Tron’s Sun vs. Ethereum’s Vitalik: A Look Inside The Ongoing Battle of the Dapps
Among the top decentralized application (Dapp) platforms in the world today, the two leading the pack in the Dapp sector are Ethereum and TRON.
On one side, you have the brilliant and in-your-face personality, Buterin, who keeps jabbing right hooks on his Tron opponent’s sentiments.
On the other hand, you have the logical and extremely calculative Justin, who keeps blocking his opponent until the right time to jab comes up.
Initially, TRON had to use the Ethereum platform before its Mainnet launch but has since migrated. The thriving (and arguably the only) apps on TRON are gambling apps.
Meanwhile, Ethereum has diverse types of apps, but many of which are still in development.
In the past, Buterin has referred to TRON as a “centralized pile of trash,” while Sun has posted an infographic highlighting the ways “TRON is better than ETH.” So who is more likely to give us the number one Dapp platform?
Why #TRON is better than #ETH: 1. 10000TPS vs. 25TPS 2. zero fee vs. high fee 3. consistent Coinburn vs. no coinburn 4. Java vs. Solidity 5. strong extensibility vs. no ex. 6. 1 billion USD developers rewards vs. no plan 7. 100 million users vs. small number #TRX $TRX pic.twitter.com/WvxH5EToa8
— Justin Sun🌞 (@justinsuntron) April 6, 2018
In this investigative guide, we look at where their feud started and what they’ve been accusing each other off in this seemingly never-ending Twitter feud.
History of the Rivalry
The tense relationship between Vitalik Buterin and Justin Sun stretches back to when TRON was just a few months old in early 2018.
Buterin started the feud by extensively criticizing Sun’s blatant plagiarism in TRON’s whitepaper, taking excerpts directly from Interplanetary File System (IPFS) and FileCoin, and then using code without attribution.
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
In an underhanded comment from Buterin (referencing the plagiarism), he remarked that Justin Sun could have more easily stolen from these projects by using the hotkeys “Ctrl + C/Ctrl + V” to improve his plagiarism efficiency.
Buterin even went so far as to call out Justin Sun’s plagiarism in a Meta April Fool’s joke. He lightheartedly plagiarized 20% of the TRON website’s proposal, paying tribute to the white paper and code copying occurrences.
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) April 2, 2018
However, Justin Sun is far from defenseless. He did not let the criticisms slide and started his own attacks on Ethereum, as you will see below.
The feud between Tron’s Sun and Ethereum’s Vitalik soon escalated, with the crypto sphere’s two bigwigs on Twitter.
This time around, the feud started when Sun mocked Vitalik in a tweet posted on December 2, 2018, where the TRON founder pointed to an interview where Vitalik creator said, “the next wave in crypto [sic] will not be based on a hype.”
Sun went on to claim that finally, it was evident that the 2017 run lead by Ethereum was purely based on hype and that Tron will lead the next Bull Run.
It didn’t take long for Buterin to reply, and he did so, arguing, “anyone who puts a dollar sign followed by a ticker symbol in their tweet is basically a self-identified shill and not worth listening to.”
This led Sun to respond by tweeting:
“We can talk about the dollar sign after the day ETH reaches 2 million Txs per day, which I think will never happen.”
Fast-Forward to Early 2019
The feud heightened at the start of last year when TRON experienced steady growth at the expense of Ethereum.
While other major crypto plummeted around that time, TRON bucked the trend by gaining value starting from November of 2018 to 2019. While this wouldn’t have moved beyond industry commentary, Sun took the opportunity to throw some shade at Buterin.
With constant marketing hype and promotion of an upcoming BitTorrent Token airdrop and a conference appearance from basketball legend Kobe Bryant, Sun surpassed Buterin in terms of Twitter followers.
He then decided to dig via Twitter at Ethereum’s founder over something as petty as social media numbers. He Wrote:
— Justin Sun🌞 (@justinsuntron) February 10, 2019
Steem Drama Heats Up
The feud between the two carries on to current times, with Sun recently bringing up Ethereum’s Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) hack in 2016.
The DAO hack is a pivotal moment in Ethereum’s history. Sun decided to dig up these controversies on Twitter a few months ago, claiming that “Blockchain never forgets!” before arguing that the moment forever ruined Ethereum’s immutability.
Blockchain never forgets! It invalidates the immutability of the #Ethereum blockchain, such that no one’s Ethereum-based assets is safe. I will personally 100% sponsor anyone who was harmed by the DAO incident to seek damages from @VitalikButerin. https://t.co/MVrk5Q6tMJ
— Justin Sun🌞 (@justinsuntron) May 20, 2020
He went on to say that he would “100% sponsor anyone who was harmed by the DAO incident to seek damages from Buterin.”
It’s unclear why Sun decided to jump in on the issue after so many years, but Buterin chose not to respond at the time. Given that the DAO was settled through a hard fork, creating Ethereum Classic (ETC) for those who believe it was unjust, the case seems closed.
However, Buterin got a chance to hit back at Sun in April 2020, when more plagiarism accusations were leveled at the Tron founder.
A recent rebranding of the BitTorrent File System (BTFS) was met with outrage by Juan Benet, creator of IPFS. Benet pointed out similarities between the new BTFS logo and IPFS and alleged that the similarities don’t stop there. He tweeted:
Aaaaaahahaha it’s not enough to fork all our code, rebrand it and lie its theirs; copy paste random chunks of our papers, and defraud their investors with a nonsensical mishmash. Tron also can’t even think of an original logo 🤯🤣 https://t.co/h6EGPNwXzQ
— Juan Benet (@juanbenet) April 16, 2020
Vitalik Buterin jumped in on the dispute via Twitter, criticizing BitTorrent’s zombification, which is now under the leadership of Justin Sun and terming it “another appendage in the Sun dictatorship.”
This tweet is honestly painful to read. It's like looking at a zombie: the account *looks like* something you've grown up with and known and loved for 15 years, but underneath it's just, well, now it's just another appendage of the Sun dictatorship
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) April 16, 2020
The Ethereum founder then defended his use of the word “dictatorship” by pointing to a tweet thread from March 2, 2020, highlighting Tron’s recent takeover of Steemit.
My understanding of events leading up to the takeover:
1. Tron buys steem: https://t.co/Wo6RV166MA
2. Steem delegates move to limit Steem co account's voting rights: https://t.co/rpDsr1Ce1h
3. Justin Sun not impress: https://t.co/hKLIKeV2Zh
4. This: https://t.co/INeN2fnNrJ
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) March 2, 2020
In the months since Sun acquired Steemit, more accusations have been leveled at the TRON creator, including charges of outright bribery and large scale censorship.
The Steem drama heated up on May 20, 2020, when Steem witnesses allied to Sun announced they would seize the assets and accounts of several users who disagree with TRON’s buyout of the blockchain.
Witnesses on #Steem are preparing a hardfork 23 that will go live in the next 3 days. The code is NOT available for review.
I have contacted exchanges to warn them and ask what the code changes involved. Appears the powerdown time will be reduced from 13 weeks to 4 weeks
— Andrew Chaney (@netuoso) May 17, 2020
In response to the controversy, Buterin suggested that all Steem users should move to Hive (a blockchain formed by dissident Steem users) at this point, to which Justin Sun responded:
Shouldn't every steem user just be moving to hive at this point?
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) May 19, 2020
H2H, Who is Winning?
Currently, Ethereum has the lead on TRON in terms of the number of Dapps and market cap, according to a recent report by data analytics firm DappRadar. With its advantage of having been formed first and establishing a more robust structure, Ethereum also holds the biggest number of developers.
However, TRON claims to be designed to have a much faster transaction speed, plus it has recorded more daily transaction volume than Ethereum in recent times. The platform also made a serious statement of intent by acquiring file-sharing firm BitTorrent in July 2018.
Justin Sun is perhaps justified in his promotion of TRON. Assuming that his claims on Twitter are accurate, TRON might be that much better than Ethereum. Perhaps Sun’s TRON will bid “goodbye” to Ethereum as TRX surpasses ETH in the Dapp market.
— Justin Sun🌞 (@justinsuntron) June 25, 2018
It is important to point out that both Justin Sun and Vitalik Buterin don’t need each other, and they can survive as notable cryptocurrency characters.
Whatever the result, Justin Sun’s aggressive marketing of the TRON project does not align with Vitalik Buterin’s more reserved technology-first leadership style.
It thereby seems unlikely that the two will never reconcile their disagreements around the competing blockchain platforms. We can expect more juicy Twitter clashes between them with no ceasefire in sight.