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Cryptocurrency CEO who paid $4.6M for lunch with Buffett: 'It might be unrealistic'

Daniel Roberts
Senior Writer

Warren Buffett has called cryptocurrency a “gambling device” with “a lot of fraud,” and declared, “That is not investing.”

Justin Sun is going to attempt to change Buffett’s mind.

Sun, cofounder and CEO of the cryptocurrency project Tron, bid $4.56 million in the annual eBay charity auction earlier this month to win lunch with Buffett. Sun has not shared when the lunch will take place, but tweeted on Monday that he has confirmed the lunch with Buffett. The location will be Smith & Wollensky in New York City, and Sun can bring seven friends to join.

On Monday, Sun told Yahoo Finance his goal for the lunch: “We want this lunch to be a bridge between the cryptocurrency community and the traditional investor.”

That’s a tall order. And Sun knows it.

“It might be unrealistic to convince Warren Buffett, just in three hours, to buy cryptocurrencies,” Sun says. “But we want to show him the recent progress of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. It’s not only about Tron itself, it’s about crypto and blockchain, the whole industry.”

Sun adds that he is a “long-time believer” in Buffett’s value investing strategy, and, he says, “I’ve made lots of money from these strategies. So this is like a payback to Warren Buffett.” Sun also liked that the charity, Glide Foundation, is based in San Francisco.

But some may find irony in how Sun paid the $4.56 million: with ad revenue from BitTorrent, the peer-to-peer file sharing company Sun bought last year for $140 million. BitTorrent, Sun acknowledges, “has nothing to do with cryptocurrency.”

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 15: CEO of TRON Justin Sun attends Consensus 2019 at the Hilton Midtown on May 15, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images)

Tron is one of the more controversial of the top crypto projects. It was originally pitched as a blockchain platform for the entertainment industry, but its cryptocurrency Tronix (TRX) is currently mostly used for sports gambling. Sun still says he has clear ambition for Tron: “Our mission is to decentralize the internet.”

In addition to running the Tron Foundation, Sun is CEO of Peiwo, a Chinese social platform built around voice recognition. He was also an early investor in Tesla; he drew heavy scrutiny last month when he announced a Tesla giveaway and then appeared to rescind the offer.

Sun graduated from Hupan University, the school Alibaba cofounder Jack Ma established in 2015 in Hangzhou, and he calls himself a “protege” of Jack Ma.

As of Monday, Tronix is the No. 11 cryptocurrency by market cap. The price is up 55% in 2019, while bitcoin is up more than 100%.

Daniel Roberts covers bitcoin and blockchain at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @readDanwrite.

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