Yesterday, Tron and its founder, enigmatic Chinese technology entrepreneur Justin Sun, became the subject of much backlash from the crypto community.
Per previous reports from Blockonomi, in the wake of Kobe Bryant’s unfortunate death to a helicopter accident, Justin Sun, CEO of Tron, posted the following tweet after the passing of the legendary Los Angeles Laker.
The tweet, along with similar ones posted by the official Tron account, mentioned the names of Bryant and Tron in tandem, for the basketball player was a keynote speaker at the project’s flagship conference last year and was seemingly one of Sun’s heroes.
Kobe, was great to have met you in niTROn 2019. Mtg you was one of my life's greatest honor & privilege, I'll forever remember us on stage discussing the future of blockchain. We'll have a moment of silence in your honor during niTROn 2020. R.I.P. pic.twitter.com/oMqU9ZpkKh
— Justin Sun (@justinsuntron) January 26, 2020
While seemingly made without ill intent, Emin Gün Sirer — a Turkish-American computer scientist, professor at Cornell, and chief executive of blockchain upstart Ava Labs — branded this a “‘selfie at a funeral’” event, where ” a shameless promoter was trying to use Kobe’s death to pump a coin.” Others in the community followed suit, branding Sun and his company as insensitive for issuing such tweets.
While not everyone agrees with this sentiment, the company seems to want to distance itself from this, announcing a new charity initiative to combat the coronavirus outbreak in China, which has infected thousands and killed over a hundred thus far, official numbers from the governments of the world say.
Tron to Support China’s Wuhan Amidst Outbreak
In early-January, international media began to pick up on news that a new form of the coronavirus — a class of viruses that includes SARS from the deadly outbreak in 2003 and the common cold — has begun to spread amongst China, namely in the university city of Wuhan, which houses 11 million.
Although official numbers show that the virus has infected just over 5,000 — not a large number in the grand scheme of things — reports from media have suggested that Wuhan hospitals are quickly getting overrun by those worried that they have contracted the virus and have subsequently run out of supplies.
Hence, the world has mobilized to send supplies their way. Justin Sun on Tuesday posted the photo below, showing himself and some of his team in an unnamed location with boxes upon boxes of N95 masks, which many have used as a protective measure against contracting the novel coronavirus. Attached to the message, Sun wrote:
Fighting #coronavirus! #TRON is on the way! Wuhan, we are with you! Stay strong!
— Justin Sun (@justinsuntron) January 28, 2020
Tron itself also announced in a blog post that it is calling upon its followers to ” help those affected by sending medical necessities immediately,” adding that this epidemic is a “global priority” for Tron as it “vividly exemplifies that even as interconnected as we are on the internet, we are just as connected in our physical bodies.”
Tron is the second crypto-centric company to have overtly announced plans to support those affected by the outbreak.
Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, the Chinese-Canadian businessman that heads the world’s largest crypto exchange Binance, revealed in a tweet published on Sunday that his company has pledged “10m RMB ($1.5m USD) to help coronavirus victims.”
For #Wuhan, not realistic to do crypto to end beneficiaries.
Binance pledged 10m RMB ($1.5m USD) to help #coronavirus victims.
We didn’t make any announcements. But BCF/Binance team has been busy for the last few days.
Still need help to arrange logistics locally.🙋♀️ https://t.co/UH6FXgVSrX
— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) January 25, 2020
Zhao seemingly denied any use of crypto assets in this, writing that it “is not realistic to do crypto to end beneficiaries [for the Wuhan outbreak].”
Binance is purportedly still working on the logistics for this move, with the industry executive writing: “We didn’t make any announcements. But BCF/Binance team has been busy for the last few days. Still need help to arrange logistics locally.”
Both Tron and Binance have previously involved themselves in charitable movements. Sun pledged $1 million to climate activist Greta Thunberg, and Binance has created its own charity foundation and donated $1 million to help those affected by a large flood in Japan.