What Is Tron (TRX)?

26 Jun 2019

Tron (TRX) is one of the largest blockchain-based cryptocurrency platforms for building and deploying decentralized applications (dApps). One of the main objectives behind the development of Tron is to create a free and globally accessible digital content entertainment system. 

As a decentralized online entertainment platform, the Tron network allows anyone to easily share content in a cost-effective manner. According to the latest data from DApp Review, the three most active Tron-powered dApps include: 

  • TRONbet: a trustless, permissionless, and “high-performance” online gaming platform,
  • TronTrade: a decentralized exchange (DEX) for trading TRC10 and TRC20 compliant tokens,
  • TronWoW: a global, decentralized gaming network

While each dApp launched on major crypto networks - including Tron, EOS, and Ethereum - only has, at most, a few thousand active daily users, the relatively low level of activity may be due to the fact that blockchain-based platforms are still in their early stages of development.

TRON Foundation’s Role in Tron’s Ongoing Development

Founded in September 2017 by the Singapore-headquartered TRON Foundation, the distributed ledger technology (DLT)-enabled Tron network regularly handles 24-hour transaction volumes of around 500 million TRX tokens (c. $16.7 million at current market prices). This, according to DAppReview, which confirms that the most frequently used Tron dApps mainly include those focused on gaming and gambling.

In order to support the ongoing development of the Tron network and its open-source codebase, the TRON Foundation has appointed an in-house software development team. Led by its CEO Justin Sun, the TRON Foundation has partnered with Gifto (a crypto platform for content creators), Peiwo (a social networking and voice streaming app), Uplive (a live video streaming platform), and Obike (a Singapore-based stationless bicycle-sharing system)

Over 4 Million Tron Accounts Have Been Created

With a user base that recently surpassed 4 million accounts, the blockchain-powered Tron platform allows users to freely publish, store, and own their data. As explained in its Crunchbase profile, the Tron network facilitates the “issuance, circulation, and trading of digital assets, through decentralized self governance.” This type of design approach helps to “lay the foundation for the distribution and subscription of content, thereby empowering content creators as well as forming a decentralized content entertainment ecosystem.”

In a manner that is similar to other peer-to-peer (P2P) networks, the Tron blockchain directly connects two parties - which include content producers and content consumers. By effectively eliminating the middleman from transactions, the developers of Tron aim to significantly reduce the cost of conducting business between two different parties.

Centralized Entertainment Platforms Take Large Cut From Transactions

As explained, the main benefit of allowing two parties to transact directly with each other is that middlemen, or third parties, which usually take a large cut (or commission), are no longer required. For example, Netflix, an online entertainment provider, may allow the producers of an on-demand movie to sell subscriptions to their content. However, Netflix’s centralized management would take a significant cut out of the total subscription fee that would be paid by subscribers. Netflix takes a cut because it lets content creators host their movies on its platform. However, the Tron platform aims to connect content producers and consumers directly to save costs and make transactions more efficient

In order to seamlessly connect content creators with consumers, the DLT-powered Tron network utilizes a distributed, decentralized storage architecture. This type of storage model makes it more cost-effective and efficient to produce and consume digital content. The Tron platform is also permissionless, which means that anyone can upload content to the network - while being able to directly negotiate transactions involving its sale and distribution.

By allowing all users to freely access its content publishing platform, the developers of Tron aim to prevent and reduce the role of a few, very powerful centralized corporations - which currently control how information is shared on the internet.

How Does Tron Work?

TRON’s Virtual Machine (TVM) can be used by application developers to create and deploy smart contract-enabled dApps. The Tron platform allows developers to program in widely-used high-level programming languages. As stated in the Tron whitepaper, the blockchain network can be used to write smart contracts in Java or Go (GoLang). One of Tron project’s long-term goals is to support a wide range of different types of programming languages, in order to give developers greater flexibility and more options when building dApps.

Blockchain-based smart contracts allow for the development of dApps, which can be programmed to operate on top of the Tron blockchain. While not all applications would benefit from decentralization, some of the most common dApps that have been built on the Tron network include those related to dating, betting, and online gaming. 

TRON Acquires BitTorrent for $140 Million

Shortly after the Tron mainnet went live on May 31, 2018, the developers at TRON acquired BitTorrent Inc (in July 2018), a decentralized file-sharing development firm that helped create µTorrent, a highly popular P2P file-sharing client and protocol. As confirmed by BitTorrent last year, the acquisition by TRON was valued at $140 million. 

According to an update on BitTorrent’s official website, the platform’s Live streaming service will allow users to create live content and easily connect with friends in their network by using their smartphones or any other electronic device. The upgraded BitTorrent platform is also set to use blockchain technology and the BitTorrent (BTT) token. 

After the successful completion of its public token sale, which was carried out via Binance Launchpad on January 28, 2019, the BTT token has become one of the most popular cryptocurrencies. BTT is currently trading at around $0.001327 and has a market capitalization of over $40 million according to CryptoCompare data. 

While BTT aims to be the primary token for facilitating transactions on the decentralized BitTorrent network, the TRX token is mainly intended for use on the more general-purpose Tron blockchain platform. It appears that the BitTorrent platform was acquired in order to complement and further the development of Tron’s digital content entertainment ecosystem.

Tron Blockchain Managed Via DPoS Consensus Algorithm

The developers of Tron refer to the platform’s DLT architecture as a “third-generation” blockchain network. The majority of blockchains that were developed after the proof-of-work (PoW)-powered Bitcoin network (launched in January 2009) are based on different variations of the proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus model.

Tron’s blockchain is managed through the delegated proof of stake (DPoS) consensus algorithm, which requires that 27 active supernodes (or block producers) validate batches of transactions on the Tron network. Unlike PoW, which uses the energy-intensive process of mining, Tron’s DPoS-based consensus mechanism requires that each supernode, or super representative, has a certain amount of funds that they stake. The staked funds, which are significantly large amounts of TRX tokens, may be confiscated if the validating nodes engage in dishonest or malicious conduct.

The market capitalization of Tron’s TRX cryptocurrency presently stands at over $2.2 billion with each token trading at around $0.033276 (at the time of writing).

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