TRON was founded by Justin Sun in 2017. TRON Foundation raised $70 million in 2017 through an initial coin offering shortly before China outlawed the digital tokens.
The white paper of TRON was accused of plagiarism. Researchers from Digital Asset Research (DAR) discovered multiple instances of code copied from other projects in the Tron code base. It is also accused of violating the GNU Lesser General Public License v3.0 (LGPL) because the project does not mention that its client was derived from EthereumJ, a Java implementation of Ethereum. These accusations were denied by the TRON Foundation, the organization behind the design of the system.
In 2018, TRON switched its protocol from an ERC-20 token on top of Ethereum to an independent peer-to-peer network. On 25 July 2018, the TRON Foundation announced it had finished the acquisition of Bittorrent, a peer-to-peer file sharing service. Upon this acquisition, in August 2018, BitTorrent Founder Bram Cohen also disclosed that he was leaving the company to found Chia, an alternative to bitcoin created to be a less energy-intensive cryptocurrency.
By January 2019, TRON had a total market cap of about $1.6 billion. Despite this market performance, some authors viewed TRON as a typical case of the complex and disordered nature of cryptocurrencies. In February 2019, after being acquired by Tron Foundation, BitTorrent started its own token sale based on the TRON network.
In May 2019, the cyber-security testing service HackerOne revealed that just one computer could have brought TRON's entire blockchain to a halt. The revelation showed that a barrage of requests sent by a single PC could be used to squeeze the power of the blockchain's CPU, overload the memory, and perform a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.