By CCN: The CEO of crypto project TRON has come under fire for a Twitter Tesla giveaway that doesn't seem to involve giving much away at all.
Sun announced the winner publicly on Twitter before deleting the tweet and revoking the prize.
The (un)lucky winner goes by @zugaroth and has not been silent on the issue. He called Sun out as a scammer and posted a Twitter poll asking followers if they agreed. The results will be out in 11 hours with over 10,000 votes so far.
We reached out, and @zugaroth spoke exclusively with CCN.
"I feel outraged because apparently, he will not keep his word. Immediately the public that I was the winner sent my contact data to the inbox of Justin Sun but I never had an answer."
"The same to the inbox of TRON Foundation. The next day they just made another draw and they chose another winner without even apologizing to me for what happened. It is a pity that for me it is a very good project to disappoint your followers like me with false promises."
"I feel insulted and sad, everything seems to be a lie."
The idea was for competition participants to follow Sun and retweet the original post, a common giveaway format.
Sun claimed that he would distribute $20 million among 88 winners, as well as a Tesla car. Of course, the ever-vigilant crypto Twitter community has taken a close look at the competition, and some have found suspicious activity.
Crypto analyst John Galt posted several tweets which allege that the competition may be a sham. He suggests that it's possible that the prizes, and perhaps even the winners, were fake from the beginning.
The first draw selected a bot, @kozmenko2017, as the winner. TRON then picked 87 more "winners," supposedly at random. Galt claims that the IP hashes and timestamps prove that all 88 winners are the same person.
Galt then examined the video Sun posted of the selection process. Sun claimed to do this for transparency, but removed the video after stating that it was "too large" for Twitter. Critics have not accepted this claim, and Galt identified visible glitches in the footage.
Incredibly, Sun thought it would be best to smooth things over by offering the snubbed contest winner tickets to a TRON Foundation conference instead.
"I sincerely apologize for the confusion and inconvenience regarding the sweepstakes. I’d like to take the opportunity to clarify the situation. The team has come to the conclusion that non-livestream methods to determine the winner may cause ambiguity and controversy."
"We had a similar giveaway on the Chinese platform Weibo, which had their own built-in sweepstakes winner generator. Twitter does not, and the solution we decided on was to host a livestream that provides the maximum transparency for our community."
"However, I do recognize that this is an unfortunate situation, and would like to extend my warmest welcome to the next niTROn summit in 2020, including a fully paid round-trip ticket to the event location. We are very grateful for your continued support."
This did not go down well.
Twitter users were quick to condemn the decision as unfair, demanding that the winner be given his prize as agreed. As usual, the criticism took the form of memes as well as written statements.
This is far from the first controversy to surround TRON or its CEO and co-founder Justin Sun. CCN exposed plagiarism in the TRO whitepaper last year, and last week it emerged that thousands of Sun's Twitter followers were fake.
Perhaps the project subscribes to the belief that all publicity is good publicity, but in the eyes of many, the mishandled competition does not reflect well on the project.
It remains to be seen whether Sun will listen to the community and proceed with the giveaway as promised.