Drama around Justin Sun’s lunch with Warren Buffett continues. Hours ago he published a statement on Weibo apologizing to the TRON community and Chinese authorities for “vulgar hype and marketing behavior.” He deleted the message shortly afterward—read the full translated message here.
Justin Sun publicly apologizes for “over-marketing”
A translation of the message from CryptoSlate’s China correspondent:
“Dear Friends, In the past few weeks, I had my darkest moment with sickness and tiredness. I suffered the biggest drama ever in my life from people’s doubting and questioning. I didn’t sleep all night yesterday, and deeply reflected on my memories and was introspective for my behavior and words—I felt ashamed for my over-marketing. I want to deeply apologize to the public, media, leaders, and the related regulatory authority who cared about me.”
“I bought the Warren Buffett lunch because I admire him a lot and I have a huge passion for charity. The original reasons are good and simple. I cannot deny that I also 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. It became a failing of over-marketing that was out of my control. It also generated an unexpected outcome for me. I ignored the responsibility of being a public figure. This was not my original intent. During the process, I was excited, then worried, then afraid, and now I’m regretful. This whole thing was bad for society and attracted the scrutiny of regulatory authorities. I want to say sorry again.”
“Caixin is a well-known journal that I have subscribed to and learned from since college. I have made great contributions to the overall situation of reform, [China’s] opening up, and overall economic development. Ms. Hu Shuli is also a senior teacher whom I respect and admire. Caixin continues to uphold the public interest of [Chinese] social responsibility. My priority, to let me see my limitations and smallness. I am sincere and fearful to communicate with Caixin. Nevertheless, I am willing to get the best media teachers in the business and engage in transparent, authentic, impartial, and unreserved exchanges with Caixin.”
“Mr. Wang Xiaochuan is also a predecessor in the field of internet entrepreneurship. I personally admire his achievements and respect his views. Originally, because I loved his jokes and young, energetic personality. I first hoped to create some hype and marketing gimmicks. In fact, I deeply regret this vulgar hype and marketing behavior, and once again express my sincerest apologies to Mr. Wang Xiaochuan. I hope I can get his understanding.”
“For the elders, leaders and regulators who care about me, I would like to express my sincere apologies for my premature marketing and words and deeds! I am deeply afraid of the adverse effects I caused! I am young, not well experienced in the ways of the world, and the blockchain is an emerging industry. I am immature. The overseers of the regulatory agencies and their great vigilance helped make me understand the importance of social responsibility and social influence! The healthy development of the industry is inseparable from proper supervision. I will also open my heart to the regulators who actively introduce structure and industry development to the sector, and will actively cooperate with the regulatory agencies for guidance, and do our utmost to satisfy them; to meet our requirements, to maintain timely responses, and establish long-term communication. We will always adhere to the principles of financial stability and security, resolve financial risks, and return to our focus on blockchain technology research and development.”
“I liked business in my youth, started my business very early, and I was very fortunate to catch up with the rapid development of socialism with Chinese characteristics in our country’s new era. I was lucky to catch the development of the global blockchain industry with support from many seniors in the industry. I was very fortunate to have achieved some success in the world blockchain. As a front-line practitioner active in the industry, I am very proud to be able to pass on the value of China’s blockchain around the world! It can be said that without the care and guidance of the regulatory agencies, there will be no healthy development of the blockchain industry today.”
“In the future, I will repair my shortcomings, reduce my vocalizations on Weibo, reduce the media interviews, and translate all the research and development from marketing hype to true blockchain technology. All of these are based on national interests, industry interests, and public interests. They abandon the selfishness of the self, actively rectify and abide by the law, export more positive energy for the development of the blockchain industry, do more for in-depth thinking, and establish a better social role model for the contemporary youth!
Finally, I say once again to the media, overseers, leaders, regulatory agencies, and the public who care about me, I sincerely say: sorry!
One top-voted reply to Sun’s message on Weibo said:
“The full text has one meaning: spare me, I want to go back to China.”
The message appears to address to drama related to his lunch with Warren Buffet as well as the allegations from Chinese news outlets claiming he is wanted by Chinese authorities. The post was deleted shortly after it went live, but screenshots went viral on Weibo.
Lunch with the Oracle of Omaha
On June 3, Justin Sun won a charity auction to have lunch with Warren Buffett with a record bid of $4.57 million. As part of the bid, he was permitted to bring up to seven guests with the lunch scheduled for July 25.
Sun initially set his sights high, inviting industry leaders including Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, Litecoin founder Charlie Lee, and Binance founder Changpeng Zhao. He also extended an invitation to Donald Trump following the U.S. president’s derisive tweets toward Bitcoin and Libra. Of the four, only Charlie Lee accepted the invitation.
In the second round of invitations, Justin Sun invited Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire, eToro CEO Yoni Assia, and Huobi CEO Livio Weng. All three accepted the invites. However, Justin Sun was still criticized for not inviting more influential industry leaders.
Sudden health problems and trouble with Chinese authorities?
On July 22, Justin Sun abruptly canceled the lunch, claiming he was in the hospital for “sudden kidney stones.” Sun and the TRON Foundation reaffirmed at the time that the donation to the Glide charity still stands.
Shortly after the kidney stones announcement, Chinese news publication the 21st Century Business Herald alleged the TRON network was being used to facilitate illegal gambling in the country and that Justin Sun’s social media app Peiwo was being used for pornography transactions. Furthermore, the report claimed he was still in the country.
Then, another Chinese media publication, Caixin, added another twist to the story. It claimed Sun was barred from leaving the country by Chinese authorities, piling on allegations of illegal fundraising and money laundering in addition to Sun’s alleged involvement in facilitating pornography and gambling transactions.
On Chinese social media app Weibo, Sun refuted the claims made by the two publications. He did not confirm his whereabouts at the time.
Justin Sun live streams from San Francisco
Social media was ablaze with speculation about Justin Sun’s whereabouts, with some claiming he was in the custody of Chinese authorities. To dispel the rumors, Sun posted a picture from San Francisco followed by an impromptu Periscope live stream.
— Justin Sun (@justinsuntron) July 23, 2019
“No I’m not feeling quite well but I think we’re going to postpone [the lunch]. But, I’m definitely looking forward to it.”
He went on to answer questions from the community, with his usual marketing vigor:
“TRON is one of the most successful [blockchains], also it’s a people governed network, fully decentralized, and distributed network. I have 100 percent confidence in the TRON network. Also, the BitTorrent product, as we know, is fully decentralized. Decentralization is always our number one priority.”
Sun also claimed that he feels much better now and will be back at “full speed” by July 26, the day after the intended date of the lunch.
— Justin Sun (@justinsuntron) July 24, 2019
TRON had initially scheduled to have lunch with Buffett on July 25 to coincide with the acquisition date of BitTorrent. For now, the meeting with Warren Buffett has been rescheduled to a later, unspecified date.