Trouble for TRON
Voices in the cryptocurrency community are up in verbal arms against TRON, a project that wants to put multimedia and entertainment service on the blockchain. The cryptocurrency is under fire for its whitepaper, which as multiple sources have pointed out, looks to plagiarize the whitepapers of two other crypto projects.
TRON Plays the Copycat Game
As recent developments have exposed, at least nine pages from the TRON’s English whitepaper appear to be plagiarized from the whitepapers of FileCoin and IPFS. The severity of this plagiarism varies from likely copies of text to verbatim replication, according to a tweet by Protocol Labs founder Juan Benet, who co-authored the original source papers:
Wow! Absurd! TRON's "paper" is mostly copied from other projects, or is super basic p2p passed off as original. Zero references.
— Juan Benet (@juanbenet) January 7, 2018
If we take a closer look at the examples presented, it certainly looks like there’s some foul play involved here. Even if the text is not rewritten word for word (and in some places, it is), it is too often carelessly copied in some form or other from FileCoin and IPFS’s own whitepapers. Moreover, the whitepaper copies key ideas without citations, including IPFS’s BitSwap concept.
To make things worse, the TRON team didn’t just nab ideas or verbal explanations of tech; they also stole code from their competitor’s papers.
Perhaps this debacle could have been avoided with proper citation. There’s no crime in using sources so long as you reference them, but the TRON team offers no citations for these reproductions in their whitepaper.
After these revelations surfaced, TRON’s white paper was removed from the coin’s official website, both the English and the Chinese versions. Justin Sun also released a tweet in response to initial accusations, claiming that “translations missed many important details not just reference.”
Our original version of the whitepaper is in Chinese and we have a very detailed reference to the latest Chinese version. The English, Korea, Japanese and Spanish versions are translated by the volunteers. The translation missed numerous important details not just reference.
— Justin Sun (@justinsuntron) January 8, 2018
Marred by Plagiarism, a Fall from Grace (and Price)
In a world as wild (and unregulated) as crypto, we may come to expect mishaps like plagiarism and scam projects. But to see this happen to a cryptocurrency that has penetrated Coin Market Cap’s top 10 is unprecedented, if not a bit worrisome.
Coming into December, TRON was trading at less than a cent at $0.002, but by Christmas, it was priced at $0.04 a coin. A sizeable increase, no doubt, but this pales in comparison to the $0.28 all time high it reached on January 5th–that’s a 13,900% increase in a month.
This staggering price pump placed TRON in the Coin Market Cap top 10 with an $18bln market cap. Since news of plagiarism broke, though, it’s continued its retreat back out of the top ten, and at the time of writing, it rests at the #12 spot with a $7bln market cap.
And all the while, during this price bleed and accusations of plagiarism, Justin Sun continues his optimistic hype campaigns.
— Justin Sun (@justinsuntron) January 10, 2018
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