One of the most prominent if not slightly controversial, figures in the cryptocurrency space is Justin Sun – the founder and CEO of TRON – a blockchain-based decentralized platform for digital content and entertainment.
If you want to know more about its CEO, continue reading our next Crypto Influencer series.
Who is Justin Sun?
Justin Sun is a Chinese tech entrepreneur, who founded the cryptocurrency platform TRON in 2017. He proclaims himself as the protegé of Jack Ma – chief executive of the Alibaba conglomerate.
He earned his Bachelor of Arts in History from Peking University, and Master of Arts of East Asia Study from the University of Pennsylvania. Why does he call himself the protegé of Jack Ma? That’s because he was hand-picked by the latter to study at the Jack Ma Hupan University for Entrepreneurs. He was the only millennial in the first batch of the university’s graduates.
Before he founded his cryptocurrency platform, he already had prior experience with a tech company. He had already founded a voice streaming Chinese application called Peiwo. He served as the chief representative and adviser at Ripple Labs.
In 2017, he appeared in the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list for Consumer Technology. Early 2018, he made waves in both the blockchain and broader tech space when he acquired BitTorrent Inc. in a deal worth $140 million.
The TRON and BitTorrent teams are now jointly working on Project Atlas – an initiative that aims to connect the two ecosystems. One potential application for the integration of these systems is that users could be incentivized to seed torrents. They could receive TRX or other blockchain-based tokens in exchange for their seeding services.
TRON (TRX), also known as Tronix, is part of a decentralized entertainment ecosystem. It was founded on September 2017 by the TRON Foundation, which is headed by Justin Sun. You could say his graduate thesis, entitled “The Birth of a Decentralized Internet,” influenced this project.
He formed a team composed of technology stewards and blockchain enthusiasts previously employed by tech giants like Google, Microsoft, Alibaba, Tencent, and Baidu. Currently, the 400-member team is spread out in Beijing, Seoul, Tokyo, and San Francisco.
Although its initial intent was to be a blockchain entertainment network, a rivalry with Vitalik Buterin has caused their goals to include overtaking the market cap of Ethereum. TRX’ strong position in the cryptocurrency space has been solidified die to its active marketing strategy and airdrop programs. In fact, the TRX token was initially distributed through airdrops for ETH holders.
The company and its token was first listed in CoinMarketCap on September 13, 2017 with a value of $0.002. Most of the TRON activity if based in Asia. The highest volume of trades can be seen on Upbit, Bithumb, Binance, and OKEx exchanges.
The Tron Foundation is a Singapore-based non-profit organization that “mainly engages in operating the TRON network in the principles of openness, fairness, and transparency.” Other key figures of the network are Lucien Chen (CTO), Keelson Yang, (Technical Director), and Xie Xiaodong (Developer).
Roots and Independence
TRON began its life on the Ethereum blockchain. However, the Tron main net was launched on 31 May this year and migration of the Tron tokens from ERC20 to Main Net TRX took place between 21 and 25 June.
The TRON network promised rapid transaction speeds. Apart from the purported speed of its new base, TRON says the new platform will make it far easier for developers to create decentralized apps as it is built using Java. On the other hand, Ethereum uses the more niche Solidity programming language.
Justin also sees a new, more egalitarian cryptocurrency world coming in with TRON’s migration. He says that with other currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum “miners, founders, and developer teams hold much of the power”. TRON differentiates itself from these platforms as it plans to give token holders governance rights.
“The revolution will begin with Tron, as we become a new decentralized protocol with a democratic, self-governing community, free elections, and overarching legitimacy,” he said.
It is not a secret that several controversies have plagued Justin Sun ever since he was thrust into the spotlight.
Most prominent of these is the plagiarism accusations. Several voices in the cryptocurrency community were up in arms when TRON was launched. This is because the cryptocurrency platform’s whitepaper seemingly plagiarized two other projects – FileCoin and IFPS.
Reportedly, sections of text were copied verbatim. Juan Benet, who was a co-author of the original papers, sent out a tweet verifying the plagiarism. It didn’t stop at text sections. Code was also reportedly stolen.
Justin Sun later sent out a tweet that explaining that the original paper was written in Chinese. He put fault on the volunteer translators, who neglected to include important details and references.
Clash with Ethereum
Justin Sun and Vitalik Buterin have beef with each other. This is a fact. People have lost count of the amount of times they have traded jabs or taken a shot at each other on Twitter. They just have a long history of feuding.
The latest jibe comes after the Chine Center for Information and Industry Development (CCID) release cryptocurrency rankings showing TRON having overtaken Ethereum at 2nd place.
On Vitalik Buterin’s side, he says he would be accepting of another cryptocurrency overtaking Ethereum. However, if the said cryptocurrency is TRON, he wouldn’t be as graceful, going as far as to say his hope for humanity will wane.
It all started when Justin sent out a tweet outlining how TRON had better features than Ethereum. Of course, Vitalik took offense fired back and used previous plagiarism accusations as bullets.
There was even a moment where Justin Sun mentioned the collapse of the Ethereum platform and how TRON would “build a fund to rescue ETH and EOS developers.” Obviously, this didn’t go well.
It’s clear that the both of them are pushing for mass adoption of cryptocurrency, however their approach might be at opposite ends of the spectrum, which is why they’re clashing so much. They might just be trolling each other. We’ll never know. However, if you want to see a history of them trading barbs on twitter, be our guest.