Several months ago, TRON announced a $1 million dollar contest for TRX dApp developers. Aiming to “empower developers and foster innovation within the blockchain industry”, the program promised some lucrative payouts to the eventual winners, with the best project looking to pocket a cool sum of $200,000. However, a recent community report exposed the TRON Accelerator as possibly not delivering on the initial promises.
Reddit user u/9hil brought this information to light, explaining that TRON Accelerator was set to pick the winners of this competition on January 10th. However, the community noticed that something fishy is going on once the 10th passed and no one received any notifications whether they won anything or not. The e-mails were sent once the concern started becoming louder, but the community noticed an important “addendum” to the competition: TRON have apparently “adjusted” the prize structure due to a “high volume of competitive projects” and decided to share the award fund among 100+ competitors, instead of originally planned 56.
As a result of that, the lowest reward was set form $5k to $1k. The user revealed several other issues with the competition:
- “They changed the prizes after the contest ended
- They allowed clones to win but not the original clone onto TRX
- They allowed contestants to win who didnt meet the criteria (being on mainnet)
- They allowed projects that arent open source to win
- The Grand Winner is a mysterious project with barely any info available
- They havent posted a public list of the winners
- Some blatant ponzi games have won prizes”
The community backlash came immediately, as people started claiming foul play. Some suggested the project intentionally lied about the award structure to draw developers away from other projects with monetary incentives. Others claim TRON never intended to pay out the full prize. TRON themselves haven’t responded to the accusations; we’ll likely know more on January 18th, when they will allegedly hold a prize awarding ceremony for the winners of TRON Accelerator. The discussion is still ongoing and you can join it here or in the team’s official developer Discord. The news come on the heels of a former Bit-Torrent employee exposing Justin Sun as someone who “doesn’t have a technical bone in his body”.
Sun is notorious for his impudent and aggressive and oftentimes outright fraudulent marketing arsenal: pre-announcing announcements, dodgy and plagiarized white paper and partnerships with flimsy companies which others have tracked back to being Justin Suns own side projects.
Tron’s VM is a blatant copy of Ethereum’s VM without subsequent patches which makes it a big security risk. Consensus mechanism is a terribly implemented dPoS with delegates openly buying votes and colluding among themselves. And yet Tron has a well above $1 billion market cap and ranks in the top 10 cryptocoins by that metric. How come?
Essentially, Sun has managed to amass a community of technically illiterate buyers who are credulous and easily swallow Sun’s aggrandized and spurious promises. He did what a good marketing guy does: found his target audience, carved out a niche and marketed his product to them.
Tron’s most recent blockbuster move was an acquisition of a file-sharing pioneer technology BitTorrent. Months after the accession, Tron announced their plans to launch a new token within BitTorrent ecosystem, dubbed BTT that will run on top of Tron’s blockchain.
And this is where things get interesting. One former engineer from BitTorrent spoke out about his experience with Tron’s founder and his view of BitTorrent’s future under the reign of a new king.
Simon Morris, who spent nearly a decade as an executive at BitTorrent had this to say about Tron and Justin Sun, in his interview with BreakerMag:
According to Morris, there’s “no way” the Tron blockchain can handle the transaction volume needed to tokenize BitTorrent. And Morris thinks there’s little reason to believe Tron’s claims about BitTorrent Token, or anything else.
“It seems they’re going in the same direction [as our plan],” Morris told BREAKER. “But what’s very clear is that they’re going to say they’re going in the same direction, come what may, because that’s what Tron does…it’s basically a marketing machine layered on a very thin veneer of technology.”
Of Sun, Morris says: “It’s very clear that Justin is very strong at marketing. He has a very nice personality from a marketing point of view. He doesn’t have a technical bone in his body. He wouldn’t understand, technically, anything. But the approach that bothered me was, the very sort of Trumpian approach—if you get caught in a lie, the answer is you double down on the lie. [It was] the endless doubling down on lies that made me think it wasn’t going to be a fit.”