Chinese post-90s entrepreneur paid $4.57 mln for chance to change Buffett’s mind on cryptocurrency

June 4 (NBD) -- Chinese blockchain entrepreneur Justin Sun revealed Tuesday that he has won the bidding with record-breaking 4,567,888 U.S. dollars to dine with Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. The money will go to charity organization Glide.

Sun made the announcement on Chinese Twitter-like Weibo, saying that he will invite leaders in the blockchain industry to meet with Buffett to "enhance the mutual understanding and friendship between traditional investors and cryptocurrency insiders". Sun can bring seven friends to the lunch.

"I'm delighted with the fact that Justin has won the lunch and looking forward to meeting him and his friends," Buffett said in a statement provided by his assistant. "We are going to have a good time and Glide will use his contribution to help many thousands of people."

After Sun made the announcement, Sun-led cryptocurrency Tron rose by nearly 5.1 percent within half an hour before sliding down.

Justin Sun delivering a speech at the IFENG Finance Summit 2015 (Photo/VCG)

Who's Justin Sun?

National Business Daily (NBD) noticed Sun is the fourth Chinese winning bidder for Buffett lunch. Among the 19 auctions in the past, there witnessed three Chinese winners: Duan Yongping, founder and chairman of BBK Electronics, Zhao Danyang, a leading figure in the private equity sector, and Zhu Ye, former president of Dalian Zeus Entertainment Co., Ltd.

Justin Sun has been a household name in the cryptocurrency sector of China. NBD noticed that he graduated from Peking University and University of Pennsylvania where Buffett got his degree, and is the only post-90s of the first batch of students enrolled by Hupan University set up by Jack Ma, founder of tech behemoth Alibaba.

Now 28 years old, Sun is the founder of cryptocurrency Tron and a Snapchat-like app Peiwo. Last year, he acquired BitTorrent, a software file-sharing application.

Despite those shiny titles, the young man is mired in controversy. Some claimed Sun plagiarized the frameworks of Ethereum and Kademlia to write the white paper of Tron.

Some Weibo users commented the bid for Buffett lunch is a victory of the whole industry while some held it might be a marketing strategy of Sun and doubted he would beguile people into buying Tron.

Strikingly different stances on cryptocurrency

Sun said he intended to change Buffett's mind on cryptocurrency and blockchain over the lunchtime talk.

It's worth noting that Buffett is a criticizer of cryptocurrency and he famously slammed Bitcoin by referring to it as "probably rat poison squared". The billionaire investor once said Bitcoin lacks intrinsic value and buying it is not an investment. At Berkshire's annual meeting last month, he likened the wagering on Bitcoin to gambling in Las Vegas, report said.

In stark contrast, Sun deemed that long-term value investing is similar to investing in cryptocurrency.

"The blockchain industry is enjoying the technical and financial boom," Sun expressed his confidence in the industry, adding that Buffett will change his attitude towards cryptocurrency and blockchain and put them into his investment portfolio after their communications.

"It is very common that people in the investment circles change their minds," Sun said. "Investment opportunities are best when lots of people are underestimating the technology."

"I'm looking forward to meeting the titan of investment," noted Sun. "I'm excited to talk to Warren Buffett about the prospect of blockchain and listen to valuable tips and insights from him about entrepreneurship and investment in the future."

 

Email: gaohan@nbd.com.cn