In February of 2020, Warren Buffett had lunch with a major player in crypto. Justin Sun, owner of the file-sharing company BitTorrent and founder of the cryptocurrency Tron, won the eBay charity auction to have lunch with the famed investor with a $4.57 million bid. The money went to the GLIDE Foundation, a non-profit based in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood.
In that lunch, Sun made the case for crypto to an ardent skeptic.
Warren Buffett's Skepticism
Warren Buffett has called Bitcoin (the first and largest cryptocurrency) as "probably rat poison squared" and a "delusion."
He has also stated that he would "not be surprised if it's not around in 10 or 20 years."
His business partner and Berkshire Hathaway's vice-chair has called Bitcoin "worthless, artificial gold."
Buffett has described cryptocurrency's underlying technology, the blockchain, as "important," though.
Making the Case for Crypto and Blockchain
Sun looked to build on Buffett's understanding of blockchain. In an open letter to the crypto community announcing that he had won the auction, Sun wrote that he was a long-term believer in Buffett's long-term value investing strategy, going on to write that he thought that "the long-term value investing strategy and cryptocurrency, in [his] eyes, are one and the same," and that the crypto community has a long road ahead to "educate the mainstream on blockchain's value and proper use cases."
He also noted that "even one of the most successful investors of all times can sometimes miss a coming wave." And "Buffett has admitted he overpaid for big investment food giant Kraft Heinz Co., while failing to realize the potential of the likes of Amazon.com Inc., Alphabet, the parent of Google and even Apple."
Sun also wrote that he would be inviting other blockchain industry leaders to the lunch.
Sun launched Tronix, also known as Tron, or the TRX token, in 2017. According to CoinMarketCap.com, Tron is the world's 25th largest cryptocurrency, with a market cap of $3.6 billion as of July 20, 2021.
Buffett has auctioned off a lunch with himself for 20 years in support of the San Francisco-based charity, one his late wife Susan supported. His lunches have raised more than $30 million for the foundation.
In an email comment to Bloomberg, Buffett wrote that he was "delighted with the fact that Justin has won the lunch and [was] looking forward to meeting him and his friends."
"We are going to have a good time," he continued, "and Glide will use his contribution to help many thousands of people."
According to their website, GLIDE's programs focus on "the most vulnerable people in our community, including women and people of color, children, individuals with complex needs and recent immigrants." Through trust gained and cultural competency learned, GLIDE aims to provide an "integrated and comprehensive service model [to] meet basic needs and support people along pathways toward stabilization and self-sufficiency." GLIDE works to address poverty, homelessness, drug use disorders, and family crisis.