Shaurya Malwa · 10 hours ago · 2 min read
Tron has been marred with controversy ever since its launch in 2017. First was its plagiarized whitepaper (which was found to be directly lifted off Ethereum), and then came all the negative press around Justin Sun, the project’s starry-eyed, flamboyant founder.
All paid by Tron?
Today, Tron found itself in a fix after one YouTuber said that he had been offered payment to shill the project to his millions of followers. Sun flat out denied the claims, but the YouTuber shared screenshots as proof—bringing into attention all the celebrities that had been tweeting about Tron in the past week.
Marques Brownlee, a famous technology YouTuber who runs the MKBHD channel, said in a tweet Tuesday that he had been offered to be paid by Tron to talk about the network and make it appear as an “organic” post.
“I’m not interested in learning about TRON, but I’m open to helping you figure out “any information” about this incident. I have email receipts,” he said.
That was a response to Sun’s earlier tweet, which stated Brownlee’s claims were “not authorized” by the Tron Foundation and that Tron would work with community members to see if the effort was been pursued by the latter.
But even though Brownlee did not take any payment, Tron had allegedly paid celebrities like Lindsay Lohan and NE-YO to tweet about Tron, its ecosystem, and projects building on its blockchain (mainly ones with a direct link to Sun).
— harry.eth ◊ (@sniko_) February 11, 2021
Lohan, in one such tweet, said, “exploring DeFi and already liking $JST, $SUN, and $TRX. Super fast and 0 fees. Good job.” Similar tweets were later sent out by Akon, Jake Paul, Amanda Cerny, and others.
None of them disclosed if the tweets were promotional or not, even as US laws require all promotions on social media to be properly disclosed with a “promotional” tag. Sun, on his part, said in a different tweet that the various celebrities were actually using Tron by themselves “due to its fast speed and low costs.”
Brownlee, however, blew open those claims. He shared a screenshot of a mail that said, “we need not make it look like a “sponsored tweet,” Marques can openly make a remark on what he thinks of Tron in a tweet and post it.”
“Happy to compensate his honest opinion, nothing dictated or scripted,” the alleged email from Tron added.
Jason Choi, a general partner at crypto fund Spartan Group, said that such actions could attract massive fines by US authorities, considering similar instances in the past.
To no one’s surprise, the celebrity $TRX shills on Twitter seem to be sponsored & disclosures deliberately left out.
Should Lindsay Lohan get the same fines that Mayweather did, that would be 70%+ of her net worth (assuming public data is accurate) 📉 pic.twitter.com/SUU9B6VTTp
— Jason Choi (@mrjasonchoi) February 16, 2021
Meanwhile, whether the celebrities were indeed paid or not remains a mystery. But in the meantime, Sun has decided to go off Twitter for a while.
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