Justin Sun: Express from Ripple to Huobi
Justin Sun is a representative of a new generation of Chinese entrepreneurs who grew up during the country's booming economy. And as a result, Sun developed an unwavering will, confidence in his ability to succeed, and a unique entrepreneurial spirit.
Justin Sun, the founder of several cryptocurrency projects, is one of the most intriguing people in the digital space. He is dubbed “the self-made millionaire” by the financial press. His net worth as of December 2022, which includes his private holdings and assets in third-party accounts, is about $400 million.
A story of a difficult childhood and a magical opportunity
Justin Sun is 32 years old. He is from Xining, a small (by Chinese standards) city.
Justin wasn't raised in a wealth or privileged family like many crypto legends. His parents, just like in Chinese fairy tales, were poor but proud hard workers struggling to provide a good education for their son. In one of his interviews, Sun told that he stayed in a bookstore until closing time every summer because his parents couldn’t afford air conditioning at home. And there he could read books in the cool without having to pay for them.
Gaining a good education was aided by chance. According to Justin's stories, his parents were unable to save enough money for the university. However, he was given the opportunity to enroll in Peking University's free department — the most prestigious university in the country — after winning a literary contest in his last year of high school.
He received a Bachelor's degree in history in 2011 and a Master's degree in political economy from UPenn, Pennsylvania in 2013. And if at the university Justin hadn't met Jihan Wu, the future founder of Bitmain, there would have been one more chronicler of the Communist Party in China. Wu explained to Justin in a straightforward manner that the party's history is a great thing, but cryptocurrencies are much more exciting. That was the beginning of the Chinese Cinderella tale…
He became interested in the stock market and made a small investment in Tesla shares, which paid off handsomely. Sun then founded Peiwo, a popular online chat app in China with over 10 million registered users, and served as its CEO until July 2017.
At the same time, Justin Sun was working for Ripple Labs, where he was responsible for establishing relationships with Chinese government agencies.
He became a Davos Global Shaper in 2014 and made the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list in 2017. This is a kind of distinguishing feature of a young innovator who is changing the world.
Jack Ma, CEO of Alibaba, invited 26-year-old Justin to study at his Hupan Corporate Business School. Justin was Jack Ma's personal student, and they have become good friends ever since. According to rumors, when Sun got into trouble with the Chinese government, the Alibaba founder used his influence to help his friend. He also protected him from the wrath of tax officials, who accused the millionaire of tax evasion. However, Justin has already shown his gratitude to his mentor by donating approximately $1.5 million to the business school.
Justin had a solid reputation in the Chinese business world by the time he was 25 years old, but his main career started when he established the TRON Foundation in 2017.
Tron, BitTorrent and Huobi
Justin Sun established the TRON network in September 2017. It is now probably the most efficient, scalable, and decentralized system available. Initially, it coexisted with Ethereum as a platform for developing dApps. But in June 2018, Tron left the Ethereum network and was transformed into its own blockchain.
At the beginning of December 2022, it supported over 35 million accounts and 150 decentralized applications that were active and processed over a million transactions daily on average. The stablecoin USDT has a daily turnover of $35 billion, which is greater than the combined daily turnover of BTC and ETH.
Justin Sun bought a majority stake in San Francisco-based BitTorrent, a pioneer in DEX file storage services, in July 2018. Later, there was a 100% takeover, and Bram Cohen, BitTorrent creator, left the business.
There are 100 million active BitTorrent users today. The service is in charge of a significant portion of the world's Internet traffic on a daily basis.
The BTFS network, which was created as a fork of the BitTorrent and Tron protocols, is the next generation of decentralized blockchain web storage systems.
The BitTorrent token (BTT) was launched in 2019. Users can use it to pay for faster download speeds or simply earn money by sharing video files.
Sun was appointed as a member of Huobi's global advisory board in October 2022. And already on November 15, a press release announced that Sun had been promoted from adviser to CEO. The former CEO, CFO, and PR/GR directors have officially resigned. According to rumors, Justin purchased Huobi, but he denies any financial implications from his appointment. Leon Lee, the exchange's creator, refrains from commenting on the issue.
industry right now. The billionaire decided to invest in art, amassing a collection of NFTs and traditional paintings worth over $100 million. He values several EtherRock stones from the first collection NFT project on Ethereum as the most priceless possessions.
Justin created the ApeNFT platform, which has a built-in TronLink wallet where you can purchase collectible tokens for TRX.
He describes his passion as follows:
Cryptocurrency and art, as asset classes, are both highly risky and volatile. Therefore, at the end of the day, you have to buy what you believe in and think is valuable. I always make a parallel between Picasso, as a pioneer of Cubism, and EtherRocks, which have been identified as one of the earliest NFTs on the blockchain by crypto-archeologists. I believe EtherRocks are to NFT history what Picasso’s contribution and significance as an artist is to art history.
The most bizarre things Justin Sun did
Sun now seems to be going through a period of personal evolution and a midlife crisis. Therefore, it is difficult to find an explanation for some of his actions.
Sun shocked the crypto community last December when he resigned from Tron to become the Grenadian ambassador to the World Trade Organization. He claimed that his involvement in the project was unnecessary because the Tron blockchain had already attained complete decentralization and was under the community's control.
Justin spent €4 million on a lunch with legendary investor and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Warren Buffett in the summer of 2019. Justin claimed he wanted to be the first to convince Warren to buy cryptocurrency. However, just three days before the famous dinner, Justin canceled the event. Not only Buffett was left hungry, but so were seven other invited crypto investors.
In December 2019, he donated $1 million to the Greta Thunberg organization because he shares her passion for fighting global warming. That news outraged his Twitter followers. That day, nearly a quarter-million readers (mostly Chinese miners) unfollowed Sun's account.
In January 2022, he announced that he had won the auction for the right to travel to space. Justin Sun paid $28 million to become a member of the Blue Origin team. His current top priority is to prepare for his upcoming orbit flight.