It’s hard to imagine a lunch where the guests contrast as starkly as this pair: 88-year-old American billionaire Warren Buffett, dubbed “the Oracle of Omaha,” and 29-year-old Chinese cryptocurrency entrepreneur Justin Sun, once described by Chinese state media as “the face of China’s millennial entrepreneurs” (in Chinese).
The two will sit down together in San Francisco’s historic Jackson Square on July 25, along with seven guests chosen by Sun. They will dine at a location the crypto-entrepreneur says he selected because it “represents the traditional and the upstart—much like the participants in the lunch itself.” Sun paid $4.5 million to win the charity lunch auctioned annually by Buffett. He hopes the meal will “bridge the divide between the blockchain industry and traditional investors” and change the outlook of an investment guru who famously called cryptocurrency “rat poison squared.”
Sun Yuchen, as he’s known in China, is the fourth Chinese businessman to win the right to grab steak and hash browns with Buffett. Unlike his predecessors (in Chinese), Sun, born in 1990 into a life that has coincided with China’s three-decade economic boom, represents the “virtual economy.” The American investment guru, in contrast, has built up most of his $84 billion net worth by investing in businesses with tangible products. Tellingly, he did not invest in tech companies until he took a stake in IBM in 2011.
Their attitude toward spending their wealth also distinguishes the two men. Buffett is known for his frugal manner and still lives in the Nebraska house he bought for $31,500 back in 1958. Sun, meanwhile, “likes to show off the flashy logos of luxury items he bought and cares a lot about his looks, forcing himself to eat only salads to keep fit,” according to a 2015 GQ China profile (in Chinese). Sun said his aim is to show people “my achievements, convincing them that they should talk to me.”
Sun’s crucial timing