Matthew BeedhamEditor, SHIFT by TNW
Matthew is the editor of SHIFT. He likes electric cars, and other things with wheels, wings, or hulls. Matthew is the editor of SHIFT. He likes electric cars, and other things with wheels, wings, or hulls.
Justin Sun, the founder of cryptocurrency platform TRON, has issued a public apology after postponing a highly publicized charity lunch with billionaire Warren Buffett. And it seems Sun is finally becoming aware of his “over-marketed hype.”
Sun issued an apology earlier today saying he “sincerely apologizes to the public, the medial, officials, and regulatory authorities,” for over hamming his marketing of the charity lunch, CoinDesk reports.
The TRON founder referred to himself as “immature, naive, and impulsive,” and as having a “big mouth.” He says this spurred on “out-of-control and failed over-marketing hype and led to a significant series of unexpected consequences.”
One report is now saying that the apology, made on Chinese social media site Weibo, has now been deleted. This is an ongoing story.
TRON buys lunch with Buffett
Earlier this year, Justin Sun paid a record-breaking $4.6 million to attend an annual charity lunch hosted by known Bitcoin hater Warren Buffett.
Sun said he would use the lunch as a platform to promote cryptocurrency and blockchain to Buffett and co. But, as Sun acknowledged in his apology, it seems it was more a platform for self-promotion.
Sun claimed he would invite other big names from the cryptocurrency industry, like Litecoin’s Charlie Lee, Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin, and eToro’s Yoni Assia.
The specific reason why Sun postponed the lunch isn’t eminently clear.
Earlier this week, the Tron Foundation tweeted saying that the blockchain entrepreneur had fallen ill with kidney stones, and the lunch would be rescheduled.
TRON Foundation announces postponement of Warren Buffett lunch, press conferences after founder Justin Sun falls ill with kidney stones. Parties agreed to reschedule at a later date. @GLIDEsf @WarrenBuffett
— TRON Foundation (@Tronfoundation) July 22, 2019
Other reports suggest a starkly different story, though. Earlier today, Chinese news outlet Caixin (spotted by Decrypt), reported that Sun is under “border control,” meaning he needs government approval to leave the country. Until this week, it was believed he was still in China.
However, according to the report, Sun managed to “sneak out” of the country last November, and has been wanted by Chinese authorities ever since. On Tuesday this week, Sun published a video appearing to show that he was in fact in San Francisco.
A growing list of over-marketed self-promotions
It seems Sun is finally becoming aware of his prowess as an over-marketer. If you haven’t seen any of his past marketing gaffs, they typically go a little something like this.
Sun makes outlandish acquisition or partnership announcement on Twitter to his 1 million followers. Media and crypto-Twitter picks it up and further spreads the story. Reports surface that it was over embellished and everyone goes back to living their lives until the next time. Here’re some examples:
In April, Justin Sun tweeted an alleged invitation from UK Premier League football club Liverpool FC, saying TRON was exploring a new partnership.
Thank you for the unique and innovative invitation, Liverpool! I am impressed and I'm looking forward to exploring this #TRON new partnership together! @LFC #TRX $TRX #BTT $BTT ?? pic.twitter.com/7RhFw7QVbX
— Justin Sun (@justinsuntron) April 24, 2019
Less than a day later, reports surfaced saying that TRON had misunderstood the invitation; Liverpool denied having a partnership with TRON.
In another incident, Sun ended up having to giveaway two Tesla cars after botching a promotional competition.
In March, Sun tweeted that he would pick one lucky follower to win a Tesla in what he positioned as a general celebration of BitTorrent token, USDT, and TRON’s successes.
To celebrate #BTT & #USDT–#TRON success, I am planning a $20m free cash airdrop. Good news-it's coming, bad news-I may decide to give away more! First, I will randomly pick 1 winner for a #Tesla up until 3/27! To apply, follow me and RT this tweet! Simple! #Blockchain pic.twitter.com/wFyzwtB3ur
— Justin Sun (@justinsuntron) March 12, 2019
However, it all went sour when Twitter users started to call Sun out for foul play.
The first winner, a Mexican national, appeared to be refused the prize, believing that they were being scammed, Bloomberg reported.
One user on Twitter, on the other hand, thought the first winner was a bot, and that TRON conducted a further 87 supposedly random draws which appeared to be the same person.
Sun later promised to give away two Tesla’s, one to the original winner that was originally “forgotten about”, and another to a second winner that TRON claimed was legitimate, Bloomberg reported. Whether these two “winners” ever got their cars remains unclear.
Perhaps luckily for us, in today’s apology from Sun, he said he will be pulling back from public and promotional duties, still citing his alleged illness.
“Moving forward, due to my illness, I will take some rest, reduce my publicity on Weibo and media interviews. All the efforts spent on publicity stunts need to go back to technology development,” he stated.
I hope he’s actually telling the whole truth this time.
Update July 26, 2019, 0740UTC: A TRON spokesperson has since contacted Hard Fork to say that the first winner of the Tesla was not a bot, but a Mexican national. The second winner was in Eastern Europe. According to the spokesperson, both declined the cars and accepted the equivalent value in TRX. The article has been updated to reflect this.
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