Another day, another strange turn in the saga of Justin Sun.
The latest controversy stems from a statement on Twitter from BitTorrent creator—and current CEO of cryptocurrency startup Chia—Bram Cohen, earlier this afternoon. Cohen claims that Sun hasn’t made a scheduled payment as part of Tron’s acquisition of BitTorrent last June.
Anybody know if Justin Sun is hard up for cash? He isn't letting the last payment for BitTorrent get out of escrow.
— Bram Cohen (@bramcohen) July 25, 2019
When questioned about the veracity of his claims by another Twitter user, Cohen responded: “My source for this is that I don’t have the fucking money and the escrow agency says they haven’t gotten signoff.”
“I totally understand he wants his money, but right now it has nothing to do with me,” Sun told Decrypt.
Cliff Edwards, the Tron Foundation’s director of global communications, explained: “Justin signed the release on Monday, and disbursements are now in the lawyers’ hands,” he said. “As you know with escrow, there’s no way for Justin to claw money back out of it, unless there was a legal reason to do so.”
Sun purchased BiTorrent Inc.—the company behind the notorious peer-to-peer, file-sharing protocol—in June 2018 for $140 million. Although the terms of the deal were kept mostly private, TechCrunch reported at the time that the arrangement included a cash payment from Sun as well as “cash in the company” to be distributed to shareholders.
While Cohen stepped away from full-time work with BitTorrent in 2017, he remained a major shareholder in the company, and is presumably owed a hefty portion of the $140 million price tag for its acquisition. And although Cohen has insisted that he has “never been affiliated with Tron or Justin Sun,” it appears that he does have, at least, some unfinished business with Sun.
A representative for Cohen did not respond to Decrypt’s request for clarification.
In a droll twist, the Tron team was gathering this afternoon at a hotel bar in San Francisco to celebrate the anniversary of the BitTorrent acquisition. It was unclear whether Sun himself—who was supposedly laying low after cancelling lunch with Warren Buffett—would attend.