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On the afternoon of April 11th, a rumor that the Hong Kong police arrested Justin Sun, the founder of Tron Dao and former diplomat for Grenada, started spreading on Twitter. It relatively quickly caught on—likely due to the recent onslaught of charges, arrests, and enforcement actions targeting the digital assets sector. Relatively soon after the initial rumor broke, however, Sun himself came forth and denied it.
This Tuesday, a rumor that the founder of the Tron DAO, Justin Sun, was arrested in Hong Kong emerged on Twitter. The rumor was dubious since the beginning as the alleged sources in the city said he was being held at “Michinawanamun Station”—a non-existent place.
Not long after, Justin Sun himself appeared in the comment section of the original tweet denying the rumor by simply saying “4”. Despite these problems, the rumor was quickly replicated by multiple accounts as possible news. Its proliferation caused Tron’s TRX token to briefly, but sharply, dip in price before recovering and restoring stability.
The number four as a response to inaccurate or untrue news pertaining to digital assets was popularized by Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance. Already in January, CZ tweeted what his “do’s” and “don’ts” for 2023 will be calling on his followers to link to the list whenever he posts “4” and associated the number with “ignore FUD, fake news, attacks, etc.”
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Justin Sun has, arguably, been a controversial figure in the world of digital assets. He was, however, for a relatively long time legally shielded by his diplomatic status with the government of Grenada. Even this status recently became a point of contention as a local outlet reported that Sun’s affiliation with the Caribbean nation ended already in 2022 with a change in government.
Several days after the story emerged, Sun took to Twitter to confirm he will no longer be a diplomat but stated the change is effective on March 31st, 2023. Paired with these developments, Tron’s founder was also faced with an SEC complaint. On March 22nd, the Commission alleged that Sun sold unregistered securities, primarily in the form of TRX and BTT tokens, and engaged in market manipulation.
The same lawsuit targeted a number of celebrities that allegedly “touted” Sun’s tokens without offering proper disclosure. The current atmosphere arising from an onslaught of regulatory and law enforcement action that includes the arrest of Do Kwon in Montenegro, and the CFTC lawsuit against Changpeng Zhao and Binance likely contributed to the speed at which the rumors of Sun’s detainment spread.
Do you think the speed at which unverified information is spread around Crypto Twitter as news is a major problem for the industry? Let us know in the comments below.