TRON Network is a blockchain-based smart contracts platform with a distinctive bias towards media and entertainment content distribution.
TRON launched in 2017 with a notable commitment to decentralization and a slogan “Decentralize the Web”. The main purpose of the network is to grant content and dApp creators an opportunity to sell their work directly to users without any middlemen.
TRON co-founder, Justin Sun, is currently the CEO of TRON Foundation, notoriously famous across the crypto industry. Soon after creating TRON, he acquired the file-sharing program BitTorrent that later launched its own sidechain on TRON.
TRON was criticized by some blockchain enthusiasts for plagiarism practices. Digital Asset Research pointed out some instances of code copy without attribution noticed on TRON in June 2018. In May 2019, Lucien Chen, one of TRON’s co-founders and CTO at the time, left the project claiming it failed to fulfill the decentralization part of its motto.
TRON operates as a blockchain layer for supporting smart contracts and high throughput. The network’s creators aim to make TRON the future operating system where any developer can deploy their decentralized application. The network is sufficient at processing around 2000 transactions per second.
The TRON network's architecture consists of three layers such as storage, core, and application layer. The underlying storage layer is responsible for storing not only the nodes’ data but also for managing inter-node connections. The core layer is composed of smart contracts, all account management and consensus processes are happening there. Finally, the application layer is used to host various dApps built on TRON.
TRON uses a delegated proof-of-stake consensus algorithm. The consensus process on TRON is divided into rounds, and each round is facilitated by a selected group of 27 nodes who are called Super Representatives (SR) on TRON. Block producers are selected by voting among all TRX holders who have chosen to “freeze” their assets to receive TRON power. A voting system is applied with regard to the amount of tokens participants own. The candidates who receive fewer votes than the top 27 SRs acquire the so-called “Super Partners” status on the system which allows them to gain rewards from voting.
Blocks are added to the blockchain every three seconds, and those who produce a valid block are rewarded with TRX tokens. Currently, for each new block, the TRON network generates a block reward of 16TRX and a voting reward of 160TRX. Block rewards and voting rewards are variable parameters, which can be changed through a proposal committee.
Perhaps, the main distinctive feature of TRON is that the network doesn’t charge any fees for on-chain transactions of its native token, TRX. Instead, it employs the concepts of bandwidth and energy, where bandwidth is a unit that measures the size of transactions in bytes stored in the blockchain database, and energy is a unit that measures the amount of computing power required by the TRON network to execute a specific operation. These resources are given to users who chose to freeze their TRX tokens for at least three days. The received energy and bandwidth can be spent on transactions afterward.
TRON has its own EVM-compatible TRON Virtual Machine (TVM) that allows developers to build their own decentralized applications in an easier way with the support of smart contracts and token issuance.
The protocol behind TRON is also able to host sidechains that enjoy the full speed and security of the main network while offering users reduced transaction fees. One of the biggest sidechains on TRON is the Sun Chain. A popular file-sharing platform Bittorent has also deployed its sidechain on TRON.
TRON allows developers to build and deploy their own dApps that can be designed for a variety of purposes such as DEXes, borrowing platforms, online games, yield farms, and more.
TRON network describes an entire step-by-step process of developing an application from scratch in its Documentation.
Users wishing to apply to be Super Representatives or vote for the elected Super Representatives, have to connect their wallet and create an account. Accounts are the basis of all activities on TRON.
TRON network wallet support includes TRONLink, imToken, Ledger, Huobi Wallet, Trust Wallet, Cobo Wallet, Bitpie Wallet, Math Wallet, TokenPocket, Klever, Vision, Exodus, Atomic Wallet, Bitkeep, Guarda, and Moonstake Wallet.
TRON has two types of accounts: a general account, an externally-owned account controlled by anyone with the private key, and the contract account, which is a smart contract deployed on the TRON network and controlled by code. Both accounts can receive, hold, and send TRX tokens, as well as interact with deployed smart contracts. A detailed account setting-up guide can be found here.
TRX is the native token operating on the TRON Network. It was meant to be used as a direct payment to content creators to reward them in return for access to their dApps.
Each new TRX is minted when a Super Representative produces a block on the TRON network. TRX can be removed from the circulation through a burning mechanism. Since every transaction on the network consumes bandwidth or energy, whenever users’ bandwidth or energy is insufficient, they need to burn TRX to pay for the resources required for the transaction. This helps to reduce the inflation of TRX.
The token plays a crucial role in TRON’s governance system. TRX holders interested in gaining voting power, which is called TRON Power on the network, can freeze their tokens on supported wallets thus receiving the ability to vote for Super Representatives. Users receive 1 TRON Power for every 1 TRX they stake.
Initially, TRX was issued as an ERC-20 token but in June 2018 all TRON tokens have migrated to the mainnet. TRC-20 is TRON’s native standard, fully compatible with ERC-20 Ethereum tokens.
A total of 100 billion TRX were created at the Genesis event in 2017. According to the initial distribution, 55,75% of all TRX supply is controlled by investors, while 44,25% belongs to the founders of TRON and the project itself.
Since the launch of the mainnet in 2018, TRON Network has maintained its Bug Bounty program. The project aims to discover any potential vulnerabilities in the protocol by encouraging whitehats to report their findings in a discreet way. Depending on the severity of each reported issue the amounts of rewards start from $6000 and may reach $100,000.
TRON suffered an attack in November 2020 causing one of the SRs to halt block production, successfully freezing the network for a few hours as a result. No users’ funds were lost at the time, but the way the network handled the situation raised questions of how decentralized it really is.
TRON Foundation is a non-profit organization that oversees TRON Network’s further development and its ecosystem growth. TRON Foundation has headquarters in Singapore and San Francisco. It is currently led by Justin Sun who is the founder and CEO of TRON. He is an alumnus of Peking University and the University of Pennsylvania. Sun is notoriously famous as a person who paid $4.5 million for a dinner with Warren Buffet. Besides TRON, he also founded Peiwo, a mobile social app, highly popular in Asia.
In May 2019, TRON Network was left by its chief technical officer (CTO) at the time, Luciene Chen, who was sometimes called a co-founder of TRON. On his departure from the project, Chen criticized the DPoS consensus model of TRON calling it “pseudo-decentralized”. According to him, it is almost impossible for a retail investor or latecomer to become a block producer on TRON as “the top 27 SR nodes have more than 170 million TRX votes, and most of them are controlled by TRON”.
TRON was audited by Least Authority in March 2020
According to DappRadar, which integrated TRON in November 2018, there are around 1400 decentralized applications deployed on the network. Mostly those are games and entertainment-focused applications but some of the dApps are related to DeFi.
The TRC-20 standard allows tokens from other networks to be deployed on TRON. In May 2021, Tether’s USDT was launched on TRON, followed by its counterpart, Circle’s USDC, in June 2021.
Perhaps, the most influential ecosystem player on TRON is Just which has combined several different decentralized protocols holding over $8 billion of TVL from a total of $11.5 billion locked on the Network. It’s an all-in-one DeFi hub that consists of JustSwap, JustLend, JustStable, and JustCryptos platforms, and issues its own stablecoin USDJ on TRON.
The TRON Network has its own explorer TRONScan, native TRON Wallet for storing TRX, and other TRC-20 assets. There is Poloni DEX, a decentralized exchange built on TRON, and ZethyrExchange which is the first DEX aggregator on the network.
Sun Network dAppChain is a sidechain on TRON aiming to help developers to launch their applications with lower energy consumption and better speed while offering the same security level as the mainnet does. For NFT lovers, there’s Bored Ape Yacht TRON Club which is a spin-off NFT collection of ETH-based BAYC. The popular file-sharing platform Bittorent has launched its own sidechain on TRON after it was acquired by Justin Sun.
Unlike many other blockchain projects compiling their roadmaps on the go, TRON Network has set its development plan for ten consecutive years at the project launch, according to the original TRON whitepaper.
The full roadmap looks like this:
● Exudos 2017.8~2018.12
● Odyssey 2019.1~2020.6
● Great Voyage 2020.7~2021.7
● Apollo 2021.8~2023.3
● Star Trek 2023.4~2025.9
● Eternity 2025.4~2027.9
According to this data, the TRON Network has already reached its Great Voyage stage and is currently on the Apollo stage.
In the near future, the developers will focus on expanding TRON cross-chain integrations, adding full support for shielded transactions, updating TVM to make it safer and faster while continuing to integrate other products, and expanding TRON’s DeFi sector.
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