Crypto Leaders Are Trying to Disrupt Caribbean Politics

Crypto Leaders Are Trying to Disrupt Caribbean Politics
Image: Grenada Permanent Mission to the World Trade Organisation, Other

Crypto King and Tron founder Justin Sun is pivoting to politics but not exactly where one would expect. The 31-year-old billionaire announced he’s stepping away from his previous cryptocurrency projects and will instead take on a role as ambassador of the Grenada government to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Sun appeared to create a new straight-laced Twitter account to mark the occasion with a bio reading: “His Excellency Mr. Justin(Yuchen) SUN.”

Sun, who was born and raised in China, but has apparently been a permanent resident on the small island science 2019.

The new position doesn’t mean Sun is through pushing crypto. Far from it actually.

“Our crypto industry has got into the stage, we really need sovereign states and regulators and international organisations to recognise the potential and the benefits of the blockchain technology,” Sun told Bloomberg News. “That’s why I think I will focus lots of my energy, to try and push blockchain technology and cryptocurrency — the importance of all of this in developing countries and developed states as well. I will also try to promote new technology development in Grenada.”

Sun reiterated this sentiment in a series of tweets where he wrote about the importance of the crypto industry essentially breaking bread with international regulatory institutions. “The due recognition of the #blockchain industry by sovereign states will be the final milestone towards achieving a truly decentralized financial infrastructure,” Sun said.

Sun started his tech pursuits with a Tinder-like live streaming audio app called Peiwo. That was eventually taken off the Apple and Google app stores and shut down by the Chinese government for its pornographic-tinged content that “disrupts socialist values,” The South China Morning Post notes. While running Tron, Sun gained a notorious reputation for his dictatorial leadership style and lavish spending habits, with some calling him “the Chinese Trump,” according to The Verge.

In 2018, his company acquired the peer-to-peer file-sharing site BitTorrent for $US140 ($196) million. Sun then poured $US100 ($140) million into an investment around blockchain-based video games. More recently Sun has made a name for himself by diving deep into the expensive NFT bidding world. Sun was one of the top bidders for a $US60.25 ($84) million Beeple NFT earlier this year. Though he fell short, that endeavour seemed to instill an appetite for even more luxurious collectible spending, this time in real life. Sun reportedly moved on to purchase an old-fashioned physical Pablo Piccasso painting for around $US20 ($28) million and has since spent $US78.4 ($110) on a Million Giacometti sculpture.

In his interview with Bloomberg, Sun said Grenada and other Caribbean islands are attractive to Crypto entrepreneurs since they are close to the United States but free from most regulations or taxes. Indeed, fellow crypto lords have moved to the region in recent years with several countries starting to accept cryptocurrencies for payments. Riding that wave, nearby Barbados this week became the first country to open an embassy in “the metaverse.”