China’s cryptocurrency entrepreneur postpones charity lunch with Buffett

Warren Buffett. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Chinese cryptocurrency entrepreneur Justin Sun, who cited health issues in postponing his charity lunch with Warren Buffett this week, issued a broad apology to just about everyone for touting the plan to dine with one of America’s richest people, noting it raised concerns among authorities.

In a lengthy post on Weibo, Sun, who turns 29 this month, said he acted immaturely and set a bad example for the public while “excessively” promoting the event. “It has produced a lot of consequences that I completely did not expect,” he said, without elaborating on what they were.

Sun’s announcement Monday that he was delaying a lunch he’d won with a $4.57 million bid at auction fueled speculation he or his company had come under pressure. The move was surrounded by a flurry of posts and articles claiming he was denied an exit visa from China and that his venture and its cryptocurrency, Tron, faced investigation. The digital coin’s price fell even after he posted a video that showed him in San Francisco.

One person with knowledge of the matter said several Tron executives were briefly detained by Chinese authorities, and then released once Sun agreed to put off the lunch. The person asked not to be identified discussing the private developments.

Nicole Wood, a spokeswoman for Tron, declined to comment. Buffett’s assistant didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment outside normal business hours. The Beijing police communications office didn’t immediately respond to faxed questions.

Buffett’s annual charity auction has rarely been so dramatic in recent years, with many winners choosing to remain anonymous. In contrast, Sun announced in June that he was hoping to educate Buffett, a self-professed cryptocurrency critic, on the benefits of digital currencies and their underlying technology, blockchain. Just hours before the entrepreneur abruptly canceled the meeting, he tweeted invitations to fellow crypto boosters.

Tron, in the meantime, has lost about 18% of value this week, according to prices on CoinMarketCap.com.

Bloomberg

Singapore Reporter/s

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.