What Is Tron?
Tron (TRX) is a decentralized entertainment platform utilizing peer-to-peer (p2p) and blockchain technology. Among other things, it seeks to provide decentralized storage and sharing capabilities to users exchanging distributed digital assets (e.g., games or music) via tokens. At present, the company believes it can become a market leader within the blockchain-based entertainment industry.
Partnership with Game.com
Tron sought to set the stage for this by forging a strategic partnership with Game.com (GTC), a popular blockchain gaming platform. They’re combining efforts to create gaming solutions that preclude gamers from having to liquidate their in-game currencies (like skins, equipment, and other rewards). However, other ambitious blockchain gaming projects are seeking a similar goal and it remains an open question as to whether they’ll succeed.
Tron originated as an ERC-20 token on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain and remained so until its mainnet launch on May 31st, 2018. Investors had hoped the mainnet launch would initiate a price surge and were disappointed to see the price stall and even decline somewhat. Some analysts speculate that the price stall resulted from Tron’s marketing campaign, as it raised expectations before showing anything of substance. With a current market cap of €2 billion, investors expect the project to showcase real results soon less it loses traction with followers. However, Tron appears to be pacing media attention by offering up a notable development related to its coin each month (as is evident even in this post).
In mid-June, Tron purchased BitTorrent for $120 million in a bid to “revolutionize the entertainment industry.” The company believes that BitTorrent, an open-source file-sharing communications protocol for p2p networks, will help its mission to “decentralize the web.” Although BitTorrent still attracts 150 million users on a monthly basis, YouTube and Netflix have eroded its audience in the past decade. Also, given its open-source nature, critics are wondering what strategic motivation exists for such an acquisition.
As Coinbase writer Christina Kim points out, several online commentators suggest that the acquisition was motivated “not (by) BitTorrent’s services per se but rather the established platform BitTorrent possesses from which to create entirely new services.” Others assert that BitTorrent’s massive user base simply makes such an acquisition a no-brainer. In a recent letter to the Tron community, Tron’s CEO Justin Sun noted that,
BitTorrent is the genesis of the decentralization movement. Developers, entrepreneurs, and the decentralized Web community regard BitTorrent as the original pioneers of decentralization technology. It is the foundation of an open, transparent, shared Internet protocol.
The BitTorrent acquisition embodies TRON’s “All-In Decentralization” strategy. TRON and BitTorrent share the same vision for a decentralized Web. I believe BitTorrent will gain new life from integrating into the TRON ecosystem, and TRON will continue BitTorrent’s protocol legacy.
Ultimately, Justin Sun hopes to fully integrate BitTorrent’s team and technology with Tron’s, believing that their combined capabilities “will take the technology behind the TRON ecosystem to a whole new level.” Sun believes BitTorrent’s technology is key to helping “give data rights back to the individual” and liberating “the Internet from the stranglehold of large corporations.” While such promotional phrasing is ubiquitous in crypto-world, supporters suggest that Sun is ‘putting his money where his mouth is’.
Tron Virtual Machine (TVM)
On July 30, Tron will launch an upgraded version of the Tron Virtual Machine (TVM). Several media articles are promoting TVM as a game changer for developers. While it’s difficult to discern hyperbole from what will actually be presented, these reports provide a certain specificity with regard to what developers can expect.
For instance, the application environment is “designed to be compatible with Ethereum’s VM (EVM) environment so Ethereum developers can compile and adjust their existing codes in an environment where it is easy to port to TRON.” (Ethereum World News).
Tron touts that its new TVM will be using bandwidth rather than Ethereum gas, thus allowing developers to be less concerned with cost. If so, Tron may be more competitive as a platform than many analysts expect. Likewise, this new TVM release will supposedly enable developers to create smart contracts using “friendly programming languages developers are familiar with. There is no need to learn a new programming language” (Medium). If Tron realizes such expectations, industry watchers expect Tron to become a strong competitor in the emerging DApps development field.
Tron is being aggressive in forging partnerships and promoting platform innovation. If such developments actually bear fruit, Tron may very well “revolutionize the entertainment industry.” As it stands, the cryptocurrency appears to be gaining attention among investors eager to hear such promises.