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TRON is a superb case-study for many of the phenomena we experience with cryptocurrency such as Fear of Missing Out, Hype, Hope, and maybe a few good ideas hidden amongst the emotion. For many (myself included), up until the 4th of December 2017, TRON was nothing more than a small blip on the crypto-scope; it’s price had remained flat at $0.002 basically since launch, very little trading volume, and next to no chatter on social media.
Then it all changed. Between 1-31 December 2017, TRON’s price surged from $0.002 to $0.08 – a rise of 34,900%. And that’s what’s wrong with crypto – nothing fundamentally changed to warrant this rise. FOMO, Hype, and Hope spooked the skittish crypto market and we all flooded in.
TRON aims to be a platform for free distribution of content wrapped within some sort of social media context with an inherent payment mechanism fuelled by their native TRX token. But that’s me digesting the 47-page TRON whitepaper and trying to paraphrase in a way that actually makes sense. In my mind I’m imagining some sort of Facebook/YouTube love-child spouting anti-capitalist and anti-centralisation ideals while at the same time recognising the need for transfer of value between users, publishers, advertisers and platform providers.
The more I think about it, the more I struggle to see how TRON will be different and better than what we have today – which circles me back to the 34,900% rise in the last month; what am I missing?!
Here’s an example of the ideology you have to wade through in Tron’s Whitepaper:
“Content should derive from people rather than capitals, and content should be used to reward people rather than to control people. Cultural and creative industries should be driven by the pursuit of the quality of art and content by content creators, artists and scriptwriters, rather than the capitalists who do not consume the contents.”
Sounds good, doesn’t it? And quite typical of cryptocurrency in it’s nascent form: plenty of “let’s change the world” rhetoric with a lack of balance coming from the “but is it actually broken” side – and all fuelled by investors seeking a 10,000%+ ROI pay-day.
To get an idea of how TRON plans to realise its vision (and ultimately how the token will appreciate in value thus giving you, the investor, a return on your investment) you need to review the roadmap section of the TRON website:
I’m reminded of a popular show called “Dragon’s Den” which regularly involves would-be entrepreneurs being grilled by investors eager to determine their exposure to risk and their point of reward. I wonder how a ‘plan’ like TRON’s would go down in a traditional investor/entrepreneur discussion?
Here’s some more detail from TRON’s whitepaper:
“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.”
“Economic incentives, empowerment, content ecology and blockchain technology
will create a fully competitive economic mechanism with fair returns for content creation, distribution and dissemination. Therefore, individuals can be encouraged and contents can be empowered, thus constantly expanding the boundary of the system.”
So pretty much they’re going to build a system which enables people to upload and share content after which they’ll monetise it in some way to reward content creators. So Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, all rolled into one, but sprinkled with buzz-words like ‘cryptocurrency’, ‘blockchain’, ‘decentralisation’….
There’s no denying it: the TRON team is considerable in both size and skills. But isn’t it interesting how ‘the mystique of the East’ seems to play a factor here too, with many social media outlets covering the history of CEO Justin Sun from Alibaba (with more ex-Alibaba hires on the way to join him) with an air of “…and this will mean TRON succeeds” – oh, and the fact they’re opening an office in the Bay Area; another marker for stardom.
Is TRON a good cryptocurrency to invest in? Honestly – I don’t know. Like most people in the last few weeks, I’ve jumped on the band-wagon “just in case”.
The irony is, I assessed TRON back in early November and dismissed it due to a lack of clarity in their roadmap around the proposition; I simply couldn’t see the problem they were solving. And I couldn’t help but compare TRON to the Basic Attention Token used within the Brave browser and the fact that that was already in market and struggling to gain traction (still early days through).
Am I bitter? Of course! A 34,900% rise is amazing! It’s the holy grail that everyone has been chasing since Bitcoin and Ethereum experience similar rates of growth.
Ultimately though, the story of TRON during December 2017 epitomises my fear for the cryptocurrency market throughout 2018: people have become accustomed to ‘everything going up’ and are becoming increasingly willing to invest vast sums chasing unicorn risers like this without performing the sort of due-diligence they would if considering a regular brick and mortar investment. At some point, the pumpers will dump, the smart money will exist, and all that will be left will be the idealogues – some of whom will be sitting behind a desk in a Bay Area office.
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