Cryptocurrency pioneer pays $4.57m for lunch with Warren Buffett, who called Bitcoin 'rat poison squared'

Lily Puckett

Justin Sun, a cryptocurrency entrepreneur, bid $4.57m to have lunch with Warren Buffett, who once called Bitcoin “rat poison squared.”

Mr Sun launched a cyptocurrency called Tron, or TRX Troken, in 2017. It’s valued at $2.56bn, and listed on CoinMarkCap.com as the 10th largest cryptocurrency in the world.

“As some of you might know, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway has said publicly he sees no ‘unique value’ in Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency,” Mr Sun wrote in a Medium post, referencing more remarks from Mr Buffett. “Yet, he has pointed to the potential in blockchain, the underlying technology behind all cryptocurrency.”

Mr Buffett serves as the chairman of the holding company Berkshire Hathaway, and is thought to be worth over $82bn, making him the third richest person in the world. In 2018, the billionaire said Berkshire Hathaway would "never have a position" in the trend, saying "cryptocurrency will come to a bad ending."

The high-priced lunch is part of an annual auction to raise money for the Glide Foundation, a San Francisco-based charity which Mr Buffet’s late wife Susan supported. Glide provides meals for the city’s homeless, offers support to domestic violence victims, and helps people find shelter. It has raised over $30m over its years. Mr Sun’s nearly $5m lunch was the highest a bidder has ever paid for a lunch with the famed investor.

“I look at the upcoming lunch with Buffett as an opportunity to seek mutual understanding and growth,” Mr Sun said his announcement. “To aid in the conversation and support the overall cryptocurrency and blockchain community, I will invite several industry leaders — with your input — to accompany me to New York City for the lunch.”

The auction for the lunch with Mr Buffet this year drew 18 bidders. Previous winners have included hedge fund manager David Einhorn, of Greenlight Capital, in 2003, and Ted Weschler, who won two years in a row and now works as one of Mr Buffett’s portfolio managers at Berkshire Hathaway.

“I’m delighted with the fact that Justin has won the lunch and am looking forward to meeting him and his friends,” Mr Buffett wrote in an email sent to Bloomberg on the lunch. “We are going to have a good time, and Glide will use his contribution to help many thousands of people.”