Cryptocurrency entrepreneur Justin Sun apologized on Thursday for ”over-marketing” and postponing his charity lunch with Warren Buffett, putting into question whether the expected meet-up would actually occur.
The Chinese digital currency investor wrote in a post on Weibo — a microblogging site equivalent to Twitter in China — that he bid on a lunch with the Berkshire Hathaway CEO because he admired Buffett’s philanthropic commitments and wanted to advocate for the blockchain industry.
"I cannot deny that I want to promote blockchain-related business at the same time. However, because of my immature words, behavior, youth, and vigor, I spoke without thinking twice," Sun wrote in his post that appeared on Weibo just before 3 a.m. Beijing time Thursday. "It became a failing of over-marketing that was out of my control. It also generated a much-unexpected outcome on me."
Sun was scheduled to meet with Buffett on Thursday in San Francisco after the 29-year-old, during a charity auction in June, placed a record-breaking bid of $4,567,888 to have a private lunch with Buffett. The lunch would have been interesting given that the billionaire has repeatedly slammed cryptocurrency, even saying bitcoin has “no unique value at all” in a February interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
“It attracts charlatans,” Buffett said. “If you do something phony by going out and selling yo-yos or something, there’s no money in it — but when you get into Wall Street, there’s huge money.”
Luckily for Sun, Buffett did tell CNBC that blockchain has potential. The Chinese entrepreneur said in a previous news release that he was looking forward to talking to Buffett about it.
By Monday, however, Sun’s TRON Foundation posted a tweet saying the lunch was postponed because Sun was suffering from kidney stones. The foundation said both Buffett and Sun agreed to reschedule the lunch — but the postponement caused others to speculate whether the 29-year-old was in trouble with Chinese authorities.
Some believed Sun was barred from leaving China and possibly under house arrest. Chinese media reports added fuel to the rumors after claiming Sun’s companies were being investigated for illegal fundraising and money laundering, The Wall Street Journal reported.
On Tuesday, Sun shot down rumors by going live on Periscope for about 9 minutes to show he was in San Francisco, Calif., and not in China. He told followers who tuned in that he was “feeling better” before panning the camera to the view of the Bay Bridge from a room. He reassured viewers that his lunch with Buffett will be rescheduled.
Sun later tweeted, “I feel so much better now! It seems I will be back to work with full speed on this Friday!”
Sun wrote in his Weibo post on Thursday that his self-promotion spiraled out of control and negatively impacted the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry. He apologized to regulators for the concern he caused.
"For the elders, leaders and regulators who care about me, I would like to express my sincere apologies to my premature marketing and words and deeds! I am deeply afraid of the adverse effects caused! I am young, not deeply involved in the world, and the blockchain belongs to the emerging industry,” he wrote in a Weibo post.
He added that he will rest to recover from his illness and post less on social media.
“In everything I do, I will discard my own selfishness, and put the interest of the country, the industry and the public first,” Sun wrote.
It’s still unclear if and when the charity lunch will occur.