On Monday, Bloomberg reported that cryptocurrency entrepreneur Justin Sun of TRON is scheduled to have lunch with Warren Buffett. Sun’s goal: convert a staunch cryptocurrency skeptic into a believer.
The lunch will cost Sun $4.57 million, which will go to a San Francisco-based charity called Glide. Glide assists the the city’s homeless population in finding food and shelter.
Buffett famously rose from modest beginnings to become one of the most well-known investors on the planet. His trademark strategy– called value investing– prioritizes simple companies that have high intrinsic value. It’s a system that has turned Buffett into one of the wealthiest individuals in the world.
But when it comes to technology-based businesses, Buffett has missed the boat on a number of occasions. At a recent Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting, Buffett admitted that he was wrong about Google and “too dumb” to appreciate Amazon.
Some suspect that Sun may not be qualified to do the job of explaining the ins and outs of blockchain to Buffett. Mitchell Moos, Gravitichain co-founder and editor at CryptoSlate, called the lunch a “frivolous marketing expenditure.”
However, Sun doesn’t have to do all the talking himself. He can bring up to seven guests with him to the charity lunch, but he has yet to decide on who he intends to invite.
Warren Buffett on Bitcoin: “rat poison squared”
Buffett described Bitcoin as “rat poison squared” last May. If his latest comments are any indication, his views haven’t changed much.
“It [Bitcoin] doesn’t do anything. It just sits there. It’s like a seashell or something, and that is not an investment to me.”
If Sun stands a chance of converting Buffett into a cryptocurrency supporter, he’s going to have to not only break down how blockchain companies can generate revenue, but also parse that information in simple terms.
In a 2014 letter to his company’s shareholders, Buffett explained his reasoning for favoring “simple businesses” over tech companies:
“If there’s lots of technology, we won’t understand it.”
There may be another obstacle standing in the way of Buffett warming up to cryptocurrency: a conflict of interest. Paul Cliffe, CEO of Block Venture Project, believes that if Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies become even more popular, Buffett’s portfolio will suffer.
“We need to frame Buffett’s opinion in relative terms. He’s gone deep in on Wells Fargo and decentralised finance could essentially undermine one of his biggest positions. I think if any of of us were in that position, we’d talk our book too by shouting down the competition.”
Who is Justin Sun?
Justin Sun is best known for founding TRON– an ambitious blockchain project that aims to provide not only an alternative to the internet, but also an app store, a digital content store and a cryptocurrency.
TRON made headlines in July of 2018 when it acquired BitTorrent— a software company that develops the BitTorrent file sharing protocol. BitTorrent generated 4.10% of all internet traffic globally in 2018. A few months after the acquisition, BitTorrent announced its intent to launch its own cryptocurrency on the TRON network.
News that Sun will be meeting with Buffett comes on the heels of a partnership between TRON and Opera. Last month, Opera announced that the Opera browser will soon support TRON’s token, TRX.
TRON’s numerous high profile investors include names like China Equity Group founder Chaoyong Wang, Chinese motorcycle industry titan Yin Mingshan and BTCC.com founder Yang Linke.
29-year-old Sun was awarded a spot on Forbes China’s “30 under 30” list in 2015 and 2017. Forbes writer Roger Aitken called Sun a “genius visionary” and compared him to Chinese business magnate Jack Ma.
Not everyone agrees with Aitken’s assessment of Sun. In an interview with BREAKER, Former TRON CTO Simon Morris described TRON as a “marketing machine layered on a very thin veneer of technology” and said that Sun “doesn’t have a technical bone in his body.”
TRON’s critics react with skepticism
CCN writer Wes Messamore pointed out that TRX prices dropped 3% following news of the impending Sun-Buffett meeting and suggested that the money spent to secure the lunch could have been put to better use. He referenced a statement from TRON’s former Chief Strategy Officer Simon Morris, in which Morris claimed that TRON would not be able to support BitTorrent’s high rate of transactions. Messamore went on to characterize the meeting as a “self-aggrandizing vanity lunch.”
Sun first attracted the ire of the cryptocurrency community after Protocol Labs founder Juan Benet revealed via Twitter that the project had apparently plagiarized its white paper. Sun’s somewhat cavalier response didn’t do much to smooth things over.
Blockchain developers have also been critical of TRON. Lucas Nuzzi, director of research at Digital Asset Research, found fault with the way that TRON coders had repurposed blockchain projects’ open source code. He characterized TRON as “the Frankenstein of crypto.”
Will Sun change Buffett’s mind?
In his open letter to the cryptocurrency community, Sun stated that “with the right communication and understanding, Buffett will change his overall stance on cryptocurrency and blockchain, allowing this new investment strategy to become integrated into his overall portfolio.”
Do you think that this is a realistic goal? Is Sun a visionary genius or just a well-funded charlatan? Tell us your opinion in the comments section below.
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