AP Photo/Nati Harnik
- Justin Sun, the Chinese cryptocurrency whiz kid who paid $4.6 million to have lunch with Warren Buffett, has postponed, blaming a bout of kidney stones.
- A Chinese news outlet published an article accusing Sun of illegal fundraising and other crimes, and a second Chinese news outlet reported he was being held in China due to the accusations.
- However, Sun streamed a live video that appeared to show him in San Francisco.
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The Chinese cryptocurrency whiz kid who paid $4.6 million to lunch with Warren Buffett in San Francisco on Thursday has postponed, blaming a bout of kidney stones. Chinese newspapers reported that he’s trapped in China.
Justin Sun is the 28-year-old founder of Tron — the 11th largest cryptocurrency with a $1.5 billion market capitalization — and chief executive of file-sharing service BitTorrent. He won the lunch with Buffett — the billionaire CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and an investing guru nicknamed the Oracle of Omaha — in a charity auction. Sun donated a total of $4.7 million to The Glide Foundation, which helps the homeless in San Francisco, earlier this month, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Sun’s rescheduling fueled reports that the Chinese government has barred him from leaving the country. The 21st Century Business Herald, a Chinese news outlet, published an article accusing Sun of illegal fundraising, operating illegal gambling services, and illegal involvement in the pornography business. Caixin, another Chinese publication, reported that Sun couldn’t attend the lunch because he was being held in China due to the accusations.
Sun denied the reports in a post on Chinese social-media site Weibo. A few hours later, he broadcast a live video that appeared to show him in San Francisco with the Bay Bridge in the background. “I’m not feeling quite well but I think we gonna postpone but definitely looking forward to it,” Sun said during the stream. “It’s pretty comfortable in San Francisco.”
The confusion drove Tronix, the Tron network’s native token, down 11% on Tuesday.
Rat poison squared
Buffett has said bitcoin has “no unique value” and has derided it as a “delusion” and “rat poison squared.” In a bid to convert the crypto skeptic into a true believer, Sun invited eToro’s Yoni Assia, Litecoin creator Charlie Lee, and other members of the cryptocommunity to join the pair for lunch.
“We know he’s not a proponent but what we want to do is to share with him the spirit of crypto and the progress that we have made,” Sun said at a conference earlier this month, according to the Journal. He added that he planned to hand Buffett a smartphone preloaded with cryptocurrencies. “We want him to own his own bitcoin or litecoin.”