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Bitcoin Mining Firm Bitmain Confirms Board Shakeup, Denies Jihan Wu is Out as Chair

Last Updated March 4, 2021 3:10 PM
Josiah Wilmoth
Last Updated March 4, 2021 3:10 PM

Major China-based bitcoin mining firm Bitmain has confirmed a report that its board of directors has undergone a shakeup but has sought to downplay that impact of these changes ahead of the company’s looming initial public offering (IPO).

In an emailed statement, Nishant Sharma, Bitmain’s international marketing manager, confirmed to CCN.com that the company had restructured its board but denied key aspects of the initial report, including that more than half the board had departed and that CEO Jihan Wu had relinquished the chairmanship.

“As is standard listing practice, Bitmain is restructuring its board and group structure, to ensure it meets regulatory requirements on its road to IPO. This is to simplify the board structure to facilitate its management. There have been no board departures and co-founder Jihan Wu will continue to lead the company as co-chair, together with co-chief executive officer, Micree Zhan.”

CCN.com had previously reported that Bitmain had, on Nov. 7, undergone the major board reshuffle. The news first appeared in Chinese crypto industry media outlet 8btc, which alleged that four of the six directors had quit the board and Jihan Wu had transitioned from the board of directors to board of supervisors, where he would no longer have voting rights.

The restructuring comes at a crucial point for Bitmain, which in the past 12 months alone is said to have posted quarterly profits in excess of $1.1 billion, as well as quarterly losses approaching $400 million.

Now, the firm is planning a public offering, having already filed registration documents with the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong (HKEX), where two of its rivals — Ebang and Canaan — are also eyeing public listings.

With a valuation reportedly north of $15 billion, Bitmain’s IPO is expected to set a record for the cryptocurrency industry. While the Beijing-headquartered firm has built a burgeoning artificial intelligence (AI) business — one that Bitmain believes could make up 40 percent of its revenue within five years — its core business continues to be developing and producing bitcoin mining devices. As such, it remains to be seen to what extent the prolonged cryptocurrency bear market weighs on the firm’s IPO prospects — assuming crypto prices are still on a downward trajectory when Bitmain goes public, that is.

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