Prominent analyst and investor Ari Paul, who co-founded cryptocurrency investment firm Blocktower with former Goldman Sachs executive Matthew Goetz, publicly criticized TRON for plagiarizing the white paper of Filecoin and IPFS and condemned its non-existent network.
TRON and IPFS Conflict
A few months ago, TRON was involved in a scandal that accused the organization of plagiarizing the white paper of Filecoin and IPFS. Juan Benet, one of the founders and developers of both IPFS and Filecoin, revealed that Tron employed technologies invented by the two Blockchain projects, and described them as its own technology on its white paper.
Although the white paper has since been taken down by the TRON development team, Benet and the Filecoin team archived the white paper of TRON in the server of the IPFS network to ensure that the community can access the TRON white paper that has allegedly plagiarized the whitepaper of IPFS and Filecoin.
The cryptocurrency community is open-source so projects often are inspired by the technologies developed by other development teams. For instance, Litecoin has integrated Bitcoin’s Segregated Witness (SegWit) for scaling, and the Ethereum development community has been collaborating with the Zcash team to employ the private features of the Zcash network.
But Ari Paul and Benet noted that it is unreasonable to utilize the technologies of other projects without credit and list them on a whitepaper. One of the sections of TRON’s whitepaper is called Bitswap, and it reads:
BitSwap is a block transmission agreement similar to BitTorrent—where nodes represent the expected block set with want_list, and represent the data block set they can provide with have_list. Unlike BitTorrent, block swapped by BitSwap is not limited to a single torrent.
A section entitled Bitswap on the whitepaper of IPFS, which was released before Tron, reads:
In IPFS, data distribution happens by exchanging blocks with peers using a BitTorrent inspired protocol: BitSwap. Like BitTorrent, BitSwap peers are looking to acquire a set of blocks (want_list), and have another set of blocks to offer in exchange (have_list).
The Bitswap section on both whitepapers evidently have significant similarities, and it is also important to note that the white paper of TRON listed a section called “Bitswap,” which is almost identical to the section of the white paper of IFPS.
Paul publicly condemned TRON’s continous marketing of its Blockchain network that utilizes the core technologies of other Blockchain projects. Referring to TRON’s network that exists on the Ethereum network as an ERC20 token project, Paul stated:
Did you mean the new filecoin or bitswap @justinsuntron? I thought the TRX paper copied those. Also...Tron doesn't actually *exist* as a network...to be the next Bitcoin you first need to produce...ya know, a network. https://t.co/2r1XFTd2gy— Ari Paul (@AriDavidPaul) March 25, 2018
The TRON network also claims that it has more than 30 mln users located in more than 100 countries. But, even Bitcoin has less than 60 mln users, at least on wallets like Coinbase and Blockchain.
TRON’s Blockchain is ambiguous and the business model includes services like social media and content distribution. But to claim without evidence that it has more than 30 mln users which is more than Ethereum’s and all of the tokens combined is simply unsound.
While TRON may have 30 mln users, it is unlikely that the 30 mln users are native users of its network.