On March 28, Tron (TRX) founder Justin Sun tweeted to announce the release of Djed, a system for collateralized loans he described as “something new.” The platform was immediately criticized as many see it as a plagiarized version of MakerDAO (MKR).
Sun teased the launch on Jan. 16 when Sun let his fans choose the name of a planned decentralized stablecoin that was initially to be backed by TRX and BitTorrent Token (BTT).
Self-described TRX whale and Tron fan Mike McCarthy was the one who proposed the name Djed, just one hour and a half after Sun’s initial tweet. The name is drawn from ancient Egypt and represents the concept of stability.
“Borrowing” Dai’s concepts
The Djed platform is live under the Tronscan.org domain, and shows an interface with similarities to several Maker-based websites, including Oasis.app, vote.makerdao.com, cdp.makerdao.com, among others.
But while Djed’s interface is still reasonably modified, the system itself appears to be a clone of the old Single Collateral Dai for Maker. The principle is the same, though Tron users will be committing TRX collateral to mint USDJ, instead of Dai. The governance token is called JED, instead of MKR.
Even without looking at the code, the platform resumes many of the terms used within Maker.
Djed is a lending platform using Collateralized Debt Positions(CDP). Users must pay a Stability Fee as an interest rate on their loan, which is decided via an Executive Vote helped by assessments of Djed’s Interim Risk Team.
All of these terms are used to describe MakerDAO features as well. Though these are superficial similarities, the smart contract code further nails down that Djed is a clone of Single Collateral Dai.
While the source is unavailable, contract calls on Djed have the same names as Maker’s: SaiProxyCallAndExecute, DaiFab, MomFab, DadFab and many others.
Crucially, the Sai name suggests that this is indeed the old version of Dai, as it was renamed to Sai after the introduction of multiple forms of collateral. It also would explain why Djed only allows TRX tokens for collateral, instead of the promised BTT.
The Cointelegraph analytics team also identified several flaws with how the implementation interacts with Tron, which they believe were introduced to avoid changing Maker’s code as much as possible. They explained that Tron decided to maintain the requirement of wrapping the collateral before creating the pooled version of TRX, even though there is no need to do so for Tron, creating an additional crutch.”
Furthermore, the analytics team believes that the use of a normal account to hold the “Tub” contract, described as “the engine of the CDPs,” makes the system very opaque.
A history of plagiarism
Tron has often been accused of plagiarizing from other projects. Many allege that its original whitepaper was copy-pasted from Ethereum, which kicked off a negative perception of the project in many crypto circles.
As reported by Cointelegraph, a recent privacy feature also included mostly unchanged Zcash (ZEC) code to handle at least some privacy aspects — notably, the trusted setup.
However, it is worth noting that Djed is a project from Tronscan rather than the Tron Foundation.
Generally though, copying open-source code and implementing it separately is not necessarily considered plagiarism. Tronscan has not yet claimed that its implementation is unique or was developed in-house.
Nevertheless, one wonders how the Tron community plans to catch up to Ethereum in decentralized finance if it simply retraces its steps — just over two years later.