Tron is a third generation blockchain platform with a clarity of purpose that most other blockchain projects lack: “Decentralize the web.” In other words, Tron is focused on using its state-of-the-art blockchain technology as a substratum to develop a global market that will include entertainment, media, and all kinds of content, except that it will be 100% decentralized.
That means that the current Internet central authorities (which also function as middlemen for creators) will be left out of the loop (Apple App Store, Google Play Store, YouTube, Google, Facebook, etc.). That will allow content creators to profit from their work directly from users without risking demonetization due to not following a company’s policy.
Among the many exciting features that are unique in Tron is their governance model for achieving consensus. It’s called Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS). The consensus is essential in any blockchain network because that’s how you know that the network’s ledger (which is distributed among many nodes in the world) agrees in the way the network is moving forward.
Every node has the exact same copy of the whole blockchain, and every node agrees with every other one in that they all do. That’s the heart of decentralization. But Tron’s model allows for additional features such as voting for the “witnesses” that keep the network honest and receive compensation for processing transactions and creating new blocks.
Young as it is (not even two years old) the Tron network is already very well populated with all kinds of decentralized apps for users to enjoy. And, as the Tron Foundation bought BitTorrent a few months ago, and it’s about to merge it into Tron’s Network (Project Atlas), it is about to become the world’s largest decentralized network.
Join us as we tell you all you need to know to get started with Tron and to enjoy the apps, the token and the community.
What’s under Tron’s hood?
In short, if you see under Tron’s hood, you’ll find one of the most innovative and well-designed blockchains. This is the nerdy part, so feel free to move on to the next section if you’re interested in the more practical aspects of Tron, or in how to get started quickly. But we’d suggest for you to keep reading because knowing a project’s fundamentals is a good way to understand why it’s more valuable (or not) than others.
The network achieves governed decentralization and cost-efficient and very rapid transactions among members by using a classic three-layer architecture. The first layer is for storage. It manages how the data is recorded in the chain’s blocks, and how the system retrieves it for practical purposes.
Then there’s the core layer. This is where you’ll find all the data that keeps some of Tron’s most specific functionalities going. Here is the module that enables smart contracts, account management, consensus, and voting.
The Tron Virtual Machine (TVM) also works in this second layer. The TVM is a translator of sorts that developers can use to create decentralized applications and deploy them using any programming language they fancy.
Last but not least is the application layer. This one is more on the surface and allows developers to create their own dApps and smart contracts, along with the network’s tokens.
The Tron environment is unique as well. Most of the work (that means, creating new blocks) is done by 27 nodes that have been voted to become Super Representatives by TRX holders.
Other users can also help those nodes and even get some passive income as a reward. The Super Representative elections are an ongoing process that never stops. The idea behind the permanent elections is to keep the network inexpensive and with very high transaction speeds. It’s the competition that keeps the network performing well.
Getting Started with Tron
So you’d like to join Tron, huh? Well, first of all, you need to decide how you would like to join it. The simplest, most direct way, to join is quite simple: to own and hold a few Tronix (TRX) tokens.
That enables you to participate from the moment your wallet is populated, and it gives you a few additional advantages. TRX holders can use the network’s dApps; they can vote for Super Representatives (current or candidates) and suggest changes to the protocol.
But maybe you have more of a creative personality, and you want to join as a developer — not a bad choice. Few blockchains are as friendly for developers as Tron because the network offers lots of resources for them to use and, you don’t need to learn any native programming language for Tron, as you do in other blockchains. You’ll find repositories of developer resources scattered all over the web, but you can also use Tron’s own guides.
But if you want to be a normal user or a developer, the first thing you need to do to join is to buy and use some TRX tokens. For that, you need a wallet that can hold TRX.
Getting a Tron Wallet
This is another advantage in Tron. Setting up a TRX wallet is quite painless, and you can find several links at the Tron website that will enable you to do that quickly and easily.
You just need to go to the website, find the Wallet webpage, and you’ll find all the options available for community-developed wallets. Some of them can hold Tron or Tron-based tokens only. But there are some (Ledger, for instance) that can hold other cryptocurrencies as well.
Among the choices when it comes to best Tron wallets, you’ll have are Ledger Nano S (which is not Tron, but it’s a popular, affordable, hardware wallet, Exodus, Trust Wallet. Those are multi-coin. Other options, more focused on TRX are Tron Wallet iOS, TronLink Chrome (which is especially popular) and iTRON Wallet.
All those options are safe, reliable and can be deployed from your desktop computer, your internet browser, a mobile device of your choice or even a hardware wallet devices which looks just exactly like a USB-stick.
If you’re on the developing side of things, you can even come up with your very own wallet to use with Tron Block Explorer. But you’ll have to be approved and listed.
We’ll tell you how to use a TRX wallet known as TronLink Chrome. There are several good reasons for that. First of all, this wallet is a Chrome extension, so installing it is a walk in the park, and it takes fewer than 60 seconds and clicking a few links (assuming Chrome if your browser of choice, of course).
- You start here: https://tron.network/wallet
- Find “TronLink Chrome” and click “Download.”
- You’ll be redirected to a Google Chrome Extensions webpage. Click on the Add to Chrome button. Your browser will install the extension, and the TronLink icon will appear on your browser’s extensions bar.
- Click on the icon. That will pop a menu that allows new users to create a password (which should be a strong one, ofc). Type it again for confirmation.
- You’ll have to choose between restoring an existing TRX wallet or creating a new one. If you’re going to restore one, you’ll have to provide your secret key or phrase. But since we assume you’re new on this, we click on “Create Wallet.”
- Create a username. A popup will tell you what conventions you should follow.
- Come up with a 12-word phrase. That’s the secret phrase that will enable you to restore your account if you should need that in the future.
- Tron will ask you to click on a series of words, in the same order as your key phrase. After that, you confirm, and you’re all set with a new Tron wallet.
And that’s when the game begins. Open your wallet again by clicking on your TronLink icon, and you’ll see a popup that lists your accounts, your wallet addresses, transaction history, Tron dApps, token balances and more.
TRONScan: So you want to find a node?
TronScan is Tron’s block explorer. It’s an interesting tool. You can think of it as Tron’s Yellow Pages meet Tron’s Annals. It lets you explore individual blocks, transactions, and addresses in the network.
If something has ever happened in Tron, it’s there somewhere. If a node is online, you can find it there too. This is probably for hardcore developers who like to find patterns in the network’s flow of information. Remember that tokens are also a form of information, so the financial flows in Tron can also be consulted there.
But maybe you’re just interested in finding a Super Representative node in the Tron network (you know, the guys who do all the hard work). That will allow you to create a node of your own so you can help a given node of your choice.
And according to each node’s specific policy on payment structures, you could be rewarded for sharing your resources. Let’s be clear about something: this is not mining, Tronix is not a minable digital coin, but the chain still needs new blocks to be created all the time. You could say that this is as close as Tron comes to mining, and you can join. And for that, you first need to choose a node.
Super Representative nodes welcome extra help with open arms because the DPoS system encourages it. If those nodes are not willing to spread the wealth a little, they will have a much harder time earning votes from TRX holders.
Here’s how you find a node near you (or anywhere else) in the Tron network:
- You start at https://tronscan.org/
- Click on the blockchain tab. It’s the one on the left side of the top menu.
- You’ll see a dropdown. Click on “Nodes.”
- You’ll see a zoomable map in which you can browse around the world and find SR nodes everywhere on the planet. This will help you to chose which SR you’d like to vote for and join.
- Clicking on the map’s pins will show you each node’s IP address. Entering that address in the site’s search bar (top of the page) will tell you all you want to know: number of tokens in the node, number of completed transactions, uptime, efficiency, and other essential stats.
So you want to buy some TRX?
As mentioned before, this is how it all starts (once you have a wallet).
Justin Sun and the Tron Foundation have a very aggressive and adept PR and marketing policy for a good product. So TRX has become a popular cryptocurrency in a short time. By popular we mean that it’s listed in most of the world’s most important exchanges, but also in several that are not so famous.
If you know Huobi, OKEx, Upbit, or Binance, they all carry TRX. But these are all crypto-to-crypto exchanges, which means that you can’t use your fiat currency through your debit or credit card to buy coins there. To use those websites you already have to own a cryptocurrency (Bitcoin, most frequently) and then trade it for TRX.
So you’ll need to start with a crypto exchange that supports fiat-to-crypto pairs. That will need for you to sign up, verify your account, link your bank account or card to the website. Among the best sites for this kind of operation are Coinbase, Kraken, and Gemini, because they’re among the safest and more reliable in the market.
- Once you have some cryptocurrency (BTC is the one that you can really trade everywhere), you’re almost there. Sing up for an exchange that includes TRX trading pairs (say, Binance). Verify your account. Find your BTC wallet for the site.
- Click on “deposit,” and that will get you a deposit address for the Bitcoin network. Copy to your clipboard.
- Then go to the site where you bought your BTC initially, find the “withdrawal” button or link. Paste the address and click “send.” They could ask you for confirmation using a Two-Factor verification device (usually your mobile phone). Congrats, you’ve made your first BTC to BTC transfer!
- Now you need a bit of patience. Keep in mind that Bitcoin is not currently the fastest network in crypto, but it’s very reliable so the transfer will be done. But it could take a few minutes (10-30) and sometimes even more.
- Once the BTC is in your Binance BTC wallet you need to find the TRX/BTC pair (not the BTC/TRX one, that’s what you would do if you owned TRX already). Most often you’ll find the link at the top of the site. Click on BTC to find the trading pairs based on Bitcoin. Then find the TRX/BTC pair and click on “Buy TRX” and enter the number of BTC tokens you want to convert to TRX. Click “Buy.” That’s it! Congrats now you own some TRX and can start using Tron’s dApps!
How to develop your own dApp
Feeling creative? Few other projects offer their developers more resources (in both quantity and quality). The first place to go would be https://developers.tron.network. Most of your questions related to software development on Tron are answered there, but you can also find other Tron devs to talk with and learn from their expertise.
What do you need to know? Well, anything you know in terms of computer programming is enough. When Tron launched its new Main Net, everything was Java only. Now, the TVM allows you to write code in any language of your choice, and the TVM executes it in Tron.
Lots of developers do the work on Ethereum because it’s been along for a longer time as a programmable platform, and then they just port the work to Tron so it can be integrated into the network. It could be more practical, but that’s up to every developer.
Once your app compiles using Solidity, you can use Yarn (which is free) to take your app to Tron.
Consensus: Here’s how it works
One of the most interesting aspects of owning TRX is the Super Representative electoral process. It has a huge turnover. In order to vote you need to freeze your TRX for some time.
Freezing your tokens is useful because that gets you two cryptocurrencies of sorts called “power” and “bandwidth” which you will need so you can dance around the network more comfortably. And, also, it gives you the right to vote.
Don’t worry about freezing your tokens. You can’t use them as long as they’re frozen, but you won’t lose them. And having some power and bandwidth in your wallet will make your life easier.
Here’s how it goes:
- Go to TronScan, log in.
- Make sure you have TRX in your wallet. You need just a single token, but you must have something.
- If TronScan is not aware yet about your wallet, click on Open Wallet (top right) and enter your wallet’s private key. If you have it as a keystore file on your computer, that works too.
- In your wallet click on “Freeze” and choose how many of your TRX you want to freeze.
The freeze lasts for 72 hours, and you can’t use them in the meantime. After those three days, you get your TRX will become available and active again. Go to the Tron SR tan, and click on Votes. The page will show you your balance of power, TRX, and a timer that’s counting down until the next round of voting begins. Only 27 nodes can be Super Representatives at any given time.
You’ll see who they are, and you’ll find links to their respective websites. In those websites, you’ll find out what’s each individual node’s policy about helpers. That way you can figure out which SR suits you better and vote accordingly.
Click on “Click here to start voting,” and that will show you a slider next to each SR and candidate. That slider represents the amount of power you want to use for voting, and who will get your vote.
If your candidate wins or remains an SR, you can join that node as a supporter and begin getting some rewards for helping the network.
We hope we managed to be informative and, maybe, get you interested in one of the most innovative and exciting blockchain projects in the world today. The Tron community is very committed to the project and bullish about the token. In the worst case scenario, you’ll find a lot of exciting apps, have some fun, and pick some nice chats with fellow Tron members.
Disclaimer: The presented information is subjected to market condition and may include the very own opinion of the author. Please do your ‘very own’ market research before making any investment in cryptocurrencies. Neither the writer nor the publication (TronWeekly.com) holds any responsibility for your financial loss.