While blockchain technology is revolutionary, the real innovation in the sector has been driven by entrepreneurs and individuals. From Vitalik Buterin to the enigmatic Satoshi Nakamoto, these disruptors have pushed progress forward and, at least in the former’s case, have a finger on the industry’s pulse. With so many new voices emerging, the sector is constantly evolving with a changing landscape.
One of the more intriguing personalities to enter the spotlight is TRON CEO and founder Justin Sun. Already a successful figure in tech, Sun made waves in blockchain thanks to his app PEIWO, his work with Ripple Labs, and TRON's development. Investopedia had the unique opportunity to speak with Sun over the phone, and he shared his views on the market as well as the industry’s future.
Investopedia Interview with Justin Sun, TRON Foundation CEO
Investopedia: Can you expand on your theory that the XRP surge shows a wider adoption rate for investors? You mentioned in a tweet that investors will embrace blockchain. Why does this also mean that they will adopt one cryptocurrency over another?
Justin Sun: XRP is a cryptocurrency tailored to providing banks and payment providers a reliable solution for cross-border payments. I was Ripple Labs’ Chief Representative between 2014 and 2016, and I saw first-hand the massive demand for blockchain-based cross-border payment solutions. During my tenure, I worked on partnerships with WeBank, China’s first online work bank, and Shanghai Huarui Bank. Fast forward to today and Ripple is now supported by over 100 financial institutions around the world, including PNC. I am confident that the financial industry will adopt blockchain technology. TRON will also enter this space in the future, so I welcome potential partners from the financial industry to reach out! Of course, none of my comments represent investment advice to your readers.
Investopedia: What is your strategy to push TRON into Coinmarketcap’s Top 10?
Justin Sun: There are a few steps, but it starts with making our decentralized application ecosystem more robust. We’re aiming to complete one of our key milestones in the fourth quarter: to combine TRON and BitTorrent and create a unique and outstanding product. We will leverage TRON’s blockchain expertise to enhance the decentralized BitTorrent protocol, which has over 100 million monthly active users.
The BEPs [Bim Execution Plans] for both protocols are currently under review for approval, which will further facilitate the merging of TRON and BitTorrent technology. TRON is set to surpass Ethereum on the road to becoming the world’s largest decentralized protocol. We will be delivering on these key milestones in the near future.
Our second goal is to expand awareness and recognition of the TRON Protocol. We will continue to position ourselves more solidly in the cryptocurrency market, as well as in more exchanges.
Third, we will continue efforts in the entertainment and gaming industry. We’ve already seen quite a few outstanding TRON dApps like BitGuild being built on or migrated to the TRON network. In the next two quarters, we expect even more developers to flock to TRON, which will boost our overall performance.
Fourth, we are always working hard to optimize the TRON protocol, coming out with one iteration after another, aimed at bringing the community the best experience and value possible. If we look at the top 10 cryptocurrencies, many of them are not motivated to continue innovating or improving their product. They represent the older generation of cryptos. TRON, on the other hand, is a young company with cutting edge technology, with much more room for growth. We are confident that TRON will surge into the top 10 very soon.
Investopedia: What was behind your purchase of BitTorrent? Can you tell us more about the long-term strategy involved?
Justin Sun: I think the main reason behind the acquisition is that both TRON and BitTorrent share the same vision. BitTorrent is a pioneer in peer-to-peer technology, and its achievements were crucial at the height of the era of decentralization. Even as other companies turned to profit-seeking and market control, BitTorrent remained steadfast in its vision of democratizing the internet.
Investopedia: Tell us a little more about Project Atlas. We understand the goal is to connect BitTorrent’s peer-to-peer model to TRON’s blockchain. What does this mean for users of both platforms?
Justin Sun: Project Atlas is an immensely exciting project that will define the future of file sharing. The project is a marriage between BitTorrent’s decades of expertise in peer-to-peer network technology and its 100 million monthly active users with TRON’s robust blockchain capabilities.
Using a set of BitTorrent protocol extensions, a custom token, and an in-client token economy to address existing limitations, the company aims to open a new borderless economy, where users can exchange value for computer resources on a global scale. Since its creation, the BitTorrent protocol had a system of incentives built into its core processes.
We are implementing the features of Project Atlas as a set of backward-compatible protocol extensions. This means that existing clients will continue to work flawlessly as new clients and features are introduced. Users will be able to keep using their existing version while earning or spending tokens will not be mandatory, and users will still be able to download and seed to and from the new generation of users.
Investopedia: You mentioned that developers can move their projects to the TRON Virtual Machine (TVM) for “almost free.” Can you specify what “almost free” means?
Justin Sun: The TVM is fully compatible with Ethereum’s EVM. Additionally, it costs a fraction of one TRX to support smart contracts on the TVM and to create TRON accounts. Because the cost is so minuscule, we say “almost free.” By comparison, creating and supporting contracts on Ethereum and EOS can cost a user more than $10.
Investopedia: Give us five reasons why TRON is better than Ethereum.
Justin Sun: At TRON, we always emphasize the importance of accessibility and our dedication to the community. That’s why we made sure to deliver on our goals of being faster and cheaper than Ethereum, and providing an easy-to-use and affordable network to our vibrant community of talented developers. Not only that, we made sure to back our strong technical capabilities with a global support system that spans across various platforms, including Telegram, Slack, WeChat, and email, providing personalized and prompt technical support to the community.
In the very near future, we will be moving to Discord to unify communication with different groups designated for handling specific integrations. In addition, TRON also has more flexibility in dApp development because we can adopt existing Ethereum smart contracts and have tools to develop our own TRON dApps.
Since I founded TRON in September 2017, the company has delivered a series of achievements, including the Mainnet launch in May 2018, network independence in June 2018, and the TRON Virtual Machine launch in August 2018. We are one of the fastest developing blockchain projects with a hard-working team that makes delivering results the status quo, which constitutes a large part of our success.
Investopedia: The seminal Bitcoin white paper turned 10 years old in October 2018. Do you think Bitcoin—as it stands today—is true to Satoshi’s original vision?
Justin Sun: That’s right, the Bitcoin white paper was released on October 31st, 2008. I do believe Bitcoin has achieved Satoshi’s vision. However, I see TRON carrying the torch into the future. In an email conversation dated November 2008, Satoshi noted, “For transferrable proof of work tokens to have value, they must have monetary value. To have monetary value, they must be transferred within a very large network. For example, a file-trading network akin to BitTorrent.” A decade later, TRON is taking Satoshi’s word on BitTorrent’s invaluable role in blockchain and making it a reality. We expect to fully deliver this vision in the next two quarters and continue to reach new heights!
Investopedia: What are the biggest challenges to global crypto innovation?
Justin Sun: The biggest challenge is achieving mass adoption of cryptocurrencies. The question is, how do we resolve this? TRON has already taken the first step to finding a solution with Project Atlas. The key to mass adoption is to truly have a decentralized application on a very large scale, a step that is also vital to the crypto sector’s development. The alliance between TRON and BitTorrent’s protocols and expertise is the foundation of a new model of content distribution.
For starters, the product will see much faster download speeds, more seeds, no mining, and backward compatibility. We are adapting the technology to the world we live in today: mobile, connected, and transparent. We aim to eventually empower all content creators and their communities by eliminating the middleman and enabling content creators to distribute their work directly to users.