So, how do I download this? – was the question. What do you mean? – was the reply. How do… where’s the node software? With silence following, does this really not even have a blockchain or any product at all, we wondered. Their Github page does suggest so. We thus asked coders to confirm.
“What do you mean with “launched”, as in being used? or the code released? As far as I know, the main net hasn’t been launched yet,” Roy van Kaathoven, a coder simply interested in the project and not from Tron, tells us.
But how do, how are all these TRXs moving? Oh, it’s just an ETH token, we are told.
An eth token with just a whitepaper worth $14 billion? Welcome to crypto 2018.
To put that in context, Twitter, with millions of users and quite some remarkable influence in the world stage, is kind of worth as much. So we went back to this golden whitepaper which by words alone has such mesmerizing power.
“We believe users should have ownership of and control over the data they create, rather than have to cede that ownership and control to the platform; users must freely own all digital information,” the project says.
It is a statement we have heard many times before. Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, Alibaba and others are accused of creating walls, and perhaps more importantly, controlling our data, manipulating them too, through secret algorithms which grants them unimaginable power, and as we all know, power corrupts.
The proposed solution by a number of projects, and Tron appears to be no different, is the employment of various decentralized technologies, such as IPFS and blockchain tech, to create distributed data storage.
The way this usually works, and Tron seemingly aims to eventually implement, is by linking distributed bittorrent like data storage through IPFS to blockchain hashes, so that a movie stored on IPFS is recorded as only a piece of string on the blockchain.
The concept has already been implemented by LBRY, with their developers telling trusnodes back in May of last year:
“The blockchain is the database for all the content on the network. The URI + the associated metadata is stored on it. So when you want to find some or stream something, you find it on the blockchain and extract the relevant information, which in turns allows you to (1) pay the publisher – or not if it’s free, like a lot of things – (2) thereby initiating the stream in an otherwise YouTube-like experience.
What is not on the blockchain is the data itself, which is sharded and distributed in a bittorrent-like fashion across all the host nodes which you can think of as the LBRY equivalent of a “full node” from bitcoin: a node which has content shards it is uploading to other viewers.”
It is unclear whether Tron follows the exact same approach, but the whitepaper does seem to suggest so, mentioning hash tags and stating their first phase is the implementation of IPFS to be followed by a blockchain:
“In the Exodus phase, on the basis of the distributed storage technology represented by IPFS, TRON will provide users with a completely free and reliable platform for data publication, storage and dissemination…
In the TRON system, content producers can have direct access to TRX, the TRON coin paid by fan users for premium content. They can also obtain influence and power by creating high-quality contents, thus directly gaining TRX rewards given by the system.”
It is a nice idea, but its implementation in a truly decentralized manner while having the speed and convenience of centralized services is very difficult, if at all possible, to achieve at this stage.
Which might perhaps be why Tron doesn’t even offer an alpha, as far as we are aware, let alone a full on product, for us to see just how it all works.
We are told main-net might launch in March, without elaboration on how realistic that is. “Justin is working on promoting Tron first, and working on the product later,” we are told.
How much more than $14 billion he wants a big fonts whitepaper with no product to be worth, who is to know. Nor is anyone to know how much further the marketing hype is to go.
Not least because Justin Sun might be the master of it. He brags of all sorts, yet can he name one actual achievement?
“He was one of the 2015 Forbes “30 under 30” in China and one of the 2017 Forbes “30 under 30” in Asia. He also won the title of Global Shaper at the 2014 Davos Forum (World Economic Forum). He was the only post-90 student of first period of Hupan University founded by Jack Ma.”
With those “credentials” you’d expect a lot, but the only mentioned achievement is an app that has one million active users. If that’s what gets you the title of shaping the globe, then this is truly 1994.
Yet, it would perhaps be unfair if we did not mention his real achievement. A search for Tron shows CNBC, Business Today, and The Sun, Britain’s most read newspaper.
The last one is most surprising because they barely ever mention even bitcoin, so what took their fancy to inform their readers about a whitepaper with no product remains unclear.
Except perhaps Sun’s marketing wiz, yet little lives on promises alone. Eventually, reality might have to catch up.