justin Sun in 2017, the TRON blockchain operates using a delegated proof of stake consensus algorithm and has its own native cryptocurrency – TRX. TRON has received widespread adoption because of its smart contract capabilities and its use for building decentralized applications.
TRON was built with the primary goals of revolutionizing the content sharing industry by removing intermediaries; many would say it has a focus on decentralized content storage and distribution.
I personally have used the TRON blockchain because of its low transaction fees. I recall sending TRC20 (token standard for the TRON blockchain) but more specifically USDT-TRON (which is the stablecoin USDT, issued on the TRON blockchain).
I decided to use the TRON for this transaction because it supported the stablecoin – USDT – and the transaction cost was just under $1 while the same transaction was almost $5 on the Ethereum blockchain.
TRON’s fees make it a fierce competitor to Ethereum, and according to a paper released by TRON, “It is impressive that TRC20 USDT has overtaken ERC20 USDT since April 2021, in a short order of less than two years since its launch in 2019.” In this case, ERC20 is referring to the Ethereum based stablecoin – USDT.Source
While TRON is notable for its fast transactions (with an average block time of 3 seconds) compared to Etherums 13.2 seconds, it has received some backlash for not differentiating itself enough from Ethereum.
TRON was originally launched in 2017, amidst the parabolic growth of the overall market, on the Ethereum blockchain; it wasn’t until 2018 that TRON moved to its own network. It was criticized by some for “borrowing too much” and was one of the few projects released, at the time, that did not market any improvements with regards to its network.
Moreover, Justin Sun, the creator of TRON, has garnered attention for endorsing projects that have raised concerns within the community and have been perceived by some as what is known as a “rug pull”. These controversies and others pertaining to Sun will be further discussed in the coming section of this article; there is no doubt that some of Sun’s actions have had a detrimental impact on the reputation of TRON.
The controversial founder also generated significant amounts of debate when he successfully conducted a $70 million Initial Coin Offering (ICO), in his home country, shortly before China implemented a ban on ICOs. Following this event, he departed the country (approximately a week later).
The similarities between TRON and Ethereum are evident when examining numerous aspects. The TRON Virtual Machine (TVM) – where decentralized applications for TRON are built – is compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (to TRON’s credit, they have announced plans to integrate TVM with more blockchains). It is also worth highlighting that the TRON blockchain adopts the same programming language as Ethereum, known as Solidity.
Following TRON’s transition to its new network, the acquisition of BitTorrent – a peer-to-peer file sharing network that tokenized the bandwidth and sharing of data via blockchain technology – occurred on July 25 of 2018. This furthered TRON’s overall goal of using the blockchain as a new way to share and store content.
Subsequent to the acquisition, BitTorrent launched its own token – BTT atop the TRON blockchain in 2019 which sold out in just 15 minutes. This was a smart move for TRON, as they had the ability to market a new token to millions.
How The TRON Blockchain Works: Exploring Its 3 Layer Architecture
The core layer computes the fundamental tasks of the TRON blockchain – i.e. validating transactions – by completing instructions written in Java or Solidity. The storage layer records the blockchains history. Lastly, the application layer is utilized for creating smart contract applications and other use cases.
In the first layer, known as the core layer, completes basic tasks like reading smart contracts and validating transactions; this is done by sending over the code to the Tron Virtual Machine, which executes the transaction.
The second layer, known as the storage layer, segments data into two different sections. The first is blockchain data, or the history of all the new blocks, which have been added over time. The second aspect to the storage layer is the slate data – which shows the current status of smart contracts (e.g. which of the current conditions within a contract have been met).
The third layer, known as the application layer, supports the creation of decentralized applications which are powered by the TRX cryptocurrency. In addition to smart contract creation, customized wallets can be deployed.
A unique aspect to note is that all TRON wallets are developed by the community themselves, and TRON’s official site provides some wallet options but advises choosing a wallet with caution (and one that will fit your personal needs).
Exploring TRON’s Blockchain Consensus Mechanism: Delegated PoS
The TRON blockchain elects 27 “super representatives” who are chosen to validate transactions and therefore receive a reward (TRX). Super representatives are elected by vote every six hours and any account can become a super representative by paying 9999 TRX and being among the top 27 in votes.
Those who fall after number 27 in votes and up to 127 are called “super representatives partners”; super representative partners don’t receive transaction rewards but receive something known as “voting rewards”.
Voting rewards are typically in the form of TRX; however, they are usually less than what a super representative would receive (as super representatives use energy to verify transactions). Super representatives need to run a TRON node, which is the algorithm that verifies transactions.
Again, those whole place from 28 to 127 in votes, are still rewarded with voting rewards (TRX), which can then be cashed out, or they can be used to receive Tron Power (TP).
Tron Power is what any account needs to obtain in order to vote and therefore potentially become a super representative (or a super representative partner). By staking one TRX, you would receive 1 Tron Power; this means 50 staked TRX is equivalent to 50 Tron Power (or 50 votes).
If you unstake the TRX, you lose the corresponding amount on Tron Power – and it’s important to recall super representatives and super representative partners are voted on every 6 hours.
By accumulating enough Tron Power, you could potentially vote yourself to become a super representative. Additionally, if you voted for someone who became a super representative partner (27 – 128) – you could receive voting rewards (aka TRX); however, the amount would depend on the configuration chosen by the super representative partner and the TRON network.
Super representative partners may choose to distribute a proportion of the voting rewards to people who voted for them, which acts as an incentive for them to be elected. This ratio is determined by each super representative partner and policies differ with each person.
Justin Sun: Unveiling the Background and Early Life of the TRON Founder
Justin Sun is one of the most influential young entrepreneurs; he has successfully founded numerous companies and has inspired headlines from numerous media giants.
Chinese tech entrepreneur Justin Sun attended Hupan University, founded by former Alibaba Group CEO Jack Ma. Justin Sun is the founder of TRON (one of the largest blockchains), Peiwo (an app that has the largest audio content community in China), and Rainberry, Inc (a peer-to-peer internet software service) among many other projects.
Born in Xining in 1990, Justin Sun is a Chinese citizen known for his academic achievements and outspoken nature. During middle school, he gained attention by posting online criticisms of China’s alternative university admission policies, which were designed to provide options for those with limited financial resources or unconventional perspectives. In his remarks, he drew parallels between the school system and Nazi Germany, generating controversy and making headlines in the Hong Kong magazine Yazhou Zhoukan.
Justin Sun then went on to attend Hupan University – an elite business school founded by Jack Ma – where he graduated in just three years (2015 – 2018). On March 26, he submitted a graduate thesis titled “The Birth of a Decentralized Internet” as well as a thesis he presented titled “Reflections and Thoughts on a Four-Year Journey as an Entrepreneur”.
Attending Jack Ma’s prestigious university (only 30 students are enrolled each year) gave Sun numerous highly valuable connections and helped increase his emerging fame. The only information regarding the classes taken by Justin Sun was “CEO 101” which was taught by the principal himself, Jack Ma.
Justin Sun in the Spotlight: Examining The Controversy
The cryptocurrency space is not devoid of individuals with questionable intentions, and while Justin Sun has achieved significant success, there have been allegations labeling him as a bad actor. However, it’s important to note that the majority of these claims have yet to be substantiated and remain speculative in nature.
Back in 2022 the SEC charged Justin Sun for selling unregistered securities and for wash trading. He has been accused of creating an insider trading team among other accusations. Furthermore, Sun may have known China was banning ICOs yet still pushed to get it done before it was banned.
In the same SEC charge back in 2022, 8 other highly influential people (i.e. Austin Mahone, Jake Paul, Lil Yachty, and Lindsay Lohan among others) were also charged for promoting cryptocurrencies without revealing they were compensated for doing so. More on that SEC report can be found here.
The Verge, a media company, also released a lengthy report on this, in which leaked messages from former employees were used. In addition to the insider trading team accusation and his daring ICO (where he supposedly knew China was banning ICO’s but pushed to get it done before the ban), the report also claimed that he instructed employees to fake the KYC (know your customer) on Poloniex (a crypto exchange) because it stifled user adoption. The Verge report with these accusations can be found here.
These accusations have undoubtedly damaged the reputation of TRON; this is likely why Sun decided to step down from the CEO role towards the end of 2021. Sun’s actions have likely been the most damaging aspect to the TRON blockchain; regardless of that, TRON continues to see substantial adoption due to its low gas fees and fast transactions speeds.
According to a report released by TRON in 2021, the blockchains has an average daily active addresses (DAAs) of 1.4 million while Bitcoin has a DAAs of 1 million and Ethereum has half a million DAAs.
For the remaining sections of this article, I’ll do a deep dive of NFTs on the TRON blockchain, including Justin Sun’s “JUST NFT Fund”, and some of the prominent decentralized applications built atop TRON.
NFTs On TRON: Examining The Marketplace
For a significant period of time, the largest NFT marketplace for the TRON blockchain was from sites created from TRON users themselves, and lacked much of the functionality that OpenSea presents. This was until APENFT was released.
APENFT is a marketplace designed specifically for NFTs built atop the TRON blockchain; it was designed in collaboration with the TRON foundation back in 2021 and utilizes the BitTorrent File System for decentralized storage of NFT data. The marketplace also supports the Ethereum Blockchain.
APENFT is attempting to make significant strides in the NFT marketplace space. The marketplace has monitored storage places for physical art as its mission is to own/have the top tier or blue chip NFTs on the marketplace.
The marketplace saw more adoption due to the airdrop of its cryptocurrency $NFT which was given to holders who utilized the TRON network in a variety of different ways including displaying artwork on APENFT.
I personally found it hard to find detailed information surrounding this marketplace and when using it, I learned the only wallet you can use for the marketplace is TronLink. I was also not able to find any NFTs that weren’t from TRON (i.e. Ethereum – which many have claimed the marketplace supports).
Furthermore, I wasn’t able to find a way to switch to different chains and I personally thought the marketplace lacked functionality compared to other marketplaces I have used.
That being said, I am not an expert with APENFT, as I have only used it very briefly; however, I will say I was not thoroughly impressed – but only time will tell if the APENFT marketplace will prevail.
All things considered, several months ago, when I was looking for a TRON NFT marketplace, the only marketplaces were from incredibly small sites like nftone, where the top purchaser had spent $42 in the prior seven days. So taking that into consideration, the APENFT marketplace is leaps ahead of my previous experience.
What Is the Just NFT Fund? Exploring the Purpose Of The Unique Fund
The TRON founder is a big believer in NFTs and stated, “We estimate 50% of the world’s top-notch artists and artworks to be recorded as NFTs in the following decade. And that’s where JUST NFT can come into play.”Source
The JUST NFT Fund is a portfolio of high profile NFTs composed by some of the world’s most famous digital artists. It aims to be the Ark Funds of the NFT space and will only accept art pieces no less than $1 million with a median value of $10 million.
The JUST NFT Fund has the mission of “NFTization and blockchainization of the world’s top artworks, and to build a bridge between the world’s top artist and blockchain.” One aspect the JUST NFT Fund looks for when looking to add to their portfolio is the long term market value of the NFT and Justin Sun believes only the top of the top NFTs will maintain or increase in value.
The creator of TRON plans to have the artwork minted on the TRON public chain and has stated goals of TRON being a major player within the tokenization of NFTs. Using TRC-721, the token standard for creating NFTs on the TRON network, Justin Sun envisions TRON as the birthplace for the flourishing world of fine digital art.
What NFTs Does the JUST NFT Fund Hold?
Justin Sun is known for making ridiculously large bids during auctions and therefore, it is no surprise that the average NFT within the fund’s collection is roughly $10 million. Sun had bid for the NFT of Jack Dorsey’s first tweet and it was also revealed that he had bid $60 million on Beeple’s Everydays, the First 5000 Days, which ended up going to MetaKovan.
At present, the JUST NFT Fund has ownership of a variety of pieces from Pak’s “The Fungible” collection, the cover of “TIME” magazine known as “The Computer in Society, April 2nd, 1965”, Beeple’s “Ocean Front”, Picasso’s “Femme Nue Couchée Au Collier”, Andy Warhol’s “Three Self Portraits”, and work from Fewocious among others.
It seems inevitable that the JUST NFT Fund will continue to grow with Justin Sun’s funding; this will likely result in more and more people gaining awareness of the NFT portfolio. Furthermore, additional attention will be drawn to the TRON public chain as Justin Sun plans to tokenize the NFTs held within the fund (on TRON).
What is WINkLink Crypto? Exploring the Features Of This Crypto/Oracle
WinkLink is a cryptocurrency that is built atop the TRON blockchain and is an integral aspect to the TRON ecosystem as it is the first comprehensive oracle.
WinkLink is a blockchain oracle that links real-world data to smart contracts, facilitating transactions based on external data. WinkLink utilizes its own WIN cryptocurrency and is TRON’s first decentralized oracle for accessing and verifying outside information.
WinkLink’s primary use case is its ability to allow developers to create and then connect customizable oracles or data feeds – such as the weather – to smart contracts.
What is SunSwap? TRON’s Decentralized Cryptocurrency Exchange
JustSwap.io recently rebranded as SunSwap and is TRON’s decentralized cryptocurrency exchange that operates through smart contracts.
SunSwap, created by the Sun team, is TRON’s decentralized exchange protocol that operates through smart contracts and allows for the swapping of TRC-20 tokens on the TRON blockchain. The exchange has its own cryptocurrency – SUN – and users can yield returns through staking in liquidity pools.
Some may consider the site to be a version of Uniswap – an incredibly popular but separate decentralized exchange – that allows for the swapping of coins through the use of smart contracts.
The website utilizes liquidity mining, enabling users who provide liquidity for a particular cryptocurrency to earn transaction fees from other users.
Exploring Justin Sun’s Net Worth: A Look into the Wealth of the TRON Founder
Although the tech entrepreneur has caused a lot of controversy, he has created numerous successful businesses and is considered a highly successful investor. He was named in Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list for three consecutive years (2015-2017).
Before I provide an estimated guess, it’s important to note that a person’s net worth is challenging to estimate as it is private information; additionally, Justin Sun has never publicly revealed this information.
Justin Sun is likely a multi-billionaire as he has successfully founded a range of different companies – including the TRON blockchain. Large amounts of his net worth are likely tied to his TRX holdings; however, he has ventured into many businesses and began investing in cryptocurrencies back in 2011.
With that amount of money, it is safe to say that Justin Sun has the ability to comfortably venture into any field that is appealing to him – including space travel (which appears to be one of his more recent focuses).
To give an example of the amount of money he has, in June of 2019 he won a bid giving him the ability to have a private lunch with the legendary investor and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett. Shockingly, the young entrepreneur spent $4.57 million for this opportunity. All of the money went to Buffett’s charity known as the Glide Foundation, which is dedicated to helping the homeless.
Notably, Justin Sun extended an invitation to Donald Trump, but instead, he successfully brought together a host of notable figures from the crypto industry, including Charlie Lee, the founder of Litecoin, and Helen Hai, the head of the Binance Charity Foundation.