Crypto pioneer hopes to educate Buffett at $6.3m lunch

Mr Justin Sun, who launched the world's 10th-largest cryptocurrency, will take his "most persuasive friends" to lunch with Mr Warren Buffett, in the hope that they can change his mind about cryptocurrencies.
Mr Justin Sun (above), who launched the world's 10th-largest cryptocurrency, will take his "most persuasive friends" to lunch with Mr Warren Buffett, in the hope that they can change his mind about cryptocurrencies.PHOTO: SCMP
Mr Justin Sun, who launched the world's 10th-largest cryptocurrency, will take his "most persuasive friends" to lunch with Mr Warren Buffett, in the hope that they can change his mind about cryptocurrencies.
Mr Justin Sun, who launched the world's 10th-largest cryptocurrency, will take his "most persuasive friends" to lunch with Mr Warren Buffett (above), in the hope that they can change his mind about cryptocurrencies.PHOTO: REUTERS

SAN FRANCISCO • A 28-year-old cryptocurrency pioneer, Mr Justin Sun, bid a record US$4.57 million (S$6.3 million) to have lunch with Mr Warren Buffett, who famously referred to bitcoin as "probably rat poison squared".

Oh, to be a fly on the wall.

The Chinese entrepreneur launched Tronix, also known as Tron or TRX token, in 2017. It is valued at US$2.56 billion and is the world's 10th-largest cryptocurrency, according to data provider CoinMarketCap.com.

Mr Sun said he hopes to educate Mr Buffett on cryptocurrency and the underlying technology, called blockchain. Mr Buffett said he is looking forward to meeting Mr Sun and his friends.

Mr Buffett, 88, and his long-time business partner Charles Munger, 95, have criticised cryptocurrencies in the past. Mr Munger called bitcoin a "noxious poison". Mr Buffett, who says there is no value produced from the asset, at least gave a nod to blockchain technology as "important" in an interview with CNBC earlier this year.

Mr Sun wrote in an open letter to the crypto community: "Even one of the most successful investors of all time can sometimes miss a coming wave.

"Buffett has admitted he overpaid for big investment food giant Kraft Heinz, while failing to realise the potential of the likes of Amazon.com; Alphabet, the parent of Google; and even Apple."

The time and place of the lunch has yet to be determined, though it is typically held at the Smith & Wollensky steakhouse in New York.

Mr Sun, who can invite as many as seven people to join him, said he will choose among his most persuasive friends as well as the most influential people in the crypto community, as it is likely to be a tough sell to get the billionaire investor to change his mind.

The annual auction raises money for San Francisco-based charity Glide, which provides meals for the city's homeless, offers support to domestic violence victims, and helps people find shelter.

Mr Sun previously founded Peiwo, a Snapchat-like app for China with millions of users, before starting Tron.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 05, 2019, with the headline 'Crypto pioneer hopes to educate Buffett at $6.3m lunch'. Print Edition | Subscribe