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BitTorrent’s Chinese CEO Dishes out $4.5 Million to Dine With Warren Buffett

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Cryptocurrency champion Justin Sun wants to change Warren Buffett’s mind on bitcoin — and is willing to spend 4.57 million USD to try.

On Monday, the 28-year-old CEO of BitTorrent, who bought the popular file sharing platform last year, announced on Twitter that he has scored a charity lunch date with the legendary American investor and crypto critic. His winning bid, which was submitted during a five-day online auction on eBay, smashed the previous 2012 and 2016 records of 3.5 million USD.

Buffett’s disdain for bitcoin is well-documented. Ahead of Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting in Omaha, he told reporters that “it’s a gambling device… there’s been a lot of frauds connected with it. There’s been disappearances, so there’s a lot lost on it. Bitcoin hasn’t produced anything.” He previously referred to the digital currency as “rat poison squared.”

Sun, however, who launched the blockchain-based operating system TRON in 2017, is up for the challenge.

“Even one of the most successful investors of all times can sometimes miss a coming wave,” Sun penned in an open letter to the crypto community. “Buffett has admitted he overpaid for big investment food giant Kraft Heinz Co., while failing to realize the potential of the likes of Amazon.com Inc.; Alphabet, the parent of Google; and even Apple.”

And he won’t be making his case alone. Sun can invite up to seven people to join him at the Smith & Wollensky steakhouse in Manhattan, and so far he has extended invites to industry leaders from Ethereum and LiteCoin.

Some Chinese netizens, aware of Buffett’s anti-bitcoin stance, already have ideas of how the exchange will go down. The hashtag “Justin Sun Bids 4.56 million USD for Buffett Lunch” #孙宇晨456万美元拍下巴菲特午餐# has gained 130 million views on the Chinese microblogging site Weibo, with comments like:

“I’ll imitate the scene: Justin: Mr. Buffett, you can learn more about the development and future of blockchain technology… Buffett smiles and says: Thank you for your charitable contribution. The steak is good, eat more, it’s pretty expensive, don’t waste it…”

Others questioned the value of the exchange:

“People with connections to Jack Ma are taking Buffett out to eat? There is something wrong with their brain.”

Similarly, Twitter users did not disappoint with their predictions:

While persuading Buffett of bitcoin’s value in three hours maybe be a tall order, the big bucks are being put to good use. As the UPenn alumnus noted in his letter, all the proceeds will support the Glide Foundation’s 50-year mission of helping the homeless in San Francisco, home to BitTorrent. Buffett’s late wife introduced him to the organization after volunteering there, and he has raised 34.2 million USD on their behalf since 2000.

Sun is not the first Chinese businessman to break bread with Berkshire Hathaway’s billionaire chairman. In 2015, Zhu Ye, the chief executive of Dalian Zeus Entertainment Group, wined and dined with Buffett for over 2 million USD. In 2008, Zhao Danyang, the manager of Hong Kong-based Pure Heart Asset, splurged on a 2.1 million USD steak lunch to talk investments, economic cycles, and philanthropy with the Oracle of Omaha.

If you want more on the blockchain market in China, check out our explainer here:

China Explained: Where Now For China’s Blockchain Market?

Julienna Law
    Julienna Law is a recent graduate of the University of Southern California. In her free time, she likes designing graphics, studying Chinese, and listening to the seven loves of her life, K-pop group BTS.

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