Hype or Hope? A Meeting of the Minds for the Benefit of Crypto

Noelle Acheson is a veteran of company analysis and a member of CoinDesk’s product team. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own.

The following article originally appeared in Institutional Crypto by CoinDesk, a free newsletter for institutional investors interested in cryptoassets, with news and views on crypto infrastructure delivered every Tuesday. Sign up here.

Justin Sun, founder of the Tron blockchain, has paid $4.75 million for the privilege of having lunch with legendary investor Warren Buffett.

News outlets around the world picked up this news, trumpeting it as yet another example of how ridiculous the crypto sector can be.

The gesture is attention-grabbing, true, and not just because $4.75 million is a lot to pay for a meal and a couple of hours of someone’s time. It’s also worthy of a jaw drop given Buffett’s public opinion of bitcoin: “probably rat poison squared” is one of his more colourful descriptions.

However, the real event here is being overlooked. Thanks to Sun’s largesse, two extremes of the current investment landscape will sit at the same table and talk to each other. This is more significant than most of us realise.

A rich buffet

First, let’s look at the extremes that these two ambassadors represent.

Warren Buffett is CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, a U.S.-based conglomerate with over $700 billion in assets, including a handful of large enterprises in insurance, transport and consumer goods, a portfolio of minority holdings in household names such as Coca Cola and Wells Fargo, a sizeable equity portfolio, and over $110 billion of cash equivalents.

One of the richest men in the world, Buffett made his fortune investing in solid companies with definable markets and tangible profits. He has often said that he doesn’t invest in businesses he doesn’t understand, and it wasn’t until 2011 that he took his first stake in a tech company, IBM, a position that did not do well. In 2017, he bought…

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