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Data suggests half of Justin Sun’s followers are fake

TRON’s Justin Sun is likely benefiting from bought Twitter followers. Analysis of different metrics around his account indicate that over half of his 1.7 million followers could be fake.

Popularity contest

People have been using bots to game Twitter since the platform’s inception. Social proof is a key component of high engagement. Vanity metrics like follower counts, likes and retweets, and comments are important for generating engagement—even if these numbers are manufactured.

Justin Sun, the founder of TRON and CEO of BitTorrent, appears to be well aware of this dynamic. He is constantly trying to one-up Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin on the platform and even bragged when he was the first one to hit 1 million followers in the crypto-sphere.

However, there’s a good possibility that Justin Sun’s popularity is part of a facade.

Manipulated vanity metrics?

Analysis of Justin Sun’s Twitter metrics shows some pretty suspicious activity. Over the last 30 days his followers have been increasing in a tight band regardless of activity, ranging from 4,400 to 7,400 new followers a day, averaging 5,050 daily.

All of the pictured accounts follow fewer than 100 people and have fewer than 10 followers themselves, strong indicators that they’re bots.

Meanwhile, Vitalik Buterin, one of the most influential people in the industry, gained at most 200 followers in a day over the same time span, even with 20 percent more daily tweets. On average, Buterin gained 70 new followers per day over the last 30 days.

A look at aggregate data raises further questions. Justin Sun gained 1.7 million followers with 1,700 likes and 5,200 tweets on an account created August 2017. Vitalik Buterin gained 880,000 followers with 5,400 likes and 12,000 tweets with an account created May 2011.

Either Vitalik Buterin is really, really bad at marketing himself (which is somewhat true) or something more dubious is happening with Justin Sun’s vanity metrics. This comparison doesn’t prove anything by itself, but there is even more incriminating data backing the idea that Sun’s vanity metrics are manipulated.

Indicators of purchased followers

Prior to October 2018 Justin Sun had seemingly normal follower activity. Some days he lost 100 followers, others he gained as many as 500—normal variance for an undoctored account.

Suddenly, on Oct. 11, 2018, Sun gained 5,700 followers overnight without any clear cause. Beginning Oct. 18 he started racking up followers in the thousands each day during the trough of the bear market.

Justin Sun follower chart
Normal activity highlighted in blue. Data by Social Blade

In May 2018 the variance is even more alarming. On May 8, he lost 31,000 followers and then gained 29,000 the next day. In three instances in June Justin Sun gained over 10,000 followers in a single day, capturing as many as 18,800 followers in 24 hours.

Suddenly, on June 28, 2018, Sun lost 88,000 followers as part of a bot sweep by Twitter. Other major cryptocurrency influencers were unimpacted.

The irregular and sudden activity suggests that Justin Sun could be purchasing thousands of followers every day. If 3,000 followers were purchased each day beginning Oct. 18, then 970,000—the majority of Justin Sun’s 1.7 million followers—would be fake.

Buying publicity

Using bots to gain followers and generate engagement is a trivial task. There are dozens of services that sell followers, likes, and retweets by the thousands. In Sun’s case, 5,000 followers could go for as little as $100. One service even offers a “lifetime replacement guarantee” should these purchased followers get identified and banned by Twitter.

That said, purchasing followers and engagement is explicitly prohibited by Twitter’s Platform manipulation and spam policy. Accounts which engage in this kind of behavior run the risk of getting banned.

Nevertheless, it’s unclear whether Justin Sun is the one behind purchasing these followers. It is possible that a TRON super fan, or even a hedge fund, could be responsible for gaming the metrics. But, as Justin Sun said himself, he’s renowned for his “vulgar hype and marketing behavior.” Manipulating Twitter metrics seems in-line with his other gimmicks.

If it’s discovered that Justin Sun is the one behind the manipulation then it would just be another incident where the TRON founder prioritizes hype over substance.

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TRON Price Analysis: TRX/USD rejected a key trendline

  • TRON is trading 2% higher on Tuesday on a good day for the crypto market.
  • The price rejected off a key trendline area and now has pushed higher.

TRX/USD 4-Hour Chart

TRON has pulled back in recent session and now we will find out if it was just a retracement or something more serious.

The price had been on a great run of late and reached a peak of 0.02680.

Now the price has pulled back it rejected a trendline on the 4-Hour chart.

More importantly, the 0.0200 psychological level remains intact.

If the bulls are to regain control of this market then a break of 0.02377 would be a great sign.

TRON analysis

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Tron News Today – Headlines for February 16

  • Tron acquires Steemit
  • Tron Investors aren’t enthused by the development
  • The network hopes the move will add more value to its offering

Tron News Today – Tron, the Justin Sun-led Blockchain network has recently been on a spending spree. The network has been acquiring several major Blockchain-based firms and announcing some notable partnerships. This is part of Tron’s effort to craft more utility around its Blockchain and provide value for its native coin the TRX token. The most recent addition to the TRON network is Steemit. Steemit is a content sharing platform that offers rewards to its users and influencers when they offer quality content that’s well-received by the members of the forum.

Tron has described the acquisition as highly strategic because it allows the entity to expand it’s list of DApps further because of the sheer number of apps that have been created on Steemits’ blockchain.

Tron Price Responds after the Recent Acquisition

Tron’s latest milestone was announced on Twitter. It was the content sharing platform’s founder, Ned Scott, that noted that after nearly four years of working on his project, the decision to sell to Justin Sun’s Tron came up. The exact details of the terms of Tron’s new acquisition remain unclear but it appears that Tron is still looking to advance the retail adoption of its Blockchain network and native crypto through the new arrangement, with Steemit. The Blockchain firm wants to take advantage of the ongoing growth of Steemit as a fresh catalyst for TRON.

Via another post, Sun discussed Tron’s latest company acquisition. He noted that both entities working together will usher in an era of decentralized social networking. All will be to the benefit of Tron and Steemit. In Sun’s words:

“We are very happy to welcome Steemit to the Tron network. Together we will launch an era of decentralized social networking.”

Investors Aren’t Enthused About the Acquisition

Seemits’ Blockchain STEEM token is currently trading on the red. The coin is down by 12%. Its current price is just under $0.25. It is important to note that this decline comes in tandem with the news about Tron’s foray into Steem’s ecosystem. It is also important to indicate that the decline in the tokens price comes as the entire digital currency market faces less turbulence. However, the move suggests that investors do not believe the partnership will offer much value to Steemit Blockchain.

As the Tron network further unveils its plans with regards to how it’s the latest move will ensure that its Blockchain adds value, chances are that investors will be able to gain better insight regarding whether the partnership with Steemit will be a positive one in the long run.

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Steemit Moving to Tron Could Mean a Different Ballgame for BitTorrent

With Steemit acting as a content sharing platform and BitTorrent as a file-sharing platform, the quality of media entering the Tron ecosystem is unimaginable

On 14th February, Justin Sun the CEO of Tron and BitTorrent announced a strategic partnership revealing Steemit’s migration to the Tron ecosystem. According to the alliance, Steem will be migrating from its proprietary blockchain to Tron’s, indicating how the $Steem tokens will also be a part of the TRX ecosystem. In addition to this, decentralized applications [dApps] based on its blockchain will also be moving to the Tron blockchain. 

Launched in 2016, Steemit is a blockchain-based blogging and social media site. It follows a similar incentivization system to Reddit — rewards for curating and publishing quality content. As per the stats showed by Similar Web, Steemit has a traffic of over 7.80 million; the biggest player in the cryptospace in terms of providing an alternative income model to content creators. 

Technical Marketing

Tron has always lived up to its reputation for brilliant marketing. Right from John McAfee’s advocacy in 2017, the 1 billion TRX [ERC20-based] token coin burn followed by the acquisition of BitTorrent in 2018 and the build-up for a 5 million dollar auction lunch with Warren Buffet – they’ve mastered the art.

Nevertheless, questions around the technicality of its biggest acquisition – BitTorrent has bothered the tech-side of the crypto community for a while now. The former Chief Strategy Officer at BitTorrent, Simon Morris, who nearly worked for a decade on the software stated that there’s literally  “no way” Tron’s blockchain could handle the transaction volume needed to tokenize BitTorrent. 

Additionally, he even said that “it’s [Tron] basically a marketing machine layered on a very thin veneer of technology”.

To break it down, BitTorrent works on the simplest but exceptional P2P sharing mechanism. The seeders upload the content, and the leechers download the content on the basic tit-for-tat principle wherein, the more files one shares, the faster the download gets. Content is broken into pieces and everyone broadcasts the pieces they have, boosting the speed of distribution.

Under Justin Sun, the model works on an additional incentive structure with a monetary value measured as BitTorrent tokens [BTT]. It was said that BTT would allow BitTorrent clients to bid and earn, along with upstreaming their bandwidth options that can be used to purchase content, tip and crowdfund content creation.

Don’t neglect – Compatibility, and Security

Questions raise when practicality comes in the picture. For instance, u/bloodmoonslo a Redditor created a post on Tronix addressing the BTT incentive flaw. 

His concerns were that uTorrent had similar properties to an ISP throttling [intentional slowing/speeding of bandwidth]. The download speeds BitTorrent possesses are:

  1. A base unboosted speed
  2. A BTT based boost [includes spending of monetary value for download speed]
  3. Original download potential through another torrent client [that doesn’t throttle]
Image source: Reddit

As observed in the above image, uTorrent and QbiTorrent are running with the same VPN & Proxy settings. Both the clients are set with no connection limits and data usage restrictions on a 100mps hardwired connection.

The downloading speed of QbiTorrent is higher than BTT boosted torrent speed, concluding that paying up to download would still make no difference. Although possibilities are that uTorrent boosted onboards more seeders and becomes faster than other client channels.

But it’s also important to be aware that the downloading of this file started with uTorrent unboosted,  followed by uTorrent boosted and another client [QbiTorrent]. And according to the mechanism, this, in turn, could’ve created a slower download speed since in the first download the least amount of peers were connected. 

Indicating that a better example would be to run three computers at once, downloading the same file. Funny enough, even this would possibly be flawed as the three would be downloading the file amongst each other as well.

According to the research paper “An Empirical Study of Seeders in BitTorrent” established back in 2006, significant data was recorded.

The case study shows that as the download rate of a particular file increased, the rate of its seeding decreased; due to a relative increase in the number of temporary seeders in the swarm caused by users leaving their clients unattended for longer periods.

In layman terms, the seeding of a particular file decreases as its download increases caused by the increase in the number of temporary seeders generated through unprotected clients. How hackers can use your computational power to mine cryptocurrencies if your device is left unsecured? The same way temporary seeders use unattended clients to seed files and as rewards get better downloading bandwidth. 

Bringing us to the point that possibilities of the same in the current ecosystem would risk the monetary value [BTT] people hold as higher bandwidth is not the only reward in the ecosystem.

In an era where websites such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime where one can watch content without any hassle the possibilities of people downloading pirated content from BitTorrent might not be in fashion anymore at least for the entertainment sector. 

Nevertheless, BitTorrents 150M userbase clubbed with Tron’s 22M and Steemit’s 1M do not only have the potential to disrupt the existing media segments but also to revolutionize its production. 

With Steemit acting as a content sharing platform and BitTorrent as a file-sharing platform, the quality of media entering the Tron ecosystem is unimaginable. Steemit’s information quality, self-curated data, and regional content complimented with BitTorrent’s uncensored media, unlicensed usage and free software, gaming, and application base could break the norms.

The vision of tokenizing the world’s largest decentralized file-sharing platform – BitTorrent collaborated with Steemit’s current progress might support Tron’s vision to build a free, global digital content entertainment system with distributed storage technology, for easy and cost-effective sharing of digital content.

Provided the team changes its priorities from Marketing > to Technology.

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