Chinese blockchain entrepreneur aims to sway Buffett on cryptocurrency

By Li Xuanmin Source:Global Times Published: 2019/6/4 17:24:51

A worker checks on Bitcoin mining equipment at a facility in the Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Southwest China's Sichuan Province. File photo: VCG

Chinese blockchain entrepreneur Sun Yuchen, who won a charity auction for a lunch meeting with Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, told the Global Times that he hopes to update the billionaire on technological progress in the blockchain and cryptocurrency sectors and clear up some "misunderstandings" Buffett holds face to face.

"Last year, I read some 'controversial statements' from Buffett on cryptocurrency. I think the root reason for his misunderstanding is because there is no one 'good enough' to explain the technology. So I hope the lunch will help him form a deeper understanding of cryptocurrency," Sun told the Global Times in an exclusive interview on Tuesday. 

Sun, the 28-year-old founder of blockchain platform TRON, revealed on his Weibo account Tuesday that he had won an annual charity auction to have lunch with Buffett through his record $4.6 million bid. 

In his introduction on Weibo, Sun also identified himself as being among the first graduating class of Hupan University, founded by Jack Ma Yun of Alibaba. 

Buffett is not a fan of cryptocurrency, according to media reports. At the latest Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in 2019, Buffett took a tough stance on Bitcoin, calling it "a gambling device" and saying that the cryptocurrency is not a productive asset. 

Sun did not directly respond to questions about whether he could persuade Buffett to change this perception. 

"As a firm upholder of Buffett's investment theory, someone who has benefited a lot from the theory and made a fortune, I believe his theory and blockchain technology have something in common. For example, Buffett's theory stresses that time will demonstrate the value of an investment. This is the same with cryptocurrency," he said. 

Sun also identified the lunch with Buffett as a perfect opportunity to "bridge the communication and friendship between the cryptocurrency world and traditional investors as well as traditional financial institutions."

New technologies will always come with controversy, and the lunch with Buffett will also help inform the general public about cryptocurrency, Sun said.

On China's social media networks, Sun's bid generated a buzz. The topic had been read 19.18 million times on Weibo as of press time. Although blockchain circles are thrilled about the meeting, some netizens have taken note of China's official stance on virtual currencies and said that the meeting is just a way for Sun to promote himself as well as his company. 

An industry insider who spoke on condition of anonymity told the Global Times that some widespread criticism surrounding Sun is that the virtual currency he launched lacks "technological content," and its value is mostly driven by marketing. "Sun is a genius in marketing," he added. 

China banned bitcoin trading in September 2017 and shut down domestic trading platforms. The country also banned initial coin offerings. In a further sign of a tightened grip on virtual currencies, China's top economic planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, released a list in April that eliminated mining activities.  

"The charity lunch with Buffett is not only a highlight of my career… It represents a victory of the blockchain community," Sun said later in an open letter posted on his Weibo account.
Newspaper headline: Blockchain executive aims to sway Buffett on cryptocurrency sector