For the second time this year, Justin Sun, Founder of Tron (TRX), had to deal with public accusations painting a dictatorial, self-centered, and even malicious picture of him, allegedly based on the (former) employees’ testimonies.
As reported in January, two former BitTorrent (BTT) (acquired by Sun in 2018) employees sued Tron for USD 15m alleging they witnessed workplace violence, were harassed into product launches, and experienced wrongful dismissal. Now, a recent article in The Verge, which is widely shared in on Crypto Twitter, went into a number of allegations that Sun is egoistic and entitled; that TRX allegedly plagiarised its white paper, with Ethereum (ETH) often mentioned as a source; instructing employees to pump up the value of Tron and promote Sun himself; organizing giveaways some alleged were scams, and “launching products that effectively rewarded piracy and products that exploited pornography.” And “then there was his alleged abusive conduct, which ranged from threats of violence to actual physical violence in the office,” the article said. In one of the described incidents, Sun allegedly hit an employee, or the same claim that was made in January also.
Back then, Tron declined to comment on the “pending litigation,” only adding that “what we can tell you is that our customers, employees and the Tron community are extremely important to us.” This time, in an open letter, Sun did not address the specific allegations presented in the article, instead describing himself as a person devoted to being “a responsible, global citizen” who promotes “universal values of respect, liberty, equality, and kindness.” He went on to say that Tron values their employees, their cultures, as well as freedom of speech and decentralization.
Sun, however, did shortly address the matter of former employees’ claims:
(11/12)There is no merit to the false claims by Lucasz Juraszek, Richard Hall, & Cong Li, who are our former employees. Our legal counsel submitted all of the evidence to the court, & the dispute is currently pending in arbitration. We believe the decision will speak for itself.
— Justin Sun (@justinsuntron) September 29, 2020
Meanwhile, The Verge turned to the major question of decentralization and free speech, saying that “Tron’s acquisition of BitTorrent seemed designed to centralize power on Sun.” He answered that Tron and BitTorrent only create features, but have no control over what’s happening there.
Also, the employees claimed, per the article, that Sun would censor the questions he didn’t like before the company’s traditional Q&A, and that he “threw a tantrum” when the question of “what if TRX drops to zero” was raised, reportedly going as far as to threaten to kill the anonymous’ employer’s entire family.
Allegations also include censuring people around the founder, deleting posts on Reddit criticizing Tron, silencing a Redditor threatening to expose that, ignoring scam warnings and numerous letters from the Better Business Bureau, as well as BitTorrent’s new leadership ignoring the alleged witnessed and reported incidents of violence and misconduct within the company.
The Cryptoverse, meanwhile, is reacting to the article, with author and Placeholder Partner Chris Burniske, for example, calling Sun’s behavior “atrocious,” stating that it’s something people need to know, and that crypto needs to protect itself. Others, however, argue that the article is based on and filled with unverified information, and is possibly even a paid piece targeted at Sun.