June 3, 2019 / 5:58 PM / 14 days ago

Crypto pioneer Justin Sun pays $4.57 million for Warren Buffett lunch

(Reuters) - Warren Buffett once called bitcoin “probably rat poison squared.” He’ll now have to dine with one of the cryptocurrency’s biggest fans.

FILE PHOTO: Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, at the company annual meeting weekend in Omaha, Nebraska U.S. May 6, 2018. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/File Photo/File Photo/File Photo

Cryptocurrency pioneer Justin Sun revealed on Monday that he bid the record $4.57 million at a charity auction to have lunch with Buffett, the billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Sun’s winning bid, which the 28-year-old announced on Twitter, was confirmed by the Glide Foundation, whose five-day online auction on eBay ended on Friday night.

Glide is located in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district and serves the poor, homeless and those battling substance abuse.

Sun can invite up to seven people to dine with Buffett at the Smith & Wollensky steakhouse in midtown Manhattan.

“I’m delighted with the fact that Justin has won the lunch and am looking forward to meeting him and his friends,” Buffett said in a statement provided by his assistant. “We are going to have a good time and Glide will use his contribution to help many thousands of people.”

Buffett, 88, has raised about $34.2 million for Glide in 20 annual auctions since 2000. His first wife, Susan, who died in 2004, introduced him to Glide after volunteering there.

Sun, who has a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, launched Tron or TRX token in 2017, and raised about $70 million in an initial coin offering. He bought San Francisco-based BitTorrent for $120 million in cash last year.

In Twitter posts, Sun said he plans to invite industry leaders from the blockchain community to dine with Buffett, who he called “a titan of investment. I hope this benefits everyone.”

Buffett has run Berkshire since 1965.

The Omaha, Nebraska-based conglomerate owns more than 90 businesses such as the Geico auto insurer and BNSF railroad, and invests in stocks such as Apple Inc, Coca-Cola Co and Wells Fargo & Co.

At Berkshire’s annual meeting last month, Buffett likened wagering on bitcoin to betting on zero or double-zero on a Las Vegas roulette wheel. “I have to say, bitcoin has rejuvenated that feeling in me,” Buffett said.

Reporting by Jennifer Ablan and Jonathan Stempel in New York; Additional reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Tom Brown

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