In the world of cryptocurrencies, there are a number of big characters that make the space an interesting one. From the libertarian and often paranoid former antivirus mogul John McAfee to the hyper-intelligent wunderkind Vitalik Buterin – it is an all-inclusive space.
The environment is one that praises innovation, drive, and big ideas, but it is also quick to keep these dreamers in check with a bellicose social media presence. Still, the stronger willed often fight through the stream of antagonism, for better or worse, but often with controversy.
One of these controversial dreamers is Justin Sun. Sun cracked Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list in 2017 after he founded Peiwo, an app aspiring to become China’s Snapchat. He went on to receive the Davos Young Leaders award in 2014 and was the former representative Ripple in China.
Nowadays, Sun is known as the enigmatic head of the ambitious TRON project that is dedicated to building the infrastructure for a ‘truly decentralized Internet’. At the heart of this project is the cryptocurrency TRX.
I spoke with Sun about what it takes to be such a figurehead, or lightning rod depending on which side of the fence you are on, in a nascent and tribal cryptocurrency arena.
Learning all the time
The blockchain industry, despite being technically 10 years old, is a relatively new one as projects like TRON look to leverage the deeper reaches of the technology to implement decentralization wherever they can.
With this comes a lot of learning on the job. There is no set path for pioneers of the blockchain industry to take. As many will realize with Sun, his approach is quite brash and bold, but this ties into a lesson he learnt from Chinese business magnate, investor, politician, and philanthropist Jack Ma – the co-founder of China’s Amazon, Alibaba.
“I believe it is important to be fluid like water when you are in the blockchain industry,” Sun told me. “Jack Ma always used to tell me to learn from my mistakes and the mistakes of others. We are very confident and positive about the future of TRON and the cryptocurrency space so we always move forward and focus on building.”
Along the way, TRON has made some big deals, partnerships and acquisitions as they look to increase their reach and become a true decentralizing force and platform.
“I am very happy with how TRON is currently progressing. We have added multiple key partnerships and even acquisitions to the BitTorrent family and TRON is consistently the top platform for Dapps according to websites such as Dappradar.com in terms of volume, transactions, and users,” he added.
Fostering mainstream adoption
While Bitcoin broke the mould by offering a decentralized financial system, the growth of blockchains and the emergence of programmable blockchains after Ethereum’s emergence has led to projects like TRON trying to push the new narrative.
Mainstream adoption for TRON will come from growing a dApp developer user base, and as Sun hints at, they will be honing in on video and blogging use cases.
“TRON is now focused on leveraging the traffic from Opera, Samsung, and BitTorrent channels to grow Dapp developer user bases even more and foster mainstream adoption. Video and blogging related use cases are also of interest to us and will be a focus for us in 2020,” he explained.
Of course, one of their self-proclaimed big moves came with the acquisition of BitTorrent, the well-known torrenting platform. For TRON, this allowed them access to 100 million monthly average users who got a feel for the dApps from TRON.
“I think that the BitTorrent acquisition has allowed around 100M MAU’s from BitTorrent to have access to TRON wallets and to be able to view advertising from high-quality Dapps and be rewarded for seeding files as well as being able to use BTT to pay for premium services or get pushed up to higher priority in the swarm when trying to torrent files,” said Sun.
“We have launched a new website called TRONTV.com that will become similar to a decentralized YouTube with users paid using BTT for watching video ad’s and then able to pay with BTT for premium video subscriptions. Using the traffic from TRONTV and BitTorrent, we will provide channels for promising Dapp developers to get their applications discovered if they enter into a partnership with TRON Foundation.”