Right now, if you want to get practically anything done on the internet, whether that be watching a video, making a payment, trading or simply browsing online, you’ll likely need to rely on centralized platforms to do so.
This comes with a host of downsides, not the least of which can include privacy concerns, data manipulation and disinformation, and potential censorship. But this might not be the case for much longer if TRON delivers on its lofty goals.
What Is TRON (TRON)?
TRON is an advanced blockchain platform that is built to decentralize and democratize the content distribution industry through an arsenal of permissionless tools, platforms and protocols.
As a smart contract-capable blockchain, TRON allows developers to build and deploy highly capable decentralized applications (DApps) that can be designed for practically any purpose — including online games, decentralized exchanges, yield farms, open lending platforms and more.
The platform was founded in September 2017 by tech entrepreneur Justin Sun, who currently heads up the Tron Foundation — a non-profit that assists with the development and growth of the TRON ecosystem. It raised a total of $70 million in an initial coin offering (ICO) and launched its mainnet in June 2018. Since then, it has grown to become one of the top 20 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization and briefly held a stint among the top 10.
How Does TRON Work?
TRON is similar to EOS in that users on the network need to acquire resources in order to transact or interact with smart contracts. On TRON, these resources are separated into four types: bandwidth, CPU, storage and RAM. Users need to freeze (temporarily lock) their TRX to get bandwidth and energy.
When a user makes a regular transaction, bandwidth points are consumed, whereas smart contract transactions also consume energy. Both bandwidth and energy are gradually recovered over a 24-hour period.
Like most smart contract platforms, TRON features its own virtual machine — in this case, known as the TRON Virtual Machine (TVM). The TVM is essentially the operating system used for running smart contracts in a secure and decentralized, but reliable environment. The TVM is said to be Turing-Complete, but its full capabilities are still being unraveled.
TRON is secured by a delegated-proof-of-stake (DPoS) consensus mechanism, which uses a network of 27 super representatives (SRs) to verify transactions and package them into blocks. These Super Representatives are voted into position through an open election, which sees TRX holders vote on their favorite SRs based on their merits.
Super representatives are also tasked with proposing improvements to the TRON network — which are then voted in or rejected by other SRs and a second type of node known as SR partners.
In the original TRON whitepaper, a 10-year roadmap was set out for the project. TRON is currently almost halfway through this roadmap, and as of April 2021 is currently in the “Great Voyage” era of development.
What Makes TRON Unique?
TRON is built to power a decentralized internet, where individuals can access content without geographical restrictions, censorship or limitations. It includes a number of features that help achieve this goal, including:
TRON joins the increasing number of blockchain platforms to support on-chain governance — allowing TRX holders to play an active role in shaping the future of the platform by selecting the super representatives and super representative partners that ultimately enforce the will of the community.
Users that participate in the voting process by staking their tokens will receive a fraction of the network rewards in return.
Like other competing smart contract platforms, including Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain, TRON supports a variety of token standards, which helps developers power a range of novel use cases. These include TRC-20, TRC-10 and TRC-721 (non-fungible) token standards.
TRON is designed to support massive on-chain scaling, allowing developers to build applications that can support potentially tens of thousands of users simultaneously. At present, TRON’s DPoS consensus system allows it to comfortably handle around 2,000 transactions per second (TPS), but there are plans to further improve this in the future.
As one of the earliest smart contract platforms to move to mainnet, TRON now has a well-developed ecosystem of DApps and DeFi products. This includes the decentralized file-sharing protocol BitTorrent, decentralized exchange PoloniDEX and the JUST ecosystem of DeFi platforms.
Since TRON’s virtual machine is compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), developers can easily port their DApps from Ethereum or other EVM-compatible blockchains to TRON.
What Are Smart Contracts?
Smart contracts have long been hailed as one of the most promising use cases of blockchain technology since they’re capable of potentially replicating many of the main functions of traditional financial institutions — albeit on a decentralized network.
In essence, smart contracts are snippets of code that are designed to automatically carry out an agreement — ensuring that the two or more parties involved in the agreement don’t necessarily need to trust one another, so long as they trust that the smart contract is reliable and secure.
Smart contracts will automatically enforce the terms specified in an agreement when the right conditions are met, e.g. you might have a smart contract that automatically sends a payment to a specific address on the same day each year, or one that allows two individuals to wager on an outcome before automatically distributing the pot to correct participant.
Today, smart contracts form the underlying code or the vast majority of decentralized applications and are becoming increasingly woven into the fabric of the blockchain landscape.
To learn more about smart contracts and their current role in decentralized finance, click here.