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Reports of Justin Sun’s detention in China greatly exaggerated

Recuperating from kidney stones, the Tron founder was forced to resort to a live video Q&A in front of San Francisco’s Bay Bridge

Tron founder and CEO Justin Sun was forced to postpone his $4.6 million lunch with legendary investor Warren Buffett because he had a kidney stone attack, and that’s a good thing.

Despite causing “severe pain in the side and back… that radiates to the lower abdomen and groin…[and] comes in waves and fluctuates in intensity,” according to the Mayo Clinic, the speculated alternative to this illness was worse.

Stories—apparently false—from several Chinese news sources yesterday said Sun had been detained in China on charges that included money laundering and illegal fundraising. Sun denied all of the reported charges on his Weibo account. The original source of the alleged legal troubles was Chinese business news site 21st Century Business Herald, which had its business license temporarily pulled in 2015 after reports of blackmailing companies into advertising, according to Reuters.

Yesterday, the clearly haggard Sun resorted to posting a nearly 10-minute livestream video on Periscope, with San Francisco’s Bay Bridge prominently in the background.

Sun said in response to viewer questions, “No, I’m not feeling quite well. I think we are going to postpone [the Buffett lunch], but I’m definitely looking forward to it.” Other than that, he mostly spoke about the Tron Foundation’s blockchain and goals in answer to questions.

Sun made a record-setting bid in the annual charity for a lunch with the “Oracle of Omaha,” who is famously critical of cryptocurrencies.

In February, Buffett told CNBC that while the first cryptocurrency is “ingenious, and blockchain is important…bitcoin has no unique value. It doesn’t produce anything at all…it’s a delusion.” Which is, to be fair, better than “rat poison squared” in May of 2018.

Reminiscent of Willy Wonka, Sun has made a highly publicized and drawn-out process of inviting a number of high-profile cryptocurrency industry leaders to the lunch. While nothing has been formally said about the topics of conversation, Sun is almost certainly hoping to change the Berkshire Hathaway chairman and CEO’s opinion of the cryptocurrency business.

So far, the list includes five guests: cryptocurrency financial services firm Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire, social trading platform eToro CEO Yoni Assia, Binance Charity Foundation leader Helen Hai,  Litecoin creator Charlie Lee, and Huobi exchange CFO Chris Lee. He is expected to invite two more.

The lunch had been scheduled for July 25 at Quince, a three-Michelin-star steakhouse in San Francisco.

Leo Jakobson, Modern Consensus senior editor, is a New York-based journalist who has traveled the world writing about meeting and incentive travel, as well as the consumer and employee loyalty business. He also covered the East Coast side of the Internet boom and bust, small businesses, and New York City crime, nightlife, and politics. Disclosure: Jakobson owns no cryptocurrencies.

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