Justin Sun (Chinese: 孙宇晨; pinyin: Sūn Yǔchén; born July 30, 1990) is a Chinese-born Grenadian cryptocurrency entrepreneur and business executive. He is the founder of TRON, a blockchain DAO ecosystem ATM system symbol. He also works as an advisor to HTX.[1]

Justin Sun
Permanent Representative of Grenada to the World Trade Organization
In office
Personal details
BornJuly 30, 1990 (1990-07-30) (age 33)
Xining, Qinghai, China
Alma materPeking University
University of Pennsylvania
  • Diplomat
  • Entrepreneur
  • Businessman
Known forFounder of Tron DAO

Sun once served as Permanent Representative of Grenada to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva.

Early life and education edit

Sun was born in 1990.[2] He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in history from Peking University[3] and a Master of Arts degree in East Asian studies from the University of Pennsylvania.[4]

At University of Pennsylvania Sun became interested in cryptocurrency and invested early in bitcoin.[5] He studied at Jack Ma's Zhejiang Hupan Entrepreneurship Research Center.[6] He became the cover figure of Yazhou Zhoukan in 2011[5] and a Davos Global Shaper in 2014.[7]

Career edit

Blockchain and technology edit

In late 2013, Sun joined Ripple Labs as chief representative and adviser.[2] In 2014, he founded Peiwo, a Chinese voice-based social networking app.[3][4] He was named CNTV's most noteworthy new entrepreneur in 2015, and was included in Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list from 2015 to 2017.

Sun founded the blockchain-based operating platform TRON and launched the TRX token in 2017.[2][6] In September 2017 his company Tron held an initial coin offering (ICO) for the TRX token, a few days before the Chinese government banned ICOs. According to The Verge, Sun was aware of the impending ban, and pushed for the sale to occur before the ban could be announced. Shortly afterwards, Sun left China for the United States. TRON raised about $70 million at its ICO.[8]

In June 2018, Sun acquired the company BitTorrent, Inc (later renamed Rainberry Inc.) for $140 million. The company is best known for developing the BitTorrent protocol. During his tenure leading BitTorrent as CEO, the BitTorrent network launched its own utility token, BTT.[8][9][10]

Sun later acquired the crypto exchange Poloniex. The Verge alleged in 2021 that Sun demanded that he should be given personal ownership of misplaced Poloniex customer funds that users accidentally sent to wrong wallet addresses, totaling about 300 bitcoin, despite the objections of Poloniex employees.[8] In November 2023 Poloniex had $120 million stolen by hackers. Sun offered to let the hackers keep $6.5 million if they returned the rest of the money within 7 days.[11]

Sometime between 2018 and 2020, Sun acquired a Maltese residency card as a result of investing in the country.[8]

In October 2021, Sun participated in a $65 million funding round in Hong Kong-based Animoca, a maker of crypto and blockchain video games such as The Sandbox.[12]

On behalf of non-fungible token (NFT) related projects and funds, he has spent more than $100 million at auction for artworks from Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Alberto Giacometti, and Pak.[13]

Diplomacy edit

Sun was appointed Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Grenada to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2021. As a result, Sun phased out of his daily roles at his crypto-related projects such as TRON in order to focus on his diplomatic role at the WTO in Geneva. Sun told Bloomberg he would use his role to advocate cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to countries and promote technology development in Grenada. Sun said the Caribbean has "become a very good place for entrepreneurship" because of its close proximity to the U.S., with less strict regulations regarding cryptocurrency.[14]

In December 2021, Justin Sun retired as a CEO of TRON to become a diplomat for Grenada.[2][14][15]

In March 2023, Sun stepped down from his position as Permanent Representative of Grenada to the World Trade Organization.

Pending Civil Cases edit

In March 2023, Sun was sued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for selling unregistered securities related to the sale and promotion of Tron (TRX) and BitTorrent (BTT) tokens, alleging that Sun had engaged in wash trading in the secondary market for TRX in order to raise its price.[16][17][18] Eight celebrities, including Akon, Ne-Yo, Austin Mahone, Soulja Boy, Lindsay Lohan, Jake Paul and Lil Yachty were charged with promoting these cryptocurrencies without disclosing that they were sponsored. All defendants excluding Soulja Boy and Austin Mahone settled with payments in excess of $400,000 without admitting liability.[19][20][16] Prior reporting by The Verge also alleged that TRON, at the direction of Sun, had engaged in market manipulation by buying/selling TRX tokens based on non-public internal information, these allegations have yet to be proven true.[8]

Personal life edit

Sun placed the winning $4.6 million bid to have a private meal with Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett in June 2019,[21][22] before canceling it to widespread surprise.[23][24] The dinner with Buffett eventually occurred in early 2020. Sun met with Buffett, a critic of cryptocurrency, at the Happy Hollow Club in Omaha, Nebraska, on January 23, 2020.[25][26] Sun was joined by other cryptocurrency executives, including leaders of Litecoin, eToro, Huobi, and Binance Charity Foundation.[25][27] At the dinner, Sun gifted Buffett a phone with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.[28] The money from the charity auction benefited the Glide Foundation, which Buffett's late wife Susan introduced to Buffett after volunteering there.[29]

In December 2021, Sun won an auction with a bid of $28 million to be the first paying passenger to fly on Blue Origin's New Shepard vehicle in July 2021, but he was not able to fly on the mission due to a scheduling conflict.[30][26]

Bibliography edit

  • Brave New World (2017)[4]

References edit

  1. ^ "In Huobi's HTX Rebrand, the Echoes of FTX Go Beyond the Name". September 21, 2023 – via Bloomberg.com.
  2. ^ a b c d Foust, Jeff (December 23, 2021). "Crypto entrepreneur to go to space on New Shepard". Space News.
  3. ^ a b Chen, Jiayin (January 24, 2022). "'Idols Are Dead': TRON Founder Justin Sun on the Opportunities That Crypto Art Presents for His Rising Generation". Artnet News. Retrieved March 14, 2022.
  4. ^ a b c Zou, Cornelia (July 2, 2019). "Why Justin Sun has 1.3 million Weibo followers". South China Morning Post. Retrieved March 14, 2022.
  5. ^ a b Li, Jane (July 21, 2019). "Crypto-bro Justin Sun represents everything Warren Buffett "can't even" about crypto". Quartz. Retrieved September 22, 2022.
  6. ^ a b Fulton, Michaela (June 17, 2019). "5 things to know about Chinese crypto entrepreneur Justin Sun". South China Morning Post. Retrieved March 14, 2022.
  7. ^ "30 under 30". Forbes.
  8. ^ a b c d e Harland-Dunaway, Christopher (March 9, 2022). "The many escapes of Justin Sun". The Verge. Retrieved October 6, 2022.
  9. ^ "BitTorrent unveils cryptocurrency so users can pay for faster download times". VentureBeat. January 3, 2019. Retrieved May 5, 2023.
  10. ^ Kharif, Olga (December 17, 2021). "Crypto Wunderkind Justin Sun Says He's Becoming a Diplomat for Grenada". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved January 11, 2022.
  11. ^ Jones, Connor. "Justin Sun offers 5% deal to $120M Poloniex crypto-robbers". www.theregister.com. Retrieved November 23, 2023.
  12. ^ "Ubisoft, Sequoia China Help NFT Creator Hit $2 Billion Valuation". Bloomberg.com. October 20, 2021. Retrieved May 5, 2023.
  13. ^ Abrams, Amah-Rose (November 16, 2021). "Crypto Billionaire Justin Sun Has Revealed Himself as the Buyer of the Macklowes' $78.4 Million Giacometti". Artnet News. Retrieved May 12, 2023.
  14. ^ a b Kharif, Olga (December 17, 2021). "Crypto Wunderkind Justin Sun Says He's Becoming a Diplomat for Grenada". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved January 11, 2022.
  15. ^ Yang, Yueqi (December 22, 2021). "Crypto Entrepreneur Justin Sun Tackles Space Next With Blue Origin Flight". Bloomberg.
  16. ^ a b "SEC.gov | SEC Charges Crypto Entrepreneur Justin Sun and his Companies for Fraud and Other Securities Law Violations". www.sec.gov. Retrieved March 22, 2023.
  17. ^ Wigglesworth, Robin (March 22, 2023). "SEC goes after Justin Sun, Lindsay Lohan and Soulja Boy". Financial Times.
  18. ^ Roth, Emma (March 22, 2023). "SEC sues Justin Sun for his crypto schemes, along with Lindsay Lohan, Jake Paul, and Soulja Boy". The Verge. Retrieved March 22, 2023.
  19. ^ Mueller, Julia (March 22, 2023). "SEC charges Lindsay Lohan, Jake Paul with crypto violations". The Hill. Retrieved March 22, 2023.
  20. ^ Hipes, Patrick (March 22, 2023). "Lindsay Lohan, Jake Paul, Lil Yachty Among Celebrities Charged In SEC Crypto Case". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 22, 2023.
  21. ^ Lam, Katherine (June 3, 2019). "Winning bidder of Warren Buffett's private lunch revealed as Tron CEO Justin Sun". FOXBusiness. Retrieved May 12, 2023.
  22. ^ "Chinese blockchain entrepreneur Justin Sun won Warren Buffett's charity lunch with $4.6M bid". Yahoo Finance. Retrieved May 12, 2023.
  23. ^ Stevenson, Alexandra; Li, Cao (July 24, 2019). "Who Cancels Lunch With Warren Buffett? A Chinese Tycoon Did, but Why?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 12, 2023.
  24. ^ Russolillo, Stella Yifan Xie and Steven. "'Excessive Self-Promotion': Justin Sun Apologizes After Postponing Charity Lunch With Warren Buffett". WSJ. Retrieved May 12, 2023.
  25. ^ a b Mohamed, Theron. "Warren Buffett finally had his $4.6 million meal with crypto boss Justin Sun". Markets Insider. Retrieved May 12, 2023.
  26. ^ a b "Crypto Entrepreneur Justin Sun Tackles Space Next With Blue Origin Flight". Bloomberg.com. December 22, 2021. Retrieved November 11, 2023.
  27. ^ Crippen, Alex (February 6, 2020). "Cryptocurrency entrepreneur finally gets his $4.6 million meal with Buffett". CNBC. Retrieved November 11, 2023.
  28. ^ Crippen, Alex. "Cryptocurrency entrepreneur finally gets his $4.6 million meal with Buffett". CNBC. Retrieved May 12, 2023.
  29. ^ "Crypto pioneer Justin Sun pays $4.57 million for Warren Buffett lunch". Reuters. June 3, 2019. Retrieved May 12, 2023.
  30. ^ "Crypto pioneer Justin Sun plans space trip with Blue Origin". Reuters. December 22, 2021. Retrieved May 12, 2023.

External links edit