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What is TRON?
Digital media has almost completely replaced physical media, and while this is a welcome revolution in terms of convenience and efficiency, it can possibly be centralized and censored even more easily. TRON (TRX) is a cryptocurrency that claims to offer a solution: a decentralized digital media platform capable of connecting creators and consumers without a middleman. Though the project’s initial ambition is to combine P2P technology with decentralized file storage and smart contracts, it has long-term plans to become a complete solution to media distribution.
However, much of the crypto community is approaching TRON with caution. While the premise is certainly feasible, the project is still in very early stages (it was first released in September 2017), and has more promises than results. They have been accused of plagiarizing parts of their whitepaper (though the official version is in Chinese, and a poor English translation may be to blame). Though there is no conclusive evidence on either side, potential investors, as with any financial asset, should exercise discretion.
How TRON works
Currently, TRON only exists as an ERC20 token, TRX, meaning that it runs on the Ethereum blockchain. This is not unusual—indeed, supporting new cryptocurrencies is one of Ethereum’s main features, and it has gotten many new projects off the ground. As of right now, TRON has no functionality apart from being a tradeable token, but its developers are working on creating the P2P network that every other feature will depend on.
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P2P (Person-to-Person) is best-known through its application to torrenting software, which enables lots of uploaders (seeders) to send bits and pieces of files to downloaders (leechers). This is the core of TRON’s first stage (Exodus). In theory, the second stage (Odyssey) will be the integration of P2P with blockchain tech to create a decentralized media marketplace where content creators can both freely distribute and retain control of their work.
Stages three through six (Great Voyage, Apollo, Star Trek, and Eternity) promise to deliver much more, though exact details are still vague. Stages three and four are focused on giving content creators the ability to issue their own tokens, separate from TRX, much as Ethereum does through ERC20. Stages five and six will develop a decentralized gaming platform. The developers’ roadmap anticipates up to ten years until completion, though, which is a lifetime in crypto terms—a lot is likely to change between then and now.
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Accusations of whitepaper plagiarism surfaced in January 2018, and these have not yet been completely laid to rest. The team’s GitHub shows signs of progress towards their stated goals, however, which may support the defense that a fault Chinese-English translation was to blame.
TRON was supposed to separate from the Ethereum blockchain by launching its own “mainnet” on March 31st, 2018, but on February 26th, this data was pushed back indefinitely.
The CEO, Justin Sun, holds a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, has worked under Jack Ma (CEO of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba), and has appeared on Forbes Asia’s “30 Under 30.”
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