“Hello everyone. Hello everyone. Yeah. Just tap one if you can hear my voice.”
Justin Sun flashed up on the live stream. Hunched over his device, he appeared in a blue V-neck sweater with a sunlit window behind him. Waiting a few minutes for viewers to appear, he gradually eased into an hour-long update on his plan to revolutionize the web.
“We [do] not consider us the competitor of Bitcoin or Ethereum,” he told his 16,000 viewers on Periscope on January 5. “We are far beyond that. We are building the next generation of the infrastructure of the decentralized internet.”
Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. It’s these household names that Sun says he is taking on with his latest project, Tron. His regular social media posts have made him one of the cryptocurrency world’s most visible names.
A former advisor to Ripple in China, Sun’s LinkedIn profile describes him as a protégé of Alibaba chairman Jack Ma — perhaps the single most powerful business leader in China, and certainly the wealthiest — and he was listed last year on Forbes’s Asia 30 under 30 at the age of 26.
Tron aims to cut out the Google Play and iTunes Stores of this world and turn media creators into their own distributors. If the team pulls it off, it could lead to a redistribution of power similar to that of the world wide web. It’s a grand plan.
nvestors are clearly excited about Tron’s prospects, buying up the TRX token since its September initial coin offering on the back of promised future rewards. On Thursday, the token was the second-best performing on the CoinMarketCap rankings of 100 largest cryptocurrencies, nearly doubling in value over the space of 24 hours. At its latest peak, TRX hit a value of 11 cents per token and an overall market cap of $7.3 billion. Not bad for a market that saw major price drops on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“The primary reason someone would buy TRX is if they believe that it has long-term growth potential as a currency to be used to pay for digital content. Given China’s increasing consumption of digital content, there could be a strong market there, but it will likely take some time to develop.
There is good reason to believe Tron can pull off its claims. Although it’s still under development, the project’s GitHub page has received regular updates since its December 28 announcement. Sun touts impressive team members like former Alibaba chief data mining expert Zhao Hong and former bank security expert Zhang Anwen. The company has received support from internet firms like Peiwo Odyssey Foundation and Baofeng, even if Sun has perhaps overhyped some of those connections. Later this month, Tron plans to open an office in San Francisco. Quelling fears the project is a crypto cash-in, Sun has described Tron as a “project for 10 years” that’s aimed at the “long-term investor.”
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